The Priory In June

I will be leaving Sussex and The Priory very soon.  And if I’m excited about my future life in a different part of England, my lower lip trembles sometimes at the thought of leaving this garden; a garden in which I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of my days.  (By a rough calculation, more than 1500).

I’ve been so busy selling a house here and buying a house in Gloucestershire, that I’ve neglected to show you The Priory during her best time: May and June. But then, as I was walking about the grounds last week, I noticed so many pretty things, so much darn flower that I paused, slapped my forehead and ran for my dusty camera. Here’s a little – mostly rose and clematis – of that Priory June colour.

Rosa ‘New Dawn_

This Rosa ‘New Dawn’ was growing by the front door on the day I started work in 2008.  I haven’t done much to it other than train it upwards and along the flat leaded porch roof.  I don’t even feed it but, despite neglectful care, it flowers heartily and gives a warm welcome – to non-existent visitors.

Rosa 'Madame Alfred Carrière'

Whereas, Rosa ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’ I did plant. It grows above the kitchen door and window in almost perpetual shade, barely suffers from rust nor black spot and bears heavy, fragrant, repeat blooms. My kind of rose and perfect for this north facing wall.

Rosa ‘Sander_s White_ (1)

On the rose tunnel, R. ‘Sander’s White‘ is a big fat show off.

Rosa ‘Sander_s White_

This is not an understated rose. It has a superabundance of blooms with a scent that punches you in the nose – in a playfull way. For a few days in June, it flowers quite delightfully, quite madly.

Rosa ‘Sander_s White_ (2)

As you probably know – if you’ve been reading my record of a Sussex garden for a while – I grow several different clematis in amongst the roses on the tunnel.  The Sander’s White is a short-lived phenomenon after all.

Clematis ‘Warsawska Nike_ (2)

The large flat plates of Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ is one of fifteen varieties of clematis here.

Clematis ‘Warsawska Nike_ (1)

Conventional wisdom would have me prune this pruning group 3 clematis* each spring to 6-8 inches above ground level but I’ve learnt that doing so presents beak-level, tender new shoots to hungry pheasant. So, I don’t do that. No. I cut back to a pair of shoots at about 3 or 4 feet – out of reach of pheasant and also beyond concerted slug attack. The clematis grows taller too … with its flowers intertwining amongst the roses rather than staring at my navel.

Clematis ‘Etoile Violette_

Nearby is Clematis ‘Étoile Violette’ – also pruning group 3. Again, I leave several feet of stem when pruning in spring. If I thwart the attention of pheasant, I provide handy nose-level morsels to deer. Win some …

Clematis ‘Etoile Violette_ (2)

Étoile Violette bears lots of deep, purple flower and eventually scrambles far above the regular attention of deer. This year, the deer damage to trees, shrubs and er, most things actually, has been particularly bad.

Clematis 'Princess Diana'

On a shadier tunnel post, is C. ‘Princess Diana’.

Clematis 'Princess Diana' (2)

She’s a gaudy pink but I forgive her that – given the beautiful tulip shaped flower. No deer attack on this one yet.

Clematis 'Empress Amy Lai'

A fairly recent addition is C. ‘Empress Amy Lai’ – another purple,

Clematis 'Empress Amy Lai' (2)

filling the bare stems of climbing roses overhead. C. ‘Empress Amy Lai’ is pruning group 2.

Clematis 'Crimson King' (2)

I moved C. ‘Crimson King’ from elsewhere in the garden. It struggled in the long border with competition from so many herbaceous plants and is much happier here. But it ain’t crimson. Group 2.

Clematis ‘Betty Corning_ (2)

C. ‘Betty Corning’ is a favourite – after seeing it in my mother-in-law’s garden – here growing amongst honeysuckle

Clematis ‘Betty Corning_ (1)

and deftly hiding an old, ugly chain link fence near the house. Also group 3.

Clematis 'Roko-Kolla'

I really like another newbie – Clematis ‘Roko-Kolla’ .  It bears large white flowers with subtle green stripes. Another group 3 but you know by now my feelings about pruning back hard.

Campanula lactiflora ‘Pritchard_s Variety (1)

Over in the kidney beds is Campanula lactiflora ‘Prichard’s Variety’ taking over nicely

Campanula lactiflora ‘Pritchard_s Variety (2)

as foxgloves fade away. This is a splendid, large plant with several impressive flower spikes, forming an excellent centrepiece for a June border. At least, that’s what I think.

Clematis Jackmanii (3)

On the east wall of the house is another clematis, Clematis Jackmanii.  Growing through a rose (variety unknown), this is the only Priory clematis I didn’t plant.

Clematis Jackmanii (2)

I keep its roots well shaded (clematis don’t like their roots sun baked) and tuck in shoots that otherwise wave around in the air.

Clematis Jackmanii (1)

A vigorous plant with a good bold colour too.  Pruning group 3.

Verbena bonariensis (1)

My two twelve metre Verbena bonariensis borders are just coming into flower.

Verbena bonariensis (2)

I don’t normally water them but June and July 2018 have been shockingly dry and I’ve relented.  I should hate to see this spectacle shrivel and turn yellow before I leave.

It’s a funny job mine. I tend a big garden which hardly anyone ever sees. What’s that about?  A week can easily pass without a visitor and now that the house is empty, the owner won’t be coming back.  Plants flourish (or don’t), flower (or don’t), and fade away, with only me as witness … with sometimes you too, of course.

Butterfly Painted Lady (2)

But I do have guests of a sort.

Butterfly Painted Lady (3)

If butterflies, like this Painted Lady, and bees and a host of other insects are attracted to something that I plant, then … well, hell.

Butterfly Painted Lady (1)

I must be doing something right.  Attracting wildlife to The Priory has given me a huge amount of pleasure and satisfaction over the years; so much so that this morning, I watched a doe standing in the shade of the rose tunnel.  Rather than frothing with rage at chomped roses and clematis, her lithe beauty filled me with awe.

Just about.


* Here’s that note on pruning groups, cribbed from an earlier post on Clematis

  • Group 1 – flowers on previous year’s growth and needs hardly any pruning. Tidy up as necessary and reduce in size if it gets too big. If it does need hard cutting back, do so right after flowering.
  • Group 2 – flowering stems produced from previous year growth. Cut back weak, damaged stems to a pair of strong buds in late winter. Tie in stems to form a framework in summer.
  • Group 3 – flowers on current year’s growth. Cut stems back to a pair of strong buds in early spring, a foot or so above ground level (if you’re pheasant proofed).

56 thoughts on “The Priory In June

  1. Hi David,

    The Priory seems to be a place of immense natural beauty; you must be very proud! I particularly love the flower tunnel. It looks like something straight out of a poem, as though you could walk straight through into another world. I imagine that it really is something to behold in the summer months. It’s such a shame you have to leave your work on this fabulous garden behind, but I’m sure your green fingers will pick up exactly where they left off!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Libby, the tree surgeons felled a large tree by the tunnel last week so it and the roses have been a bit bashed about. Rather than that though than the tree coming down of its own accord and flattening the thing. Thanks for your kind words – it is the end of an era for me. D


  2. I’ve been following your pottering at The Priory for 4 years and I’ve enjoyed every single posting and have learnt much about gardening in general.. the spring postings are much appreciated as it comes late in Saskatchewan canada. I look forward to hearing and seeing your new garden. Please continue to write!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It must be quite a wrench to leave such a garden that you’ve tended for so many years; hopefully the new owners will continue your good work! Would you have carried on if the Priory hadn’t been put up for sale or was this the catalyst for your move? Whatever, I hope there are happy and successful times ahead for you and your family; both Gloucestershire and Sussex are very beautiful counties to live in. (*said with a dollop of envy*!) Best wishes for a smooth relocation – and hopefully we’ll be reading about your further adventures. Caro.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Caro. There are no new owners yet and probably not for some time. My move to the West Country has been planned for many, many years – we’ve just waited for our son to reach 18. It’s a coincidence that now that we’re ready to move, The Priory job has become very uncertain. Phew! Good timing or what? Thanks for the good wishes, we’re raring to go, D


  4. So incredibly beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. (I can almost smell this garden through the screen).
    The love and care you’ve taken is obvious. You must be very proud. Good luck with your new ventures! I hope you’ll still share them with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You have done that garden proud, David Marsden. I’m glad you plan to keep on being the anxious gardener. (Oh, that doesn’t sound very nice. By all means be anxious, but in a contented and happy way.) xxxStacy

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear anxious gardener, let you lower lip tremble and then let go! We saw Gloucestershire when we first visited England and it was beautifully green and soaking wet. Doesn’t sound too bad to a gardener, does it? I can’t really recommend to revisit a garden you once cared for, though….
    Sorry to say, but it can really break your heart!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe. Yep, Gloucestershire is a lot wetter than Sussex and I’ve grown to be blase about the sunnier weather we have down here in the SE. Not for long. Good advice about revisiting the Priory but I’m such a terrible nostalgist that I shan’t be able to resist. I shall have to see how trees I’ve planted are getting on … or whether – horror – they have been felled. Broken heart indeed. D


  7. Good luck with your future ! The priory is just wonderful !I do hope you’ll keep blogging. One question; how do you keep your clematis looking so good ?? mine grow good, bloom great but something makes holes in the leaves and the flowers, any idea what this is and what I can do about it ?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t think I had ever realised how few people ever got to see the wonderful work you did in the garden – or rather, the results thereof. I’m glad you shared The Priory in all her summer glory, best of luck in Gloucestershire, look forward to catching up with what you get up to there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hullo, Janet, it’s nice to see your cheerful orangeness. It was always the lack of visitors and dearth of reaction and interaction to the garden that made me blog. Blogging and comments from readers have been immensely useful on both counts. What I shall write about in the future though is anyone’s guess! Dave


  9. You have put so much of yourself into the Priory, it must be a bit soul destroying that no one enjoys the garden you have been so clever in creating. I hope you will blog from the new garden. All my very best wishes for your future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Christina. I’m also concerned that the garden will slide back into bramble and dock as it was when I first started. But I hope, in time, someone will take it on with vision and … money! D


  10. I really enjoyed this post, David. I inherited Clematis ‘Etoile Violette’ and ‘Princess Diana’ fighting it out together on an obelisk and they are a complete joy. As are your butterflies. So sorry to hear that no one will be enjoying the garden for a while, but I hope that your plantings live on for the next owner. Yours was the first gardening blog I discovered and I have really enjoyed exploring your creations. I hope you will continue blogging in your new job?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ali, I’m afraid I have no idea what my next job will be. I’m going to land out west and make a decision then but yes, I hope to continue blogging. I also fully intend to re-visit the Priory in the future (if only peeking over the hedge) to check on its future state. I’m madly curious about how it will evolve (hopefully with sacks of cash investment, which it sorely needs). D


  11. Dear David, having only recently found your delightful blog (the Tawny Owl lead me to you) I am busy catching up. I do hope you will continue to blog as you have such a lovely way with words and your wry humour always makes me smile. Very best wishes for your new venture, I am sure you will be greatly missed at The Priory. Annette x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Annette. The tawny owl is still in the garden. If I very rarely see him, his call out across the garden is a regular part of my day. Glad you like the blog and I do mean to Carry On Blogging. D


  12. Please say you’ll blog from Gloucestershire, even if only occasionally, as I do so enjoy your posts. Good luck with the move and I hope that leaving your Priory (surely the garden is yours in all but name) will not be too much of a wrench. Ceri

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ceri, thanks for the good wishes. We’ve moved so often over the years, you’d think it would become easier – but it doesn’t. But this will be the last move and the last house renovation, I hope. And yeah, I’ll let you know how we get on. D

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Seems so hard, to me, to have gardened lately just (as it were) for yourself. And then to leave- there’s a salutary experience.
    But I see you’re heading in our direction! Will we see you here soon at the Veddw?? Hope so! Xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, Anne, I’ve always mostly gardened for myself at The Priory. Great on the one hand to have so much freedom and responsibility but regular visitors to actually appreciate the garden too would have been nice. Hence the blog. Definitely will come and visit … and walk the socks of Charles. Dx


  14. This blog was lovely. I would love to know how that is, that the garden isn’t seen by anyone and the house is empty but you are asked to tend the garden. May I ask how that is? It sounds rather sad that no one sees the wonderful pictures you have shown us.

    I hope whatever you go on to do, that people will be able to see it and appreciate all your hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, thank you. the house was used as a holiday home – if rarely – and now that it has been emptied and to be sold it is less visited even than before. Thankfully, my job has lasted as long as I needed it and as long as I wanted to stay. I’m very fortunate and grateful on both counts. Dave


  15. I’ve really enjoyed seeing your results with the gardens at The Priory. It is a pity that more folks can’t visit. Wishing you all the best in Gloucestershire and hope we get to see what you create next. Don’t be a stranger!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I hope your move will go smoothly and look forward to hearing more about the next stage of your life if your going to share, but if not perhaps just your walks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ann. I hope to keep on blogging (and walking). I’m just not too sure about gardening for a living but then I’m in no mad rush yet to make up my mind. Thanks for being a constant reader. D


  17. Dear David,
    I am both happy and sad that you are leaving the Priory. The garden there will be missing you, I am sure. However, I am delighted you have found a new situation and I hope you will continue to keep us in the loop of what is going on in the future in your life. Best wishes to you with this move.

    Prayers go with you……. Sincerely, Anne Fuller

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Anne, don’t be too sad that I’m leaving The Priory. I shall revisit when I can and update you all if I’m able. Ten years is a long time and I’m ready for a change. So long as new owners don’t cut down any of my beloved trees I’m happy. I’ll blog again about the gardens before I leave, D


  18. Mr. M. – It’s pretty clear you’re a heck of a gardener. This post has been a treat. I feel like I’ve had a wonderful visit to a delightful garden, and I’m only sorry I’m not there in person to breathe it all in. It’s a thing of beauty. Best wishes on your new venture. RPT.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Robert, thank you very much. Sorry, you weren’t there too – that rose scent is something. And thanks for commenting so often on my posts – it’s very much appreciated, D


  19. Beautiful photos and wonderful plants. Are you going to blog from your new home/job? We will miss you if you don’t; I have really enjoyed your blogs from Sussex. Thank you for giving us so many varied topics. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Anne, thank you and I’m glad you enjoyed the trip. I’m not sure what I’m going to do in Gloucestershire yet. I have no job lined up and no definite plans. But yes, I certainly intend to keep on blogging … only I’m not sure yet what about! Dave


Any thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.