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Monday, September 16, 2019

It's not just the wild west that is full of cowboys.

 This is a photo from an Andrew Pighills Facebook post back in July, and that is where it should have remained, but this afternoon I got a call from the owner of the wall to say the wall  has fallen down again. This photo is after the wall had been repaired 3 months previously

This is a photo I took this afternoon, just 2 months after it was repaired for the second time, by the same person who did the first repair

 The wall on the other side of the entrance, also rebuilt by the same person, is full of small stones that have no structural integrity whatsoever

and this large flat stone placed on its edge and just leaning against the wall.

This photo was taken in July.

This photo taken this afternoon, shows the smaller stones falling down behind the large flat stone which is slowly being pushed out and eventually, over.  

For a wall that will last a century or more, go to and look for a certified waller in your area.

 I can promise you this.
The feeling of sadness as your wall collapses before your eyes will far outlast the joy of the perceived inexpensive build.

Wild flower patch extended.

I think my wildflower patch has been somewhat successful. According to the package, the basil was added to attract pollinators. I thought the smell of basil might deter deer.

It doesn't

In my garden, hanging white strips on fishing line to emulate the alarm signal of the white tailed deer does.

Last weekend I tilled 4400 sq ft of part meadow, part orchard. obviously this is too large an area to cover with tarps as I did with the patch. This area will be flame weeded, raked and flame weeded again before sowing with a perennial wildflower mix this coming weekend. Hopefully the seeds will have a month to establish before the first frost.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Speaking Engagements

This Fall I have 3 speaking engagements.

Sept 21st, 1.30pm 
Greenwich Library
 101 West Putnam Ave Greenwich Ct

The Stone Walls & Structures of England & New England: an Evolution.

Concentrating on the stone structures of England and New England, this lecture draws comparisons, similar and dissimilar, between the geology, building styles and techniques, and follows the evolution of stone walls and structures from colonial times to the present day and explains how they fit into the garden and broader landscapes, past and present.

Oct 8th, 7pm
Guilford Library
67 Park St Guilford CT

The Yorkshire Dales, from Herriot to Home

From Herriot to Home. So called because we will travel through the dales, from Leyburn in the North east corner of the Dales, where Herriot, or Alfred White better known as James Herriot, the author of All Creatures Great and Small, first entered the dales as a newly qualified veterinarian back in 1939. to Airton, the village where I spent my formative years, in the southern most dale. Airedale.

22nd Oct 11am
Mystic Garden Club
Mystic Congregational Church
43 East Main St.

The Stone Walls & Structures of England & New England: an Evolution.
(Description as above)

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Friday, September 6, 2019

This year our Fall workshop is on the 26th and 27th of September, 9am to 4pm both days. Coffee and cakes will be served upon your arrival.
You will need to bring your lunch.

On Saturday evening we fire up the onsite Pizza oven and serve pizza from 4pm onward with beer and wine. Participants significant others are also invited to the pizza party. 

The wood fired oven will cook a pizza in around 3 minutes.

The party is also an opportunity to discuss the days work in a more relaxed atmosphere.

For further information please contact:
Andrew Pighills

Monday, July 8, 2019

Stonewell Farm 9am Sat through Sun July 6th & 7th 2019

From a distance it's pretty much same old, same old.

Close up reveals the hummingbird favourite, Monarda, starting to flower, tent caterpillar damage on the Weigela, deer grazed Hosta stems just right of the Monarda and missing Sedum flower heads bottom left.

 To my eye, Tradescantia (blue, center) has an ugly growth habit which can be disguised by thoughtful placement among other plantings. Its long flowering period and pure blue colour make it worthy of inclusion in any garden. 
PS. I must remember to cut back the Salvia to promote a second flush of flowers.

The last of the poppies may survive until the Phlox paniculata become prominent.

More tent caterpillar damage on the Philadelphus that hides the base of the utility pole. Pruning will wait until the very last flower, as the bumble bees love this shrub.

How many shades of green do you see? I stopped counting at 20.

The Montauk daisies are about ready for their second trim. I spray with deer repellent, but still get some grazing as witnessed by the nibbled Sedum. Another deer favourite, Lilium, are about to burst open.

A section of the variegated Miscanthus has reverted to green

I could dig it out, but for now I don't mind the contrast.

 The pruned Spirea is a perfect backdrop to the Stachys byzantium, appealing to the eye and fingers and probably one of my top five plants. I think I now have eleven top five plants.
Our bright orange Lilies, ones that Michelle finds offensive to the eye, are happily flowering, even hidden at the back of this shady border.

The carpet of spent flowers adds another dimension to the appeal of our Stewartia small tree/shrub.

Planted to distract birds, squirrels, etc from allegedly more valuable fruits. I think the Mulberry is underrated,

but do not plant near paths, walkways or other foot trafficked areas as they will stain everything they come in contact with.

Annabelle has fully flowered without falling foul of deer predation. 

The Catalpa (back right) is flowering.

Beautiful close up,

or from a distance. This is the Southern Catalpa bignonioides and not the Northern Catalpa speciosa.

 From this angle you can't see the late flowering Azalea

that is just starting to flower.

A few colour combinations from around the gardens.

 The Monarda and Phlox, when they flower, will blend with the Astilbe, Hydrangea, Hosta and variegated Acanthopanax to create harmony, but one's eyes are still drawn to those outrageous Hemerocallis.

On the other side of the Monarda, perfect harmony.

In the Memorial Garden we marked the burial spot of our rooster Marcel with a small, terracotta pot and have been on the lookout for over a year to find just the right planting to honor his cheerful spirit and beautiful red coloring. This Gaillardia fits the bill.

We lost a treasured antique climbing rose in the front border that we haven't been able to replace, as the nursery that cultivated it has stopped shipping to the US. This little beauty (Rosa Burgundy Iceberg) is the right colour, we'll be on the lookout for a climber that will complement this.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Just pottering.

The thunderstorms forecast for yesterday evening never materialized. This morning is sunny and breezy, perfect for wandering around the garden.
Below are my bare essentials for pottering.

Felco make pruners for right and left handed gardeners. As you can see from the above photo I belong to the latter.
Smaller flowers can be pinched out between thumbnail and forefinger, but thicker stems, Peonies, Roses etc need a pair of pruners.

 I use my phone to photo plant combinations that work

 This hanging basket combination of Petunia and Fuschia already has appeal with the fuschia barely open. I think the full effect will be spectacular.

The field of poppies with the climbing rose. 

Ipomoea with Calibrachoa.

Roses with Baptisa

and those that don't, like these two.

I also use the memo app on my phone to make notes, such as the north side (right) of this planter is too shady for a Calibrachoa.

Or to simply record the four stages of the rose flower from bud through to maturity.

I find the rubber textured gloves give one a better grip when pulling weeds, and no person can be allowed in ones garden without a flamboyant hat.