The terrace bank in flower

Everything seems to have just roared into growth this year. Perennials which have ambled along for about two years seem to have exploded. Everything is bulked up and plump.

I’m delighted with this terrace bank – it’s what I look out on when I try and drink a cup of tea on my chaise longue inside the potting shed.

That’s not happening right now with the wild animal training project. Miss Mabel is as mad as a box of frogs and won’t sit still for more than a nanosecond. And as food is her only purpose in life (apart from sleeping on plump cushions) she thinks my cup of tea is fair game when I come up for a sit down and a drink.

I keep her cat food locked away in the food safe you can see behind her on the bench. And yes, she gets so excited that those seedlings – mimosa, hazelnuts, stone pines – are at risk from her enthusiastic bounding. If she could chew through the wire mesh and break a glass jar to get to the food she would.

So my visits to this part of the garden are fleeting. If the cat so much as catches a glimpse of me she is out the window or door and doing her most winsome act of begging and demanding. (That’s her begging face by the way – not a winning look.)

Back to the garden, while I brush at all the cat fur all over my clothes. She does shed.

I like dark foliage. The contrast between these continus and the hedge behind never fail to lift my spirits when I consider this view.

They all have to fight it out for light as the hedge takes on a venerable size. And I am always prodded into guilt about my poor staking techniques.

My lovely neighbour Agnes gave me some tiny seedlings from her purple hazelnut tree – corylus Avellana Atropurpurea? And I have great hopes for my burgeoning hedge. More red, more purple.

The phlomis is starting to self-seed, which is a thrill. I can’t say they are choosing the most ideal places to dig in; but if I’m quick I can have them up and moved about before they really get going.

I missed it with these ones. And had to point them out (with trip hazard metal rods) to those who wield the brush cutting tools.

I’d hate to have these beauties decapitated. When you have a success in a part of the garden that his so hostile for plants, you are desperate for them to thrive.

Look at those weeds! Oh well.

Luckily the whole little terrace gets so crammed with plants when they are in full growth that I can barely walk here.

And of course in winter you are keen to add more seedlings like the aquilegias I sowed in huge quantities last autumn.

Goodness only knows where they are under the dianthus jungle. I always forget how huge perennial plants are when they are well established.

Oh yes. the mighty Dianthus carthusianorum. Long may it thrive.

And this rose slap bang in the middle of one of the terraces has proved to be a dud. I have given it four years. Nay, more. I have tried everything – bending down the branches, staking, shaping, ignoring.

It has to go. I need to put something in there that will delight rather than vex.

The little rosa violacae (perhaps) is a beauty. A fleeting one, but pleasing.

If I were bored and desperate for jobs (hah!) I would strike cuttings or even move this to the new place in autumn where it can really shine.

One thing I am learning is to cherish shade. When I first started making this garden 13 years ago it was pretty much an exposed mountain side with plenty of brambles, rocks and sickly trees.

I still haven’t dared to cut down the two chestnut trees that shade this part of the garden. Because I am learning that to have a shady spot is such a treat. Even if it means you can say to yourself ‘I can do some weeding up on that terrace bank this afternoon’ because it is one of the few places in the garden where you won’t expire from heat stroke in summer outdoors.

That’s my plan for the potting shed too. My aim with the Virginia creeper is to clothe the potting shed roof entirely in foliage in summer.

All the work from the polycarbonate roof letting in brilliant seed germinating and plant growing light is redundant by July.

And I’m even getting more plants to grow their fabulous snaking tendrils inside too. The pictures are vile because of the hail storm last year which peppered the polycarbonate sheeting, leaving me with holes.

But you get the picture. I have even put up twine between the sheets so the creepers can work their way across the roof from the inside.

It’s all fun.