My garden this weekend & GBBD – 14th July 2013


I haven’t done a Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post this year but I thought I would combine one for July with this week’s weekend post – if you see what I mean.

The garden is very dry at the moment.  We haven’t had any real rain for weeks now and you can tell. The plants that are struggling the most are perennials planted out in late April/May when it was quite damp but obviously they haven’t had much of a chance to put down their roots and establish.  It is interesting to see how much better the annuals are doing in this regard but then I suppose that demonstrates the differences between annuals and perennials.  Bits of the garden are looking great, such as the rose, Anthemis ‘Sauce Hollandaise’ and Delphinium combination above, whilst other areas are struggling and there are large gaps appearing.  The gaps are from where early spring flowers have finished and have today been cut down but the plants that are meant to come on to replace them haven’t put on much growth; possibly due to the border in this area being overcrowded and too much competition for moisture.  This is going to be addressed as part of the Autumn project.

2013_07140035logoThe Delphinium have done well this year although some of the flower heads have been quite dumpy.  Again I think overcrowding is partly responsible plus a lack of water.  I don’t tend to water the garden apart from when I first plant new plants out but I am having to water the whole garden once or twice a week at the moment and I suspect I could water more but I am currently working on the basis of a really good soaking is better than a quite splash.2013_07140031logo

There has been a lot of thinking going on here at Patient Gardener headquarters.  I came home from San Francisco not only with specific ideas but also with a more open mind to what you can do with colours and using plants and ornamentation.  I also want to develop and explore the world of alpines more.  The current planned big project for the Autumn is to convert what is left of the slope into a rock/scree garden.  The asters and other daisies will be redistributed around the garden.  Possibly into the Big Border to provide interest after the delphs finish and the Big Border needs sorting to bring the old and new border together and to thin out the plants in the old section.

I have decided to paint the new workshop a very dark brown but I also want to pick out the window frame and the outside edges in a different bright colour and every time I think about it orange or terracotta is what I see – although I don’t know what I will use to do this.  I think this is really prompted by the Achillea that is growing to one side of the shed.  The flowers open a very pale buttery orange and then get darker and brighter.  Painting the shed dark brown will show them off better and picking up the colour as a highlight will tie them together.  I can extend this by having pots of orange flowering bulbs etc at other times of the year.


2013_07140019logoThe back of the Big Border, the newer bit, is hotting up with the Dahlias starting to flower.  The orange one below is a Bishop Children’s seedling from last year and I  love the colour.  The pink one (below) is new this year and is Dahlia Juliet from Sarah Raven.  It is smothered in flowers and really makes up for the rubbish non-existent dahlias I had last year.

The Digitalis is going over but has been sumptuous with its creamy flowers providing a wonderful contrast to the Cotinus.  I think they are perennial ones so I am really hoping they will be back next year.  There are annual poppies popping up here and there but the flowers have on the whole been quite small which is disappointing.  2013_07140026logoI am rather chuffed that I planted Geranium Victor Reiter (below) in front of the dahlias as its pink flowers are really picking up the colours of the tender perennials.


There are lots of flowers going over but there are also signs of the late summer crew beginning to set flower so hopefully next week the colours will be brighter and more exciting.

For more Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts visit Carol’s blog May Dreams Gardens

21 Comments Add yours

  1. zora read says:

    Your dahlias are far ahead of mine, the buds are nowhere near breaking point yet. I really like your orange dahlia. The Achillea is a nice colour as well, the photo makes it look a sort of rosy pink/orange is that correct in real life. I tend to put most of my plants into pots because it gets very dry where I live and I can tell how much water the plants are getting.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Zora
      You are right the Achillea is a sort of rosy pink/orange in real life but it starts of much paler.

  2. I also came back from SF determined to get more ornamentation and hardscape in the garden. The Dahlia/geranium combo sounds great, and your delphiniums are certainly looking good. I would send you some of our rain if I knew how.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jason
      I would love some of your rain – the ideal would be for it to rain at night and be dry by day

  3. The rain stopped for about a week, but the heat remains. I love your flowers and especially the delphiniums. With all the rain my dahlias still are barely growing…just not a good area for these flowers.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Donna
      I think all the rain we had last year was why my dahlias struggled. They seem to be thriving in the heatwave unlike me

  4. Ricki Grady says:

    I like the way you present your thinking about what works, what doesn;t and the changes you will make. Looking forward to seeing that shed with its new paint job.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Ricki
      I dont think the shed will be painted for a few weeks yet as it is just too hot

  5. Yvonne Ryan says:

    How pretty – a very different summer for you than last year!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Yvonne
      Yes very different, now wishing for rain.

  6. Diana Studer says:

    Bitter chocolate with coral highlights, yes that sounds delectable. Good enough to eat!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Diana
      Oh yes just like a chocolate orange that does sound good

  7. Lyn says:

    Helen, I thought that picture at the top was a huge bunch of flowers you picked, until I read your comment about it! That’s a beautiful combination to have in your garden. I’ve just discovered Anthemis and the one I’m growing did wonderfully well last summer, so I’d like to get more. Yours is a really nice one.

  8. Annette says:

    Love the rose and the daisies – very dry here, too, and I’m hoping for a good soaking very soon as we’ve done a lot of planting this year and things aren’t established yet. Good to have new projects – I’m looking forward to your rock garden 🙂

  9. Pauline says:

    Your dahlias are way ahead of mine, but hopefully some buds will open soon. My plants and I are wilting in all this heat, if only we could have a bit of rain at night! I like having new projects to do, will look forward to hearing about your alpine bed.

  10. Nell Jean says:

    I’m sorry for the dry weather across the pond. Your dahlias and delphinium are lovely despite the drought.

  11. commonweeder says:

    I really like the idea of being inspired by garden flowers, and taking them into account when painting a shed. This weather is frustrating. First, a lot of rain, and then dry.

  12. Thanks, Helen, your talk of watering reminded me to jump up and turn off my soaker hose. We’re having a bit of a heatwave here in Toronto – more of that San Francisco weather, only humid. Your garden looks pretty, despite what you say. We gardeners tend to be hypercritical of our own gardens, don’t we?

  13. Dee says:

    It all looks good to me girlie. I had to smile at your comment about watering. Here, we don’t know what life is if we aren’t watering. Oh, wait, we aren’t this week. That’s unusual in my part of the world. Yours, I guess, not so much. I liked reading what you were thinking after the Fling. I’m thinking lots more color. ~~Dee

  14. Scott Weber says:

    I so wish I could grow Delphiniums…but I just dread having to stake things (although it doesn’t stop me from trying)!

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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