It continued hot and dry during the week and I and the plants were struggling. However, on Saturday the temperature dropped to around 24C and we had good cloud cover and a steady breeze which made life much happier. Its amazing the difference a slightly lower temperature can make to your enthusiasm for gardening. I weeded the border opposite the Big Border which hasn’t been given a name. Despite being on the edge of the bog garden even last year when we had a lot of rain it wasn’t particularly wet and this year it really is dry. However, I was pleased to discover that the phlox and monardas I planted late last year were doing well. I had seen a lovely border of phlox and monardas at Stone House Cottage and wanted to create something similar. This is a start and I need to add to it.
There is a growing orange hue in the Big Border from the Emilia javanica (Irish Poet) plants. They are half hardy annuals which I bought seed of from Sarah Raven late one night – I must stop this late night seed shopping as it really is distracting me from my main interests. Saying that the Emilia is rather pretty and is adding colour low down amongst the dahlias.
The dahlias in the Big Border have started to flower and they couldn’t be more different to last year, so many flowers and lush growth. I am really pleased. However, if I was to show you a photograph of the far side of the Big Border, where the original cottage garden border was, you would see a different view altogether. Here I have cut back all the Delphinium and other early flowering perennials and it has left the border looking very bare with large spaces revealed. In the autumn I need to rearrange the plants across the whole of the new border to create a better effect. In the meantime I am hoping that the rain we have forecast will come and moisten the soil and then I can plant some more annuals that I have been holding back.
I had forgotten that I had grown some Mina lobata from seed and planted them against the obelisk so it was a lovely surprise to spot these brightly coloured flowers although they don’t really complement the pink rose also growing there!
Today, Sunday, I woke to discover it had rained overnight. The air was fresh and clean and although there hadn’t been enough rain to soak the soil the plants looked a little happier. The rain had brought the Nigella hispanica ‘African Bride'(top photo) into flower. I bought these from Chilterns, suckered in by the photograph on the seed catalogue and I am pleased that they have lived up to my expectations. I have decided, almost, not to grow any annuals next year as I want to focus on other plants and they take up too much time and space before they are planted out. However, I think I will let some of the annuals set seed and seed themselves around.
The hot weather has meant that I have been doing a lot of reading rather than gardening and I have been researching alpine houses, plunge beds, bulb frames etc which has to be honest left me a little confused but I think I have a plan now for next year. I did spend some time sorting out the greenhouse and tied up the cucumber plants which had got a little out of hand over the last week. I also spent a happy hour pricking out various South African seedlings which are now the only things, apart from the cucumbers, in the greenhouse.
I may not have done much gardening this week but I am getting a clearer idea of what I want to do in the garden in the next year and also more importantly the direction I want to go in which is quite exciting.