At last we have had rain. Good steady persistent rain through the night resulting in 16.6mm of rain, although when you convert that is only just over half an inch. However, it’s a start and the garden feels and looks fresh as a result.
Whilst I have been doing an hour or so in the evening most of this has been potting up and tidying pots of alpines on the patio so not much to report really, there has also been a lot of research going on into plunge beds etc. Saturday was spent at my favourite garden club, the Hardy Plant Society’s Western Counties group. I think this group is incredibly unusual as it attracts serious plant growers and gardeners from a wide area. The main attraction is the morning discussion, usually hosted by Bob Brown of Cotswold Garden Flowers, which is completely fascinating. People bring in plants that look good at the moment and this stimulates the conversation which can be varied, wide-ranging and often very funny. This month’s afternoon speaker was Fergus Garrett, from Great Dixter, and anyone who has read this blog for a while will know I am a huge Christopher Lloyd and Fergus fan so I was in my element. As ever having listened to Fergus talk for an hour and half I came away inspired, excited but also deeply aware of how small my plant knowledge it, but then for me that is what it is all about – learning. And of course there were plants for sale mainly members own and as good a selection as you will see at any plant fair – I came away with Pelargonium Artic Star, Oxalis triangularis and Clematis bonstedtii, oh and Christopher Lloyd’s book on foliage.
Sunday, the plants were hanging under the weight of the rain but at least weeds could be pulled from the ground. Generally most of the plants looked a lot happier and I am hoping that the Prunus incisa ‘kojo-no-mai’ which has lost quite a lot of leaves already will rally. With my head still full of images of Dixter and ideas from Fergus’s talk I spent time considering the garden until I was completely confused! So instead I decided that pruning was the answer, a therapeutic past-time which I find good for clearing thoughts. I started with the Deutzia at the top of the patio steps which is glorious every May/June but really is too big for its space so needs regular pruning. Moving quickly on to the Ceanothus and my secateurs started to get a little snip happy.
This shrub has been growing against the fence more or less since we moved in nine years go, it is meant to be an autumn flowering one. I have to admit that it does flower but you have to look for the flowers and compared to one I had in a previous garden we could be talking about two completely different genera. It was hit hard two years ago when we had the very cold winter but rallied and every year it puts on nice new growth but few flowers. The border along the fence is narrow and cannot be widen due to the path and steps and the Ceanothus fills the gap but doesn’t really contribute any thing good. I also had to cut it back hard as the electrician will shortly be running electric cable along this area for my son’s workshop and well ….Sir Roy’s voice could be heard in my head (worrying I know) saying if the plant doesn’t perform get rid of it – so I did. It has gone, it is no more!
It’s amazing how much lighter this area already feels and although the plant never overhung the path it feels more spacious. I am pondering on its replacement. I am not desperate to hide the fence since I noticed in the States that there isn’t such a move to hide fences many of them are decorated in some way and this is something I might explore. I have a Cistus I was given which might work here but then I also have a fig in a pot which either needs drastic pruning to make it suitable for growing in the pot or it needs training against fence. So I shall be hitting the books again to research growing conditions and training of figs – there’s always something to learn in gardening