End of Month View: August 2013

Deschampsia in front garden

Deschampsia in front garden

Oops I’m a bit late with my own meme – sorry lost a day somewhere.

Anyway here we are at the end of August and it has been so dry.  Everyone keeps saying its been a good gardening summer but I’m not so sure.  My garden has struggled with the lack of rain and some of my established shrubs are showing signs of distress.  I think  we might not see the results of the lack of moisture until next year, I know this makes me sound a little pessimistic but generally most of our gardens aren’t designed to have so little rain.

2013_08310004The front ‘lawn’ is looking nice and green but that is because it is mainly clover and not grass!!  I am not at all convinced by the line of Deschampsia at the end of the lawn.  As I think I said last month in my mind they would be much shorter.  I am sure they came from the same batch of seedlings as some I have in the woodland border which are indeed much shorter and I wonder if the tall growth is due to the brighter conditions.  I think the line is too much like a screen or even a long full stop.  I am more or less convinced that I should redistribute the plants in this area but in more of a drift around the shrubs and then extend the edging of Alchemilla mollis that runs along the sides of the lawn across the bottom.

2013_08310006I have tidied and cut back along the right hand side of the lawn in front of the beech hedge and I have decided to let the Alchemilla mollis spread and fill this border as the acid yellow flowers look great with the young beech leaves.  I am going to try some Fritillaria meleagris here too since someone I knows says they do well for her in a similar location and there seems to be general dissension as to whether they need a lot of moisture or not so we shall see.  It does get very damp here in the  spring so they have a chance.


The driveway border isn’t at its best.  It looked great earlier in the year with the Echium but now it’s looking a little patchy and to be frank dull.  I have some gaps to fill and I need to relocate some bearded iris elsewhere in the garden so these will go  in here as the other iris already in the border is thriving.  I was then thinking of adding some perennial wallflowers, Erysimum, since the foliage colour will work with the iris and they flower for ages.  I don’t think  I will be bothering with the annual Rudbeckia here next year.

So that’s the front garden at the end of August.  I can’t say that I enjoy being in the front garden any more than I used to; I did hope that doing a monthly meme on it would encourage me but it hasn’t.  I am coming to the conclusion that this is a space I will never really want to spend time in so it has to be able to look after its self a lot of the time and look fab.  So if that is the case I think I need to be considering foliage more than flowers.

Anyone is welcome to join in this monthly meme.  You can use it however you want – focus on one area, go for a tour, whatever works for you.  Personally, I find the discipline of considering a specific part of the garden on a monthly basis for a year makes me look at it more analytically and this has helped me improve other areas of the garden.  If you do  decide to join in please leave a link to your post in the comment box before so we can come and have a nose at your garden.

17 Comments on “End of Month View: August 2013

  1. I have the same concerns you do about the lack of rain for the garden. I also believe this stress will not really be seen until spring. I know the result of this is that I have become lot more conservative in that additions to the garden are more drought tolerant.

  2. Hi Helen,
    Your front garden looks lovely to me, but they are always challenging spaces and it’s not always easy to relax.
    I started to develop a sloping site just over a year ago and there is still a very long way to go. It’s a great idea to stop and review progress at the end of each month and I’d love to join in if you’ll have me!

  3. It has been interesting to see your front garden through the growing season, Helen. I agree with you that the Deschampsias don’t look quite right where they are. Sometimes there’s no way to tell how something will look other than to plant it and see. Now you know, you’ll be able to move them around until you’re happy. If you don’t enjoy spending time in the front garden, then foliage plants might be the best way to go. Thanks for hosting this meme, it’s a great way to follow our gardens through the year.
    Here’s my link:

  4. You may not be as pleased with your garden as you would like to be, but I think it looks fine! No matter how we try to care for our plants, we are all at the mercy of the weather. I am ready now to plant some cool weather vegetables – lettuce, etc. – but we are getting our hottest weather of the Summer! Should be cooler next week.
    Here is my End of the Month View
    Lea’s menagerie

  5. I think your front garden is charming. I wonder, though, if you are trying too hard to make it interesting 12 months of the year. All foliage is not a bad idea, but maybe there is just enough space for a spectacular spring display also.

    I would appreciate your help with my View at http://marianstclair.wordpress.com

    • Hi Marian
      Just found your comment in spam! You could be right that I am trying to make it look good all year round and its too hard. I suppose that as its a space that is at the front of the house I dont want to be ashamed of it. I think more shrubs might be the answer possibly!

  6. It’s interesting to hear how a ‘dry’summer effects different areas differently. Your green lawn, even if it’s clover, contrasts sharply with my crispy tan lawn (also heavy on the clover!)… We could use some rain too.
    Have you ever considered a non-plant focal point for the end of your lawn? A small sculpture, potted plant, rock, even an empty pottery might draw you in a bit. A cluster of potted plants would at least force you out there for watering every once in a while!

  7. Hi Helen – I was shocked on Friday when I realised the date was 30th August and almost the end of the month as I have had no idea of the date recently too (lots of birthdays in Sept though so i need to keep on top of it now!). You are in the middle of your holiday at home so it’s good that are not thinking about the date! As you say, it will be interesting to see what effect this year’s weather will have on things NEXT year – as I avoid watering except for the greenhouse, pots and newly planted stuff I am aware that there are plants that may have suffered. This review is so useful to monitor our own progress and satisfaction as well as eliciting all sorts of helpful suggestions, so thanks for hosting. Mine is at http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/end-of-month-view-full-circle/

  8. I agree with you, that I don’t think it has been a good gardening year, mainly because, as you say, our gardens are planted thinking we will have lots of rain. Compared to last year, the garden this year is wilting and brown in places, not a happy sight. I went through a phase of planting grasses but decided in the end that they didn’t suit this garden in every border. Planting borders is an evolving process, I have found it easier if I have a theme for each border and stick to it, since I’ve done that, then the planting looks a lot better.
    My link is:

  9. Oh what a dry month or two we’ve had now Helen even in the usual damp north west. There will certainly be some plants that are stressed but the consequences will not be seen until next year. I’m trying to remember what happened after the even hotter drier summer of 1976 but did not have a garden then 🙂 What it seems to have done though this summer is to shorten the flowering period of many perennials which is a shame. It’s great to see plants like your sedums making a welcome splash of colour now. I think that if you have come to the conclusion that you will never be comfortable in that area of the garden then foliage is definitely the way to go. Will reduce the time you have to spend out there. Does that front driveway border get much sun?

    My EOMV view is up now at : http://www.greentapestry.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/end-of-month-view-august-2013.html

  10. Dear Helen
    Just a thought…how about planting Stipa Tenuissima at the end of the garden in a drift? In the breeze, they do waft beautifully and they don’t get quite so tall as the Deschampsia.
    Best wishes

  11. We are very dry here in York. The east coast has low average rainfall. My none gardening friends cannot understand why I get very excited when it rains. It’s my garden Open day on Sunday and could do with some heavy rain to freshen things up

  12. I’m kind of with you re lack of rain – although it’s been a good year to be in the garden not such a good year for plants that are used to a bit more that we’ve had. Although many of my moisture lovers seem to be coping, I suspect that they really are crying out for rain.
    I feel as if I’m not experienced enough to make any sort of practical comment re your grass at the front of your border but I think that you might be right and might benefit from not being in the front like that.
    Re the Fritillaria – I grow it in all conditions and it does fine either in drier or moist soil. Shadier spots they flower later and last a bit longer.

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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