My Garden this Weekend – 20th October 2013

Viola Sorbet XP Raspberry
Viola Sorbet XP Raspberry

I have to say that I am surprised at how much I have done in the garden this weekend considering the forecast was dire with heavy rain forecast for both Saturday and Sunday, including thunder storms.  Saturday started bright and mild although soggy underfoot due to the torrential rain overnight.  I havent been sleeping that well this week, due to too much happening at work, so my mind has been wandering and much mental replanting has been going on.  One of the plans hatched in the early hours was to sort out the border at the far end of the front garden which has been bugging me all year.

2013_10200016logoIt’s the Deschampsia which has irritated me.  I think I choose the wrong grass for the effect I had in my mind but they were what I had available and it reminded me that I really need to remember to research things properly.  They just look so messy and they have been like that for months.  2013_10200017logoI initially thought I would redistribute them weaving them amongst the other plants, so I cut the flower stems down and instantly realised that getting rid of them all together was the real answer, so they went.  I worked through the whole border reducing the perennial planting to just Phlomis russeliana, Francoa and Alchemilla mollis.  Removing the Deschampsia has allowed the two red salvias to shine out from the border.

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I also added Perovskia atriplicifolia, Russian sage.  I have been admiring a similar combination of Russian sage and red flowered salvia on the way home from work for the last month so decided to try to replicate it.  I also added a Libertia which has been lurking on the patio for about two years in desperate need for a home. So that was Saturday – 4 hours work and a quick trip to the dump to get rid of all the grasses and also the perennial weeds.  Well timed as the heavens opened as I left the dump.

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Sunday has also seen rain but in short bursts with long periods of sunshine in between.  However, due to the amount of rain we have had over the past week and the incredibly heavy downpour last night it really wasnt practicable to work in the main garden.  Saying that I still managed to dig up the Witch Hazel which has been died all year.  I only bought it in January but for some reason it turned up its toes very quickly and the fact that it snapped when I went to dig it dispelled any thought that it might still be alive.  I had decided, more mid night pondering, to move a Magnolia stellata which was being crowded out and also competing with my neighbours trees.  Hopefully in its new location it will be happier.

I also had a quick trip to my local plant centre which is just wonderful.  I went to buy some cyclamen to replace the fibrous rooted begonias in the large square planter on the patio.  I got the cyclamen but also some more terracotta pots for the bulbs and three conifers.  Yes I know conifers are meant to be out of fashion and I have never been a fan but I have been thinking that some prostrate conifers in the fence border was the right thing so I bought them.  I will post about them in the future once they are planted up.

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. Martin says:

    Deschampsia always looks really impressive when I see it in the wild where it often gives a fantastic golden haze, but there its messy character doesn’t really matter. I think it needs a few years to grow big before it performs well in the garden and even then needs a big block of it on the right sort of soil to look something. It’s a shame really because it looked like you were trying to create a line of haze through which the other plants would be glimpsed…which is a great concept definitely worth persuing.

    It fizzled out after a few years the time my mum grew it and it was swapped for Stipa gigantea which has done much better, but it’s a different effect entirely.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Martin
      You are right that was the effect I was after and descampsia was taller than I anticipated. I have a row of Calmagrostis in the back garden which it working well but is half way up a slope

  2. Theresa says:

    Beautiful! Seeing your flowers just brightened my day! 🙂

  3. Cathy says:

    Although magnolia has a reputation for not liking to be moved ours has been in two locations in the Golfer’s mother’s garden before it came to us and three since then – and it has thrived ever since. I hope you crack your sleeping difficulties – do try some meditation techniques to help you.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      hi Cathy
      it’s interesting how many plants are meant to not like being moved, but of course it’s OK for us to buy them to plant!!

    2. Cathy says:

      Good point, Helen 😉

  4. Yvonne Ryan says:

    In our mountains we have amazing grass tussock and people try planting in low warm conditions and wonder why it’s no good there! I always tell people what is their natural habitat! Will tidy around pool today as the first visitors to the B&B coming Wed – I am trying to talk myself into having a swim but may have to wait for Rex to put solar heating on and have one next week.

  5. Pauline says:

    You were lucky to manage all that work without being rained off as we were, torrential rain for most of the weekend so not much was done at all. Your pot of cyclamen and hanging violas look very pretty, something nice to greet you as you go in and out.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks Pauline
      I have three baskets of violas and a window box but I cant for the life of me photograph the window box so it shows it off to its best. We were very lucky with the weather which didnt match the forecast but it has been torrential today.

  6. A definite improvement, the grass screen was a lovely idea but deschampsia often seemto wind up just looking messy. Love the cyclamen in that pot, very classy.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Janet
      I’m glad you approve, I am much much happier with it. I think I just have too tidy a mind for the wild look!

  7. The reasons you have given for the Deschampia removal is how I always end up feeling about most of the grasses I’ve tried! They always look great pictures but never in my garden and I can never put my finger on why?
    Despite the weather you got some things done, that’s always good! I hope it dries up for you a wee bit.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Angie
      My enthusiasm for grasses is waning, I still have a few specimen and a row of Calmagrostis which is good but its a very upright grass so not messy

  8. Segar Rogers says:

    Am thinking about your Deschampsia … maybe Molinia would be better; they’re a bit more ‘disciplined’ … or just tidier! Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea ‘Transparent’ is an obvious choice but there are others of course.

  9. bittster says:

    Your front border looks so nice now, I don’t think I’ve ever noticed the birch tree coming along so well. Will the gray of the perovskia stems look all right in front of the white trunks?
    The cyclamen are perfect. I don’t think I could have shown the restrain for limiting it to just one color and don’t think it would have been nearly as nice mixed.
    I don’t know how you get it all done. Great job!
    Frank

  10. flutes52 says:

    Lovely violas and cyclamen, Helen. Personally I’ll never give up on grasses. Hope you are sleeping better now. The work things go away – the garden never does!

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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