What a wonderful weekend it has been. Saturday was bright and sunny and warm enough for gardening in a T-shirt and for sitting and contemplating with a cuppa. Luckily I bothered to check the weather forecast for a change and focussed all my energies on outside gardening jobs leaving Sunday for seed sowing and potting up which can be done under cover.
I have dug out the cane domes and placed them over the new peonies that were planted over the last few weeks. This will help me remember where they are until they put in an appearance and I also think the domes are rather charming. I have added an Euphorbia x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow’ to the border, you can just see it in the top left corner. I had been looking for one having seen it in ‘The Layered Garden’ but having secured one at the local HPS group I started to wonder why I had been attracted to the plant. It is rather a strange combination with yellow streaks on the foliage and pinky new growth – it was christened the ‘ugly plant’. However, when I planted it out I was won over again as it works very well with the pink hellebores so maybe my first instinct was right – I knew where I wanted to plant it before I bought it.
I am pleased with this bit of border now especially when the sun lights up the hellebores. This border is ‘done’ for the time being while I wait to see how the plants fill out and then the plan is to try to add a little late summer colour.
I’m thrilled that the Hepatica noblis are flowering although I have to admit that they were only bought last month – the test will be to see if they reappearing next year. I have bought a couple more and I am planting them over the other side of the garden so hopefully at least one group will establish. However, I also have some hepatica seeds germinating in the cold frame which were sown as fresh seeds last April.
I got myself in a bit of a pickle the other week when I finally got round to doing a soil test and discovered my soil was alkaline, which wasn’t great given I had just bought two small rhododendrons. I have been dithering around about them and decided to plant them up in pots and display them by the shed. Once they have flowered and it gets warmer in this part of the garden I will move them into the shadier part of the garden and make sure they are watered well so they produce buds for next year.
I haven’t been very good at using pots in the garden for some years now. I used to be really good at baskets and summer bedding in pots but I seem to have lost the knack and I do actually prefer the more mono planted pots but with several grouped together. So the plan is to do more of this to create seasonal displays.
Finally I found enough energy to remove an unnamed and unloved shrub growing near the compost bins which has never really done much and had got battered when the tree surgeons were throwing the large willow logs around. It came out fairly easily which was perhaps part of its problem.
I had come up with a scheme for this small area the other week when I was having a tea break – its to the right of the bench. After adding lots of green waste compost I planted white Digitalis, Epimedium perralchicum ‘Wisley’, some lily of the valley, and a Polypodium cambricum ‘Oakleyae’. I also replanted some self-sown Pulmonaria. There is a gap left in the middle of the planting for a Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ which is growing elsewhere but has needed a new home; I just need to wait for it to put in an appearance so I know where it is.
It’s only a small area but it is a start to the style of planting I am trying to adopt with lots of texture and contrast and hopefully not much soil showing once the plants get going. I plan to add some white honesty next year so I will need to remember to show honesty and white digitalis on an annual basis although I may get lucky and they might start to self sow.
Sunday was grey and damp so I used the time to sort out the greenhouse. The pots of bulbs which have finished flowering were moved out to the cold frames – I am regretting, a little, getting the plunge staging (not in the photo) as I haven’t enjoyed the pots of bulbs this winter and I want to plant them out in the garden. I am toying with getting some sort of warming cable system for them to create a propagation unit but I am waiting to see how I get on this season before I invest more funds in something I might change my mind about. There is a sorry tale associated with the empty space but I will share that later in the week when I join in the monthly greenhouse meme.
However, I am happy to say that my seed sowing mojo has returned with gusto and I have sowed quite a few packets today. I found myself really enjoying the process. I had forgotten how much I love that sense of anticipation. I also potted up a dozen aquilegia and dianthus and 3 primrose digitalis; some of them might even be good enough in a few weeks to sell at the local HPS group – wouldn’t that be good.