My Garden This Weekend – 26/7/15


I haven’t posted about my garden for  a few weeks due to my travels but despite the rain over the last few days I have managed to spend a few hours outside, weeding and tidying.  It is always amazing how much the weeds grow when you turn your back for a week. In my absence the Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ has flowered; flowers which are welcome in the shady woodland area.  This plant is especially popular with my cat as I have discovered that she likes to sleep under its leaves on a sunny day.


Another surprise was the discovering that the Cautleya spicata robusta is flowering as is the Abutilon ‘Kentish Belle’ behind it.  I did plan this combination so I am pleased that it is working well. The Melianthus major does seem to be swamping the Cautleya and I would have previously thought about moving one of them. However having seen Hester Forde and Carmel Duigan’s gardens in Ireland last week I have realised that I can plant more densely, although of course it will mean more management.


I decided last week that I need to add more grasses to my garden, particularly after visiting The Bay Garden. I have used grasses before but I think now I understand better how they can lift a planting, adding movement, and light.  I have started with adding a Stipa tenuissima to the edge of the Big Border so it softens the edge of the border alongside the steps.  Here it catches the late afternoon light and yesterday looked magical, although today it looks rather sodden.  Also in this border I have added a Chocolate Cosmos whose flowers I am hoping will bob around amongst the Stipa, and a Campanula lactiflora.  The Campanula is only a couple of feet tall as the nursery woman I bought it from had been experimenting with doing the Chelsea Chop on Campanulas to see how they responded.  It seems a good idea as the plant is flowering well and isn’t flopping everywhere or in need of staking.  I will have to remember to do the same thing next year.  I have pulled up most of the spent opium poppies and Ammi majus but I have left one ammi as I would like to collect the seed – hence the messy plant draped across the plants.


I have also added a Anemabthele lessoniana to the corner of the Rowan Border.  I think the bronze tones pick up on the Digitalis ferruginea, and there is a bronzey flowered day lily here which has just finished flowering.  Yesterday I planted out some Oenothera ‘Sunset Boulevard’. The only problem is linking this combination with the purple phlox which I am loath to move as it does well in this position and is the start of a group of phloxes which have taken a while to establish.  However, I would also like to add a Rose ‘Hot Chocolate’ to this space and this may bridge the gap between the two groups.  It is a sumptuous red rose with a touch of bronze in it; I discovered it on the last day of my trip and it is definitely on the ‘get’ list – ‘get’ you note, not ‘want’!!


Aside from rushing around planting plants ahead of the rain I have finally sorted out the path behind the former Bog Garden.  This path is a real problem in the winter and during wet periods at other times of the year.  There seems to be a spring which runs down the slope just by the bench causing the start of the path to be sodden.  The other problem is that this path is important during the winter as I try to avoid the grass path as it is very slippery.  The solution has been to buy some paving slabs which almost look like cut off logs and then I surrounded them with wood chip.  It looks so much neater and is far more practical now.


I leave you with a new acquisition – Gladiolus flanaganii.  I couldn’t resist the flowers and it is meant to be hardy so we shall see; with my grass head on, I think it might look good with some Anemanthele lessoniana.

Oh and this is my 1500th blog post!!!!



14 Comments Add yours

  1. Alison says:

    Your garden is looking wonderful – it will be interesting to see how your travels inform what you do next. Congratulations on your 1500 post 🙂

  2. annincumbria says:

    Congratulations, love you blog

  3. rusty duck says:

    Beware the Anemanthele does get big. Mine is now about a metre high and as much across. It’s a gorgeous grass but it also self seeds. It sounds like you’ve returned really fired up after your trip, brilliant! And many congratulations on the 1500th post.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jessica
      I know that’s fine, I want substance in the border rather than neat blobs!!!

  4. Julieanne says:

    1500 blog posts – congratulations! Those paving stones look quite good surrounded by the woodchips, if you hadn’t of said anything I would have assumed it was wood. A good solution. The garden is looking lush and gorgeous.

  5. Diana Studer says:

    given that Melianthus can be cut down by frost on your side of the world. I’ve learnt to cut down completely the odd stem which is TOO exuberant.

  6. Oh, how lovely! I’m rhrilled that even though we can’t grow like you in Texas, we share some plants, and especially concepts. And congratulations on 1500th post!

  7. Ogee says:

    Happy 1500! Grasses add beautiful structure and texture – and are welcome long after blooms have faded. A wonderful addition.

  8. Yvone Ryan says:

    Your garden always amazes me from bare winter to abundant summer! So different from my abundant all the time tropical except for potted colour and bulbs. Have been trying to have a flowering bank, concrete clay with coffee grounds and grass clippings composting down nicely. Planted lots of pansies, cyclamen, primulas etc. Have to keep putting a rock to stabilise and deter the birds from digging holes under! Lots of yummy bugs! Am trying to encourage birds with out ‘bird bush’ etc but I didn’t give them permission to dig around my flowers! Foggy rain can only see 50metres, had to have wipers on all the way home, can’t imagine planes being able to take off! We don’t get this kind of weather very often. Enjoy your sun! Thanks for your trip around Ireland!

  9. I’ve found heleniums are especially amenable to the Chelsea chop and are much more manageable for being shorter when they flower.

  10. Noelle says:

    Your garden is looking fabulous. The exotic planting by your garden building is sumptuous. I now understand how just picking out some of the wood to paint, and leaving some ‘natural’ really allows the plants to sing. I have several young carex comans bronze form plants in my ‘gravel’ garden and would be happy to send you some, if you are looking for a bronze accent. Just let me know.

  11. Linda says:

    Given how densely planted your garden looks, I will be interested to see the other Irish gardens you’ve visited. It is so enjoyable and informative to read your posts on these garden visits.

  12. Turning your back on a garden seems to be a great way to have it get all excited and go into overdrive!

  13. Congratulations! I love the look of your garden and the melianthus is stunning. The great thing about visiting other gardens is that it gives lots of new inspiration, new ideas and plants to find. Happy shopping!

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