I can never decide if I like Papaver ‘Patty’s Plum’ or not. The colour of the flower when it first opens is lovely and I can’t resist the tissue like petals but it does fade to a rather miserable brown as it dies. Having said this my two plants of ‘Patty’s Plum’ are groaning with buds and I am anticipating the best ever show in the next week. There are two because being an oriental poppy when you attempt to move it you can more or less guarantee it will reshoot in the original position from some small element of root you have left behind. Interestingly, the red oriental poppy (name unknown) is always behind with its flowers and there are few obvious buds so far
Some of my alliums are behaving a little strangely this year by growing very tall with smaller flower heads than usual. It seems to be mainly the alliums with flatter flower heads than the globe flower heads such as ‘Purple Sensation’ although they too seem to have smaller flower heads. I can’t find the name of the variety above, its like Allium nigrum but has the pink inner petals so I am pretty sure it isn’t Allium nigrum.
I think this Thalictrum might be the ‘Black Stockings’ admired elsewhere. I am pretty sure these were grown from seeds some years back. It is a nice Thalictrum as it isn’t too tall like some Thalictrums.
The Siberian Irises are also not flowering as much as in previous years and I suspect that they and the alliums have been affected by the drought last year. I do love irises and this has been brought home to me over the last few weeks with all the irises I have included in my Six on Saturday posts. With this in mind I’m off today to a Beardless Iris study day which hopefully will be interesting.
I thought I would show you some of my more extreme pruning. The above is a Viburnum which had been neglected and grown tall and leggy with whippy stems – a victim of my lack of gardening over the last couple of years. A couple of weeks ago I noticed the flowers had gone over so I got my secateurs out and drastically pruned the shrub. It looked awful at the time but I was pleased to see that new leaves have started to appear so hopefully it will be reinvigorated soon.
I also meant to write a blog post last week about my tin bath pond but work got in the way so I am sharing a photo here. I have had the tin bath for a number of years. It was acquired with the intention of creating a pond; it sat on the patio for a year or two but for reasons I can’t remember now didn’t seem to work well so we (well my son) drilled some holes and I used it as a planter for a few more years. Then about 3 years ago I wanted to grow a miniature water-lily, as you do, so we (my son) filled the holes back in and we created another pond. The lily has grown well over the last couple of years but a water lily on its own is not that interesting so last weekend I stopped at a garden centre which sells pond plants and bought a few bits and pieces to add interest. I’m hoping it will be more colourful as the summer progresses.
I’ve started re-engaging with blogs again and I came across a meme hosted by The Propagator; called Six for Saturday. The premise is simply just to post six photos relating to your garden in some way on a Saturday and link back to The Propagator. One of the reasons I didn’t blog much last year was because I was finding it difficult to find anything new to say; I think I was just burnt out. However, with a new year I am feeling much more engaged with the garden and starting to blog more and I think this will be a useful prompt. So here goes with my first Six for Saturday post.
1. Hellebores are a real feature in my garden in January/February. I have added a few each year, mainly from Ashwoods. The dark purple hellebore is one of the first ones I bought and it grows along the top of the wall where I can see it from the living room window. Being on top of the wall means the drooping flowerheads are at just the right level for me to see inside the flower and take a photograph. Unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten about this in recent years which means that the newer hellebores are harder to photograph unless I lie down on the ground to see up into the flowers.
2 – Snowdrops are as prolific in the garden as hellebores. I started with some ordinary Galanthus nivalis probably about 10 years ago and they have slowly spread around the garden. Through my encounters with various plants people and groups I have found myself drawn into the irrational world of collecting snowdrops. I probably have nearly 20 special named snowdrops in the garden now. Sadly, the labels have disappeared, probably thanks to the local bird population. I am determined to draw up a plan with those I can name marked on and replace the labels.
3 – Iris – I have a weakness for all sort of Iris. Iris reticulata have always challenged me. I can get them to flower in pots in the first year and sometimes a second year. But I seem incapable of getting them to grow in the border, aside from this one tiny group of Iris reticulata ‘Pauline’ which has appeared for the last couple of years and are very slowly bulking up. Any tips would be appreciated.
4. Sunshine – after days of grey wintery skies it was a delight to see the sun today
5 Snow – but despite the sun in some parts of the garden the snow has remained since Friday which I suppose just shows the garden still has some shade despite my neighbours both clearing the trees and shrubs along their fence lines.
It’s funny how things turn out. I set out this weekend with the aim of spreading the four bags of wood chips that have been sitting in the garden for the last two months. Whilst, this was actually quite quick to do with the smaller border in the front garden getting a thick mulch and the bottom path getting a top-dressing, I found myself drifting into doing more. I think this is the first weekend for some months when my gardening hasn’t been all about completing time sensitive tasks but more about just being outside in the fresh air.Instead of tidying around the house and lower garden, as has been mine habit for some time, I decided to tackle one of the more neglected parts of the garden – the old bog garden which is now a woodland border and in need of a good tidy up. The planting here is predominately ferns including a beautiful Regal Fern (Osmunda regalis) just going over, a host of Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis) which fill much of the border when in leaf and a self-sown Harts tongue Fern (Asplenium scolopendrium). They have been doing so well I have decided to make ferns the real focus of this border and so out came a scruffy Lysimachia which is showing potential to take over the border. I have replaced it with a large Japanese Fern Holly (Cyrtomium falcatum) which has been sitting in a pot all summer waiting for a new home. It’s funny that I have been wondering where to place the fern for most of the year and its new position is just so right that I’m surprised it wasn’ t obvious to me sooner.
What you can’t really see is that the border is full of snowdrops just pushing their way through the soil, much earlier than I would have expected. They are more advanced that Galanthus ‘Ding Dong’ which is normally one of the first to flower at Christmas, as the name suggests.
It isn’t only the snowdrops that seem to be ahead of the game. I also discovered this hellebore full of flower bud; and the camellia also has plump buds when it isn’t due to flower until next Spring. I guess the plants are a little confused by the cold snap we had followed by mild weather. It will be interesting to see how it plays out this Winter and Spring.
All in all I found myself pottering away outside for around four hours over the weekend. I feel like I have almost found my old myself and my enthusiasm for the garden is sneaking back. Plants and plans are beginning to creep back into my late night musings which makes a nice change to stressing about work issues. I suspect I should have pushed myself outside more some time ago.
But for now I am in need of another batch of wood chip to top dress the border and top path.
I seem to have started each EOMV post this year with commenting on how little gardening I have done for many reasons. I have decided to stop apologising, it is what it is and actually on reflection the garden doesn’t look too bad for the end of November.
I’m not a gardener who feels a need to put the garden to sleep for the winter. I’ve never really understood that approach unless of course you live somewhere where your garden is covered in snow for months on end. For me, having something that needs doing in the garden throughout the year is a good motivation to get outside even on the coldest day even if its only for a short period of time.
The front garden, which I have forgotten to photograph this month, has had most of the attention over the last few months. Due to the new driveway I have had to replant the narrow borders outside the front door partly with plants I had lifted to protect them from the contractors but also to add two new lavenders either side of the door. It all looks so much smarter now. I have also tidied up the smaller of the big borders and filled it with a mix of tulips so I’m hoping there will be lots of colour in late spring.
Now I need to start thinking about tidying up bit by bit in the back garden. There has been some pruning and leaf collecting happening but there is still lots to do if I get time. I don’t get stressed about having it all perfect now as no one tidies these things up in nature and it all works just fine. I do want to move the various pots of seedlings dotted around the garden to nearer the house to protect them and I seriously need to use the four bags of bark chip that have been sitting in the garden for two months now – which is a little embarrassing.
I also would like to finally finish removing the very top path that I started back in the spring and I plan to use some of the large pile of Malvern stone we have to build a low edging/retaining wall along the edge of the border in the above photo. The border slopes quite a lot and is always dry. I have quite a few alpines in pots around the place so I plan to use the stone to level off the border and provide lots of gravel drainage for the plants. I probably haven’t explained that well but its very clear in my head what I want to do here which is progress as I have been thinking about it for years.
As you can see the garden gets shabbier as you get further from the house which probably reflects that with limited time over the past months I have focussed on those areas I can see better from the house but I am now determined to change this and sort it out once and for all so I don’t feel I have to apologise all the time.
So there’s my garden, warts and all, at the end of a soggy November. Its great when people join in as its one of the few times that bloggers actually show their gardens rather than nice plants and I find that more interesting. If you would like to join in then all I ask is that you link to this post and leave a comment with a link to your post in the comments box below.
Another month has passed and for me, as a gardener, it has been a bit of a non-event but for the garden with the changing seasons nothing stays still. Gardening time is now limited to weekends due to the nights moving in and over the last few weeks there has been strong winds, rain, and family events so the garden is looking rather shabby – but I did plant up some pots of bulbs and violas this weekend (above).
The field maple, to the right of the path, is always the first to lose its leaves but I always find it interesting at this time of year to see just how much ever green foliage I have in the garden. I do like foliage and will always choose a plant with good foliage over one with good flowers as flowers are so fleeting.
Not the best photo but the best I could do between the rain and the low sun at the weekend. Whilst the colour in the photo is washed out with the sunlight this does give a truer impression of the Big Border which is frequently backlit by the sun. The border is benefiting from Symphyotrichum lateriflorum ‘Lady in Black’ and Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’. I love this salvia and thought I might have lost it over last winter. It’s too big to lift now so I risk leaving it in the ground with a thick mulch over it. I normally take a couple of back up cuttings but these failed this year due to gardener lack of engagement. The salvia was slow to reappear but it has caught up and is looking stunning.
As you can see the I have a lot of tidying up to do and the grass needs cutting but I have managed to get the majority of the bulbs planted, just the tulips to go in, and I have pruned out some of the willow branches and reduced the large fatsia at the back of the garden.
And I will leave you with a shot of the front garden. I have done some tidying up here as this week the driveway is being replaced so I have had to remove a couple of old lavenders from outside the front door. I’m pleased with the space created which will give me a new planting opportunity and I think I will extend the hardy succulent planting that I have here but never show as it’s still quite young.
As ever everyone is welcome to join in with this monthly meme. You can use it as you wish all I ask is that you link to this post in your post and leave a link to your post in the comments box below – simple!
Sometimes the smallest thing can transform your day. Receiving an email from Lawnstarter this morning telling me that I had received a golden trowel award and was in their list of top 70 garden blogs was great but what really made my day was how they described my blog:
“The Patient Gardener is a love letter to gardeners”
I love that, it actually made me a little emotional. I have always treated my blog as a personal log, after all thats where the term blog comes from weblog. I write as I talk and edit spareingly. I think that gives my writing a real voice. I suppose my writing style is very influenced by having studying Virgina Wolf and loving her ‘stream of consciousness’ style.
Lawnstarter judge their blogs on five criteria:
Quality and consistency of writing
New gardening topic or approaches
Memorable voice or personality
Presence on google and social media outlets.
Interestingly, I don’t recognise many of the blogs – it just shows I haven’t been as engaged as maybe I should – but its great to see blogging friends Dee, Helen and Sarah,Jean, Gerhard and Pam in the mix.
I’m even more pleased as whilst I have blogged more than last year, I am nowhere near as proflic as I used to be, but this might just give me the impetus to write a little more – its nice to be appreciated.
I do enjoy this time of year as much as I enjoy Spring. I enjoy tidying up in the garden, because of the sense of achievement you get, and then there is the bulb planting with promise of Spring.
I realised this afternoon in the garden that I have actually managed to do quite a bit over the past month, although to the outside observer this probably isn’t that obvious. I’ve added three Stipa tenuissima to the corner of the Big Border where all the bulbs live. This is an area I worked on earlier in the year and replanted. There is a lot of gravel in this area to help the bulbs survive the winter but there was a lack of height and substance so I am hoping that the Stipa will bring this and provide a foil for my bulb collection.
You can just see the Tithonia’s in the corner of this picture which have been a triumph this year. I love the vibrancy of the orange which acts as a good contrast to the asters.
Even the bottom corner of Hugh’s border (Hugh is the owl) hasn’t been too bad this year and this one of those bits of the garden which really challenges me as the ground dries out to much here. I am slowly changing the planting to take advantage of this.
The top of the slope is one of the areas of the garden I keep coming back to when I have a spare moment. Earlier in the year we removed the very top path, which was never used and was just a home for weeds. This has given me more space and I have been using it to spread the plants out. Over the last few weeks a couple of large ferns have been relocated and the Bottlebrush shrub has been given more room.
So thats my garden at the end of September. To finish off I thought I would show you the front garden which I rarely feature on the blog, I know not why, but its just coming into its own with late summer perennials
The meme is open to anyone to join in with and you can use it how you wish – we would all love to see your garden, warts and all. All I ask is that you post a link to your post in the comments box and a link to this post in your post, that gives us a chance to find each other.
The Tithonia are the stars of the Big Border at the moment. I am really pleased with them having grown them from seed. They were planting out just before the heat wave and then just sat there until the heatwave broke. They have quickly put on growth and are now flowering their socks off. I may just grow them again next year.
I’m also really pleased with the Knipofia ‘Popsicle’ which were added this year. They are now on their second batch of flowers which is a real bonus and not a feature of my other Knipofia.
I am also incredibly thrilled with this Nerine. I don’t know its name but the colour is so vibrant and fabulous.
The Japanese Anemones are as reliable as ever and provide a nice elegant backdrop to the rest of the plants.
But it’s not all fabulous, the Kirengeshoma palmata have suffered this year. The leaves have crispy edges and the flowers have been very slow in opening and appear washed out compared to previous year.
I do like this aster but for the life of me I can’t remember its name or even buying it. If anyone can identify it I would be grateful.
Coming back to the orange theme the Grevillea victoriae has just started to flower which is good news as it shows the shrub is doing well. It has started to really shot now and the flowers are finally higher up the plant than previously when they seemed to be hugging the ground.
Thalictrum delavayi was a surprise to find at the back of the woodland border, it seems very late to me but I’m not complaining.
And to end I thought I would include a few more bulbs as I do love bulbs. So here are two Tulbaghia; the one above is Tulbaghia violacea ‘Alba’ and the one below is an unknown Tulbaghia bought from a plant sale a while ago.
I hope you enjoyed my floral highlights for September. If you are Glen over at Drillgardens.com I hope you don’t decide to steal this post like you did last months – we shall see.
thanks as ever to Carol at May Dreams for hosting this lovely meme.