End of Month View – July 2015

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July has whizzed past in the flash of an eye and here we are at the end and you would be forgiven in thinking that we have gone forward to the end of September it is so cool.  It feels as though the garden has slowed down with flowers lasting longer in bloom and the later flowers taking longer to open.

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I thought I would start this End of Month tour in the woodland area which really focusses on foliage at this time of year apart from the hosta flowers. There is a space where I had to cut the Solomon’s Seal down as it was being stripped by Solomon Sawfly.  I think I will relocate the Solomon’s Seal as it was suffocating the Hosta; this will also allow me to plant something new in the area between the Hosta and the Witch Hazel (just on the left hand edge of the photo and I am wondering about including a smaller and darker leaved hosta or a fern to provide some contrast – I need to sit on the bottom step and consider it more.

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Going back to the bottom path between the Cottage and Big Border this area isn’t doing too bad but it needs to mature and fill out.  I have been adding plants to both border so hopefully now if I sit back and wait they will fill out and have good interest throughout the year.  I do need to add more bulbs to each area.  I want to add some more Alliums to the Cottage Border to give a rhythm through the length of the border and maybe add some daffodils to the Big Border.  It already a significant number of Camassias but I think would benefit from some earlier daffodils.

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The middle path between the Big Border and the Rowan Border (formerly the Bog Garden) and I am really pleased with how this area is beginning to work.  Moving the purple phlox along a foot or too  and adding the Anemanthele lessoniana seems to have connected the two sides of the path.  The Agapanthus and Phlox appear to mirror each other and the grass and leaves of the orange Crocosmia are connecting. There are still pockets where I want to tweak the planting but that was ever so.

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The popular shed shot.  I realise now that I should have removed the Ammi majus before taking this photo as it is flattening the Stipa tenuissima, probably as a result of the rain.  I want this area to have airy planting as it is very good for catching the afternoon sun and I think this would have a nicer feel than dense heavy planting.  I was learning today about transitions between areas of gardens and how you need to have quieter areas between those of sun and shade or bright colours and pastel.  I found myself realising that my planting has begun to have the same feel throughout the garden with the exception of the woodland/shady area.  I think I had got into a mindset that everything had to be ‘look at me!!!’ with lots of interest and all points of the year.  So I am now thinking about what I learnt to day and how this would work in my space. IMG_1943Back to the shady part of the garden and I suppose you could say that this area has a different feel to it and that the seating area by the shed is a sort of transition area.  I am pleased with how the old Bog Garden has filled out, although the Regal Fern seems to be engulfing everything.  I know I want lush and full planting here but not if other plants are going to be swamped.  It maybe that I need to swap the Siberian iris with the plant that is under the fern so that the iris’s foliage can grow up through the fern.  Another thing to ponder over a cuppa in the sun.

So that is my garden at the end of July.  I have just had a look back to last July’s End of Month View post which had some of the same views and I’m glad I did.  I can see from that post how much things have filled out since last year and how my efforts are starting to pay off not just with the appearance but with the health of the plant.  The woodland border looks really parched last year but this it isn’t doing to bad and I think the mulch I put down in Spring when the soil was very damp has helped.

Anyone is welcome to join in with this meme.  All I ask is that you include a link to your post in the comments box below and you link to this post in your post.  That way the circle is completed and we can all find each other and come for a visit.

 

My Garden This Weekend – 26/7/15

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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’!!

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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.

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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!!!!

 

My Garden this Weekend – 12th July 2015

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Thankfully today and over night we have had a good deluge of rain, topping up the water butts.  Sadly, whilst it appears a lot of rain the actual total for the last 24 hours is only 1.6mm which will only really impact on the top inch of the soil but its something I suppose. My love of strong colours is slowly becoming more apparent in the garden, at the moment I am loving the heliotropiums that I have flowering in a pot.  They were planted with vibrant orange calibrachoa but the plants never did well producing one stem at a time whilst the other stems withered.  I wonder if I planted them out too early given the coolness of the spring and early summer.

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I am particularly pleased with the flowers on the Aloe striatula.  This is growing in the front garden under the window by the succulent trough and was a bit of an experiment.  It has come through the winter fine and I think I would like to add more although I know that I might lose them if we have a particularly hard winter.

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The species Petunia exserta have started to flower.  As with many species the flowers are much smaller than the hybrids that we are used to seeing.  I like the purpleness of the buds before the flowers open but I’m not really a fan of petunias so I will see how these do over the summer.  I’ve also planted out lobelia spicata and some agastache to fill the gaps where the early perennials have been cut back so hopefully there will be a second burst of colour.

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I’m also enjoying this flower whose label has disappeared.  Its small plant and I know the seeds were from the Alpine Garden Society but that’s as far as it goes, but it is a lovely colour.

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A new bench has also appeared by the shed.  Hewn by hand from a tree by my eldest during his week on a Ray Mears Woodsman course this week.  Its made from Sweet Chestnut which they felled with axe and hand-made saws. It is extra special to my son as the great man sat on the bench with him the other evening when he dropped into the course.  I asked if he had asked Mr Mears to sign it but my son scoffed at this suggestion, although I suspect he wishes he had thought of this.

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I haven’t shown you the patio border since it was full of snowdrops in early spring.  This time of year is it’s next prime moment of interest with the Kirengshoma being the star of the show.  I am not one to boost but I have to say that to date I haven’t encountered a Kirengshoma better than my specimen, of which I am every proud.  In this combination I like the link between the hosta flowers and the actea behind.  I am hoping that the actea may flower this year.  It has been blind for a few years now and I’m not quite sure why.  In the spring I moved it slightly sideways so it wasn’t competing with Kirengshoma so much and hopefully this will help.

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The other end of the border is beginning to fill out and continues the green/yellow/purple theme.  I don’t think I will plant the two peony plants you can see in the border as they will quickly out grow the space. Whilst I like the bright colours I also really enjoy the textures of foliage and this seems to interest me more and more.

I’m off to visit gardens on the east coast of Ireland tomorrow so who knows what inspiration I will gain over the coming week.

 

 

 

My Garden This Weekend – 5th July 2015

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The garden is slowly moving out of the quiet June phase and the late summer colour is beginning to appear.  I am really pleased with the Calmagrostis x acutiflora ‘Overdam’ and Sanguisorba combination.  I would love to claim that it was planned but I struggled last year with how the plants would work together in the Big Border so this year is a case of waiting and see what works together and what needs tweaking.  There is a Cornus ‘Grace’ adjacent to this pairing and the sanguisorba really picks up on the colour of the foliage; so I think this planting will be staying.

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The Anthemis ‘Sauce Hollandaise’ has started to flower.  I love this plant when the flowers are open but it has an irritating habit of letting its flower petals go limp in the heat so this last week, with the high temperatures we have had, it has looked as though it was dying but as you can see each morning it perks up and looks great.  Hopefully with the rain we have had today it will be a little happier.

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The high temperatures and distinctly low rain levels this year has had a negative impact on some of my plants which need a little moisture.  The Regal Fern (Osmunda regalis) above is a case in point.  It is planted in the former pond, which was meant to be a bog garden but I suspect I was a little over enthusiastic when I was piercing holes in the pond liner as it’s not as boggy as I would hope.  However the fern has been  planted here for a few years now and has had its best year to date with long fronds and lots of growth but now it is looking really singed.  The Prunus kojo-no-mai also has dry and crispy brown leaves on some of the branches but the shrub has been planted for years so I am hoping that it will be OK.

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This Hemerocallis is growing next to the Anthemis and I am pleased that it is picking up on the yellow centres of the daisies.  I’m not a fan of day lilies but this one was looking sad in a nursery sale and I like the smaller delicate flowers than you normally get with day lilies. There are also white phloxes about to flower and this weekend I have added some zinnia seedlings and a couple of Amaranthus ‘Autumn Palette’ grown from seed from Special Plants.  I’m not sure about them as the flower tassels are very orange but we shall see how they bulk up and what they look like with the zinnias.

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Amongst my many plant weaknesses are Alliums.  I do like the large ones like Globemaster but I really like little alliums and have a growing collection.  The one above is Allium caeruleum which I had bought for showing but they now live on the edge of the Big Border where they can benefit from baking in the sun.

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Another favourite, Allium cernuum, which I think has a lovely graceful appearance and I think I might add some more of these, particularly as they don’t suffer with the large leaves like some other alliums.

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Finally, this must be one of the gaudiest roses around.  I inherited it with the house and have developed a peculiar fondness for it.  I would never buy a rose with such flowers but it makes me smile.  It lives next to a Choiysa ‘Sundance’ which has quite luminous chartreuse leaves and seems to compliment the roses – somehow! I like the combination so much that I have planted the Lathyrus rotundifolius that I bought a few weeks ago to grow over the Choiysa.  Who knows it might look amazing next year, we shall have to wait and see.

End of Month View – June 2015

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Well that was June.  It seems as though I blinked and missed it and I suspect July will be the same given my diary.  I posted yesterday about my new found enthusiasm for the garden so I wont repeat myself, suffice to say that the garden is already looking better for my work yesterday.  There is some colour from the foxgloves but not as much as I would wish for in the centre of the garden but I am now working on that.

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The borders around the bottom path are looking more colourful. The roses are blooming, some of them are not as floriferous as I would like so they may be on the hit list if they don’t perform better next year.  The penstemons are starting to flower and are adding much needed colour around the stems of the roses.

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The shed view up the stairs and the border to the left is beginning to fill out.  The poppies and Ammi majus have looked lovely and I am now anticipating the agapanthus and zinnias which will flower in a month or so.

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The other shed view from the bottom path.  The asters have really put a spurt on over the last month and will I hope really colour up the Big Border in a couple of months.  I really like the mass of foliage and plant material here but it will need to be kept an eye on to make sure one plant doesn’t swamp out another but at least you can’t see any weeds which may be lurking in the soil below!

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The main woodland border is really full and the Hosta ‘Sun and Substance’ dominates.  I need to do some thinning around it I think so it looks its best.  I think the Solomons Seal to its left needs a slight relocation so both plants are shown off better but I am pleased with the coverage.  I also think there is scope for a little variety in texture so maybe the addition of a fern might help to the left of the border.

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The newish planted woodland area is beginning to fill out and I think I will add some bulbs through here, maybe some dwarf narcissus and crocus.

So that is the garden at the end of June.  The summer temperatures appear to be about to rise drastically over the next week so I will have to keep an eye on the new plantings.

Any one is welcome to join in the End of Month View and to use it how they wish.  All I ask is that you add a link to this post in yours and a link to your post in the comments box below.

 

My Garden This Weekend – 28/6/2015

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As anticipated my visit to Great Dixter last weekend has really reinvigorated my enthusiasm for the garden.  I have started to look at the borders and considered how they could be improved.  There are some combinations which I am really pleased with which feature on this post but the lessons I learnt at Dixter are starting to help me re-evaluate those areas that I have struggled with for a while.  I have removed the majority of the spent oriental poppies, leaving just a few to add seed to what Fergus Garrett calls the garden’s seed bank. Luckily yesterday when I got home from the monthly HPS meeting I spent a little time staking plants.  I am hopeless at staking, always leaving it to late, but at Dixter I saw what a difference it can make to the border and how inconspicuously you can do it, so out came the canes and string.  I am really glad I did as we had a heavy downpour overnight and I know that plants such as the Ammi majus would have been flattened.

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In the poppies place I have planted out some zinnias which should contrast well with the agapanthus which look like they will have flowers this year, something I am really pleased with.

I have been looking at planting for the front of borders in particular to go in front of the roses which grow in the border along the top of the wall.  Luckily at the garden club there are a number of nurserymen selling plants, as well as the members plant sales so I came home with a hefty haul of delights which strangely seemed to be predominantly pink.  So planted out today were:

Selinum wallichianum
Viola cornuta ‘Clouded Yellow’Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Little Angel’
Geranium ‘Mavis Simpson’
Persicaria bistora ‘Hohe Tatra’
Helicrysum stoechas ‘White Barn’
Dianthus ‘Moulin Rouge’

I also included an Eryginum pandanifolium ‘Physic Purple’ which I bought at Dixter which should add some height to the Big Border.

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I am really enjoying the profusion of flowers on the Geranium palmatum. I think it is my favourite geranium and I need to see about collecting some seeds as they are only just hardy and it would just be my luck to lose the lot if we have a hard winter this year.  I fancy adding some to the front garden behind the Alchemilla mollis as I think the combination of the magenta pink and lime yellow would be electric. This is the best the top border has ever looked and I am finally feeling rather pleased with it.  I want to relocate the Tetrapanex here, between the bamboos, as its leaves are swamping the surrounding planting in its current location just further down the slope.

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As the garden was very wet for most of the morning today I made myself sort through the greenhouse.  I don’t grow edibles any more but my youngest had a brief foray into vegetable growing which essentially meant that he acquired some seeds, sowed them, and then lost interest as his proposed house move hasn’t gone ahead so he no longer has a garden for them.  The result is that I have ended up with some tomato, chilli, pepper, basil, parsley and sage seedlings as well as a rosemary and thyme plant.  I managed to find space in the greenhouse for large pots for 3 tomatoes and then I planted another two in a very large pot along with the rosemary and thyme so hopefully there will be a fragrant productive pot on the patio.

I am pleased with the staging area this summer.  The pelargoniums are flowering this year, after spending last summer producing lots of foliage.  I took some twitter advice from Fibrex nursery and I am religiously watering them every day and feeding them once a week and it is already paying off, well apart from the one on the right hand side which is ignoring my efforts.

 

My Garden This Weekend – 21st June 2015 Solstice Delights

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I’m off today on a short garden visiting odyssey so there won’t be the usual weekly update of things in my garden. Instead here are some pictures of what is looking good in the garden I managed to take yesterday afternoon between rain showers.

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I am thrilled with the impact of the Geranium palmatum at the top of the garden.  It seems to have gone mad this year and you have to battle your way along the top path.  I suspect the amount of growth is because we had such a mild winter the plants didn’t get knocked back.

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So those are my solstice delights.  I will be back later in the week to hopefully share with you some images of the amazing gardens I am visiting down south.