A stunningly beautiful day today; the sun is shining, there is a light breeze and the birds are singing. Well for some of the day but with the sunshine comes the fair weather gardeners and the peace is shattered by the sound of lawn-mowers and strimmers and no doubt later the air will be full of the waft of BBQ smoke but at least its not raining and it does actually feel like June.
I popped into the local garden centre on the way home from work yesterday just to buy a bag of compost and a hanging basket. I came home with two bags of compost, a bag of horticultural grit and a bag of sharp sand, fertilizer, a hanging basket, three heathers (don’t laugh), two trays of bedding dianthus, two salvias and an eryngium. But in my defence they were all considered and planned purchases. The compost, gravel and sand were needed so I could sort out the pots on the patio and also my succulent collection which is in desperate need of tidying up and potting on. The dianthus are for a couple of shallow pots to add some colour by the front door and on the patio and have already been potted up and are on display. The salivas and eryngium are just want I need to add to the Big Border grassland style planting (I use that term very loosely) and fill the gaps left by the oriental poppy which I removed last week and the heathers are an experiment for under the big field maple to add some interest in the summer.
The salvias and eryngium have already been planted and I think the top photo shows how well the salvias have blended into the existing planting but lifted it a little.
The heathers aren’t planted yet as I have to do quite bit of preparation work in the area before they are planted and I think I want to mulch around them so I need to get some wood chip ready. Its meant to rain heavily in a few days so I might take advantage of the ground being wet and put the mulch on afterwards to try and retain the moisture.
Here is another view of the Big Border from the other side and end. I really like how full it is and I am enjoying the combination of the baby blue geranium with the unopened flowers of Anthemis ‘Sauce Hollandaise’. I have no idea what the geranium is. I have quite a few which I have acquired over the years as I feel I should like geraniums but they have never really performed that well until this year. I think it is a combination of the neglect of the last few years, the fact that the poor things haven’t been moved for a while, and the significant rain we have had. They are really looking great at the moment.
The final photo is of my patio which I spent several hours sorting out this morning. It needs a weed but everything that needs to be planted out has been planted out; everything that needs to be potted up has been potted up and its all neat and tidy. Tomorrow the plan is to get up early and tackle the greenhouse before it warms up too much.
For the triumphs and tribulations of other gardeners this week check out the links in the comment box on The Propagators weekly meme –
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m not really a summer person nor for that matter a winter person. I am much happier in spring and autumn as I prefer the weather and the way nature changes so dramatically during these seasons. I have found in recent years that around this time of year I start to lose interest in the garden and it becomes more of a chore than an enjoyment. Strange I know given all the work I put in to make the garden look lovely. In the past this has bothered me but this year I am accepting my eccentricities and enjoying more of my other interests.
Instead of spending the day gardening I am spending an hour or so in the evenings or earlier during the day and then retreating indoors or sitting reading in the garden and I have to say that I am realising that this is far so enjoyable than my usual manic approach to things. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
This weekend has been wonderful and refreshing. I had no plans to be any where or to do anything. I spent some time on Saturday cutting back early summer perennials such as Aquilegia and planting out, somewhat belatedly, a few annuals. I have little space for annuals now and I don’t think I will even bother sowing them next year as it has become quite a challenge finding homes for them.
I am fascinated with how the geraniums have grown taller up amongst the other perennials rather than low and floppy. I am sure that someone who knows more than I do about geraniums will say that it depends on the cultivar you are growing however I am sure that some of these geraniums weren’t as tall last year.
I think this is what you might call ‘cheek by jowl’ gardening and I doubt it is sustainable going forward especially when you think I only planted the border up last year and this spring. I am determined not to diminish the impact of the border by over jealous tidying and thinning, my usual approach, so will need to practice a more measured approach.
Today I potted up some of the perennial seedlings. I have decided not to propagate so much in future. I have found that as with so much in my life at the moment I over commit and under-estimate my time and so I have pots of seedlings needing sorting out and if I don’t get on with them the seedlings go leggy and die making the whole process pointless. So the plan is now to concentrate on what I have and be more selective in the future – hopefully I will stick to this resolution.
Then another hour was spent sorting out plants to enter into the AGS show in a couple of weeks time. I find sitting and carefully picking over a plant, removing old or damaged leaves and flowers very relaxing. I am hoping to enter six classes in the Novice section and I have thirteen plants potted up and ready to choose from. Ideally you want plants that are in flower, unless of course it is a foliage category, and I so I am hoping with a range to choose from I will get lucky.
Aside from gardening I have had a happy time finishing off a sewing project, reading and knitting and enjoying the view from the patio.