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.

Petunia exserta

Petunia exserta

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.

 

 

 

Arisaema consanguineum

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My current favourite plant in the garden is Arisaema consanguineum.  A new addition this year from Dryad Nursery, one of those small mail order nurseries that have all sorts of hidden delights available during a small window of opportunity each year.  Unlike my Arisaema speciosum plants which are fairly short in stature and hide their flowers under their large leaves, this plant has height and elegance and the flower is proud and easy to see – what’s not to love.

I must apologise for being a poor respondent  at the moment.  I have a lot on at work and home for the next few weeks so its head down but I do love receiving your comments and will respond and visit your blogs when I come up for air.

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.

 

Sissinghurst – a Romantic Confection

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As I was staying in Sissinghurst village for my visit to Great Dixter at the lovely Milk House, which I would thoroughly recommend to anyone visiting that area, it would have been madness for me not to visit Sissinghurst garden.IMG_0447

I have to admit to having mixed feelings about this garden visit.  Sissinghurst is one of those gardens that, as a gardener, you feel you should have visited and be able to reference. Interestingly during conversations on the study day at Great Dixter quite a few people were, shall we say, a bit sniffy about Sissinghurst, saying such things as ‘well I have visited but I don’t feel a need to go back’, which was intriguing. I need to say now that my mindset on arrival was somewhat distracted as I was having car issues and I was worrying whether the car would get me the 4.5 hours home (in fact the car was OK which was a huge relief). So I didn’t have the relaxing contented visit I had hoped for.

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I had the benefit of being one of the first through the door and instead of exploring the tower I set out to see as much of the garden as I could before it become crowded.  More by luck than design I found myself firstly in the renowned White Garden. Now I am not a fan of White Gardens I find them sort of static, I much prefer contrasting colours or even harmonious colours and the way the colours work with each other.  However, I have to admit that this part of the garden had a nice calming atmosphere, particularly given my frame of mind.

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Again in the Cottage Garden, which is planted up in hot vibrant colours, I wasn’t thrilled with this combination – the yellows are all the same and I would have liked to see some possibly lighter shades of yellow or an orange verbascum such as Clementine to jazz it up.  However to be far this was just one small planting in the Cottage Garden, the rest was a mixture of strong yellows, red and oranges and lots of textures.

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One of the things I really liked at Sissinghurst were the vistas through the various walls or hedges leading the eye to the next garden or an area you wanted to find your way to.  I have quite a few photographs of vignettes such as the one above and also of large planted pots planted with a single type of plants – an interesting contrast to the mass groupings of pots at Great Dixter.

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Like the White Garden I find the Nuttery with its shady woodland planting relaxing.  I have a weakness for ferns and I was bewitched with the way the sunlight was bouncing off the fronds in this mass planting and showcasing the statue.  I would like to try to do something similar but I don’t know if I have the space.

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The area of the garden that I really enjoyed was the Rose Garden which was somewhat surprising.  I am liking roses more and more and I particularly liked seeing them planted with other perennials.  As you can see the alliums in the photograph above and at the top of the post provide a wonderful froth through the borders.  The scent in this garden, especially as the sun was shining, was quite divine.  I liked this colour palette which provided a really romantic atmosphere (if you ignored all the other visitors which I studiously managed to exclude from my photos).  IMG_0518On arrival at the garden there was an exhibition about Vita Sackville West and Harold Nicholson’s marriage, with copies of their letters etc.  On the walls of the barn that the exhibition was housed in were painted quotes from these letters which showed the strength of their feelings for each other and I think the Rose Garden really epitomises their love for each other.

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So what is my overall impression of Sissinghurst? Firstly, I think I was spoilt by my visit to Great Dixter the day before which really speaks to me.  However, Sissinghurst is a beautiful garden and is the first National Trust garden I have visited which has an atmosphere which, in my opinion, is so hard to come by when the garden is not managed by its creator/owner. I know that Troy Scott-Smith, who took on the role of Head Gardener in 2013, is working to move the garden away from  pristine horticultural excellence back to a garden, which although demonstrating good horticulture, also has a more artistic feel such as it had in Vita’s time.  You can really see that there are areas where this has been achieved and other areas where it hasn’t quite got there.  Hardly surprising given Troy has only been post for two years.  I think I would like to visit again in say 2 or 3 years to see if Troy has been allowed to have his way and how the garden has developed.

 

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.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – June 2015

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The colour theme for June seems to be very much purples and pinks with the odd splash of red and white, such as the Potentilla album above.  I have been more conscious in choosing plants that are within a colour palette to try to bring some cohesion to my garden.

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The roses are starting to flower.  This one is looking the best it has ever looked and is smothered in flowers.  I think it might be Rosa ‘Lucky’ but for the life of me I can’t remember where I bought it from or when. I deliberately didn’t prune my roses hard this year as I wanted them to be taller to add height to the border and with the exception of one which for some reason hasn’t produce any flowering stems it seems to have worked well.

Rosa Ophelia

Rosa Ophelia

The second one to flower is Ophelia which is a fuller flower and prone to being damaged when it rains or there is a strong wind.  It is beautiful and the scent is heavenly but I think I prefer the form of the top rose more.

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New to me this year is Cerinthe retorta which I have really fallen in love with.  I much prefer it to the normal Cerinthe major especially the white inner flowers.  I will definitely be collecting seed from these.

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My favourite Astrantia, again I seem to have lost the label, but the colour is just stunning.  It is bulking up slowly now so maybe next year I will be able to divide it.

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One of my many alliums – I get confused which is which but I do like the shape of the flowers on this variety as they open and I really need to add more to the garden.

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Iris louisiana which I adore.  It was new last year and I was completely bewitched but its iridescent blue flowers.  It lives in the damp corner of my patio which often floods and seems to enjoy the moisture.

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I am pretty certain this is Geum Totally Tangerine; a really good plant which has been flowering already for around 6 weeks and adds a sparkle of colour to the predominantly green foliage in the woodland border.

So these are my favourite flowers this month, the stars of the show.  For more Garden Bloggers Bloom Day posts pop over to Carol’s at May Dreams.