I’ve been away for a week visiting gardens in Yorkshire, very inspiring and I will probably share my thoughts and images with you soon. I only had time on arriving home to unload my plant acquisitions so I didn’t have a chance to walk round the garden until Friday morning when it was absolutely pouring. The rain is well overdue and the garden will benefit and hopefully the humidity will be lifted but the rain isn’t very helpful for taking photos and having a look around the garden so these are not my best.
The dahlia is the only one that has grown for me this year. I bought four tubers and this is the only one that has grown, which is a huge disappointment. I doubt I will bother with dahlias again as they are generally too large and dominant for my planting style.
I love this gladiolus, I have a whole pot of it which I drag under cover each winter to protect it. Its a small gladiolus and originates from the cliffs of the Drakensburg, I expect I bought it from am alpine nursery when I was dabbling in alpines a few years ago.
I did spot that the Phlox paniculata ‘David’ is flowering. This phlox does really well for me and it smells amazing. I saw quite a lot of phlox in Yorkshire last week so I bought another one to see if it will grow as well.
I’ve included the flowering agave as the flower is so disproportionate to the size of the plant. I suspect it is long overdue for repotting; another job to add to the long list of jobs to do.
You may have wondered earlier what plant acquisitions I made so I thought I would show you a picture of them recovering in the rain. Some of them spent 5 days sitting under a coach so they have done very well; we were lucky that our coach driver is also a gardener. He has driven us for each of our trips over the last four years so is part of the gang now although this year we really challenged him with filling the underneath of the coach and every available space inside the coach with plants. I think I ended up with 21 plants including an echeveria, a fern, a couple of alpines and numerous plants for the Big Border where I am trying to improve the grassy pollinator look.
The other new acquisition on the patio is a new patio set of two chairs and a small table. We wanted chairs which were conducive to reading and relaxing and these chairs are incredibly comfortable. I bought them just before I went away so I am now looking forward to having a nice sit down outside when I get home from work next week.
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.