Six on Saturday – 22nd June 2019

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.

Salvia Hot Lips

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.

Salvia Lipstick

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.

Eryngium Picos Amethyst

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 –

End of Month View June 2018

What a change a month brings.  Last month I was bemoaning my inability to get sunny photos of the garden; this month it has been a challenge to take photos without the bright sun bleeding out the light.

We have had no rain for two weeks now, possibly longer. There are some plants which are struggling but so far they are the ones that normally die back in the summer, only to reappear in the autumn or spring such as primulas and sensitive ferns.  I am watering the garden a couple of times a week focussing on the newer plantings and then pots every night, well most nights.

Before the heat hit I managed to plant out the rest of the annuals and also quite a few of the plants I bought in Somerset.  One of the main changes is the planting of Buddleja salviifolia in the big border.  It had been growing on the back bank for a few years but was rather exposed and suffered this winter.  So I’ve moved it to a more sheltered position with better drainage and given it a good prune to help it focus on developing its roots.  I have under planted this silver leaved shrub with a selection of plants with silver and burgundy leaves or red, cerise or pale pink flowers.  I am hoping it will create an interesting tapestry next year when the plants have matured.

I am pleased though that the Regal Fern (Osmunda reglis) isn’t yet showing signs of collapsing in the heat. Normally, it is one of the first to give in but I think that having removed the Catalpa from the border there is more moisture in the border helping the plants to survive the heat.  The Shade Border is now so full that you can’t get down the path at the back of it and somewhere in there the cat is hiding from the heat.

So that is my garden at the end of a hot and dry June, here’s hoping that July will bring with it some rain to water the garden.

I would love to see how your garden is doing wherever you are in the world so why not join in with the End of Month View.  All I ask is that you post a link to your post in the comment box below and link to this post in yours.

 

GBBD June 2018 – Its all about the roses

Rose ‘Chinatown’

Having wandered around the garden taking photos of what is in flower for the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post I realised that the roses were stealing the show this month so I have focussed entirely on them.

Rose ‘Blush Noisette’

I think this is a good year for roses.  We saw so many bushes smothered in flowers on our trip to Somerset and Wiltshire this week that people were commenting on the abundance and quality. I’m guessing it must be something to do with all the rain we had in the Spring but whatever the reason is I am thrilled with my roses this year.

Rose ‘Ophelia’

In previous years my roses have been a less than floriferous despite me feeding them and pruning them carefully.  This year my pruning was less carefully but also not as drastic as in the past and I think that might also have helped.

Rose ‘Lucky’

A lot of my roses are in one border along the top of the wall. However, as I don’t like rose only borders my roses are planted amongst herbs such as lavender, sage, bay, sweet cicely, and parsley which work well at hiding the ‘legs’ of the rose.  I also have other perennials in this border to add more interest including geraniums, aquilegias, penstemon, foxgloves and allium.

Rose ‘Eyes for You’

The combination works well with the foliage of the herbs providing a good foil to the flowers and also providing interest after the roses and friends have flowered.  So far this year there has also been little sign of black fly.

Rose ‘Handel’

In recent years my rose collection has grown due to roses seen on garden visiting trips.  The Rose ‘Hot Chocolate’ I saw in a garden near Cork, Ireland and Rose ‘Blush Noisette’ frequently appears in the gardens we visit.   This year no new rose has been added to my wish list after my garden visiting which is probably lucky as I have no idea where I would put another one.

Rose ‘Hot Chocolate’

Thank you to Carol, over at May Dream Gardens, for hosting this meme which she has hosted for ever making her Queen of the Meme.

This week’s obsessions

Iris hollandica 'Autumn Princess'
Iris hollandica ‘Autumn Princess’

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Note to self: plant more of these for next year amongst the grasses.

I really discovered Dutch Irises a few years ago but last year the penny dropped that you really need to plant them amongst grasses or grassy looking plants which will support the flowers but also hide the long stems. Whilst the whites, yellows and blues are nice I just adore the colours and tones on this variety, they light up the border in a most elegant way.

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I have re-introduced Lupins in the garden this year having not grown them for years mainly because of the tatty state of the leaves as the flowers fade.  I had forgotten how beautiful the young fresh leaves can be and what an interesting addition they make to the border.  I am also really pleased with the colour of the flowers as they were an impulse buy at the local garden centre back in the Spring when I was looking for some strong colours for the borders.

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Last year I became quite obsessed when visiting a nearby garden with the large block of poppies that were about to open.  I just love the hairs on the buds especially when they are back-lit.

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.

 

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.

 

My Garden This Weekend – 7/6/15

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I have been home alone for most of the weekend with no real plans and it has been blissful.  I have been pottering in every sense of the word.  I started with weeding the patio which was long overdue and is one of those incredibly satisfying garden jobs.  I use the blade of an old screwdriver, whose handle is long gone, and it is just the right size to get between the slabs.

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If I am honest I dislike the patio, I always have, but its well down the list of expenditure and it serves a purpose.  I dislike it because when I pressure wash it the colour of the slabs is revealed and we have a ‘delightful’ pink and yellow checker box effect! Therefore, I rarely pressure wash it.  However now it is weeded and tidied I am rather pleased.  I have never been very good at using the patio for relaxation.  It is normally the home of trays of seedlings and purchases and the small table often houses seedlings etc.  However, in the last couple of weeks my sons have both mentioned that they have sat out in the garden when they have got home and how nice it was.  So I have moved all the trays of seedlings up the garden out of the way and arranged the pots of purchases and other things in a more organised/decorative fashion.  What a difference, even I have sat on the patio and enjoyed a cuppa and read a magazine.

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I have quite a collection of pots many of them accumulated during my brief foray into alpine plant showing.  Above are some pans of alpines which live up by the top bench which there is some shade but also sun at some point of the say.

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I’m not a huge fan any more of pots of mixed plants, preferring instead collections of individual plants in their own pot.  I like being able to ring the changes as things go over.  This collection is by the door to the shed and I have added some succulents as this is quite a sunny spot so they should do well here.

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Round the corner of the shed is what we call ‘quatermass’.  Last year I plunged a couple of pots of zantedeschia into the old tin bath which I was using as a pond and they did incredibly well.  So this year I decided to fill the bath with compost and plant it up exclusively with white zantedeschia.  There is no drainage in the bath so the compost gets very wet when it rains and takes a while to dry out but the plants are thriving.  I did wonder if this was a mad idea but when I visited Brian and Irene’s garden over at Our Garden @19 last weekend I noticed that he had ensata iris growing in sealed pots of compost and they were doing incredibly well too. I had to drag the bath over the gravel this week as it was being engulfed by the neighbouring fern and I see that I need to sort the level out again – opps!

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In the very top photo you can see that all the succulents and pelargoniums are out of the greenhouse and in their summer home on the staging.  As I said I don’t really like mixed pots or hanging baskets any more.  Instead I have planted the window box up with herbs which is already proving very useful and the only hanging basket I have is hanging from the tree by the shed and is housing my Christmas cactus.  I went to a talk at the local horticultural group recently on cacti and succulents which was actually really interesting and the speaker advocating treating your Christmas cactus in this way over the summer so I thought why not.

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And finally one of my collections of plants by the front door.  I was rather than by the Polygala myrtifolia on a recent visit to B&Q so it ended up coming home with me.  I have under planted with some nemesis  and today added a pelargonium and a pot of oregano.  On the other side of the entrance is a deep pink hydrangea, some violas and a succulent.  I think it looks charming and it makes me smile when I pull up in the driveway, far more than any other arrangement I have done in the past.

So that’s my weekend – a weekend of potting up, moving pots, and sweeping.

End of Month View – June 1014

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We are going through a bit of a floral lull in the back garden at the end of June.  I have just cut back most of the geraniums which had finished flowering so the Big Border isn’t looking as voluptuous along the grass path as earlier in the month.  The focus of the Big Border is meant to be late summer and I am hoping that in about a month the border will be full of Asters although it will be its first season so it will be interesting to see what happens.  The border to the right of the path is the far side of the old Bog Garden and is in need of an identity. There are phlox and Lobelia tupa about to flower and I think this is an area I might work on next year by which time inspiration may have struck.

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The bottom path runs along the bottom of the Big Border and on the other side is the Cottage Border which is really too narrow and proving troublesome.  The delphiniums are just going over and I think they will be cut back hard next weekend.  Next year I need to be more ruthless and remove the skinny side blooms so the main flowers are even better.  The trouble with this border is its depth.  I had under estimated how big and floppy the Artemis ‘Sauce Hollandise’ was and although I like pushing amongst the flowers it had become impossible so is pushed back now by supports which isn’t showing the plants to their best.  I have a few ideas of where they can be moved to so they can look wonderful next year and I am thinking of replacing them with Astrantia which need a new home. It is clear that the Echinacea planted last year haven’t returned, just as I suspected.  I think slugs are to blame.  Instead I have some pots of Gladiolus which I will put in amongst the cut back delphiniums which should continue the show.

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The succulent trough in the front garden is filling out and despite my dodgy cement repairs I think it is looking quite good and adding some real interest to the border.

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The popular staging area is now playing host to pelargoniums and succulents and looking very jolly.  I could swap the pelargoniums around and move the Red Vogue ones elsewhere and add more scented pelargoniums with pink flowers but I quite like the vibrancy of the red and pink!

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The patio border is very full and about to come into its second season of interest.  Its first season is early Spring with snowdrops and other bulbs.  Now it is mainly foliage with a 2014_06290031yellow and purple theme. The large green bush in the middle is my favourite Kirgenshoma palmata which I adore so it is a real event when it flowers.  There is also a yellow rose in the border, Chinatown, which has a fabulous scent and seems to be disease free.

An added view – from the top of the bottom steps looking towards my son’s workshop.  I really like the gravel steps as they were built in two stages by my father and then my eldest and they just work so well.  It this time of year the sun makes a wonderful effect through the tree and Stipa gigantea to the left.

Finally I will leave you with a view of the new seating area which is adjacent to the workshop.  It is a little busy at the moment as I have trays of

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perennial seedlings hiding away here in the shade.  The tin bath in the foreground is probably going to be used as a small pond which will take the rain water collected by the shed guttering.  We are trying it out at the moment to decide if we think it is a good idea.

So this is my garden at mid-year.  Please feel free to join in with this meme.  You can use it however you like all I ask is that you link to this post from yours and add a link to your post in the comments box so we can all come and have a nose around your space.