It’s fair to say that I don’t do well in the heat at the best of times so you can imagine that over the last week or so with temperatures reaching the low 30Cs (high 80Fs) I have been pushed to engage with the garden.
I’m coming to the end of a weeks annual leave when in the past I would have really tidied up the garden ahead of the rest of the summer. However, this week the most I have managed is to continue with the endless watering of the pots and trying to keep the newer plantings going. Luckily, I have been distracted by a lovely day out in cloudy damp Wales and two days of embroidery workshops with friends; the workshop room had a couple of vast ceiling fans which made it more bearable.
Today we have had a rather cloudy day with heavy rain and storms forecast over the next 48 hours. Whilst it has still been very warm for this time of year the patio is fairly cool first thing in the morning so I spent an hour tidying and potting up my succulent collection. The above are Agave montana seedlings which have been bidding their time on the patio and in desperate need for potting up. The seeds were sown in 2016 and I expect that if I had potted them up earlier this year they would be much larger now but I didn’t. I think they look rather cute in their matching terracotta pots and they are now residing in groups along the edge of the gravel steps.
I also potted up a few other pot bound residents of the patio including a large branching aeonium, a sad pelargonium and my Bird of Paradise seedling which may flower one day. I finished with potting up two Sempervivums which I bought in Somerset. These are now forming a group on one of the patio tables along with a Daphne which I am trying to revive. I’m trying to display my pots in more interesting groups, as per the pot displays I saw in Austin but I think I have a way to go yet.
After an hour I was hot and sticky and retreated back to my sewing which I wont bore you with. Here’s hoping the promised rain arrives soon.
I have been on annual leave this week and as ever had plans to spend time sorting the garden out, as well as redecorating the living room – I am always over ambitious! Firstly, the weather at the start of the week was not very conducive to gardening being dreary and wet and various unexpected family commitments eat into more of my time. It was becoming increasingly frustrating. Finally on Wednesday having painted the woodwork I found myself outside exploring the garden to see what had emerged over the previous few days. I am particularly obsessed with my epimediums at the moment and which ones are flowering. Most of them seemed to be sulking last year but this year, possibly due to the wet winter, they are virtually all (there are some 14 different varieties at the moment) full of flower buds. Anyway, during one of these forays into the flower border I somehow stepped backwards, caught my heel on the nearby step and managed to fall right over and literally roll down the garden and into the border stamping off Primula denticulata flower stalks on my way.
It really knocked the stuffing out of me and I had to sit on the offending step for a while before I risked standing up; luckily I hadn’t done any real damage which was a relief. However, despite not banging my head, the tumble left me completely befuddled and I just couldn’t work out what I had been planning to do in the garden and what I had planted to do where. Quite unsettling.
So I drifted into the front garden to cut back a few plants that I remembered had been offending me for some time from my bedroom window. Looking around I noticed the trough under the front window and how dishevelled the succulents appeared. Suddenly, this trough become the focus of all my efforts and I spent probably an hour slowly removing all the plants, cleaning them up and replanting. I planted the trough with hardy sempervivums back in April 2014 – you can see a photo in this post. Since then it has fared well surviving only with the occasional splash of water as I water the pots outside the front door. However, as is their wont the semps have multiplied and multiplied, worse than rabbits, and basically they had run out of space and were growing on top of each other. So much so that many of them barely had any roots in the soil.
Interestingly, the semps that I planted in the gravel around the base of the sink looked a lot healthier. They haven’t multiplied quite so quickly, probably less favourable conditions, and were looking full and glossy. Having emptied out the trough and removed all the dead foliage I replanted possibly more sparsely than last time and then I used some of the leftovers to continue the planting along the edge of the border the sink stands in. It is located in one of those narrow borders that builders insist on putting in against the front of a house but which are full of rumble and hopeless for growing most things. As the rumble makes it very free draining I have over the years added compost and planted it up with lavender and bearded irises all of which are doing well. I think the semps along the front edge will provide an interesting contrast and hopefully help to cover the ground.
Having completed this task and being pleased with the result I found that my head had cleared and got a second wind and started to work through my original plans for the back garden. Over the last few days I have made significant changes to the Big Border which I think will move the garden forward over the next year. So “from small things …. big things one day come”.