New Flowerbeds 2018: Update

If you visit here regularly you will know I had two new flower beds dug at the beginning of the month. Well, I was extremely lucky and our beautiful October weather continued long enough for me to get the plants in that I had ordered, as well as several hundred bulbs.

Here is a photo of the herb bed in the sunshine…

… and on a frosty morning (We even had snow flurries today!)…

This contains my kitchen herbs as well as some for pure decoration such as a red-leaved Hypericum. I added some grasses – a couple of Pennisetum, an Erogrostis trichodes and several small Stipa tenuissima (will the Stipa survive our winter I wonder?) – and a Viburnum (‘Eskimo’) as a focal point in the middle. The rosemary has been planted out, rather optimistically, from a pot. Depending on how cold the winter is it should survive with a bit of coddling (i.e. mulch and fleece). (Any tips on overwintering rosemary?)

The other bed is the ‘Butterfly Bed’…

… and has already been visited by a few late butterflies, including this one (no idea what it is), posing on this newly planted Aster pringlei ‘Pink Star’…

I have also planted a lot of different grasses here as wind protection as well as for their love of dry and open positions. But among the grasses are geraniums, lavender, verbena, Japanese anemones, Perovskia and three buddleias. I am not sure if I should cut the buddleias back as they are only about 1m tall anyway. Any buddleia experts out there?!

I also bought this lovely Hellebore “Ice ‘n’ Roses, rose” from a garden centre. It is a new hybrid from the north of Germany and is supposed to flower from December to April! Well, this one is already in flower, brought on early for the nurseries, and it is so very pretty.

It will be nerve-wracking to watch these exposed beds through the winter, but most of the plants were small, well-rooted specimens from my favourite trusted online nursery (in southern Germany) costing only a few euros each, so hopefully any casualties will be minimal and not too expensive to replace. With our last two springs being so very warm and extremely dry, I have become wary of spring planting and am taking some risks.

Do you prefer to put in new plants in autumn or in spring?

As I write the rain and sleet is hammering against the window – a fine start to our ‘winter time’, as we turned our clocks back last night. Do your clocks change soon too? The debate is on in the EU whether we should finally get rid of daylight saving and stay with ‘summer time’ all year. But it may take some time before a decision is made. I will just wait and see, as I can’t see much of an advantage either way!



49 thoughts on “New Flowerbeds 2018: Update

  1. It looks very beautiful, Cathy. Looking forward to seeing your flower beds blooming next spring! I suppose you can cover it up in case it gets really, severely cold? We changed to winter time last night as well, but still we are one hour behind the continent. I wouldn’t mind keeping the summer the whole year, but the change doesn’t affect me so much now as it did when I was working in the hospital.

    • Hi Dina! I am hoping for a mild winter, but we have had several frosts already. I shall cover some things if it gets really cold. Our dog always notices the clock change more than me and needs a couple of weeks to get used to new walk and food times!

  2. Is this your new house? I don’t recall seeing this view before. I HAVE to plant in autumn if the plants are going to have any chance of surviving the summer drought and heat the following year. I’d probably cut the budhlia next spring.

    • Yes, our ‘summer house’ looks like it will be our main home from now on! Autumn planting seems to make sense here too as it rarely gets really cold before mid-December. Thanks for your input on the buddleia.

  3. Brrrrrr ! Oh you must have had much fun planting up those beds Cathy and it will be fun to see it all start knitting together come spring. I have rosemary planted in a raised bed at the allotment where it has withstood some minus temperatures for several years and still lives to tell the tale. I’ve never fleeced it but then your winters must be colder. We put the clocks back too last night. I wonder if that new hellebore has made it over here. It’s a beauty so the name has been noted πŸ™‚

    • Hi Anna. I have managed to keep rosemary for a couple of years in the ground but if we get permafrost for a couple of weeks that finishes it off. 😦 I shall keep my fingers crossed as it is just too warm in the house for it. We do have mild winters sometimes too!

  4. In the Southern US, we plant all year around. Now is the time we put out our winter annuals such as Pansies. Our time change is Nov. 4th and we are also talking about making changes. I vote for the most light during “working” hours.

  5. You have had fun with your planting. It is great having new beds to plant up. That long flowering hellebore sounds exciting. It seems to be the darker blue flowered rosemaries which are the most susceptible to frost.

    • This rosemary was bought and potted up in spring, so I haven’t seen the flowers yet. Interesting that the darker flowering ones are less hardy. I use it a lot in cooking, so I do hope it comes through the winter.

  6. I do plantings either way, spring or fall. It all depends on my mood. ha… Your new bed looks good. I will be curious to know how, if you manage, you keep your rosemary over winter. I have never been able to do it. I have tried several times without any luck. I treat rosemary as an annual.
    I hate changing times. I just wish they would keep it one way or the other all the time. We change in November. I would not cut the buddlia back now. Spring is when you should do that. I imagine it is quite an adjustment to being planted out as it is. Best of luck on these beds. They will be marvelous next year.

    • I have tried bringing rosemary indoors over winter and it just doesn’t do as well the following year. Occasionally I manage to keep one in the ground for a year or two but we inevitably get a very cold spell at least every second year.

  7. I can really plant at any time, although in summer I have to keep an eye on anything new and make sure it has enough water, and in winter I’m careful about whether new plants are frost hardy. We began our summer time almost a month ago, and I love so- called daylight saving. I don’t really believe it saves much, but I do like the longer evenings, even in the extreme heat of summer. Your new gardens will be fun to watch emerging when spring arrives, and I do love that hellebore- I haven’t seen one like that before.

    • The hellebore is apparently a hybrid of the early flowering H. niger and the spring flowering H. orientalis. It is new on the market, so I hope it does what it promises! Yes, I like the longer lighter summer evenings too. It means we can be outdoors longer. πŸ™‚ The dark winter evenings are definitely an argument for staying on summer time all year round, which is what is planned.

  8. Very exciting planting a new bed from scratch. I think so long as there is time for the roots to settle in about a month before the ground freezes they should be fine. In some cases, fall planting is better than spring. You might have to keep an eye for frost heaving as the ground warms, pushing any back in. Buddleias die to the ground here, so I cut them back. A little to the south of here they don’t winter kill, so it’ll depend on how cold it gets there. I love your new Hellebore. I wish I got more than the one I picked up at a plant sale. I have to cover mine as the blossoms emerge too early and get burned by the deep cold/thaw cycles. Looking forward to watching these gardens grow!

    • Hi Eliza. That is a good point about frost – I will have to check regularly as that often happens here. I think I will cut the buddleia back in spring, as they are still settling in. The hellebore is a brand new hybrid on the market – apparently crossing the early flowering H. niger with the lenten rose H. orientalis. I love the pale pink flowers which are quite upright and visible. πŸ™‚

  9. Oh gosh, that’s going to be really special! You are motivated than I am this time of year. To answer your question: I prefer to add new plants in springtime, mainly because my motivation levels and energy are much higher as the days get longer. Our days are shrinking now. 😦 Happy gardening!

    • Hi Beth. Autumn is my favourite time of year and I know it will rain in November (it has already rained thank goodness!) so planting is a pleasure in October. I am often tempted to put a plant or two in during spring, but have to watch it carefully if it is then dry.

    • That has been the pattern here too in recent years – very little rain in spring. We still have until mid-December before it gets really cold, and in some years it doesn’t really freeze hard until February!

  10. I have had the most success with spring plantings, rarely having lost a plant, whilst in autumn I probably lose a third. Some of these are because I forget where they are and try to plant something over the top come the spring!! As a family friend once said, plants just want to grow in the spring – you can put a stick in the ground and it will grow. I did this with some cornus prunings in spring and all took!

    • Your climate is so different to ours then Ali as I think I could say the opposite! I choose plants that like dry conditions as our ground is well-drained, but I would need to water new plants in spring whereas nature does it for me in October and November. πŸ™‚

  11. I am impressed that you already had some butterfly visitors! I think it’s really a nice idea to have create new garden space that will bring spring surprises when the winter snow clears! You’re going to have so much fun anticipating what the beds will produce. Let’s hope your winter is mild and all of your new beauties do well. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Debra! It will be fun watching the bulbs spring up. I have planted crocuses, daffodils, tulips etc and should have plenty of colour to look forward to regardless how cold winter is! πŸ™‚

  12. Hi Cathy, I’m glad that you’ve had rain too since. Your new borders look very promising. I prefer planting in the autumn obviously and with our mild winters it’s usually best. I mulch delicate plants with leaf mould or simply put a bucket over them along with dried leaves when there’s a longer cold spell. I took cuttings of a fab rosemary on Elba this spring which is coming on nicely, a prostrate form that looked magnificent on a slope there. You seem to have planted a little arboretum too. How exciting to have a new project and I wish you good luck with it. Love, Annette

    • Thank you Annette! Yes, it rarely gets freezing cold before Christmas, so I think everything will have settled in by then. This rain has done the new trees good I am sure, even though there are hardly any leaves left now. Good luck with your rosemary cuttings. In fact I might try taking some cuttings and keep them indoors over winter…

  13. Hello Cathy. I regret not having written is that shortly after arriving in Madrid they had to admit me to the Hospital. I’m home now, in absolute rest, but today I got up and took the computer for the first time to see your beds already planted. What beauty of beds: they are really beautiful. And what a variety of plants, it’s magnificent! When they all bloom in Spring it will be wonderful. To protect the plants you can cover them with thermal fabric that they sell in the nurseries or online in accessories for plants. It is a breathable white fabric that lets the plant make photosynthesis and lets the water pass. But it removes many Centigrade degrees to the plant. I use it with two plants that are delicate but this year I have not put it on. We’ll see what happens in Primavera. Another solution is to throw straw around the plant and on horse manure: it gives a lot of heat to the roots but the straw prevents the roots from burning. Enjoy your new garden that is beautiful. Take care. Greetings from Margarita πŸ™‚

    • Hello Margarita, so sorry to hear you have been in hospital. I wish you a rapid recovery! Thank you for your good advice. Yes, I have some garden fleece for when it gets really cold.

      • Thank you very much Cathy for your words of encouragement. It will take a while to recover because I am very weak but little by little I will be doing well. And you do not have to thank me for the advice, you have given me many. May your garden continue so beautiful. Greetings from Margarita.

  14. Rosemary was the only herb that I grew in New England (both at our home in New Hampshire and our summer cottage in Maine) that I had to replace each season. But of course, we always had lots of feet of snow on the ground. You have some good suggestions, good luck with your new plantings.

  15. Cathy, I hope your new beds come through the winter with flying colors (literally!). I love your new hellebore. Fall is the very best time to plant in my part of the world as, at least theoretically, the winter rainy season should ensure them a good start. And, lucky for us, we don’t get freezes, much less snow. Best wishes.

    • Thank you Kris. Well, we had a really good and much-needed rain about a week after the planting was done, and on checking the soil it looked like it had soaked down to the roots nicely. After this exceptionally dry summer I can appreciate even more how hard it must be for you to keep your garden going!

  16. I grow rosemary, mint and basil in my small net house fully covered by greenhouse film. But for the winter, I have to use a heater sometimes to protect the plants because here in Tambov Russia, winters are too cold. Do you grow strawberries ?

    • Hi Valeria! I have never tried growing strawberries, but have lots of wild ones in my old garden. The mice like them! πŸ˜‰ You must have really low tempertaures in winter in your part of the world. Stay warm!

  17. Pingback: New Beginnings | Words and Herbs

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