Springing into Summer in the Sunshine Bed

The last few weeks have been busy in the new garden, and the Sunshine Bed has slowly filled. Plants ordered online wereΒ put in during May, and a couple of trips to garden centres have also been fruitful. I found a lovely dwarf Deutzia which is all but over now. I think it will look gorgeous here when it puts on some growth next year. I have also planted out annuals – Tithonia, Cosmos, Helianthum and Nicotiana – still tiny but hardened off as our nights were still rather cool until the end of May. The colour theme – yellow and orange – has expanded slightly with the addition of white. Red will also creep in. I shall just see what works as I go along. πŸ™‚

This is what it looked like five weeks ago ….

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

And after a big weeding and planting out campaign early June…

And now…


…with plants finally showing growth, although many still seem stunted. Conditions are tough here, so it will be the survival of the fittest!

Some of the new plants I added are:

Panicum virgatum ‘Cloud Nine’ and Miscanthus sinensis ‘Silberfeder’ at the outside corners. Does anyone know how quickly they fill out – my plants are so very meagre still!

The dwarf Deutzia gracilis with white flowers in May.

More Alchemilla, aΒ golden Euonymus and a yellow Potentilla – Β ‘Goldfinger’ Don’t you love some of the names plants are given! (And hate others! πŸ˜‰ )

A lovely white Aquilegia ‘Kristall’…

Several Achilleas – still rather smaller than they should be – and some Chrysopsis, which are tall yellow aster-type flowers that will flower later in autumn, brightening up a fading garden. 🍁

A small Geum ‘Mai Tai’ which has started to perk up and flower now the nights are warmer…

I am impatient to see my little seedlings and young plants plumping up, but do constantly recall what my old garden looked like when I started out planting the rockery. It took a couple of years before things started taking shape and here we really have had the weather against us since spring 2018. Have you ever started a garden or flower bed from scratch? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Oh, and if you have any spare rainfall could you send it our way please? πŸ˜‰

Have a good weekend!





42 thoughts on “Springing into Summer in the Sunshine Bed

  1. You can certainly have some of our rain, we now have floods in this country! It has been non stop since June started and it is so cold!!!
    I have Miscanthus Silber Fedder, I warn you, it is huge. Maybe that is my heavy clay soil, but it is over 6 ft tall and at least 4ft in diameter, super plant if you have plenty of room for it!

    • Hi Pauline. Oh good, I chose the largest Miscanthus I could findfor that corner (although it is a very young plant) and as it grows I will move anything in the way! πŸ™‚

  2. I would love to send some rain your way – Karina from Ireland blew some over to me, so now I’m blowing it over to you – we’ve had enough now!
    Lovely to see your sunshine bed progressing. A bit of rain and it will all fill out so much – here it comes ….

  3. All the beds at our house in the woods were started from scratch and dug by hand. By me. I look back in amazement at how much energy I had when I was younger. Good luck with your new beds.

    • Thanks Laurie, and I know what you mean about energy. But taking it one step at a time and planning low-maintenance long-term makes it manageable. And fun! πŸ™‚

  4. Rain? Rain? What is that??? I wish I had some to spare. I have started many new beds. It does take time for plants to get settled in. I think your new bed is looking exceptionally good. You just need a dose of patience. πŸ˜‰

    • Thank you Lisa. I do have moments where I need encouragement and reassurance! I am quite a patient person usually, but we seem to have been waiting for rain for months now and that would hurry things along a bit. Well, hope you get some soon too.

  5. Miscanthus sinensis had been variable for us. (I do not know what cultivar we had.) Some did well, and some were slow to get started. Fortunately, we did not need them all to be the same size. Gophers ate the biggest and best, so we added a few more. I really do not know how fast it grows, just because they had been so variable. Some grew faster than expected, but some do not do much at all. I do not know, but I thought that they seemed to be happier in harsher climates, with distinct seasons.
    I am not familliar with Panica virgatum.
    We start new gardens and landscapes from scratch quite commonly. It is part of our work. Of course, my favorite are the vegetable gardens at home. I am supposed to start one here at the office, but the space just became accessible a month and a half ago. By the time I get started, it will be time for cool season vegetables. I suppose I could still start some warm season vegetables, but I do not know when I will get in to clear the brambles.

    • Thanks Tony. The Miscanthus plants I put in were very small – partly due to budget and partly due to not wanting to dig huge holes while planting. Our soil is pretty stony in places! Good luck with the office garden – a great idea to have a veg patch at your workplace too.

      • Like so many plants, grasses likely get established more efficiently if planted while small. I know that most of us want bigger plants, but most larger plants take more time to recover from transplant. There are many that do not mind getting planted while mature, but I think that most grasses do not fit into that category.
        The people I work with sort of expect that we would use the space for vegetables. I mean, two of us are horticulturists, and our office is in a building that is not visible from the outside. There is no need to waste the space on landscaping. We forage a few types of fruit and vegetables at work, and some of us bring in surplus from home gardens. It is actually rather nice how it works out.

        • That is another reason I buy smaller plants as a rule – the nursery I buy from supplies well-rooted plants in mostly 8 cm pots – tiny! Sometimes the plant is barely visible when it arrives, but they have hardly ever failed me and have proved to grow better than the large showy plants at the garden centres.
          I think every office building should have a garden, even if it is just a few herbs. πŸ˜‰

  6. They look like they are coming along nicely. I think the saying, ‘First year, sleep; second year, creep; third year, leap’ is accurate when it comes to planting perennials in the garden. It is hard to wait! The first few years I use a fair amount of annuals to fill the space.

    • I like that saying Eliza and am so glad I managed to plant two beds last autumn as they are filling out much more rapidly. I know I will be moving things in a couple of years as they start crowding each other! LOL!

  7. You might regret asking us for spare rain, Cathy – although I will not grumble about it as it had been so dry up to last week… Good to see the progression of your border – hard to believe how full and abundant it will look in due course!

    • It was hard to envisage long-term as the dry weather has kept plants small, but we have had just a little rain and the growth was noticeable almost overnight! I hear the heatwave we are getting next week should reach the UK too. Hope you get ideal conditions for your opening day!

  8. Cathy the Sunshine bed has grown a lot in a short time and it looks wonderful, I love it. Next year will be great when the plants have grown more and have established themselves. I like orange and yellow, with white, and a red touch of rebellion. The dwarf Deutzia gracilis I love with its white flowers. The white Aquilegia “Kristall” is a jewel. The little Geum “Mai Tai” is lovely. Cathy, I’m sorry, but I also urgently need rain. We will ask it to the clouds, to see if they want to do us a favor and start to rain! Have a good week and enjoy gardening. Greetings from Margarita. πŸ™‚

  9. Your garden is coming along nicely…just wait and see what all the summer sun does for it. When we bought our summer house on the lake in Maine there were no gardens, just grass and it hadn’t been well cared for. I had to plant for very cold winter weather, as the Hardiness Zone was 4b: with temperatures as low as -25F to -20F. I worked with a man from the local college that helped me plan and plant our gardens there and your thinking about survival of the fittest is exactly how my gardens grew. I have to say they were lovely.

    • I bet you miss your garden sometimes Karen, although the winters are undoubtedly much more tolerable in your new home! Having an expert help is nice. I have had good advice on plants from a local garden centre but gardening experts are hard to find here unless it is for fruit trees or vegetables.

    • Thanks Susie. You are quite right – the plants may be small but they are strong and sturdy and have stood up well to the heat and drought so far. πŸ™‚

  10. You have been busy!
    It’s amazing how much things grow in such a short time. Just wait until next year when the roots are all down and the tops really take off. As others have already said, three years is usually how long it takes before the grasses take off, longer if they were particularly pot-bound or the weather stays dry.
    I didn’t know you started the rockery from scratch! It looked more like the work of ages with years of fine tuning and settling in. I have such a long way to go lol

    • Yes, I think next year I might be moving stuff to give the plants more room! I see the advantages of dense planting in my old garden – the ground stays moister, plants give each other a bit of shade and the weeds are also suppressed. I am impatient to see my Miscanthus grow as they are supposed to be the ‘basis’ of the beds – Stipa and Calamgrostis are doing well, but the other grasses are very slow.
      Thanks for the compliment on the rockery! Yes, it was all ivy and tree roots when I started around 2006!

  11. Your garden is going to be really lovely when it fills in, and for my taste, it’s kind of fun to watch it develop from the beginning, slowly as it must be. Your weather conditions are so different from ours that our experiences can’t really be compared. I have started many gardens from scratch, but with heat, most things grow and fill in quite quickly if I’m able to keep them properly watered. I think cold is the culprit in slowing it all down. I think you’ll fill in very quickly when the weather stabilizes, and I absolutely adore your color scheme. My favorites are typically in those yellow and orange hues. πŸ™‚

    • It is fun Debra! Every evening I go and look at the beds and can see a difference daily. There are not many flowers yet, but the greens are getting darker and the annuals are growing by the hour. πŸ™‚

  12. I think Panicums are rather slow and steady, but of course a lot depends on the amount of water and the soil. Your Sunshine Bed should be glorious with all those annuals.

    • The Tithonia in there are looking sturdy but are only about a foot high so far. I am giving this bed water occasionally, but it is being trained from the start to cope with tough conditions! πŸ˜‰

  13. Your sunny garden will be glorious in the years to come. I have been trying to stay busy doing the same.

  14. I’m trying to wave our upcoming rain in your direction! πŸ˜‰
    It really does take a while for plants to fill in, doesn’t it?! In the desert it took extra time for almost anything to grow out; here it seems to happen more quickly, but there doesn’t seem to be any way around those first spare seasons – at least not on a budget!
    I love that Aquilegia, and the Deutzia…! It is going to be fabulous!

    • Yes, your desert garden must have been hard to leave behind after waiting for years to see substantial progress. I know it will take a while to fill out here with our dry summers, but I also remember occasional wet summers in my old garden where I suddenly had a jungle on my hands! LOL!

  15. I’m a fan of Mai Tai too. I slightly envy you starting from scratch, as I inherited an odd mixture in my garden and am trying to alter it, by removing and replacing a few things each year! Looking forward to seeing how your border matures!

    • Starting from scratch is hard, expensive, and needs careful thought. I expect to make lots of mistakes! πŸ˜‰ Moving things around helps with getting to know the soil and what grows best where.

  16. I can already tell the new bed is going to be absolutely beautiful, Cathy. I look forward to seeing some of those summer annuals in upcoming vases too. I love the Deutzia, another on the long list of plants I can’t grow. I hope you get more of that much needed rain.

    • I hardly dare cut anything in the beds yet Kris! I hope the annuals will do well enough to make it into a vase one late summer’s day ….. No rain in sight – and a heatwave is on the way. 😦

  17. Oh if only we could have sent you some of our rain Cathy! More forecast for tonight and tomorrow but at least it’s warmer at long last. It does look as if it may be too hot in your part of the world though. I know how slow it is waiting for a garden to establish. Our house was a self build and the garden was started from scratch. All spare pennies went towards the house and the garden was a poor cousin. Lots of plants were obtained from friends and family at the time and through the garden club I joined not long after moving into the house. I would do it all differently now but hindsight is a wonderful thing πŸ˜‚ My only advice is think of planting trees and shrubs before flowers!

    • Thanks Anna. We got the trees and shrubs in last spring and spent all summer watering them! Then the Butterfly Bed and Herb Bed got started in autumn. This year the Sunshine Bed and two small ‘Berry’ beds have been added. So bit by bit a garden is taking shape. I expect more shrubs will go in at some stage but there is plenty of space. You are right about hindsight though – even good planning will not stop me making mistakes! LOL!

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