The Spring Garden, 2022

It is high time for a garden update as April is now in full swing and the garden is taking off! The month started out very cold and damp, but the last few days have warmed up the soil and everything is coming to life.

The early tulips are here!

This white botanical one, with delicate pointed petals and a rich bluish mauve eye is Tulipa humilis ‘Coerulea Oculata Alba’. It is perfect in the Moon Bed, where it is accompanied by blue and white Anemone blanda…

… and some pretty Narcissi.

This bed has developed into a lovely area for spring flowers. 😃

 

There are lots of Narcissi Cheerfulness in my Herb Bed… they certainly brighten up this area until the herbs start growing. You can see chives in the foreground, already tall enough to cut. 😃

The Herb Bed is also home to a few tulips. These are the first things to catch my eye when coming through our gate – a welcoming sight! They were planted a few years ago so the name is forgotten… maybe ‘Apricot Emperor’.

And here this morning with the Actaea Narcissi.

Apart from a few bulbs, the Herb Bed is still looking rather sparse, so let’s move over to the Oval Bed. There are some other early tulips in flower here, including these deep ruby ones: T. aucheriana. The buttercup yellow centre is such a contrast to the dark petals.

New perennial sweet pea shoots are emerging from the ground, the Viburnum is in bud, and the Pulsatilla are flowering.

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Next, The ‘Edge.

Those red dots are the ‘Showwinner’ Kaufmannia tulips. They are a dwarf tulip, but seem to have unusually short stems. Hopefully the stems will get longer as they do with many other early tulips.

They show up very well against the woodchip mulch and catch the eye even from the house. This is the first Spring for The ‘Edge, and I am going with the flow and seeing what works and what doesn’t. The Miscanthus and Calamagrostis stood there all winter and the red-stemmed Cornus have been lovely since January.

 

The Butterfly Bed succumbed to mice this winter, so I am waiting to see if many tulips have survived. The broom in the middle is wobbling, either due to strong wind or to root damage, but I will wait and see if it flowers before digging it out. The hellebores still look wonderful here.

 

And this Pulmonaria (P. ‘Benediction’) is a striking blue. The bluest I have found yet!

The hellebore below (in the Sunshine Bed) is my favourite at the moment. It turns from creamy yellow to pink and green. (Another one with no label…. where do all these labels disappear to?)

And between all the beds, dandelions!

Still, if they attract wildlife I don’t actually mind them, and they are such valuable plants. As long as they stay in the grass and out of the flower beds. 😉

The hedgerows planted around the perimeter of the garden in 2018 are well established now and the blackthorn opened yesterday. This was a few days later than the ones just down the bottom of the hill, which shows me what a difference it makes being a little higher and more exposed to the elements.

And these buds are about to burst. I wonder if you recognize them….

They are what we call ‘false elder’ as they do not produce the heavenly scented flowers people love to use in syrups and liqueurs. European Red Elder (Sambucus racemosa) is named so for the red berries produced. They start leafing out at about the same time as the scented Black Elder (Sambucus nigra) but flower much earlier.

Finally, one of the new raised planters is looking really promising, with radishes and salad leaves sprouting and some new parsley and chive plants too. If you are sowing  seeds that should only be barely covered with soil, I can recommend covering the surface with a little hay or straw to keep in moisture and to protect from wind, strong sun or cold nights. They will germinate much more quickly. 😉

The other planter will hold my butternuts, but I can see I need even more space for vegetables this year… Plans are being forged, so watch this space! 😉

I wonder if you have any specific garden projects at the moment?

Have a great Easter weekend.

😃

And Happy Gardening!

🌷🌷🌷

 

 

 

The Garden in November, 2021

The garden is still doing well in November, which somehow surprises me – but perhaps it is always so!

(I managed to get almost all the beds onto this one photo, taken from the terrace – albeit on Sunday 31 st October, so cheating a bit!)

Our first frost this year was October 10th, so a little later than previous years. Since then a few more have followed, so quite a few flowers have gone over now. But there is still loads of colour to cheer up these grey November days. 😃

Let’s start with the Butterfly Bed, sporting the Chrysanthemum ‘Anastasia’ I used in my vase the other day. It takes over from the adjacent pink Aster in mid October and will flower for another 2 or 3 weeks at least.

Another highlight in this bed is the leaves of perennial Geraniums changing colour… I like this unplanned combination with the lime green Euphorbia still looking lush.

At the back of the Butterfly Bed is my lovely ‘Red Chief’ Miscanthus. It isn’t as large as some, but from late October onwards the leaves and seedheads add some drama with their deep pinky red.

Moving across to the Oval Bed, two tall Miscanthus and the now faded Aster ‘September Ruby’ dominate. A mix of ground cover plants will provide winter interest for a month or two. I wonder if we will get much snow this winter….

The Miscanthus on the left is ‘Beth Chatto’, and the other one is ‘Federweißer’ – my favourite. To give you an idea of their size, the Aster is just short of 2 metres. I would recommend both Miscanthus, although my ‘Beth Chatto’ is a little later in gaining size and flowering than my others.

Beyond the Oval Bed is the Moon Bed, which was mostly planted in autumn last year and added to in the spring this year. Almost all the plants were in 9 cm pots, and still managed to put on so much growth, benefitting from the damp summer.

The colour scheme is white, cream and blue, drifting into purple. The white Aster ‘Ashvi’ and the Boltonia ‘Snowbank’, along with Aster ‘Barr’s Blue’ have kept this going into November, so I am pleased they seem to have settled in so well. Looking at it now I find it hard to believe that I could barely see the woodchip mulch only a few weeks ago. White Cosmos, Cleome and Gaura filled the spaces.

This Prickly Poppy, grown from seed, has flowered for months on end.

And naturally there are several grasses in this bed too. The Pennisetum is looking lovely at the moment.

Now a brief look at The ‘Edge, where my sunflowers were in the summer. The seeds were devoured in record time by the birds (and mice?!) and the remains are now on the compost heap. But there is still a lot of colour in this bed from plants like Cornus, Physocarpus and Pyracantha ‘Orange Charmer’.

A small yellow Chrysanthemum also adds some sparkle late in the season. 😃

The Herb Bed is simply glowing with another Pennisetum and my Witch Hazel adding golden hues…

And finally the Sunshine Bed, which is very very dry due to the trees behind it, and yet the Helianthus did well and the Chrysopsis does not seem bothered even now…

November is not such a bad month after all, as long as the sun keeps popping out every now and then! Still, I am glad I have managed to get all my spring bulbs in as it is rather chilly these days.

Hope you have plenty of mild and sunny days ahead now the nights are drawing in. Happy gardening and thanks for reading!

🤗

 

In a Vase On Monday: Late Summer Colour

August was wet and cool and I spent less time in the garden than I would have liked. 🤪 But at least my sunflowers did not succumb to any of the storms or heavy rainshowers and they are still looking good! So that is what I chose for my Monday vase, as I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme.

(Look at those black clouds again!)

This heavy vase was literally stuffed with sunflowers, Tithonia, Rudbeckia, Heliopsis and grasses. There is even a sprig of fennel in there too.

The Tithonia are still going strong, despite some cool nights under 10°C.

I noticed after taking the photos that a stem of the Pennisetum had escaped. It was immediately tucked in safely, although the grasses last well without water too. I used Miscanthus Federweisser, which is just opening, and I also put my favourite Calamagrostis in – Karl Foerster.

A bonus vase this week is with Golden Rod and Himalayan Balsam. They are growing together just outside our fence, looking very innocent and rather pretty. I think they would like to come in, but they are both invasive non-natives, so I will not be encouraging them!

The Balsam has a strange soapy smell, otherwise I may have filled a vase with just them on their own.

And finally, I found that you can float sunflower heads! This is Earth Walker (I think) and it is lovely being able to see it up close like this. Some of my flowers have broken off in the wind, so I discovered this by chance when trying to preserve them. I can recommend it!

I am looking forward to a much more promising September weather-wise.

If we can believe the weather forecast. 😉

But I do also feel for all those facing stormy weather in the US as hurricane season gets underway. Wishing you all a safe week and calm weather!

🌤🌻☀️

 

The Garden in June, 2021: Part Two

June is hot this year, but the garden has benefitted from the cool Spring so it is coping pretty well. 30°C and climbing! Phew! Glad I got that mulch down in time!

The other day I posted about the Vegetable Plot, the Butterfly Bed and the Oval Bed. Today I am taking you on a tour of the remaining beds. It’s a long post, so settle down with a cool drink in the shade! 😉

So first of all the Herb Bed.

There are a few plants in there that aren’t herbal actually, but the majority is edible. 😃

This is the hottest, driest part of the garden for most of the year, and in late winter a cold wind whistles round the corner where this Geum stands… but this is its third year, so it clearly doesn’t mind!

The Lemon Balm has grown into almost a shrub this year. The silvery foliage on the right is curry plant (Helychrysum italicum).  It really does smell of curry!There are some Hypericums and Echinacea, and all the usual kitchen herbs in here: parsely, chives, thyme and oregano, sage, winter savory, dill and borage, coriander, fennel and mint.

Under the Hamamelis tree are some wild strawberries. They smell (and taste) fantastic! Last year this bed was plagued by mice.  🙃 This year we have been lucky so far…

A few ornamental sages are planted here too. This one is Salvia greggii ‘Syringa Blues’, which does in fact look more blue in real life.

One plant I can’t wait to see flower is this Moldavian Dragonhead (Dracocephalum moldavicum) grown from seed. I have no idea what to expect!

Next up, the Moon Bed.

It was tilled autumn 2020, when a few things were planted,  and then the rest of the planting took place this spring.

The bed is actually a half moon shape, and the planting is predominantly whites and blues with some silver and cream. Allium Mount Everest has already gone over, but the bees loved it while it was in flower.

Shrubs and plants include a white lupin, veronica, phlox, lavender, a dwarf Philadelphus, a white broom, Spiraea arguta, Sea Buckthorn and a pretty willow (Salix integra) called Hakuro Nishiki. The leaves are variegated with creamy white and a hint of pink. So pretty!

The ‘moon’ in the centre is a hollow rusty metal ball – a gift from my Man of Many Talents. 😃A silvery Miscanthus is planted next to it and behind it a pink Heuchera (wrongly labelled!) has crept in…

…but this bright pinky red peony was added as a fun touch; it is called Cuckoo’s Nest. And it is the cuckoo in the nest, standing out among the softer colours. It smells wonderful. I love it!

Another peony currently flowering is Jan van Leeuwen. It’s a gorgeous flower – big and blousy with a golden centre. But sadly it has no fragrance.

Several Geraniums are planted here, including the perfectly blue Mrs Kendall Clark and the strikingly white ‘White Ness’ seen here with Rozanne.

I have planted lots of annuals in between, yet to make a show… Cosmos, Cleome and Gaura (the latter is often winter hardy here but not reliably).

Let’s move on to the Sunshine Bed.

This is glorious right now with the Californian poppies, Oriental poppies and Geums lighting it up.

Sunflowers, Tithonia and then the perennial Helianthus will provide more sunshiny colour later in the summer, with some grasses in between. A yellow broom has gone over now, but here it about two weeks ago in full bloom on the right. What a lovely honey-llike scent it has. Another favourite with the bees. 😃🐝

Finally the latest bed. The ‘Edge.

Not a hedge, exactly. But almost. Hence the apostrophe. And this long curved bed marks the outer border – the edge – of the flower garden.

This is what I have been working towards from the very beginning. I knew it would be tough – it is 25 metres long! Hopefully it will eventually meet my expectations, but currently it is still looking rather sparse. The stunning Lupin in the middle has been flowering nonstop since mid-May.

Then there are grasses such as Miscanthus, Calamagrostis and Imperata, some shrubs such as a Forsythia, Cornus, Hazel and Weigelia, some ground cover like Spiraea and Heuchera, and some sunflowers and Tithonia yet to flower. This is a lovely shrub that is new to me. Physocarpus opulofolium ‘Lady in Red’.

The bed is exposed, to say the least, and will be put to the test over the next twelve months. But the soil is wonderful and the wood chippings as mulch help keep it moist.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed the tour. Thank you for joining me while I keep records of the garden developing, and have a wonderful weekend!

Happy Gardening!

 

A Week of Flowers Day Six, 27th November 2020

The idea of A Week of Flowers 2020 was to raise our spirits and brighten up these dismal grey November days. I think it has done just that, thanks to all those participating! We have seen some fabulous flowers (and bees, butterflies, etc) and I have certainly been reminded of summer days, spring sunshine and autumn foliage. So let’s continue with day six! Photos from late summer in the Sunshine Bed today…

It is not too late to join in. Just post a photo of a flower or two from your 2020 garden and leave a comment below with a link to your post.

Thank you for visiting!

 

A Walk around the November Garden

Instead of a video I thought I would take you on a walk around the garden with photos this month. It means I can focus on particular plants (and look up the names I have forgotten! 😉).

So get yourself a cup of something warming and join me on the tour. ☀️☕️🍁

First of all, a frosty morning view of the Oval Bed  with the new (unfinished) Moon Bed behind it. (More on the Moon Bed in another post). The grasses are Stipa tenuissima and Miscanthus ‘Federweisser’.

Stipa tenuissima and Miscanthus Federweisser

The Butterfly Bed is still quite pink! It is home to a wonderful pink Aster and a lovely pink Chrysanthemum – ‘Anastasia’ – that is unperturbed by rain and frost..

Let’s have a closer look…

The other side of the Butterfly Bed has been widened and I hope to make it look more interesting that side too next summer. There are already some Asters which have mostly gone over now, and Geranium Rozanne has been added to this side for summer interest. I have also planted some bulbs on this side.

Rozanne is still flowering, even after several frosts!

The sedums are turning brown, but as long as they remain standing I will not chop them down. The tall grass in the background is Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’.

Now let’s look at the Herb Bed.

A couple of the Stipa grasses have been replaced with seedlings. They do produce an awful lot of seedlings but they are very easy to remove and replant.

A surprise bloom or two on the Echinacea and Geum are providing the last splashes of colour in this bed.

Moving across to the Oval Bed now, you can see some Verbena bonariensis still standing. On the right is Miscanthus Federweisser. It really does have very silvery seedheads… the palest I have seen. It is for that reason that I planted the same one in the Moon Bed.

These are the seedheads of Echinacea ‘Green Envy’…

And a dear little Polygonum/Bistorta affinis ‘Darjeeling Red’ that has appeared in vases on and off all year. It flowers all summer, with shades varying from very pale pink to bright red, and I think the seedheads and foliage are also attractive, especially at this time of year.

The pale pink Arctanthemum arctica that I featured in a vase a few weeks ago has now gone over, but after removing the flower stalks the foliage below was surprisingly fresh and I am hoping it will remain green a bit longer.

Another Chrysanthemum (C. indicum ‘Oury’) is open in this bed too. A lovely deep pinky red. It should get a bit bushier by next year.

So if you are still with me (!) let’s have a quick look at the Sunshine Bed…

The Helianthus had to come out as they were mildewy. I shall leave the rest of the perennials standing as long as possible.

Here is a Chrysopsis still in flower…

And the lovely very late flowering Aster ericoides ‘Schneetanne’…

And finally a glimpse towards the Larch ‘Forest’ beyond the Sunshine Bed…

And looking back towards the Oval, Butterfly and Moon Beds. Eventually these will all be linked up… 😉

Thank you for joining me. I hope you enjoyed the tour. I will share some pictures of the containers in the yard soon as well.

☀️🍁☀️

Wishing you some autumn sunshine. All my photos were taken over the past week, but since Monday we are in thick fog again today with no prospect of it clearing for a few days!

Happy gardening!