Spring Update

The sun is shining and temperatures have finally climbed into double figures. And my Spring plant orders have started arriving. What more could a gardener ask for?!

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There are lots of plants in this delivery for the new bed, yet to be prepared. But the other things that arrived yesterday went in immediately. For example, some more Echinacea and Salvia for the Oval Bed and a Veronica and white Dicentra (Lamprocapnos) for the Moon Bed. You can see the Dicentra here… tiny but very vigorous!

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I never really introduced the Moon Bed, which was prepared and planted rather late last autumn. Here it is, still looking rather bare.

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Cutting down the Miscanthus next to my ‘Moon’ in late winter made it look even sparser, but it will soon start taking off now it is warmer. Most of the plants I put in last year are peeping through the soil. It is so reassuring, and exciting too, to see them appear from nowhere!

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The barriers around two shrubs are to deter a Mummy hare from nibbling… can you see a bundle of fur in here?

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One of her babies has made a nest in some hay I put out for him. He seems to like the spot under my potting bench for daytime napping and basking in the sunshine!

The colour scheme for the Moon Bed (which is actually a half moon in shape) will be limited to blue and white, with some silvery foliage and grasses mixed in. Can’t wait to see if it works! I think it is easier to experiment when you are starting from scratch. There are some new plants in there I have never grown, including a Delphinium… not sure if it will like such an exposed position, but we will see. ๐Ÿ™ƒ

I also planted a few small herb plants in the Herb Bed yesterday: a Schizonepeta multifida (sounds a bit scary!) which is a mountain mint and looks like a dead stick still, hence no photo; a fennel plant to replace one eaten by the mice; and some Greek oregano. (Have any of you ever grown the Schizonepeta before? )

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My Rosemary sadly had to be dug out of the Herb Bed as it did not survive the winter, but I now have a lovely Witch Hazel on the other corner of the Herb Bed and after ripping out dozens of wild strawberry plants (or was it thousands? ๐Ÿ˜‰) to make room for the witch hazel I planted some cheerful Saxifrage. Albeit not the herbal kind. The witch hazel is ‘Diane’ and looks extremely boring now the flowers have gone over and the leaves haven’t started to unfurl but, for my own reference at least, here it is.

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Today the cold wind has made a comeback, so I am spending a relaxing afternoon recovering from a few aching limbs typical for gardeners at this time of year! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a great weekend everyone.

And Happy Gardening!

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My Grasses in Winter

As my regular readers will have gathered by now, I love grasses!

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I simply do not have enough of them and hope to remedy that over the next few years.ย But today I thought I would reflect on those that stand up to winter best in my garden.

 

First of all my favourite Pennisetum, on the corner of the Herb Bed.

Pennisetum alooecuroides var. viridescens

It is a bushy plant with compact growth which means the dark seedheads remain pretty stable all winter, even with a lot of snow on them. This is a windy corner too, and extremely hot and dry in summer, but the Pennisetum is completely unperturbed by wind or drought. Definitely a thumbs up for this one. ๐Ÿ‘

Miscanthus Red Chief and Adagio with Calamagrostis (Karl Foerster) in the Butterfly Bed are still looking fairly fresh and are completely intact.

The Calamagrostis thins down a little over winter making less of a statement, but remains tall and straight with virtually no flopping. Red Chief loses its pink tinge a little, but is a lovely golden brown with a touch of bronze on the seedheads.

Adagio (the smaller Miscanthus further down the bed) flops a little and is more susceptible to the snow, but again it is still a lovely golden brown. Thumbs up!

At the far end of the Butterfly Bed (far left)is Miscanthus sinensis Hermann Mรผssel…

I am afraid he hasn’t done well for two years in a row so if he doesn’t take off this summer I will move him to another spot. Not one I would chose in future.

Then we have Miscanthus ‘FederweiรŸer’ in the Moon Bed…

…and in the Oval Bed (on the left).

Wonderful! I fell in love with this plant in spring 2020 and now have two fabulous specimens. These are keepers! ๐Ÿ‘

The other Miscanthus in the Oval Bed at the front is Beth Chatto. I must say I was not that impressed in the summer, but this is a very sturdy plant with tough stems and has stood up to heavy wet snow quite well. The seedheads have lasted well too.

So, nice for winter interest but with less impact in summer.

Finally, the Erogrostis trichodes…

Despite being on the windiest corner (and getting smothered in heavy snow this winter) it still has the ability to look pretty whatever the weather. Raindrops or frost enable this little grass to stand out, making it a must for my winter garden. It adds some extra sparkle. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ (Oh, and do you see those hare pawprints in the snow in the background?!) ๐Ÿ‡

The Panicums and another Miscanthus in the Sunshine Bed have long collapsed or look very dishevelled. I love the strong background they give to this bed in summer among the Helianthus. But they offer very poor winter interest. I know from other bloggers that some Panicums stand up better than others, but I think I prefer to stick with what has already proved successful in this garden… Calamagrostis, Pennisetum and the Miscanthus I have mentioned.ย More of these will be part of my spring 2021 project.

By the way, my Stipa tenuissima have all been completely buried by the snow. I wonder how long it will take for them to stand up again when it melts….

What grasses do you grow, and do they still look good now? Any recommendations for warm and dry spots would be much appreciated!

Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ’•

 

The Yard in November 2020

Everyone has a problem area on their property don’t they? Well, in terms of planting, our problem area is our yard.

The yard is a large paved area between the house, barn and garage, and in summer it heats up immensely. In the summer months it is brightened up by geraniums (well, Pelargoniums actually). They are about the only flowers that do not wilt in the heat, and it is clear why they are such a tradition on Bavarian yards and balconies.

Here you can see some in late summer, also planted around the bamboo in the huge green pot.

But this year I tried planting up some additional pots with shrubs and plants that should also overwinter. Not easy when considering how shady the yard is in winter and that we may have temperatures constantly below zero for several weeks. In emergencies I can put a few plants in the barn for a few nights. Anyway, we will see if we get a mild winter again…

Violas are great for autumn pots, as they simply freeze in winter and return as soon as the first rays of spring sunshine warm them up. The Carex will last a couple of years in a pot and will then be planted out in the garden, as will the violas next May, and new Pelargoniums will take their place.

I also like to use small conifers in my pots. Again, they will be planted out into the garden once they get too big.

Below you will also see a red rose, some small sedum, dianthus, carex, a pale pink Potentilla and a dwarf Buddleia.

I am hoping these will all prove to be hardy enough and will come back next year.

On the other side of the barn doors is the sledge, which will have a small potted Christmas tree in it soon, and be decorated with fairy lights for some essential Advent kitsch! I may go over the top this year; with Christmas markets banned I will need some extra sparkle at home. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And here are the pots on that side of the barn too. On the left, a Hippophae rhamnoides, or Sea Buckthorn. This one is male and will not bear berries as I want it for its foliage here. It is supposedly very hardy and takes any amount of heat, wind or frost.

The next pot is Itea virginica ‘Little Henry’, another very hardy and heat tolerant plant, and it has absolutely gorgeous autumn colour.

A yellow summer Daisy is tucked in behind it, already damaged by frost but still flowering!

If the Itea and Buckthorn survive our north winds in winter they will get bigger pots next year as a reward. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

You can also see some grasses in the picture above – Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ and Hakonechloa – then another rose (The Fairy), and the wonderful burnt caramel ย of the Spiraea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’. This small shrub looks lovely when it flowers, but the autumn foliage and fresh green shoots in spring are why I chose it.

I still have a couple of summer plants left. All the pelargoniums went a couple of weeks ago but I can’t bring myself to put this pretty little purple daisy on the compost until the last flower dies.

I don’t even know its name, but it has been beautiful all summer!

And here is another summer daisy that didn’t flower until it cooled down a bit in September. It seems to like chilly and damp November days!

 

Finally I planted up one little winter pot with a new creamy white Hellebore, an erica and some wintery white violas.

I have already potted up lots of tulips which will bring extra colour to the yard in late spring.

So I am almost ready for winter now.

How about you? Are you and your garden ready for winter? Have you got any containers for winter interest? How cold can it get in your part of the world?

Thanks for visiting. And happy gardening!

 

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰).

So get yourself a cup of something warming and join me on the tour. โ˜€๏ธโ˜•๏ธ๐Ÿ

First of all, a frosty morning view of the Oval Bed ย 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… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.

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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!