It was this time last year that I summoned up courage to expose the garden to public view for the first time in the End of Month View feature hosted by Helen at Patient Gardener – follow the link to her site and find more links to enable you to drop into lots of other gardens and see what else is happening at the end of August. Thanks, Helen, for enabling this. To make more sense of how the following photographs relate to the garden as a whole, don’t forget you can have a look at a map of the garden under The Garden tab. To save uploading time I have paired several of the views but hopefully the quality is still acceptable.
Firstly, the garden immediately behind the house, and the view I have from the main kitchen windows – at this time of year the greenery wraps round the space, seemingly enclosing it and making it look perpetually lush, whatever the weather. The big lead effect pots are now all planted up with different shrubs, some with winter interest, so on the cold greyer days there should still be some colour. The galvanised tank is going to become a small water feature and the little sink will probably have some alpines – both on-going projects. The roses on the pergola are ‘Danse du Feu’ – nothing half hearted about this second flush. The second photograph shows the same view from the opposite direction, looking towards the house.
I had to smile when I looked back at last year’s EOMV and discovered that the stream was in mid overhaul with rocks all over the grass then, as it is now, although most of the rocks are just out of the picture today – the stream has been running periodically in the interim but has persisted with a water loss issue and should be my next project unless I can distract myself with an alternative before then. On taking today’s photo I realised how desperately the grass needed cutting and have since mown and trimmed as well as possible within the constraints of rocks and length of grass. There are more crocus bulbs in my pending bulb order so there needs to be some semblance of order here when they arrive and demand to be planted.
The picture on the right is the woodland, an oasis of green and calm that currently requires no attention other than to be walked through:
Although there are still gaps in the main herbaceous borders (right and left and two at the back) I can now accept that plants are settling down and filling out and perhaps even next year will look well established, although there will no doubt be a need for placement adjustment or removal of non-performers in the process. The bed on the right is fairly satisfactory, but the one on the left still needs to be dug over and enriched – there are several penstemon in there that have grown quite well but still not flowered, although perhaps they need a bit more sun? The hostas in the foreground are a recent success story and I hope to add to these – I saw a pot of tiny ones at an NGS garden recently and I particularly want to look out for similar varieties.
The clematis colonnade and the recent art installation ‘Spirit of the Garden’ are settling into their roles, and I am hopeful that more of the clematis will be in flower next year. There are at least two different clematis on every pillar and most of them were moved from different locations when the colonnade was built last year, so their lack of flowering can be forgiven, as can that of the newer acquisitions. The hardy geraniums at their feet seem to have had an unusually short flowering season, having been chosen not only for their lack of height but the length of their flowering season – apart from an odd flower I would say that none of them have been in flower during in August.
Like the woodland, the woodland edge border in the second photograph has needed no attention in recent months apart from a light trim of the Geranium phaeums. I have also tried to remember an occasional bucket of water for the rhododendrons, to encourage flowering next year after this dry summer. The new wall can just be seen at the end of the path.
Although still awaiting the addition of dahlias, the left hand hot border is managing to look reasonably vibrant, mostly due to the rudbeckia but Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’ is just having another little flush, which is always welcome. The nasturtiums have been great too, and have not succumbed to blackfly which is what I recall always seemed to happen to nasturtiums in the past. The border on the right is looking less hot now Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is over, but both borders are in sun for much of the day and this always highlights the range of greens regardless of any other colour.
A quick glimpse through the gate in the wall at the bottom of the garden shows from left to right the fruit cage, the almost tropical rain forest appearance inside the greenhouse, a veg bed transformed into a nursery bed, and the lush growth of the courgettes and squashes:
Two views of the blue & white border, the second one taken from the opposite direction, standing next to one of the entrances to the rose garden. The new wall changes the look of the area completely, and like the main herbaceous borders are beginning to fill up with more established plants. In colour now are echinops, verbena, white phlox, tradescantia and a few other oddments.
I should perhaps have taken another picture of the rose garden from a different angle as it is quite difficult to show much of it in just one picture, but the angle of the sun at the time made that awkward. Like many of the other plants in the garden, most of the roses were moved into this new location last year and I am not disappointed that they are still re-establishing. Looking back twelve months though shows just how well the lavender has done – who would have thought that those tiny finger size plug plants would have bushed out quite as much as this in barely a year? There are a few gaps, but they were planted densely enough to move some around and fill the spaces. Not so welcome is the increasing presence of yellow oxalis, which so far resists all attempts at eradication.
Maintaining a blog is such a good way of observing and keeping a record of the garden and this End of Month View makes comparison from year to year even easier. For those gardening but not yet blogging I can heartily recommend it – and interaction with other garden bloggers brings so many unexpected pleasures including friendship, support and knowledge. My garden has benefited and so have I – thanks everyone!