End of Month View July 2011

After missing last month’s opportunity, things are looking very different two months on from my first and last retrospective at the end of May. I hadn’t quite realised just how much everything had expanded until I looked back at my last post – this meme, hosted by Helen, is such a useful way to track progress of the “bigger picture” that is not so apparent day by day.

The small isolated square of border by the fence billows with the foliage of the cosmos, atop which ride their airy pink and white flowers. The knautia macedonica continues to puncture the greenery with its crimson cushions, and the rest of the bed seems to be settling in well, the hydrangea quercifolia looking happy at the back with two cardoons putting up impressive foliage on either side.

Across the other side of the garden, the border along the field has seen an amazing transformation. I hadn’t quite realised just how much the sambucus nigra had grown until I compared pictures. The rudbeckia (R. fulgida var. speciosa) raised from seed last year and nursed through the winter in the greenhouse have also expanded, and are just about to flower beside the elder.

Neither was I aware quite how much the white leucanthemum daisies that survived in this border had expanded – despite my already having had to transplant some cosmos and ammi majus that had been swallowed up by its edges.

I absolutely love the combination of white daisies and ethereal ammi majus, punctuated with points of colour from cosmos, echinacea, lupins and larkspurs against the dark leaves of the black elder behind.

Since the end of May, we were able to expand this border further along towards the house too, and while the planting at this end is still more sparse, nonetheless it seems to be establishing well, despite the sweep of the prevailing winds across the fields.

The vegetable garden has swollen and grown too, the squash and pumpkins sprawling across their allotted space, while we have been harvesting more crops including the first fennel bulbs and French beans, dwarf and climbing.  The sweetcorn, though still small, has also begun to flower.

Another new section of border just below the raised patio and path that were completed a few weeks’ ago is beginning to settle in, with trellis added for the clematis at the back.

Behind the salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’, I added an achillea ptarmica ‘The Pearl’, that my mum bought for me at one of Jekka’s open days last weekend on their way down to visit us. This had been on my wish list since seeing it at RHS Wisley earlier in the month.

And this weekend we added a new narrow bit of border along the side of the house between the path and the field. This faces directly south, with no protection from the sun or wind, and I planted this with some of the mediterranean herbs that tolerate hot dry ground; thyme, rosemary, sage and oregano, edged with hyssop raised from seed, and interspersed with lavender and aubretia seedlings also raised from seed. At the end I added the centranthus ruber that I bought at the Crocus open day earlier in the month, and a white centranthus (‘White Cloud’) that again my mum brought me from Jekka’s open day last weekend on request. Hopefully this bed should fill up in time with colour and scent.

What changes we are seeing at the moment still! Onwards we go, and I wonder what progress we will be able to claim in another month’s time.

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12 thoughts on “End of Month View July 2011

  1. The sambucus grows like the clappers, doesn’t it? We tend to cut ours back hard a bit like buudleia. We couldn’t grow acers in the past and smabuca was a good substitute. I wish I could visit Crocus or Jekka McVicer’s. You lucky person!

    • Ah yes I am good at cutting our buddleia back hard – it’s only just coming to flower now after a very hard shaping in the spring. I love the sambucus nigra and am pleased that it is establishing, having worried that the ground may be too dry so close to the large birch tree. We are very lucky with our location, though I haven’t made it to Jekka’s yet myself, but my mum and dad were good proxy agents while I was at work! 🙂

  2. Your property has opportunities for so many different styles! Do you have a garden all round your house? (I mean, a piece of land facing every point of the compass).

    • I have had my eye on this narrow strip for a while now as a chance for something different!
      Our back garden faces east, smaller front garden faces west, and then we have this narrow strip once the old stone wall ends along the south side around the house, between us and the field. We don’t have any garden facing north, which may be a blessing! Although the back garden’s main ornamental borders are along the sides so the one on the southern boundary faces north and vice versa.

  3. How fabulous Sara, it is really taking shape. I too love the ammi, daisies, echinacea etc combo, and the Sambucus nigra is beautiful. I also really like that salvia/achillea combo – is that a non floppy achillea? Its such a transformation, you must be thrilled.

    • This morning two of the fat green poppy buds that you can just make out at the back of the daisies/ammi etc have burst into full blooms with their lovely dark purple flowers – these from the seed I saved from the poppy that appeared in the rubble last year. I shall have to post these pics soon, they thrill me, and really add to the picture wonderfully!
      The achillea ptarmica so far seems to be fairly flop-free, though reviews online are mixed as to whether to stake it or not. Shall see how it fares this year. It’s also apparently prone to mildew in hot humid weather, so I shall have to try and keep it watered through the dry spells and keep an eye on it.
      Yes I’m really pleased with our progress. We are starting to move the last heap of soil about the garden, and I did begin digging a bit more border where we had freed a little space, but time and muggy weather conspired against me yesterday.

  4. Thank you for sharing your garden, its always so interesting to see what and how others are doing. I have a Sambucas Nigra and chopped it right down to about 3ft at the beginning of this year, it now must be at least 10ft if not taller. No flowers/berries alas so will leave it so it fruits next year. – Ronnie

    • Thanks Ronnie, yes I am hoping that the Sambucus will continue to increase and hopefully flower and fruit next year, we’re glad that it is settling in here so close to the dry roots of the mature birch, which was always a worry.
      Sara

  5. It’s looking great, really filling in, you wouldn’t believe how bare some of these areas where not long ago. I love the cosmos and ammi majus, both of mine are about to flower, they are so behind after the rabbits kept munching the seedlings. Your squash and pumpkin are doing really well, again ours are pretty slow but I’m hoping they will have improved when we return from our holidays (pending the watering system working, otherwise everything will just be dead!). Bethx

    • Thanks Beth, yes it’s really surprised me how fast it’s filled in, even though that was the plan! Glad that your cosmos and ammi have made it for a late summer show. Some of our squashes are still very slow while others have finally romped away; they are all months behind last year though, we’re only just picking the first baby courgettes, almost two months later than last summer! Hope that your watering system is successful, and that you have a lovely holiday – and return to a flourishing garden.
      S xxx

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