Catching Up

The garden is certainly taking something of a backseat this year… but there have been some changes.

Shed painted in Willow greenThe shed has had a new coat of paint – this gentle shade of green is far more pleasing than the old orange-brown, which was the best of the browns when we first put up the structure, but was a little too brash to settle in well to the landscape – hard to see in the image below with the sun shining off it.

Old shed colour vs new

Lythrum virgatum against green shedI particularly like how this background makes the flowers in the field border ‘pop’.

Revamped section of long border

The section of the long border that I denuded last year, by removing a big floppy Sedum and the overzealous Geranium x magnificum, has refilled nicely, with a few cosmos adding a pop of colour in the small remaining gaps – though the black and white cat napping beneath the Stipa arundinacea is a less permanent fixture to the border.

I’ve revamped another section of this border this year too, that hasn’t been working for me. In the area closest to the house, a clump of orange montbretia had become rather thuggish, so I spent a few afternoons digging up every trace I could find of their burrowing corms. I moved those of the more admirable Lucifer across the garden, and potted up a clump that I hoped were a golden yellow which had sprung up in the midst of their more mobile orange cousins. A few weeks later the pot flowered…

Temporarily potted yellow crocosmia

Not an orange crocosmia in sight, whew! (But those fallen leaves do look terribly autumnal, eek!)

I planted Echinacea purpurea Magnus and the pretty white mophead hydrangea, H. macrophylla ‘Madame Emile Mouillere‘ earlier in the summer in this reclaimed space, with the lovely Salvia ‘Kate Glen’, a dark leaved Heuchera and Geranium ‘Wargrave Pink’ at the front. Blue and white nigella have popped up from seeds scattered in the spring and already this area is bringing me more pleasure than its earlier incarnation.

New section of long border

Looking down the long border from the mid-vamp sectionNext year I also intend to remove the Leycesteria formosa that towers against the fence behind the hydrangea here. It is one of two planted along the back of this border from cuttings from my Mum, for quick growth and colour when we first began to establish our garden; two of these shrubs are now rather excessive in our limited planting space, so it is time to bid farewell to one. Shrubs of Viburnum opulus and Philadelphus flank this Leycesteria on either side, which should happily spread their arms out with its removal.

Leycesteria formosa flowering at back of long border

This one, a little further along behind the first re-planted area, is already doing a fine job in this border – it is a workhorse of plant, and always covered in pollinators.

Poppy seed collection

I managed to catch that single seed head of this year’s lone purple poppy, so hopefully I can repopulate the summer garden with these beauties next year.

Seedhead of Eryngium giganteum

I’ve gathered a few other seeds from around the garden, and managed to snatch a few Salvia cuttings that I hope I can coax into growth. Otherwise my gardening has been limited to just one or two weed-blitzing sessions in the past month; couch grass and bindweed are particularly determined to take hold while my back is turned!

Alpine strawberry takeover

Down at the far end of the long border, there is an unexpected takeover bid from alpine strawberry seedlings, which are beginning to subsume even the prolific Pulmonaria that abound here. I think I may need to do a little editing in this area! They do make good groundcover in this dry sunny spot at the feet of the horse chestnut and beech trees, though.

In the next few weeks my maternity leave comes to an end, leaving me with rather mixed feelings as autumn settles upon us and our beautiful boy approaches his first birthday. Rather perversely, my return to work may grant me a little more time to keep on top of these pages in the coming weeks, though I’ll miss spending all my days with our lovely son!

I do hope that this peculiar summer has been kind to your garden… and hope to catch up with some reading in due course!


12 thoughts on “Catching Up

  1. It won’t be long before your son is running around the garden helping you in the garden and you will have more time to garden and play

    • I know, time is flying so fast. He loves being outside, and is on his feet as often as possible. We just bought him his first shoes now it is too wet and cool to go barefoot, and he keeps gesturing to them to go outside and play. Yesterday he had great fun rummaging in a pot of compost, unearthing bulbs, oops, and turning over containers of rainwater :).

  2. I love the new shed colour Sara, and congratulations on saving the yellow crocosmia! Battling the bindweed sounds painfully familiar, but your garden – like mine- has survived the partial neglect and still sings out with interesting colours and combinations. Amazing, isn’t it, how quickly you have found yourself having to tweak borders as they become established. It seems like only yesterday that you were just starting out.

    All the best for the next big life change, it must be weird, contemplating returning to work and not seeing your little boy all day every day. I hope it all works well for you all.

    • Thanks Janet, there are still some horrendously grassy patches in the borders that will have to wait till next year. I am pleased with how quickly the garden has settled in since we planted it up. Still a few more plans for change next year too 🙂

      I can’t believe our almost-year together is almost up and it’s time to try and fill my head with algorithms again, if there’s still space! I rather envy my parents’ generation who could afford to run a household on one salary, ho hum. It saddens me that the pressures of work mean our boy will spend more of his waking hours out of the house than with us, but then that will be the same when he starts school and so forth, and is just the start of his independence from us – but so soon!!!

  3. I’ll be glad to see you blogging more frequently again Sarah. I always enjoy your writing. You will be returning to work soon, but I will be finishing work soon. I have decided to retire next year!

    • Thank you, Mark. I’ve missed writing too, not to mention reading, but time has been so scarce! Ooh, congratulations on retiring, I’m sure that you will find plenty to occupy you and will make the most of your newly found freedom!

  4. Hi Sara, I’d bet good money you didn’t remove every orange crocosmia corm? I know when I’ve ‘cleared’ a bed of them, a few always still pop up! Floppy sedums are a bind aren’t they? I find that a Chelsea chop keeps them tight and upright. I didn’t get round to it last year but this year, with the ‘chop, they are pretty good. Good luck with the return to work. My niece has just gone back to teaching after several months maternity and I’ve heard it’s a tough time. But as Helen says, he’ll soon be running around helping you. Or running around not helping you! Dave

    • Ha, yes indeed – I cleared out hundreds of the suckers when I first dug out this bed and they still pop up all over the place – but only in ones and twos, and not the forest that they had formed. They are rather canny, pushing up new corms on top of the old so that you have to be careful to dig up the entire string of corms to avoid them regrowing.

      I’ve been chelsea-chopping the sedums for a few years now and it definitely improves them, but I still had one too many in a prime spot in the border!

      It’s going to be really hard juggling work and childcare on minimal sleep! Still, onwards and upwards…

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