The garden is certainly taking something of a backseat this year… but there have been some changes.
The 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.
I particularly like how this background makes the flowers in the field border ‘pop’.
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…
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.
Next 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!