July’s End of Month View was thrown together well before the end of month, just before we left for the States, and as a conclusion I wrote “as I write this I wonder how they’ll cope with a two week absence. Fingers crossed.” Well sadly, the answer, despite having housesitters who were apparently watering, was very badly indeed.
We flew home overnight on the 2nd August, arriving back around lunchtime on the 3rd, but despite my sister and brother-in-law’s heroic efforts over the final few days, the damage had definitely been done. The sight that greeted me almost reduced me to tears – no veg, few flowers (certainly no sweet peas) and very sad looking pots. And whilst I know there are far bigger tragedies in the world, seeing six month’s worth of effort shrivelled up in front of me was pretty hard to bear.
Consequently, the month since then, has been spent vacillating between intensive garden recovery activities and sitting inside sulking. And if I’m honest, there has been so much of the latter that my End of Month photographing this morning resulted in me looking at things I haven’t looked at for weeks, so it’s been somewhat of an eye opener for me.
So let’s share.
The left hand Swing Bed above isn’t looking too bad now – the verbena are complete stalwarts and have been joined by the lovely Aster Frikartii Monch, of which I wish I had more. There are also salvias, nepeta and phlox, and the St Swithun rose is having a second flush. What there isn’t, is pretty much any sign of the numerous annuals I planted, or the dahlias which I thought would do a marvellous job of providing late colour. They have survived and are now, finally, in bud, but are still so short I’m not sure they’ll ever appear over the top of the plants in front. We’ll see.
The right hand Swing Bed is suffering similarly, but you can see there are some annual Cleomes towards the left of the photo, but little sign of any cosmos or the dahlias here either.
Surprisingly, the troughs have done well and I love the exuberance of the Cosmos Purity.
Opposite the troughs, I’ve cut back the verbascums in the Grass Beds, and there’s not much to see apart from the grasses. The first year we were here I planted Cosmos in this bed and they were great. I definitely need to rethink this bed next year. Nothing apart from the grasses and the bulbs early on really last long enough, so I think I need to find something that’s a better ‘doer’.
Similarly, the Shady Bed is fine, as would the Hostas be if they weren’t so painty. But the Hydrangea Petiolaris seems to have turned its toes up. To be honest it wasn’t doing very well anyway, so perhaps it’s a good excuse to plant something more exciting.
Meanwhile the veg bed had a lot to contend with. Firstly drought, but then the aftermath Hurricane Bertha, which caused a general collapse of all the bamboo structures which are now held up by strings attached to the bay tree. This makes picking somewhat of a limbo dance – now that there is finally some more veg to pick.
In the greenhouse, where there is a drip hose system fitted, things are looking far more promising
The plants at the left hand end of the photo above are Cucamelons, one of James Wong’s ‘Homegrown Revolution’ suggestions. The taste is supposed to be (funnily enough) a cross between a cucumber and a melon, however I certainly think there’s a lot more cucumber taste than melon. The plants seem to be very leafy and not particularly productive, and the fruits are only grape sized (although pretty). I’m not sure I’d grow it again.
And to finish, a view which isn’t even in my garden. This is a bed in a neighbour’s garden which I’ve commandeered for my loud orange annuals, Helianthus Claret, Tithonia and various Marigolds. They look even zingier in the evening when they catch the west light.
So that’s it. And guess what? I feel much better now and will stop sulking and get on with enjoying the rest of the gardening year.
And, having this very day delivered my son to uni, perhaps I’ll have a little more time to do it. (Although he has taken my laptop with him, which seems to be causing a few problems on the photography quality front as I battle with an older laptop with different software. Apologies!)
With many thanks, as ever, to Helen at the Patient Gardener, for hosting everyone’s End of Month views.