“The best fertiliser is the gardener’s shadow” I first read at Kew – must be twenty years ago when I was working four days a week, had two children under three and a garden and an allotment to look after. As you can imagine, it struck a chord – there was never enough time, and the garden and/or allotment often suffered.
Fast forward and the shadow is still often absent, and the garden continues to suffer. Different garden and different excuse (a lovely one this time, away for the daughter’s graduation in Durham – not very handy for the Isle of Wight). We arrived home around lunch time today and everything is so parched! We did spend last weekend setting up some trickle hoses but we didn’t have them on whilst we were away.
Despite the drought (I genuinely can’t remember when we last had rain, it feels like it was May, but can’t have been!) some plants are thriving – not surprisingly often the Mediterranean plants like the Lavender above and below.
Taking you on the usual tour, you can just see, oh what a shock, the decking has still not been replaced in front of the office. To say I’m rather miffed would be a bit of an understatement, but let’s not dwell. Instead we’ll admire the Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin f. rosea) planted last year. Sadly it’s showing no sign of flowering yet, but I am enjoying the foliage.
Now that the stocks at the back have finished flowering, I’ve planted Cosmos and Pelargoniums in the the metal troughs. They are a long way from ‘filling out’ which is a shame as you can clearly see the rather ugly dripper hose we’ve laid out. Not surprisingly these troughs do get very hot and dry so hopefully the dripper will help (if we’re ever feeling flush enough to turn it on!
The Veg patch is the other place we’ve put dripper hose. This is another tricky area as the veg are largely planted amongst the huge bay trees so they’re always competing for water and we rarely have particularly good productivity from any of the plants. I’m hoping the dripper will help change that this year. We’ll see.
Like last year, I’ve planted some cutting flowers in with the veg – here you can see my very pitiful sweet peas. I live in hope they will eventually get going and I’ll get some lovely blooms, even if very late.
In the Swing Beds the pink Geraniums at the front of the beds have largely gone over, but there are still plenty of rose blooms and Penstemon.
The Grass Bed has finally been cleared of the spent forget me nots and the bed planted with Zinnias. In addition to the Zinnias are self sown Nasturtium and grasses (not Stipa, I’ve forgotten what it is. I grew it from seed years ago and now I can’t get rid of it!). The lack of water has meant they’ve struggled to get going, but I’m concerned I haven’t planted them close enough and they’ll never cover the ground in the sort of wonderful display I saw at West Dean gardens here . To be fair, the photo at West Dean was taken at the end of August, so perhaps we’ll get there.
You can see just how many of the Stipa tenuissima were lost over the winter and I’m still deciding whether I should replace them. I read recently that they do have a ‘life’ of only about five years and I’ve definitely had them longer than that, so perhaps it was inevitable and I should try something else.
I’m really enjoying the pot of poppies with the chicken. I’ve sprinkled some of the ripe seed on the Grass Bed – wouldn’t it be fabulous to have a whole bed like this next year?!
The Mid Century bed is looking a little flat now. The roses are taking a break having (I think) got too dry, and the Dahlias and annuals have not yet got going. However the lovely Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ (centre) planted last year is now looking well established.
Round to the west side of the garden takes us past the rather bleached looking Flower Carpet roses
and two newly planted pots.
The Bronze Bed is also having a lull while we wait for the Dahlias to start blooming and the roses to recover from lack of water. Lovely to see the Wisteria having a second flush though.
Looking the other way you can see the second (original) Cercis, and the shrubby planting which borders the road.
Making our way back to the greenhouse, I can show a happy conclusion to something I suddenly started worrying about when we were away. These are little Hosta seedlings, grown from seed collected from my own Hostas and planted at least two years ago. I was fretting they would have curled up and died in our absence, but no! Very dry, but not even really showing any distress
Sadly the same can’t be said for the salad and peas growing in the (shallow) raised wooden beds. They’ve looking very peaky, and some have definitely been lost.
On a more cheerful note I’m getting excited to see how the greenhouse beds will look this year. It’s a rather bold combination – you’ll have to wait for next month to see what it is!
Into the greenhouse and this is what greeted me when I opened the door – the lovely Plumbago had fallen over and was almost blocking the door. This is one of the original pair of plants bought years ago.
The second one died last year – but look, the cuttings I’d luckily taken from the original were planted up last year and are possibly looking better (certainly less leggy) than the original.
The rest of the greenhouse has now been planted up with aubergines
cucumbers and tomatoes.
So, back to the ‘gardener’s shadow’ – well, I’ve already been out watering this evening and hopefully tomorrow I can spend the whole day in the garden. Goodness knows, it’s about time!
With thanks to Helen who hosts our End of Month Views.