Tag Archives: Cercis canadensis Forest Pansy

End of month view – July 2017

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After the glory of June’s excesses, already aspects of the garden at the end of July are looking a little tired.  However, conversely, areas reliant on annuals, such as the grass bed, are just getting going.

So the usual clockwise tour takes us past the new Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin f rosea).  Still no blooms, but I’m delighted it’s making itself at home.  Please ignore the convolvulus leaf to the left.  (I promise it isn’t there now, but I made the executive decision to take the photos yesterday before the five hours of gardening, so please excuse the ‘fuzzyness’ shown in the photos – not least the unmown lawn!)

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On to the troughs and sadly these are rather contradicting my statement about the annuals getting going.  I really need to rethink what I plant here as the metal troughs, especially during this balmy summer, are just too hot for many things.  The plan here was a combination of Cosmos ‘Antiquity’, which are just about getting there, combined with Lathyrus ‘Pink Cupid’ at the front, which Sarah Raven assured me would ‘tumble happily’. However, I don’t think having roasted roots really suits the poor sweet peas and consequently it’s barely peeping over the edge!IMG_2960

In the Veg Patch and it’s really more flowers than veg – both the amazing Agapanthus and the Sweet Peas.IMG_2961

The Swing Beds are a bit chaotic, but still showing quite a lot of colour – particularly the incredibly long flowering Diascia personataIMG_2962

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The Grass Bed has filled out considerably in a month with plenty of Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Psyche White’, (and Salvia horminum ‘White Swan’ and Malope trifida ‘Alba’ out of shot) together with plenty of self sown grasses.IMG_2964

On the way round we pass this shallow metal dish which just goes to show some plants are happy with baked bottoms!IMG_2966

The Mid Century Bed now has rather mad spires of Gladioli ‘Black Star’

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which are picking up on the spring planted Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ and the Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’.img_3002.jpg

Outside the greenhouse, the pots are still looking good with the Arctotis ‘Flame’ and Thunbergia ‘Africa Sunset’, joined by Catananche caerulea for contrast.

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Into the greenhouse and looking left I can show off an astonishing array of Peppers – ‘Crystal Lemon’ and ‘Tequila’IMG_2985

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There are tomatoes in the other direction

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and what’s this?  Newly discovered on my return from London on Thursday, a wonderful new potting station made by my lovely neighbour Martin.  I can’t promise it’ll mean I’ll keep the floor clean, but it will definitely help!IMG_2991

Round the corner to the Bronze Bed, now full of colour,

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not least from wonderful Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date.’IMG_2981

And to finish – a final flourish from the Wisteria – and another blue sky!IMG_2978

 

End of Month View – April 2017

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So, it’s time to come clean – the Acacia move discussed here didn’t end happily.  And whilst I’m still glad it’s gone from the Mid Century Bed, having it (temporarily!) in the Lavender Bed made me realise that to have a third tree between the existing two would be good. Consequently I’ve come up with a new plan –  a Silk Tree, first seen at Hilliers Garden and shown here.

The variety I’ve bought is smaller than the Hilliers one,  Albizia julibrissin ‘Ombrella,’ described by Burncoose (from where I purchased it online) as “A newish variety with cherry-pink fragrant flowers and dark green ferny leaves. Flowers profusely at a young age. Grows to only 10-15 feet”.  It was described as ‘large’ (to match the price tag), but if you look carefully at the photo above, it’s the twig to the left with the labels on.  Fingers crossed I don’t kill this one!

Below you’ll see the more usual EoMV looking south east across to Bembridge.  The arching tree, a crab apple, was fabulous this year – a really deep pink which you could actually see when looking back to the house from the beach – but the blossom, like so many of the bulbs, is now almost completely over.

The photo of the Swing Beds this time last year still had plenty of tulips, but this year there weren’t as many and they’re largely finished.  I was about to write that I hadn’t planted any new ones, but just checked and I did – 80.  I think someone has been having a nibble!

One good patch of colour in the foreground is provided by the sugary, seed grown Antirrhinum majus ‘The Rose’ I was so critical of last year (and threatened to pull out), but actually, bulked up, is providing a good match for the remaining ‘Menton’ and ‘Mistress’ tulips.

The Grass Bed was also better a couple of weeks ago, but has also suffered from a critter with the munchies.  Before the forget me nots grew up I came back one weekend to find numerous bulb sized empty holes where there should have been 50 Spring Green Tulips.  Grrr.

Here’s one, you’ll have to imagine the rest!

Round to the Mid Century Bed, this does still have some tulips, and loads of self seeded Cerinthe and Euphorbia.

In the gap left by moving (er, killing) the Acacia I’ve now planted a Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’.

(I already planted one in the Oak Bed and perhaps should have gone with an evergreen such as Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’ as some of you suggested, but I’m afraid this is a total ‘mum memory’ plant from a wonderful visit we did together to Beth Chatto’s Garden, and planting it here I’ll be able to see it from the kitchen table).

The one in the Oak Bed is just coming into leaf

and possibly flower.  (It hasn’t flowered that reliably as I think the site is a little too shady. Hopefully the one in the MCB will like its surroundings better).

The bulbs in the Bronze Bed are largely over (much earlier than last year) and the Wisteria is also turning brown around the edges.  Meanwhile the Melianthus major has gone bonkers. I’ve discussed this before, but I really should cut it back, but with the garden opening in two months (aargh!), I just can’t bring myself to do it.  This autumn, though, it MUST happen!

Out on the Drive Bed the Erysimum ‘Ivory Giant’ grown from seed last year are finally making their mark and I’m hoping they’ll still be flowering when the Sisyrinchiums and Rose ‘Snow Goose’ join the party.

In the veg patch there is nothing except the moved rhubarb (looking a little ‘unsettled’ if you know what I mean) a few Broad Beans and plenty of raspberry canes which need tying in.

In the Strawberry Bed the Agapanthus are threatening to take over, potentially prompting a renaming!

Meanwhile the daughter, who spent last summer in the States working at a summer camp (and consequently was barely home for a fortnight all summer), will be around more this year and is putting in requests for more strawberry plants to fill the gap left by the rhubarb.  As that space is currently only colonised by forget me nots, I think she has a point.

Round the back of the house in a skinny north facing bed ,the Hostas are looking immaculate – so far.  I’ve used the Slug Gone wool pellets again, but last year they did seem to lose efficacy later on.  Probably I should have reapplied.

In the meantime I’ll admire the (doubtless temporary) perfection!

In the greenhouse there are hundreds of similarly perfect little seeds.  So full of hope, right up until I don’t plant them on, don’t plant them out and chuck them on the compost!

The plan is to spend this afternoon with the rain lashing down in the greenhouse fiddling with seeds.  I hope there’s something good on the radio!

Meanwhile, the Winter Sunshine Sweet Peas don’t need any attention, they can just be enjoyed.  Wish I could bottle and share their scent in a warm greenhouse on a sunny day!

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener who hosts EoMV.

Now you see it…

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…now you don’t.img_2071

So, apologies to those who told me not to move the Acacia baileyana purpurea now, but the deed is done.  And so far it’s still looking pretty perky, but time will tell.

The Acacia move is all part of the realisation that I’m already behind and it’s only February.  None of which would matter apart from two things

  1. I’m now officially full time at work (three days in London, two at home)
  2. Not only am I opening the garden for the village Secret Gardens on June 25th this year, but I’ve been persuaded to take over organisation of the event.

So now you know.

But if there’s one thing I love it’s a deadline (oh and two college deadlines this month too!) and somehow, moving the Acacia was the sort of dramatic progress I needed, even if I kill it in the process.

The next question is, what to replace it with?  When it was first planted as an interesting purple leaved ‘mound’ it looked wonderful, but as soon as it became a tree I didn’t like the way it competed with the metal obelisk.  However, that doesn’t mean the bed doesn’t need something quite large to give some structure.  As some of you know, the bed has a ‘bruised’ coloured theme and so I am seriously considering a second Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ but that wouldn’t be evergreen (or indeed ever-purple).  Perhaps I could consider a purple Phormium – there is one in the bed in front to the right of the photo, but I don’t really like them and doubt I’d ever move it.  And whilst it would work quite well with the obelisk, it would seem a strange bedfellow for the roses.

Thoughts please!

Meanwhile the Acacia has now been moved to the left hand Lavender bed and is deliberately sited between the two existing trees.img_2073

Another thing I finally did this weekend was order my seeds.  Last year I bought them on Black Friday the year before (October 2015!) which felt far too early and resulted in me going rather bonkers as a) I didn’t have plan but b) I did have a discount.  This year, ordering them in February, definitely feels too late and I’m quite sure I’ve forgotten some.  And I’m also quite sure that annuals I’m hoping will be flowering by June won’t be.

Wish me luck!

End of month view – October 2016

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It’s beginning to look a lot like… autumn.  The over the road oak’s papery leaves are just starting to fall and the autumn tints of the Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ are showing off the beautiful heart shaped leaves.

Elsewhere at this side of the garden my beautiful Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date’ has completely given up the ghost and there’s not much to admire in the Bronze Bed except the wonderful Melianthus major in the background.  In the centre you can see part of the ribbon of Carex buchananii grasses grown from seed and planted out this year.  The idea was that they would remain evergreen (ever-brown actually – my mother in law thought they’d died) and provide interest through the winter and combine well with the Hamamelis before the bulbs. It will be interesting to see if this works, or whether they do indeed just look rather dead.

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Across to the eastern end the Swing Beds are still green but really not very colourful apart from the Salvias.  As well as some late colour, after completion of my planting course last year I’d really like to introduce some better structure here.  I’d deliberately not planted anything shrubby to the back of the area immediately either side of the swing because I grew sweet peas up netting at the back for a few years.  However, they’ve never done that well and so this year I didn’t bother and think the lack of height here – particularly bearing in mind the size of the Phlomis and Elaeagnus further out – is a problem.  But what to plant?  Hmm.img_1846

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The plan for the grass bed this year was to have a froth of Cosmos and Ammi, but I planted some Calendula along the front edge to cover up the gaps until the other two got going.  So where are we now?  Er, completely overrun with self seeded Nasturtiums!  I really must dig these out as I do love the forget me nots in this bed and at this rate there won’t be any.img_1852

These two make a pretty autumnal combination, but so not the white effect I’d planned!img_1851

The Salvias are making their mark in the Mid Century Bed too, but I also like the dark AntirrhinumsA. majus nanum ‘Black Prince’ and there are still some dahlias and even roses coming.  Plenty of new Cerinthe growth too, with the odd plant actually in the bed rather than the paths!img_1854

Here’s Rosa ‘Falstaff climbing’ looking a little chewed on the obelisk.img_1853

In the Veg Beds there’s not much to see except the Kale.  I do love the look and colour of these leaves, and have even used them in arrangements, but they do give a rather cabbagey aroma which is less than ideal!img_1843

In pots there are plenty of Pelargoniums still pumping out the flowers including this beauty P. Surcouf,img_1842

and a number of succulents having a late bloomimg_1841

or just looking bonny!img_1832

The raised Cutting Beds have been pretty hopeless this year due to lack of water, so rather a shock to see the Zinnias pumping out the flowers now too.img_1837

To the right of the raised beds you can see the Shady Bed which looks much the same as always except the gradual increase in size of the Sarcococca confusa.  This is finally making its mark both in looks now and scent later in the winter.  Perhaps I’ll even allow myself to cut a few sprigs next year.img_1838

And to finish, the greenhouse.  Whilst the veg in here are coming to an endimg_1839

I’m excited at the prospect of new babies for next year – firstly cuttings in the propagatorimg_1840

but also Winter Sweet Peas, still in the packet as I type, but I can’t wait to see these again come next April!IMG_0199

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting everyone’s EoMVs.

 

End of month view – June 2016

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What with my Northumberland jaunt, last weekend’s party and working in London every week, I’ve calculated that I’ve spent only ten whole days chez Duver Diary during June (and four of those working) and, whilst certain wonderful things carry on despite my neglect (roses, lavender, self seeded this and that) I do have a definite sense of the garden getting away from me.  If you look closely in the photo below, for example, you’ll see convolvulus growing up rosebay willow herb, surrounded by a fringe of couch grass.  So please don’t!

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Taking a circuit round the garden from this point takes us first to the troughs.  These still have the very leggy Matthiola incana that I can’t bring myself to bin, but these have now been joined by seedlings of the (slightly shorter than ‘Purity’) white Cosmos, Cosmos ‘Sonata White’  and Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue.’  I’m hoping it’s going to fill out into a wall of blue and white, but it’s very early days and I do think this trough, being south facing and metal, does suffer if the weather’s warm (some chance!).  And no, I didn’t line the front panel with polysterene as you’re apparently supposed to. IMG_1105

On to the veg patch and the most obvious ‘crop’ below is the Sweet Peas, definitely not edible!  Otherwise, from front to back, I have (under fleece) Purple Sprouting Broccoli ‘Early Purple Sprouting’,  and Cavolo nero ‘Black Magic’, and then Chard ‘Pink Flamingo’, Mange tout ‘Shiraz’, Dwarf French bean ‘Safari’ and Runner Bean ‘Lady Di’.  And running along the front edge (right of photo) Courgettes ‘El Greco’ and ‘Gold Rush’.  I think these are all new varieties to me except ‘Lady Di’ and ‘Goldrush’ so it will be interesting to see how they all do – and how they all taste.

On the left, out of site, in the highest raised bed, I planted Squash ‘Sweet Dumpling’.  This bed isn’t easy, as whatever’s there has to compete with the bay trees which were there first and obviously suck out lots of water.  I thought planting upturned bottles together with each plant and watering directly to the roots should solve this problem.  I was a little worried that I only had one plastic bottle kicking about and so was going to have to go on a San Pelligrino binge, but no!  Slugs ate all but one plant, so turns out my single bottle will be sufficient…

Meanwhile, if anyone has any bright ideas as to what veg would be happy in a very dry, south facing raised bed, please let me know, because there’s plenty of space now!IMG_1106

In front of the main veg patch is a smaller bed holding strawberries and rhubarb.  I planted out some Agapanthus I’d grown from seed along the back wall last year as I thought they’d enjoy a good cook against the south facing wall.  And look – over a dozen flower heads.  So exciting!

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The Swing Beds definitely need a sort out.  Since their creation in 2011 it’s taken some time for them to fill up, but now, all of a sudden, I feel they’ve got rather unbalanced, with certain thugs taking over at the expenses of other things.  I definitely have too much of the pink geranium along the front, so I need to thin that out.  And then I also have a number of annuals I’ve grown from seed which need to be slotted in.

I live in hope that this weekend might provide time for a BIG SORT OUT, but we’ll see…IMG_1131

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The grass bed has been completely dug over and emptied (apart from the Stipa) and has also been planted with annuals.  I’ve taken inspiration for the first year we were here, when I simply planted Cosmos in this bed.  This year I’ve included Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Fizzy White’ but have added Ammi visnaga ‘Green Mist’ to the mix.  I’m hoping for a white/green froth to echo the cow parsley in the field opposite.  We’ll see.

And in the interim, I’ve planted a few marigolds I had kicking around along the front edge.IMG_1111

I have been quite busy planting up pots post the big bulb throw out, but the one below is a new one, one of a matching pair given as a gift from my sister.  The concrete post is by the old (empty) chicken shed and the metal chicken normally sits on it but, as she’s not attached, she spends most of her time blown onto the ground.  I think she looks rather more settled amongst the pelargoniums and ipomaea!IMG_1110

In the Mid Century bed the Rosa ‘Falstaff’ is getting established on the obelisk, but you might remember I had good success with Rhodochiton atrosanguineus here last year, and I have now also planted some seedlings to see if they’ll cohabit with the rose.IMG_1112

There are a couple of pleasing combinations here – Dahlia ‘La Recoleta’ together with Dianthus ‘Sooty’

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and Digitalis ‘Mertonensis’ with (rather flopped) Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration.’   (I do wish ‘Mertonensis’ was taller – I’d have it everywhere)IMG_1114

On the other side of the garden the Oak Bed has now developed into a wall of shrubbery – the Cercis in particular has really filled out this year.IMG_1128

Closer to the house the Bronze Bed, new last year, is also exhibiting a rather floppy rose – Rosa ‘Pat Austin’.  I’m sure she wasn’t this tall last year and I pruned her pretty hard.

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She may be a rather ungainly girl, but she’s certainly pretty.IMG_1127

In the greenhouse I’ve finally planted out my tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines, but I couldn’t bear to pull out the Sweet Peas as they’re still flowering really well, so the toms have been relegated to each end of the bed.  IMG_1123

There are still a few seedlings kicking around inside the greenhouse – see below a third wave of Sweet Peas – but that is nothing

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….compared to all this lot outside!  Roll on the weekend….IMG_1120

With many thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting our End of Month views.

Beth Chatto – an inspiration

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The final assignment for my ‘Plants and planting design‘ course is to design the planting for a dry garden and so, in preparation, on Saturday morning the class converged at Beth Chatto’s garden in Essex.

The area relevant for our assignment is the Gravel Garden, created in 1992 on the site of the original car park, from 0.75 acre of sand and gravel.  Here Beth has created a garden where plants are only watered when they are first planted, after that they’re on their own and, bearing in mind the rainfall here is the lowest in the country at less than 20 inches per annum, they have to be tough.

And what an inspiration!  Not only were there wonderful long views of contrasting form and texture (something I still struggle to achieve)IMG_0302

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but endless clever combinations to admire at much closer quarters.  These included many Anemone pavonina – here with spiky yukka and grasses,IMG_0307

here with NepetaIMG_0327

and here, with Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ picking up the colour of the central bosses perfectly.IMG_0310

As well as the Anemones, colour was also provided by dainty bulbs – species tulipsIMG_0306

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and Fritillaria pontica (look how the purple sage echoes the colour of the stripe).IMG_0309

I was so taken by this beautiful oxalis, O. obtusa I treated myself to one in the nursery.IMG_0344

Away from the Gravel Garden, the mood is calmer and cooler.

The Water Garden was created by damming a spring fed ditch, and the resulting ponds create the correct environment for numerous water loving plants includingIMG_0361

wonderful Gunnera tinctoria, just emerging,IMG_0355

Lysichiton americanus, right by the water’s edgeIMG_0368

and wonderful ferns.IMG_0378

There were dozens of just emerging Hostas in the shady areas, but this clump was well advanced (and immaculate!)

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As in the Gravel Garden, there were yet more close quarters combinations to admire. Here a patchwork of Pulmonaria, Forget me nots, Drumstick Primulas punctuated by emerging Digitalis foliageIMG_0366

Erythronium with (um!) shrub,IMG_0367

Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ picking up on the lovely dark blooms of the TrilliumIMG_0375

Euphorbia wulfenii with Fritillaria imperialis ‘Maxima Lutea.’  (Why have I never seen that combination together before?  And why, when I usually find Crown Imperials rather stiff and waxy, do they look so good here?)IMG_0371

and the identically coloured yet completely contrasting forms of Heuchera and Uncina rubraIMG_0352

And to finish, what’s so special about this?  It’s Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy,’ not yet in flower and now surrounded by an area under redevelopment.  However, it’s special to me as it’s the plant I remember most vividly from my one previous visit to this garden with my lovely mum in the early 1990s.

The memory stuck with me and I planted my own Cercis, chez Duver Diary, 20 years later.IMG_0376

With thanks to Beth Chatto for endless inspiration (I think I’ll remember rather more than just the one plant this time!) but also John, for being our patient and knowledgeable tutor, Helen for the lifts and last but not least, Rosy for bringing cake!