Tag Archives: Nasturtium Black Velvet

End of month view – November 2016

img_1914

I took these photos in Monday’s gorgeous sunshine and it’s now Friday and I’m only just getting round to posting.  Ooops.

There’s not much colour now, but the late blooming Salvias are really earning their keep and there are even a few annuals, such as the Nicotianas still blooming.img_1915

The Grass Bed is being overwhelmed with self seeded Cerinthe and Nasturtium.  The Nasturtiums need to be hauled out and binned, but I’d like to replant some of the Cerinthe elsewhere and hence at the moment I’ve left them where they are.  Funnily enough though, they haven’t stopped growing while I procrastinate, and I’m now in danger of losing the path altogether! img_1916

Near the house, the Flower Carpet roses are still pumping out new buds:img_1923

Whereas the Bronze Bed is now in dire need of sorting, with my lovely ‘Happy Single Date’ dahlias now only sad stalks.img_1924

A little clearing and planting has been done.  I’ve cleared all the dead Hosta foliage,img_1918

in the drive bed I’ve finally planted out some seedlings –  Erysimums and Digitalis and also some new Narcissus ‘Thalia’ bulbs.img_1925

And in the troughs I’ve finally chucked out the old leggy Stocks, Matthiola incana, and replanted with new ones grown from cuttings.  I’ve also planted Narcissus ‘Minnow’ here.img_1913

In the greenhouse, I’ve brought in some succulents img_1920

and tender plantsimg_1922

and also got my ‘Winter Sunshine’ Sweet Peas coming (although sadly not one of the cream ones, weird)img_1921

And the final thing in the greenhouse?  Ah yes, a large box of unplanted bulbs.  Roll on the weekend.img_1929

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

End of month view – August 2016

IMG_1546

Much is looking rather exhausted in this EoMV.  It’s been so hot and I think the OH’s watering efforts when I’m in London consist of a little vague hose waving, which we all know doesn’t really cut the watering mustard!

Having said that, the annuals are finally getting going and the roses are putting on a much appreciated second flush.  Here’s R. ‘St Swithun’ surrounding the swing.IMG_1559

In this rather bleached photo you can see (in the centre) the Diascia personata is still flowering well, and there are Salvias too, but most of the other plants have gone over.  Late season interest from Aster frikartii Monch seems to have disappeared from this bed, although there are a couple of small plants limping along in the right hand Swing Bed.IMG_1558

In the Grass Bed the annuals are finally starting to fill out after a very late planting.  Here Ammi visnaga ‘Green Mist’, Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Fizzy White’, Calendula officinalis ‘Touch of Red Buff’ and self seeded Nasturtium ‘Black Velvet’ are jostling for position.

Although I did lose some of the Cosmos along the way, it’s filled out well despite the dry conditions.IMG_1560

I don’t think the Mid Century bed is doing as well as last year.  I’m missing the bright pink Malope as well as the Rhodochiton (which I’d grown up the obelisk).  I did plant some, but again the lack of water meant they never took off.  There are a few annuals struggling along here – Antirrhinum majus nanum ‘Black Prince’ as well as Amaranthus caudatus which may yet fill out with a bit more TLC.

IMG_1562

Lucky the dahlias and roses (here D. ‘La Recoleta’ and R.’Jubilee Celebration’) are doing their thing.IMG_1563

On the other side of the garden the Bronze Bed is rather overwhelmed by the Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date’.  I think next year I might have to reduce the number of plants from three to two, or even one, to get some variation here.  I loved the hot planting at Mottistone so perhaps should add a bit of (whisper it) red!IMG_1541

In the Veg Bed the Sweet Peas (yes I know they’re not veg) are rather mildewed, and the stems definitely shorter, but they’re still pumping out wonderfully scented blooms.  In front of these is a very handsome row of Chard ‘Pink flamingo’.  Sadly however, it seems to be remaining a very handsome row, which isn’t really the point.  We somehow don’t seem that interested in eating it.  Any top tips as to how best cook it?

Even further forward is Cavolo Nero ‘Black Magic’ and Broccoli ‘Early Purple Sprouting’.  I haven’t grown either of these previously, and they too have yet to undergo the taste test. IMG_1554

In front of the Veg the Agapanthus are still clinging on.IMG_1555

Some of you may remember that in the previous couple of years I borrowed a corner of a neighbour’s garden to use as a Cutting Patch.  I decided I didn’t really have time this year, but I am missing it.  I planted a few Zinnias (this one Z. elegans ‘Luminosa)’ in these raised beds, but they too are struggling with lack of water.  Behind there are yet more Diascias grown from cuttings.  I should probably move these into the Swing Beds with the rest.IMG_1548

Into the greenhouse and the tomatoes are in full flow.  I just love walking in and smelling that wonderful tomato smell, so redolent of summer.IMG_1549

In the pots a new Aubergine for me after multiple previous failures.  These ones are long but thin (clue’s in the name – Aubergine ‘Farmer’s Long’) which I think makes it easier for them to ripen.IMG_1550

Back outside for more pots.  The one below has been fantastic this year.  I love this little Pelargonium which was bought at the local Car Boot Sale and increased by cuttings.IMG_1561

The trough by the front steps is full of plants which, despite being tender, have overwintered in situ, including Gazanias and Chocolate Cosmos.IMG_1542

Here’s another shot of last Wednesday’s Morning Glory which is thriving under the glass canopy (where last year Sweet Peas sulked and turned their toes up!)

IMG_1568

Dahlias on the barrow are looking a little unhappy, whilst the Abutilon is fineIMG_1547

Pelargonium ‘Surcouf’ has been fabulous all summer, despite a certain amount of neglect.IMG_1553

In the troughs the Cosmos are finally getting going.  I deliberately planted the shorter Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Sonata White’ as I’m always bad at supporting them and this way they don’t flop so far.  There is also Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue’ here, but they’ve struggled to bulk up and are now having to compete with the Cosmos!IMG_1556

This last shot is really an aide memoire for me – just look how the two Pelargoniums are thriving whist the Salvia (back left) Dahlia (centre) and Scabious (back) struggle.  Some things so clearly like their roots in the ground it really is cruel to deny them!

And for my final pot you’ll have to wait for Wordless Wednesday later in the day!IMG_1551

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting our EoMVs.

End of month view – yearly round up, 2014

IMG_3309 (3)

I’m following Helen at the Patient Gardener (a day late) with a rather indulgent ‘yearly round up’ in lieu of a normal ‘month end view’.

Some of these photos have been shown recently in my Plotting and Planning post (where I also included a garden plan), but whereas in that post there was often only one view of a given area, in this post, like in Helen’s, I’ve tried to include multiple views through the year.  Click on the thumbnails if you want to see larger pictures.

Firstly, the left hand swing bed.  There were a few daffodils early on (which don’t show up very well in the March shot) and these were followed by tulips in April.  Whilst I liked the bold red I found it clashed with pink tree blossom flowering at the same time, and so this year I’ve changed the colouring of the tulips for a (hopefully!) more harmonious spring.  Later in the year the Sisyrinchium were a dominant plant, but I felt too dominant and they have now been moved to the drive bed.  Later still there’s a good display from salvias and asters, but the flowers that kept going for the longest were definitely the Verbena bonariensis and the Penstemons – real stalwarts!

In the grass bed, the Stipa tenuissima is the constant, with bulbs, forget me nots and wallflowers early on, followed by alliums, fox and cubs and Verbascum chaixii album (grown from seed). These were followed later still by Nasturtium black velvet and Salvia viridis blue.  I’ve now thinned out a lot of the fox and cubs as I felt they weren’t really providing enough interest and think I’ll replace them with some annual planting for this summer.

Most of you will already have heard me bemoaning the oak bed.  It’s lovely early on, with daffodils and hellebores, but as the over-the-road-oak leafs up, the bed becomes very shaded and is a rather uninspiring group of shrubs (apart from my favourite Cercis canadensis Forest Pansy seen in purple at the bottom left in the July photo and glowing orange in October) .  My solution (for the time being) is to accept this and instead create a new bed, closer to the house, which will be out of the oak’s shadow and therefore much easier to succeed with.  Watch this space!

The shady bed, although equally shady, manages to be much more pleasing.  It doesn’t change much at all through the year but I like the  structure of the log and the foliage shapes.  (You may think I should be able to apply lessons from this bed to the oak bed, but we need height in the oak bed which the shrubs achieve in a way that, sadly, the shady bed planting wouldn’t, well certainly not instantly)

I’ve added some new bulbs to this bed for spring, and would also like to increase the range of ferns, but otherwise I think this bed will remain largely unchanged this year.

The hosta bed, which was created new in 2013, was doing fine right up until we had the house painted and there was a degree of ladder, scaffolding, and paint damage.  Ah well, makes a change from the slugs 😉

Near the hosta bed are the new raised cutting beds.  Although less shallow than ideal, they were very productive last year and I intend to repeat the idea again, but with some new annuals to play with.

The large galvanised troughs have effectively created a new, thin, bed in front of the decking. These were planted with two different Narcissus, Segovia then Minnow, as well as Allium Purple Sensation and Matthiola Incana.  And in the summer I added Cosmos Purity.

For next year I’ve topped up the Purple Sensation but am fervently hoping the narcissi will return!

My little veg patch is made up of three terraces, the lowest planted with strawberries and rhubarb, and the top one currently has some rather weedy chard.  The main bed shown here, is where I grow the bulk of my veg, this year peas, mange touts, sugar snaps, french beans, runner beans, pumpkin munchkin and courgettes, with a few soft fruits (raspberries, blackberries and tayberries) towards the back.

Other veg, along with hundreds (thousands?) of seeds and cuttings are grown in my greenhouse.

So that’s my round up, quite a lot of positives, but as always, many things to improve on.

2015 will provide a further challenge as I’ve been invited to open the garden (for the third time) for the local biennial ‘Secret Gardens’ event, where a dozen or so gardens open on the day of the village fete in June, in aid of the local hospice.

Furthermore, my daughter turns 18 in late July and is talking about having a party in the garden before school breaks up.  However, I don’t suppose a group of tipsy teenagers will prove to be quite such discerning garden visitors as the June lot!

Here’s wishing you all a happy and floriferous 2015.

 

Plotting and planning

 

IMG_5580

Prompted by Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden (and Helen, at the Patient Gardener), I too have spent a happy hour with the felt tips, creating a plan of my plot.

My starting point was a Google Earth photo which I traced and updated with the changes we’ve made since moving in just over five years ago.  What’s surprised me is just how busy the plot is with structures – some inherited, like the office and decking, but others new like the garage, the chicken shed (currently empty of chickens) the greenhouse, and the pergola with swing.  I’m surprised I’ve got any space for plants!

Unlike Cathy and Helen, I haven’t marked many plants at all, but instead thought I’d go round the garden from top right, sharing some favourite photos of each of the beds from the past year.

So, to start with, the veg bedsIMG_3852

the swing beds,

IMG_2732

IMG_2731

Grass bed (spring, summer and autumn),2013 05 009IMG_2727

IMG_5052

the left hand lavender bed,IMG_2738

the oak bed (spring and summer).  IMG_1302

IMG_3888

the melianthus major,IMG_2645

wisteria,IMG_3643

herb bed,IMG_2060 (2)

hosta bed,IMG_4622

raised cutting beds,IMG_4617

shady bed,IMG_4619

the greenhouseGreenhouse (2)

right hand med bed,IMG_3667

and the troughs.IMG_1406 (2)

So, if you’re still with me, what about the two areas shaded with red dots, described in the key as ‘Decisions’?  Well these are areas where I’m considering removing lawn to create new beds. The first, marked with hose below, looking towards the chicken shed, I was envisaging as a rose and peony bed.  I can’t see this bed from the house (due to the changes in height which I haven’t really conveyed on the plan), but it would be very obvious when looking west from the swing.  And swinging would seem more like a rose time activity than spring or autumn.

IMG_3679

The second potential bed, would be on the northern edge side of the smaller lawn.  As you can see from the oak bed photos above, the bed is good in the spring, but in the summer is less interesting, once the canopy of the over-the-road-oak is established.

The advantage of the envisaged new bed is that the oak’s shadow wouldn’t reach it and so I would have a new, sunny, south facing patch to play with.  If we eat outside, we sit under the verandah (see wisteria photo), and the new bed would be in full view of the table and allow for much more interesting summer planting than I currently achieve in the shady beds.IMG_3646

The planting I imagine here is coppery toned (as a break from all the pink in the rest of the garden), with plants like Bupleurum ‘Bronze Beauty,’ Calendula ‘Sunset buff’, Scabiosa atropurpurea `Fata Morgana’, ‘Hordeum jubatum’ and maybe a rose or two – ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ or ‘Summer Song’.

So any thoughts?  I don’t think funds will extend to both as the lawns are on very heavy clay and we’ll have to dig well down and replace with better quality soil to have any hope of success.

My preference is for the coppery bed.  The lawn here is poor anyway (in many ways I’d like the whole lawn up, but that’s another story) and it would be lovely when eating outside to have some blooms to admire, and maybe some scent too, but what do you think?

Annual round up

IMG_3379 (3)

After a weekend of leaf collecting, veg patch dismantling and (tardy) bulb planting, I thought I’d hark back to sunnier, summery times and give a review of some of the annuals I’ve grown from seed this year.

All the seeds mentioned here were from Sarah Raven, except The Aster chinensis Hulk, which I think was Thompson and Morgan.

Above and below is the gorgeous marigold, Calendula offiinalis ‘Sunset Buff’.  IMG_3378

As well as the ‘Sunset Buff’, I grew Calendula ‘Neon.’  I’ve never grown calendula before, but I have to say I love these two.

I’ve been lucky enough to grow them either in my raised cutting beds, or my borrowed neighbours’ garden, as I would struggle to fit these colours into my rather pink scheme.

With regard to their use for cutting (the main reason I was growing them), they have been good, but I’ve struggled to get very long stems and also struggled with mildew later in the season. They were only planted in March, so I’ve planted some seed this autumn, in the hope of having more established plants earlier on next year.

Another orange plant grown in my ‘borrowed’ garden has been provided by my Tithonia, Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’.  This has been incredibly prolific this year with the blooms making such a cheerful, bold statement.  I do love this plant but wonder where I’ll be able to grow it next year as it does reach quite a height and spread and, as mentioned before, orange isn’t always the easiest colour to include in a planting scheme.  I do have plans for a new orangey/bronzey themed bed, but the Tithonia would be too tall.  

A genus I’ve grown lots of before is Cosmos, but this year as well as the lovely Comos ‘Purity’, so prolific and so, well ‘pure’ (clue’s in the name…)

I also grew Cosmos ‘Psyche White’. These are very similar to ‘Purity’, but have semi double flowers, which are like a fun mutation of ‘Purity’.

As well as the whites, I grew three pinks, Cosmos ‘Dazzler’, which is quite well known but was new to me and was good, but to my mind not as good asIMG_3776 - Copy - Copy

Cosmos ‘Click Cranberries’.  These very double flower heads were fabulous, and in such a stunning pink (it look wonderful contrasted with the Tithonia).  However, one problem was that sometimes the flower heads were so heavy they didn’t stand up in the vase as well as the singles.

The last Cosmos was C. Rubenza.  I do like the rather unusual colour which fades as the plant ages to a very dusky pink, but this one is shorter than the rest and therefore impossible to get really long flowers for cutting, if that’s what you’re after.

IMG_3338 - Copy

I grew a couple of sunflowers – Helianthus ‘Valentine’ which was an attractive soft yellow and had realtively small blooms making them good for cutting.  Sadly, all my seedlings got eaten by slugs except one, so there weren’t many blooms to cut.  (I heard Sarah Raven suggest that it was as prolific as Cosmos but can’t say I found that with mine).

The second was Helianthus Claret.  I found these rather variable – you can see that the first picture shows the deep ‘wine-red’ colour I was expecting, whereas the next two don’t.  Although they were quite fun, and pretty prolific for cutting, I found it hard to put them with other blooms and didn’t particularly like just a vase of sunflowers.  I don’t think I’d grow them again.

Another plant I don’t think I’d grow again are Cleomes.  I rather like their spidery heads but I found them quite hard to arrange as cut flowers and certainly didn’t appreciate (or expect) their vicious thorns.  Ouch!

Something I would definitely grow more of are Zinnias.  They had a wonderfully productive year this year as it was warm and sunny, just how they like it, and they grow with long straight stems and last well in the vase.  I grew Zinnia ‘Genoa Mix’IMG_5362

IMG_5123

and Zinnia ‘Envy’.

Another favourite is Salvia Viridis Blue.  Although not that tall, I love the form with the wonderfully coloured flower bracts.  This is still going strong in the garden in November, as are

the Nasturtium Black Velvet.  These had a bad patch in high summer, but are flowering wonderfully now.  The stems are very short for cutting, but make lovely posies and are, of course, good picked and sprinkled on salads as they are edible.

This Malope, Malope trifida Vulcan, I hadn’t grown for years, but it did really well for me this year.  The petals have a beautiful silk like texture, which is gorgeous, but they can get easily bruised when cutting and arranging, so you do need to take extra care.

This Rudbeckia, Rudbekia ‘Cherry Brandy’ has also been great and was used in my ‘In a vase on Monday’ post on November 10th, as it was still going strong.

A couple more flowers I haven’t grown from seed since I had my allotment in London – Antirrhinum ‘White Giant

and A. ‘Liberty Crimson’

I loved arranging with both of these as they provided fabulous vertical accents.

To finish, my ‘greens’.  The first one, an annual aster, was supposed to be Aster chinensis ‘Hulk’, but goodness knows what it is instead.  I do rather like it though!

Secondly, Ammi visnaga white.  I grew this instead of the more common Ammi majus, but I think it was a mistake.   I found the flower heads were very dense and not so easy to mix with other plants.  It did look lovely in simple arrangements, for example with the white Cosmos, however.

My Amaranthus caudatus ‘Viridis’, was an absolute revelation.  Lots and lots of fresh green cutting material, with funky long (sometimes very long!) green tassels.IMG_3775

And to finish, one of my favourite blooms of any colour – Molucella laevis, or Bells of Ireland.  I just love the form of this flower and for the first time ever got good germination rates and managed to grow some pretty tall blooms.  OK, not the two foot ones you get in the florists, but then I probably wasn’t as assiduous with my staking as I should have been, and they were never going to grow that tall along the ground!

Of course the other things I grew plenty of from seed this year were sweet peas, but I think I’ve gone on long enough.  You can read about my sweet peas here.

I would love to hear about your favourite annuals.  Do you like mine?  Know better?  Tell me!

In a vase on Monday – Nose twist

IMG_5141

Whilst one of the reasons I grow nasturtiums is to add a peppery twist to a salad, what I didn’t know until today was that, according to the National Gardening Association website, the name literally means ‘Nose twist’.  Any of you who have eaten one of these flowers will immediately recognise the sensation!

Today’s vase is I think the first time this year I’ve picked Nasturtium (N. Black Velvet) for a vase. Bizarrely I think my plants are looking healthier than at any previous time this year, so all of a sudden there are ample blooms to pick.  What is not ample, however, is their stem length, so I’ve resorted to my ‘vase of many bottles’ which I use very often for shorter blooms and used before for my ‘Purple Circle’ post.

In addition to the nasturtiumIMG_5153

I also picked some of my long flowering Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’IMG_5146

and a few of my Fox and Cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca) which are continuing to threaten to take over the garden.IMG_5145

Not exactly refined, but very jolly on the kitchen table.IMG_5156

Please go to Rambling in the Garden to see what Cathy and others have in their vases this Monday.

Garden bloggers’ bloom day – October 2014

IMG_5115

So many of the plants flowering now have already been featured in previous GBBD, so I thought I’d start with one that hasn’t.  This is Clematis ‘Freckles’, flowering on the pergola together with Rosa St Swithun.  According to Crocus.co.uk it is ‘often out by Christmas and sometimes by November’.  Clearly mine doesn’t have a calendar to hand.

Other non-annuals flowering now include Aster Frikartii MonchIMG_5114

and Aster September Ruby IMG_5119

I’ve still got plenty of roses flowering, although many have been battered by the recent weather. This one was inherited and is, I think, Rosa Flower Carpet Pink.IMG_5111

These next three were also inherited, so I’m not sure of their names.IMG_5113

IMG_5107

This last one is a bit of a joke as it is clearly very red when the rest of the garden is pink.  It was accidentally chopped right down to the ground by a builder when we were having a porch extension a couple of years ago.  I decided I wasn’t too upset as it didn’t really go with anything, but clearly, to spite me, it’s bounced back and is better than ever.

I can see it from the kitchen and I grudgingly have to admit that while it doesn’t match anything in the garden, it does go nicely with the Aga!IMG_5112

I love the dusky pink colour of this potentilla – I think it’s Potentilla nepalensis,.  I have a number of these plants in the Mediterranean beds and they’re flowering beautifully now, even though the weather could hardly be described as Mediterranean.IMG_5120

These can’t really be described as blooms, but I just love the flower shapes these succulent leaves make.  These are all still in the garden at the moment but expect they’ll all have to be taken inside by next month.

And a last non-annual – this is Pelargonium sidoides.  I just love the dark, rich colour against a silvery leaf and have even started cutting it for flower arrangements as the flower stems seem to get longer and longer as the season progresses.  I really must get round to taking more cuttings.IMG_5118

And to finish, an avalanche of annuals – all I think featured before, but all still flowering their socks off, bless them!

Zinnia, Giant Dahlia Mixed (the first bloom looking rather strangely glossy in the rain)IMG_5121IMG_5123

and Zinnia EnvyIMG_5124

Two Cleomes, C. Cherry Queen and C. Violet Queen.  The colours are more different than the photo would would suggest.

Marigolds – although some have succumbed to powdery mildew, many are still going strong.IMG_5125

 Nasturtium Black Velvet.  These stopped flowering completely after the summer drought, but are flowering beautifully again now – they seem to be relishing this wet weather.IMG_5117

And to finish, my Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’.   I planted around 8-10 plants out back in June, and now have a veritable hedge, 20 ft long and 6 ft high.  Beats Leylandii any day.  IMG_5126

With thanks as ever to Carol at May Dream Gardens for hosting GBBD.

 

End of month view – July 2014

IMG_3792

Another post thrown together in haste before our departure to the States.

You may remember I avoided sharing photos of the garden in this month’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, instead showing the exuberant blooms in my cutting garden down the road.  Well I feel I should (wo)man up, and share for the end of month view.

The picture above captures the rare sight of raindrops (on the scaffolding that’s been erected for the house painting).  I have to say I’ve really struggled to cope with the almost complete lack of rain until the thunderstorms just after the middle of the month.  And as my watering has concentrated on the vegetables and the greenhouse, the flower beds have been suffering.

The left hand Swing Bed still has the St Swithun rose flowering, but the the other roses are long over.  The sweet peas are climbing enthusiastically up the pea netting at the back of the pergola, scenting the area around the swing wonderfully, and the phlox, penstemons and verbena from prior years are all fine.  However, the annuals I planted in both Swing Beds have really struggled to get established, despite my watering efforts.  Interestingly, many of the same plants (Cosmos and Cleomes) are now doing well in the cutting garden, which I think it’s more a reflection of their being planted out earlier, rather than any superior watering regime.

IMG_3854

The right hand Swing Bed shows the apple tree’s potential two apple harvest as well as a salvia, the new growth of the Euphorbia and the mirror sweet peas at the back of the bed.

IMG_3856

Meanwhile, in the Grass Bed, the Verbascum Chaixii Album I grew from seed last year have all come into flower at the back of the bed, adding a certain amount of cohesion, but the planting in front is still a terrible mess.  There are still the remains of the Allium Hair (which really should come out), as well as some Salvia viridis blue used for cutting, the Fox and Cubs (yes, they should come out too) and the Nasturtium Black Velvet.

IMG_3861

In the shady Oak Bed, whilst I’m still not happy with the overall effect, the foliage is calming on hot days and shows the planned pattern of green and purple foliage.  I particularly like the Cercis Canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ (in the foreground) which is one of the only things I’ve planted in this border, having admired it in Beth Chatto‘s garden years ago.

IMG_3888

More positiviely, the raised cutting beds have been doing well (although they had to be lifted and moved as part of the painting works and are now in a rather strange place)

IMG_3867

the Verbena bonariensis are unstoppable

IMG_3844

and the vegetables are all becoming productive (just as we go away!)

IMG_3852

French Bean ‘Cobra’IMG_3877

Runner Bean ‘Painted Lady’IMG_3875

chard,

IMG_3873

courgette

IMG_3847

and Pumpkin ‘Munchkin’IMG_3872

In the greenhouse the tomatoes are romping away

IMG_3865

and the Plumbagos by the greenhouse door are flowering beautifully,

IMG_3863And whilst there are still some good looking pots

IMG_3845IMG_3886

IMG_3869

IMG_3868IMG_3887

there is still too much chaos and still far too many plants in pots, (a legacy of over ambitious seed planting and obsessive division and cutting taking).

And as I write this I wonder how they’ll cope with a two week absence.  Fingers crossed.

IMG_3866 (2)With many thanks, as ever, to Helen at the Patient Gardener,  for hosting everyone’s End of Month views.

End of month view – June 2014

IMG_3681

Well, what a balmy June.  However, partly as a consequence of this balminess, I feel like the garden has got away from me this month.  There has been too much indulging in garden visiting (there have been others, watch this space…) and just not enough proper graft.  One thing I have spent a significant amount of time doing is watering – especially all my pots.

IMG_3664

Whilst others around the country have had some significant downpours, we’ve had nothing but the odd shower and as a consequence I’m developing arms like Popeye from carrying endless watering cans around.  Whilst we’re lucky enough to have a well (and associated complicated pump and holding tanks) the water pressure isn’t high enough to use a hose, hence the endless cans – and impressive muscles!

IMG_3660

So, having made my excuses, here we go.  The first picture is the grass bed.  I still love the Stipa tenuissima, but the rest of the bed is looking rather a mess.  The hope was that the dark nasturtium (Nasturtium Black Velvet) would pick up on the dark orange of the buds of the fox and cubs, but the latter seem to be going over, and rather than orange I have numerous tiny dandelion type seed heads, which don’t go with anything.

On a more positive note, behind the fox and cubs, but in front of the grasses, I’ve planted a whole row of the Verbascum chaixii album which I grew from seed last year.  These are just starting to flower so hopefully by next month I will have pulled out the spent fox and cubs and have some towering verbascums to admire.

IMG_3656

This is the left hand swing bed, which is looking a bit exhausted.  I haven’t pulled up the foxgloves yet in the hope that they’ll self seed, but the combination of them, the brown Nectoscordum heads and my very poorly Euphorbia wulfenii is not good.  However, hopefully some concerted effort in pulling all the above out, cutting back the geraniums (out of shot at the front of the picture), and giving some space, food, time and water to various annuals I’ve planted out recently (Cosmos Rubenza, Malope, Cleomes) as well as the existing Astrantia, Roses and Penstemons, will pull things back from the brink.

IMG_3667

The ‘Med Beds’ (ie Mediterranean) either side of the greenhouse door are looking rather better.  The Geranium and Potentilla are flowering well, the Eryngium are preparing themselves and I’ve planted out many of the Agapanthus I grew from seed.  I don’t suppose they’ll flower this year, but fingers crossed for next.  I’m also pleased with the Euphorbia mysinites (at the front), which I also grew from seed and must now be about four years old.

IMG_3654

This is the left hand Lavender Bed, the ones described as ‘bonkers’ in last month’s End of month view.   (Both lavender beds are shown in the foreground of the top photo).

Here you can see the old Allium Purple Sensation dead heads in amongst the lavender.  The colour of the lavender is picked up by the Veronicastrum behind, with a yellow flowering Euphorbia for contrast (and the ubiquitous Verbena bonariensis)

IMG_3674

The shady bed is continuing to look lush, despite the hot weather, and the inherited rose is flowering well

IMG_3675

and the hostas were also looking great, right up until the scaffolders came and planted their scaffold and ladder on them.

IMG_3666A new addition this month is my raised cutting beds which were made out of some repurposed greenhouse staging.  I’m a bit concerned as to how shallow they are, but whenever I pull up annuals at the end of the season the roots never go very deep so I hope with food and water they’ll do ok.  I’ve already cut some Amaranthus viridis, Molucella laevis as well as the Marigold, Calendula Sunset Buff, but the vast majority are still to come.

IMG_3661

Meanwhile, in the veg bed, the Diving Lady’s pool runneth over (and is being invaded by courgette leaves), but at least she now has plenty to look at:

IMG_3662

As well as three different sort of courgettes (yes, I know, too many altogether), I’ve planted French Beans (Cobra), Runner Beans (Painted Lady and Polestar), Chard Bright Lights, Cavalo Nero, Mange Tout, Sugar Snap peas and Pumpkin Munchkin.

IMG_3671I’ve finally planted out the greenhouse bed with tomatoes, cucumbers and, for the first time, Cucamelons.

IMG_3670And on the staging, second waves of beans and peas (which need to go out), various seedlings (the ones in the foreground are Abutilons) and cuttings, as well as in the grow bags some (rather diminutive) peppers and aubergines.

IMG_3643The wisteria is kindly providing a second flush, and the Oak Bed, which I always find disappointing, is actually looking rather calm in the heat of June.

IMG_3646

And to finish, the most exciting development.  After some weeks’ persuasion, the OH has finally agreed that we can lose some lawn to make another bed (see hose line below) as long as ‘he doesn’t have to dig it’.  Wish me luck!

With many thanks, as ever, to Helen at the Patient Gardener,  for hosting everyone’s End of Month views.

IMG_3679