Tag Archives: Plumbago

End of month view – June 2018

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“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.
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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.

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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!DSC01073

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.

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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.DSC01077

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.  

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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.DSC01080

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?!

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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.DSC01082

Round to the west side of the garden takes us past the rather bleached looking Flower Carpet roses

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and two newly planted pots.DSC01069

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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.DSC01067

Looking the other way you can see the second (original) Cercis, and the shrubby planting which borders the road.DSC01068

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

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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.DSC01092

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!DSC01085

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.

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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.

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The rest of the greenhouse has now been planted up with aubergines

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cucumbers and tomatoes.DSC01089

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.

 

End of month view – August 2017

Well it’s all gone to hell in a hand basket – end of month view four days late – hopeless. And the photos, taken last weekend when I’d nearly run out of light, are hopeless too!  Ah well, as mentioned before, I find these monthly views handy for me, so think I’ll still take you for a spin.

The Mid Century bed above is looking appropriately ‘bruised’ and the ‘gladdies’ continue to make their presence felt whether I like it or not – and I still can’t make up my mind!

The troughs have been a bit of a disaster this year – the Cosmos Antiquity never really got going, so I’ve allowed the enormous self seeded shoo fly plant (Nicandra physaloides) free rein as there’s not much else going on.  The trailing sweet peas ‘Pink Cupid’ really didn’t like the heat of the metal trough – I suppose not surprisingly – and pretty much all curled up and died.  I’d like to try them somewhere else next year, but worry that with any pot I’ve have a similar problem, and yet if not in a pot how do they trail?IMG_3075

The Veg patch is showing off some rather more successful sweet peas than the ‘Pink Cupids’ but these too have suffered from lack of water.  I’ve definitely had far more blooms from the greenhouse ones this year.

As well as the blooms I’ve had the usual broad beans, runner beans and courgettes but had a terrible time germinating french beans and sugar snaps this year and so haven’t had any.

I am growing Sarah Raven’s flower sprouts or ‘Kalettes’ for the first time this year which are a cross between Brussels sprouts and kale and have ‘baby’ kale in the  place where you’d expect the Brussels to be.  I haven’t harvested any yet and at the moment the plants don’t even seem to be showing much sign the kalettes will appear.  I have just checked the SR website and it suggests I should be harvesting from September to November, so hopefully there’s still time…

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The Swing Beds still have a reasonable amount of interest with the VerbenaPenstemons, Salvia and Asters as well as the incredibly long flowering Diascia personata.IMG_3067

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I shared the view over the Grass Bed as last week’s Wordless Wednesday.  It really was a glorious day and the Cosmos ‘Psyche White’ have been great this year.

The Perlagonium ‘Surcouf’ continues to smother both pots, and increasingly the trellis behind, to the extent where I wonder whether at some state I’ll move the Clematis out altogether and concentrate on just getting the Pelagonium to climb.

Poor (Clematis) Princess Di (as it is she) seems to be as unhappy in my pots as she was in later life, but that’s a whole other subject…..IMG_3065

Another couple of really successful pots have been the pair by the greenhouse doors. These were another Sarah Raven suggestion and have been truly spectacular this year – Thunbergia ‘African Sunset’ with Arctotis ‘Flame’.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to overwinter the Arctotis and even make some more by taking cuttings, but I’ll have to start again with the Thunbergia as it is annual.

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In the Greenhouse Beds I’ve had a clear out of the Nasturtiums as I’m hoping to expose some soil so the Poppies will seed.  I’ve also planted out some Aster Frikartii ‘Monch’ (some of which were grown as cuttings, and some bought months ago).  The idea was to increase the number in the Swing Beds, but they’re currently so rammed with plants I was worried the Asters wouldn’t get established, so thought they’d be better where I can keep an eye on them.  Even if I decide to move them later, I’m sure they’ll be happier having finally got their ‘feet’ in the soil.IMG_3062

At the other side of the garden, the Dahlias and Roses are still pumping out blooms in the Bronze Bed. IMG_3056

By the long table there have been a couple of late Wisteria blooms – but these aren’t them. These are Dolichos Lablab ‘Ruby Moon’ which I had growing in the pots by the front door which have self seeded in a pot I’m growing a Clematis in.  The Clematis is taking its time to get going so these have been a lovely surprise.   Goodness knows how they got here!IMG_3059

Into the greenhouse and I’m delighted the Plumbago has bounced back from near drought induced death to be spectacularly floriferous again.

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And to finish, Aubergine ‘Slim Jim’.  He’s a good looking lad, but I haven’t tasted him yet!

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Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – September 2016

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Over a week late with GBBD, but I still wanted to post as a record for me.  (I’m not sure having my daughter home is conducive to blogging!)

Whilst the raised cutting beds have been pretty hopeless this year due to lack of water,  the Zinnia above Z. elegans ‘Luminosa’ is doing well, whilst these Diascia personata, grown from cuttings last year, are going mad.  I mean to move them into the Swing Beds, but life keeps getting in the way.img_1585

In the Swing Beds the Nicotiana mutablis are starting to get going, but were definitely planted out too late to make the impact I was after.img_1597

They’ve been joined by Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Blue Cockade’, also grown from seed, shown here with Aster frikartii Monch. img_1601

Further blue is provided by the lovely Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Heavenly Blue’. Apparently this can be propagated by cuttings, so I really should try to make some more as I love it.img_1600

Elsewhere there are still roses going strong – R. Flower Carpet Pink,img_1582

R. Jubilee Celebrationimg_1618

and R. Munstead Wood.img_1614

Joining the rose above in the Mid Century Bed are Antirrhinum majus nanum ‘Black Prince’ (not looking very black to me!)img_1610

Amaranthus caudatusimg_1615

and Dahlia ‘La Recoleta’.img_1613

Whilst the Grass Bed was supposed to be taken over by Ammi visnaga ‘Green Mist’ and this lovely Cosmos, C. bipinnatus ‘Fizzy White’img_1603

instead it’s been rather overwhelmed by self seeded Nasturtiumsimg_1606

and this grass, which I’m sure I originally grew from seed a couple of years ago, but now can’t remember the name of.  Help!img_1608

In the veg bed, this Lathyrus ‘Heathcliff’ must be one of the very last Sweet Peas.img_1592

In the greenhouse, the Plumbago is still flowering wellimg_1588

and has been joined by the Mandevilla Sundaville Pink.  Some of you might remember these rather gaudy plants were bought at Hampton Court Flower Show to go in pots with the wonderful Pelargonium Surcouf, but I couldn’t bear to plant them together as they weren’t quite the same pink.  Consequently, they’ve been left in the greenhouse, repotted twice, and are absolutely thriving.  Shame I’m now not sure I actually like them!img_1587

To finish this cheeky orange Diascia.  I bought this as a plug plant months ago and it’s in a pot by the front door and has been in almost constant flower ever since.  Gotta love a bit of bedding!img_1628

With thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts everyone’s GBBD (on the, er, 15th of the month!)

In a vase on Monday – return of blooms on a desk

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I’ve been taking flowers to work again for weeks now but I thought I’d share this one from last week as it was a bit different.

Firstly, I’d picked Plumbago for the first time, and actually it lasted very well.  This was joined by Scabious ‘Fata Morgana’.  I grew this from seed for the first time last year and planted it in the Bronze Bed expecting it to be quite peachy.  As it is it’s rarely more than cream which was disappointing in the bed, photo 2

but worked with the Sweet Pea Lathyrus ‘Jilly’photo 4 (1)

To these I added Salvia horminum ‘White Swan’.  I was prompted to grow these after the success of S. horminum ‘Oxford Blue’ last year.  I love the green veining which makes it looks so fresh.  However, the truth is these blooms were picked directly from the seed tray where they were still languishing, and when I returned home last Thursday they were looking a bit peaky and I still haven’t planted them out in the ground!  I’ve given them a good soak this evening and hopefully they’ll last the week and I can dream up somewhere to plant them next weekend…photo 3 (1)

With thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who hosts this lovely meme.

Greenhouse Review – mid June 2015

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Like Julie at Peonies and Posies who hosts this meme, things have calmed down in the greenhouse this month.  The vast majority of seedlings have been turfed out to fend for the themselves (and we’ll gloss over the fact that many haven’t actually travelled very far from the greenhouse, are in an unruly array just outside the door…)

At the back of the greenhouse I have sweet peas for the first time.  Firstly Lathyrus tingitanus,

IMG_7705in my view, one of the prettiest flowers, but sadly no scent, so in addition I’ve planted Lathyrus Juliet, which is just starting to flower, and smells gorgeous.  Hopefully I’ll manage to grab the odd moment to sit at the table and enjoy them both.

On either side of the sweet peas are bamboo supports with a variety of tomatoes – this year, ‘Sungold’, ‘Gardener’s Delight’, ‘Black Cherry’, ‘Country Taste’, ‘Ferline’ and ‘Green Zebra’.  All were new to me this year except ‘Sungold’, which is a firm favourite.  And all grown from seed (all seed from Chilterns except ‘Green Zebra’ which was from Sarah Raven).  In addition to the tomatoes I have mini cucumbers ‘La Diva’ as well as Melon ‘Sweetheart’.  I’ve only tried melon once before and it was a disaster, but according to Chilterns, ‘Sweetheart’ is a “very early Charentais type melon, arguably the variety best suited to our irregular climate, more tolerant of cooler temperatures and quicker to mature”.  We’ll see.

I’ve also planted a few clusters of Basil seedlings along the front edge.IMG_7703

To the left of the door I’ve now planted up a number of pots.  Last year the plants in this area were just in grow bags, but they didn’t seem to do very well, and, as I’d used these pots before and so had them available, I thought I’d go back to them.

In the pots I have Aubergine ‘Kaberi’, Pepper ‘Marconi Rosso’ and Pepper ‘Padron’.

IMG_7702In addition, the OH went to the local boot fair last weekend and bought some more Aubergines, which are now luxuriating in this rather magnificent pot, standing about 80cm tall.  I will of course be furious if his do better than mine!IMG_7704

On the right hand side of the door I have the area with the heated propagation mat, but this has now been turned off.  Here I’ve planted a number of biennials and perennials for next year.  I’m not sure they really want to be inside, but I do find I can keep a much better eye on them here, and so I’ll see how they get on.  I could move them out to the cold frame, but plants there do tend to suffer from a degree of neglect which, if they were children or animals, would get me into serious trouble.IMG_7707

And the final area, also to the right of the door, is my ‘potting’ area.  This is still cluttered with numerous tender plants grown as cuttings and still seeking their place in the world/garden.  Amongst other things, there are some Dahlias (Roxy), Pelargoniums, (including the lovely ‘Sidoides’), and  Sedum (looking much better than the mother plant which has been badly chewed outside)IMG_7708

And, right by the door, one of a pair of Plumbago plants.  I just love this plant and do so hope it will be flowering by the garden opening on the 28th of this month.

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With thanks as ever to Julie for hosting.  Why don’t you go and see what she’s been up to in her TWO greenhouses!

Garden bloggers’ Bloom Day – December 2014

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If you look hard enough there are still quite a number of blooms blooming in the garden. Some, including the geranium above, more unexpected than others.

I certainly wouldn’t have expected this number of roses in December, but they are the exceptions –IMG_5569IMG_5547IMG_5549

In other garden beds there are still Asters (A. frikartii Monch)IMG_5562 PenstemonIMG_5561

SalviaIMG_5560

Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’IMG_5571

Verbena bonariensisIMG_5572

Bergenia IMG_5544

Viburnum tinusIMG_5546

Rosmarinus prostratusIMG_5541

and Leptospermum, featured in last Monday’s vase.IMG_5573

And in pots, Echeveria,IMG_5543

Cyclamen IMG_5539

and Correa backhouseana.IMG_5551

And in the greenhouse, plants that really should know better by now, Geranium,IMG_5558

PlumbagoIMG_5557

and beautiful Zaluzianskya ovata, Night Phlox.IMG_5555

Please join Carol at May Dream Gardens to see what others have blooming in their gardens at this time of year.

Garden bloggers’ bloom day – September 2014

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Like last month I’ve used GBBD as an excuse to use my macro lens to get up close with my blooms, starting with Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ above.  The blooms are so amazingly fresh for so late in the year – verging on the virginal!

With similar shaped flowers I still have multiple varieties of Cosmos flowering:

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Click CranberriesIMG_4759

and RubenzaIMG_4729

A rather more complicated daisy flower is provided by my Zinnia ‘Giant dahlia mixed’,  It’s been a great year for Zinnias – they’ve loved the sun and heat and have been one of the few flowers to have coped with the lack of water.  And they’re just so jolly!IMG_4709

To round up some of the other annuals I’ve grown from seed this year – a couple of Cleomes IMG_4761

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Molucella laevisIMG_4762

Helianthus ‘Claret’IMG_4755

Salvia viridis ‘Blue’ (here with the increasingly invasive ‘Fox and Cubs’, Pilosella aurantiaca)IMG_4739

And a new one this year, Nicotiana ‘Black Knight’.

For some reason I don’t do that well with tobacco plants.  Whilst I’ve been successful with Sylvestris in the past, I always have difficulty with ‘Lime Green’ (which I love for cutting, so I keep trying) and didn’t have success with Mutablis when I tried it last year.  Conversely this one, which I’m really not sure about, seems to be doing ok.  Such is gardening….IMG_4772

Next a couple of shrubs flowering now – Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Heavenly Blue’, which looks lovely at this time of year with the similar coloured Asters.IMG_4735

and Anisodontea capensis.IMG_4749

And to finish, some rather more exotic blooms.  Firstly my Glory Lily, Gloriosa superba ‘Rothschildiana’.  This lives all year in the (unheated) greenhouse.IMG_4774

Next my Plumbago, which for the first time this summer I’ve brought outside and seems to be thriving, but I’ll obviously have to move it back to the greenhouse fairly soon.

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And lastly, an inherited shrub that’s planted outside, and has survived snow and frosts and yet looks very exotic.  Firstly the buds and then the flowers.  Do you think it’s some sort of Grevillea?  The leaves seem a little big for a Grevillea (they’re about 5cm long and 1.5cm wide).  But whatever it is I love it!IMG_4779

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

End of month view – July 2014

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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the Verbena bonariensis are unstoppable

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

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French Bean ‘Cobra’IMG_3877

Runner Bean ‘Painted Lady’IMG_3875

chard,

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courgette

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and Pumpkin ‘Munchkin’IMG_3872

In the greenhouse the tomatoes are romping away

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and the Plumbagos by the greenhouse door are flowering beautifully,

IMG_3863And whilst there are still some good looking pots

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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.