Tag Archives: Sisyrinchium striatum

End of Month View – May 2017

The Frustrated Gardener said the other day “if a garden doesn’t look merry in May, there’s a problem” and although I’m thrilled mine has survived our recent absence (thanks to the dogsitter’s kind ministrations) it’s not ideal that it’s so merry now, as it will doubtless be looking rather exhausted by the garden opening in four weeks’ time!  Ah well, at least I can share with you.

So, this view is the Mid Century bed looking across the Lavender bed to the incredibly flowery Leptospermum beyond.  Here it is with an invasion of self seeded Valerian keeping it company.

In the right hand Lavender Bed the peonies are just about to burst

whilst in the left hand one (aside from miles of Convolvulus)  there is my ‘old’ Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ and new E. ‘Red Jep,’ lots of pinks and my little Silk Tree.

The Swing Beds are wallowing in multiple roses as well as yellow soldiers of Sisyrinchium and pink Diascia personata.

Conversely, the Grass Bed is in a sorry state, with little to entertain except tatty forget me nots and self seeded Nasturtiums and Poppies.  This is due a big clear out and will be planted with annuals, hopefully next weekend.

The Veg Patch has moved on from this picture, as I’ve now planted out runner beans and sweet peas.  I’m intending to plant further flowers for cutting here, so have only erected two sets of bamboos this year.

The fleece to the right is to protect the strawberries in the lower bed,  but we’ve now moved it off the wall as it was forcing the Agapanthus flower heads into such awkward twists I felt compelled to liberate them!

At the other end of the garden the Oak Bed has its summer foliage on, with the lovely Cercis, the Sambucus (and indeed the over-the-road-oak) in full leaf.

The Pat Austin roses in the Bronze Bed are doing their cantaloupe thing, and will hopefully soon be joined by Achillea ‘Terracotta’ with Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date’ to follow later in the summer.

I’m still planting up pots, with the troughs by far the largest.  The plan here is a trailing sweet pea ‘Cupid’s Pink’ at the front together with a shorter Cosmos ‘Antiquity’ behind, but there seems to have been a bit of a mix up with the Cosmos lables, so I could end up with any one of four different varieties.  Oops.

Other pots which have largely overwintered are looking far more established – Pelargonium ‘Surcouf,’

a bonkers bath full,

a restocked barrow

and a restrained pot.

In the greenhouse I’ve finally planted out the tomatoes and cucumbers, but just look what greeted me on my return from holiday.  Just imagine the scent!

 

 

 

End of month view – May 2016

IMG_0826

I feel like I’ve barely set foot in the garden over the last three weeks (apart from picking flowers!) and am feeling a bit overwhelmed with how behind I am.  To compound things, a number of plans don’t quite seem to have come off including the Sisyrinchiums above. Some of you may remember the Sisyrinchium saga where I got fed up with Sisyrinchium striatum taking over the Swing Beds and so I pulled them out at the end of 2014.  I then went to Mottistone Gardens, thought they looked lovely (see photo below from June 2015) and put them back in.  Sure enough enough, I’m now cross with them again.  I swear I placed them through the beds and so how have they ended up in a great big clump at the front?  And shall I pull them out again?  Sigh.

IMG_7677

Secondly, at the back of the beds I planted some Gladioulus communis subsp. byzantinus from Sarah Raven last autumn, in an attempt to provide some colour after the tulips. I should have planted them through the bed, but even so, they haven’t turned out as I expected.    IMG_0827

New gladiolusIMG_0829

and existing – taller, a better colour and a bigger bloom.  Why couldn’t I have had more of these?  I feel an email coming on.

IMG_0843

And a final moan, in the Mid Century Bed, which is supposed to have ‘bruised’ colours, look at the foxglove.  Ah well, it looks good with the rose.

IMG_0825

Right, enough moaning.  One thing I am chuffed with in this bed is this Lysmachia atropupurea I grew from seed last year.  There are at least two (there may be others smothered by Cerinthe) and they’re only small so far, but end up quite shrubby and are apparently good for cutting.  IMG_0835

The right hand Lavender Bed is starting to fill out, with some Peonies just coming into bud.IMG_0822

The Bronze Bed, as feared, is overwhelmed with dying bulb foliage, but I’m prepared to wait a little longer before cutting back if it means they’ll return next year.

The Rose, Rosa ‘Pat Austin’ and Icelandic poppies are already making an impact and will soon be joined by Scabious, Nasturtium and Achillea.

IMG_0845

The woolly slug deterrent was partially successful in the Hosta Bed, but there have definitely been a few nibbles.IMG_0842

In the Veg Bed I have planted out a few more beans, but there’s still a lot more to get in, and some of the Courgettes have been attacked to the point where I’m not sure they’ll pull through.  Ah well, I probably had too many anyway!IMG_0831

Excitingly, the Agapanthus I grew from seed and planted out at the back of the Strawberry Bed, have now got multiple buds.

IMG_0832

Many pots are starting to romp away, but there are also plenty yet to be planted up.  This one, planted last year with Pelargonium ‘Surcouf’ and Clematis ‘Princess Di’ has suddenly taken off.

IMG_0836

And in the greenhouse, well, there are lots of plants that should be in the garden.  Maybe next weekend!IMG_0838

IMG_0840

IMG_0837

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

In a vase on Monday – more golf flowers

IMG_0815

Another golfing event – the Captain’s Dinner – led to another request for flowers.  I have to say a couple of weeks ago I was less than enthusiastic as, to my eyes, the garden was full of dying bulb foliage and not much else, but things have definitely moved on, and in the end there was plenty to choose from.

I only needed to prepare eight table decorations, plus one larger one, so the pressure was off compared to the original set of 20 in October .  The first plant I have copious amounts of currently is Cerinthe purpurescens.  This has self seeded everywhere to the extent that cutting for the arrangements was actually beneficial to clear it away from paths and grass.

For the purple arrangements I started with the Cerinthe and added purple sweet peas (still the Winter Sunshine ones from the greenhouse), Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ and a few springs of lavender.IMG_0816

The pink arrangements contained Madame Gregoire Staechelin roses,  Euphorbia, Erysimum, Daucus Carota ‘Black Knight’ and a sweet pea that has self seeded in a large trough containing an Olive tree.  I think this is Lathyrus tingitanus which I grew two years ago in the greenhouse.  Quite how it’s found its way outside I have no idea, but I love the tendrils and its delightful colouring.  Sadly it has no scent.IMG_0817

The white and green contained more Euphorbia, as well as Matthiola incana, white Winter Sunshine Sweet Peas and a couple of Calendula buds.IMG_0818

And the carnival pink and orange pair had more Cerinthe, Geum ‘Totally Tangerine,’ buds of Rosa ‘Pat Austin’ and Pelargonium ‘Surcouf’IMG_0819

As well as the table decorations I threw together a larger arrangement which was designed around anything I could find that had some stem length.  The foliage was bronze fennel and black cow parsley (both of which seemed to be inclined to droop), with Euphorbia, larger heads of Daucus Carota,  Nectoscordum siculum, Allium ‘Purple Sensation’, Sisyrinchium striatum and Rosa ‘Snow Goose’.IMG_0808

With many thanks to Cathy for hosting this lovely meme.  Why don’t you see what others have in their vases this Bank Holiday?  Now I must get in the garden!

End of month view – February 2016

IMG_0031

Welcome to a sunny End of Month View!  Last month’s EoMV, I note was sunny too, but frankly there’s been precious little in between.  The lawn is still soggy, and although it has been cut once during the month, it’s only marginally less field like.

The Swing Beds are much the same as last month just with some more bulb foliage, as well as plenty of Sisyrinchium striatum leaves.  Long standing readers may remember these beds got rather overwhelmed with Sisyrinchium, so I dug them out, only to go on a visit to Mottistone Manor last summer and really admire them there, so I moved a whole lot back.  Fickle?  Moi?

The Grass Bed is also similar to last month, but here, as well as bulb foliage, there are plenty of forget me nots, some of which are just starting to flower.IMG_0005

There’s nothing in the Veg Bed for the Diving Lady to admire currently, but she does have a new pool.  Last year’s rather purple Iris reticulata ‘Blue Note’ has been replaced with Iris histrioides ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley.’

IMG_0003

In the shady bed the Hellebores are still the highlightIMG_0025

particularly this lovely dark one.

Just behind it is a Sarcococca confusa which has finally got big enough for the scent to be apparent without having to scrabble around sniffing at kneecap height!IMG_0026

At the other side of the garden, this Hamamelis, H. ‘Arnold’s Promise,’ is finally (after about six years) starting to make a statement,IMG_0013

whilst in the Bronze Bed, H. Aphrodite is a little less shy than she was a couple of weeks ago.

The idea was that the colour of the Hamamelis blooms would be picked up by the trumpet of the Narcissus ‘Cragford’.  Well sort of!IMG_0012

IMG_0033

Along the boundary with next door, is this inherited grass, absolutely glowing in the low light.  It’s really time for a cut back, but I’ll for a while longer.  Any clues what it is?  I’m thinking maybe Miscanthus?

IMG_0018

There are plenty of pots around including this new one planted up by the front door.  For once I’ve got the Crocuses past the mice.IMG_0036

And meanwhile in the greenhouse, I’ve finally planted out my ‘Owl’s Acre’ supposedly early flowering ‘Winter Sunshine’ Sweet Peas.  I don’t quite see them flowering in March, as suggested on their website, but I think I have to take a lot of the blame for that.

IMG_0024

Elsewhere in the greenhouse, I’ve finally started planting seedsIMG_0021IMG_0020

as well as pricking out autumn sown seeds – this time Rhodochiton atrosanguineus, which I’m hoping to have growing up the obelisk again this year.IMG_0023

And to finish, a bucket full of N. ‘Tete a tete’ – so cheery!IMG_0019

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting all out EoMV.

Mottistone return

IMG_7677

Last year’s visit to Mottistone was on Mother’s Day in March, but for my return this year I went on my birthday, in mid June, and of course it looked very different.

The garden is not large by National Trust standards, around six acres, but has a number of different areas to explore, each with its own ‘feel’.

The first thing I noticed about the herbaceous borders (above) were the plentiful Sisyrinchiums looking really rather impressive (and rather making me regret that I’ve dug out an awful lot of mine!)

IMG_7698

Below is a photo of the same beds but looking the other way, back towards the beautiful Elizabethan Manor House.  Some of you may remember that Benedict Cumberbatch got married in the local church here earlier in the year and had his wedding reception at Mottistone Manor.  Rumour has it his wife, Sophie Hunter, is related to the family now living at the Manor as tenants of the National Trust.IMG_7696

IMG_7697

The garden has been created in a sheltered south facing valley and as a consequence is on numerous different levels.  Below you can see the small orchard towards the top of the garden, with a view south to the Manor buildings, with the English Channel channel beyond.IMG_7682

Whilst many areas are reached by sloping lawns, I just love these steps with their froth of Erigeron karvinskianus.IMG_7673

Either side of the steps are some hotter borders.IMG_7678

where I admired the bold and striking combination of diascia with the Arctotis (I think)  Flame.IMG_7671

Back towards the barn and the entrance was this cool blue border, looking fabulous backed by the magnificent hedge.IMG_7668

To the right of the entrance is a flat area which could well be a croquet lawn.  There were more Sisyrinchiums here, as well as this magnificent tree fern.

IMG_7666

IMG_7662

It was a lovely visit in perfect weather, AND there was cake – a proper birthday treat!

End of month view – January 2015

IMG_5916

A rather sorry end of month view, but then it is January so perhaps I shouldn’t fret.

The old tin bath above was new (in a second hand sort of way) towards the end of last summer. I painted it to match the house and initially filled it with a bit of a quirky mix, including a number of Aeoniums and some Diascia which provided a jolly show to greet those arriving up the steps at the front of the house.

For the winter, I’ve changed its look to a dark red and silver combination of Cyclamen, pansies, Cineraria and Euphorbia mysinites.  Unfortunately I hadn’t read the crucial advice for winter containers, which is to cram in the planting from the word go as the plants won’t really grow and spread in winter as they do in summer.  Consequently my pot is a little sparse, but still, it provides welcome colour at this time of year.

The rest of the garden looks a lot like it’s ‘resting’.

The Drive Bed, below, has a few hellebores (worryingly I think fewer than last year) as well as one of the two Garrya Elliptica.  The strap like leaves are the Sisyrinchium striatum I moved from the Swing Beds in the autumn, the idea being that their flowers should match with the pale yellow flowers of the climbing rose ‘Snow Goose’, later in the year.IMG_5917

The right hand Lavender Bed is not showing much apart from the Phormium, Euphorbia and clipped LavenderIMG_5921

whilst the left hand Lavender bed is a little fuller with Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve‘, Anisodontea and a low conifer (front left) which I’ve forgotten the name of.IMG_5920

The view of the Grass Bed is rather disturbed by all the workmen’s kit.  Whilst the grasses are still looking good, the rest of the bed is pretty empty apart from the Forget me knots.  The numerous spring bulbs are still to raise their heads.IMG_5923

I had a little tidy of the two Med Beds in front of the greenhouse, and cleared away many leaves which had blown into the bed.  The two most obvious plants here are the Euphorbia mysinites (front left) and Agapanthus plants which I planted out last year and were grown from seed two years earlier.  I don’t know whether the Agapanthus will flower this year but I live in hope.IMG_5938

The picture of the two Swing Beds shows the Salvia and Phlomis italica dominating the foreground.  Both need cutting back so they don’t get too leggy this year.

IMG_5927

The photo below is of the Oak Bed, which spends most of the year shaded by the Over-the-road-Oak.  There are a lot of Spring bulbs to come in this bed which take advantage of the better light before the Oak gets its full canopy.  And there are already a number of Hellebores flowering towards the front of the bed.

The Viburnum Tinus is rather overwhelming here and also needs to be cut back.IMG_5913

And to finish, a little more colour.  Sadly this isn’t in my garden, rather in my neighbour’s, but it’s their lovely Mimosa, flowering bravely in the January chill.

IMG_5915

 

With thanks as ever to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting this End of Month meme,

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?