Tag Archives: Verbascum chaixii album

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – July 2017

Plenty of Dahlias providing fabulous spikes and pom poms and now joined by numerous annuals in their stride, including nasturtiums,

marigolds – Calendula ‘Pink Surprise’ (with the surprise being how very un-pink!)IMG_2903

and outdoor sweet peas, including the bicoloured ‘Prince Edward’.

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In the Veg Patch, as well as the sweet peas, I’m growing Panicum ‘Frosted Explosion’ for the first time.IMG_2923

Meanwhile the Grass Bed has been turned into a daisy bed by the addition of Cosmos ‘Psyche White’IMG_2931

Erigeron ‘Sommerneuschnee,’ larger flowered (about an inch in diameter) and taller thanIMG_2934

 Erigeron karvinskianus
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These have been joined by the spires of Verbascum chaixii ‘album’ and Salvia horminum ‘White Swan’.

More white (and blue) from the Agapanthus lining the back of the Strawberry Bed, back bigger and better this year.IMG_2926

Two Penstemons in the Swing Bed, the first a cutting from my sister’s garden, P.  ‘Stapleford Gem’ and the second inherited and unnamed.

More lilac/blue in this Scabious – a bit of a mystery plant!  I think it’s one I grew from seed last year – Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Blue Cockade.’  It did nothing last year, but this year, to my surprise, a number of plants have appeared.  However, whilst the flowers are lovely, the plants are tall (approaching a metre) and have flopped all over the place and need staking.

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Lastly, in the Bronze Bed this Echincea – ‘Summer Cocktail’.  Don’t mind if I do!IMG_2954

Belatedly joining Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts everyone’s GBBD.

End of Month View – July 2015

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Oh dear, two day’s late for EOMV, but on a positive note, a whole new perspective.

The photo above was taken from the roof of the building we call the ‘office’ (because that’s what the previous owners used it for).IMG_8041

Having now completed my two new beds I’m looking for a project, and my latest dream (partly inspired by sipping cocktails last weekend with my now 18 year old daughter on the rooftop Sky Lounge of the Amsterdam Hilton), is the idea of a roof terrace on top of the office.

The views over Bembridge Harbour are much better than elsewhere in the garden as the height allows you to see over the trees, and, even more excitingly, the roof gets the sun late in the evening which none of the rest of the garden does.

I’m not sure what I’d ever be able to plant up there as we’d have to build some sort of structure over the current roof as it doesn’t have any structural strength,  but I would love there to be some planting – may be some wafting grasses?  Oh, and a very comfy outdoor sofa.

I told you it was a dream…

Back to reality, and the garden is really parched. The Swing Beds should be filling up with annuals and dahlias, but both both seem quite slow to get going – the dahlias in particular are way behind the ones in pots and still very short, and I feel this must be due to lack of water.  And the sweet peas on the netting never really got going this year.IMG_8050

In the right hand Swing Bed there is a lovely clump of Aster Frikartii Monch looking good in front of the Phlomis.  The equivalent Aster in the left hand bed is looking rather sorry for itself.  I really love this plant and must remember to take some more cuttings.IMG_8051

The Grass Bed still has its magnificent grasses, but everything else is looking rather sad.  I’ve decided I’m going to pull out the Verbascum – Verbascum chaixxi album.  It just doesn’t flower for long enough (maybe again drought related) and the dead spires are in my opinion just rather ugly.  I remember the first year we had the garden I just put in Cosmos Purity in this bed in front of the Stipas and they were absolutely great.  I think next year I’m going to go back to that.IMG_8052

The troughs that run along the the front of the raised decking are starting to fill out with annuals – Cosmos, Salvias and Ten Weeks Stocks.  Unfortunately they’re rather bullied by the unwanted (but don’t tell the OH as he planted it) vine, growing along the railings and are all falling forward. However, I quite like the ensuing chaos, and so haven’t rushed in the stake them.IMG_8049

As for the new beds, the Mid Century Bed is going from strength to strength – probably because I’ve been much better with the watering.  The centaurea are turning into huge clumps and there’s definitely some staking required of these.  Likewise the gladdies, have suffered in the high winds and many are now at angles that it would be generous to describe as ‘jaunty.’

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In the new Bronze Bed, the Achillea are continuing to fill out and some of the Nasturtiums have really taken off.

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The three dahlias planted here are yet to flower, but the Hordeum Jubatum grasses are still going strong and they’re fabulous.  (Maybe they’re a contender for the dream roof garden!).

One other plant grown from seed this year which has been threatening to flower for weeks has finally started This is Scabious Fata Morgana which I chose because of its apricot tone.  I have to say these look rather yellow to me, but I’ll have to see whether they change colour with age.  They’re certainly a lovely flower shape and on good long strong stems.

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And to finish, my poor neglected veg patch.  I’ve been away both last weekend and this one, as well as working in London Tuesday to Thursday both weeks, so sadly everything has got a little out of hand and the veg patch is probably the worst example.

Not only has it not seen any water, but nor has there been any picking going on.  Whether my French Beans ever start cropping again remains to be seen, but in the meantime I’ve had two lovely mini breaks!IMG_8043

With thanks as ever to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting everyone’s EOMVs.

End of month view – June 2015

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I’m joining Helen at the Patient Gardener to share my June End of Month view.

As some of you know, I opened my garden on Sunday for the local hospice as part of a group opening, and I have to say when I got back from work on Thursday I was devastated to see how exhausted everything looked.  Despite some watering and tidying there were definitely areas that were past their best, but the show must go on and I actually got lots of lovely comments (and over 150 visitors!)IMG_7889

All the photos, apart from the one above, were taken in Monday’s bright sunshine, and I’ve struggled a bit with the light levels.  The one above however, was taken during the opening, and you can see it was a lot greyer.  Luckily (for the visitors, not for the garden!) we missed all the rain bar a few drops.IMG_7907

The Swing Beds were definitely struggling, and even the roses which had looked so lovely the weekend before, were going off a little.  There are Dahlias and Cosmos and Dianthus carthusianorum (grown from seed) amongst other things still to come here, so I hope I can keep it going.

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The Grass Bed has a very limited palette of plants, just the grasses (Stipa tenuissima), looking lovely at this time of year, the self seeded Cerinthe, Allium ‘Hair’ (which has been very badly ‘rusted’ this year), the Verbascum chaixxi Album I grew from seed and the Catananche caerulea, which are new and I just love.  However, around all this is much bare soil, following the disposal of all the dead forget me nots, but I’m not sure what else to add.  I still have various seedlings kicking around, so perhaps I’ll pop some of them in.  IMG_7903

Above is the new Mid Century Bed which is really starting to fill out.  The Ranunculus are still going strong and have now been joined by the first of my new roses to flower, Rosa Munstead Wood, just gorgeous.  I’ve also planted some annuals here including Centaurea cyanus Black Boy, Daucus carota Black Knight, Molucella and Malope.  The Centaurea are just starting to flower, but hopefully the rest will have appeared by next month’s EOMV.

In the other new bed, the Bronze Bed, some combinations have worked, including this one of Calendula Sunset Buff, Achillea Terracotta and Nasturtium Caribbean Crush.IMG_7892

But in common with the Swing Beds, the overall look is a bit exhausted.  However, this picture does show clearly why I wanted the new bed as you can see just how shaded the Oak bed is, in comparison, across the lawn.IMG_7893

In the veg beds, the beans and peas are all rushing up their poles, we’re having the best Raspberry crop ever IMG_7913

and the Diving Lady has again got somewhere to swim

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The raised cutting beds are still looking rather empty apart from plants that overwintered.IMG_7917

But the barrow, which has been a bit of a mess for quite a while, had a good tidy up in honour of the opening, and is looking rather pretty again.IMG_7915

The barrow sits to the right of the greenhouse and this year I’ve added some more orangey plants here too.  Firstly the Antirrhinum Orange Wonder, which I’d originally grown for the Bronze Bed but decided there was more room here

IMG_7919and also the Lathyrus Belinensis, grown in pots either side of the greenhouse door.  These have been really slow to get going but are now starting to look more settled.  They don’t grow as tall as ‘normal’ sweet peas, and nor do they have the same fragrance, but I love their bicoloured flowers and how they work with both the brick and the pot.  I just need them to fill out!

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And to finish, the one bed looking untouched by the recent heat – the Shady Bed looking cool and calm.  IMG_7920

With thanks to Helen for hosting this meme.

End of month view – May 2015

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Sadly the Swing Beds are currently having rather a lull after the gorgeous bulbs in evidence last month.  Whilst in April and early May they were bright with a succession of tulips, now, whilst the roses are starting and there is a vast amount to come, the main blooms are the rather quiet, understated Nectoscordum.

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I moaned about them last year, so I really think they’ve had their day and I should replace them with something jollier and more visible from a distance.  Shame Alliums don’t come in the shocking pink of the Pink Impression Tulips!

The right hand swing bed is showing a little more colour with the geraniums, Cerinthe and self seeded foxglove.IMG_7611

And it is lovely that the roses are finally making a real impression on the pergola (four years after planting).

You can also see the netting erected for the sweet peas.  They’re currently being a little shy and seem currently to have been rather stopped in their tracks by the shock of being moved out into the ground.IMG_7609

The Grass Beds, to the right of the Swing Beds, still have their rather exhausted forget me nots, and I really need to clear these to make way for some annual planting to take their place.  Last year I planted some seed grown perennial Verbascum chaixii album in this bed and they’ve come back better than ever.  Problem is, I’m not sure I really want them there…IMG_7612

The troughs are resplendent with last autumn’s planting of Allium Purple Sensation.  They’re growing amongst the gloriously scented stocks, Matthiola incana, but sadly are also accompanied by a rather tatty array of decaying daffodil foliage.  Last year I had the bright idea that I should turn the troughs around to hide the dying foliage at the back.  This would have been an absolutely brilliant solution if only we could have lifted the troughs!   Hopefully the foliage has now done its job, so shortly I should be clearing it to add some annuals for the summer.

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The Lavender Beds are rather dominated by the Erysimum Bowles Mauve, but hey, there are worse things…IMG_7597

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One bed I rarely show is the drive bed.  I planted new alliums here this year too, this time Allium Violet Beauty, which are slightly larger and paler than A. Purple Sensation.  Also, I moved numerous Sisyrinchiums here as they were threatening to take over the Swing Beds.  I was inspired by this vase, as I thought the Sisyrinchiums would echo the colour of the Rose, R. Snow Goose.  The Sisyrinchiums aren’t quite in flower, but I live in hope that the composition will work and be enhanced by the Alliums.  We’ll see (in a week or two…).

As for the self seeded Gladiolus byzantinus, well, I think I’ll leave them be for the minute.  But, ooh, light bulb moment, is this what I should be adding to jolly up the Swing Beds?IMG_7591

On the other side of the drive, the Cytisus is looking spectacular and the colour is now picking up on the buds and flowers of the inherited rose.

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Progress on the new beds is still reasonably slow.  The Mid Century bed has precisely two blooms, both Ranunculus I planted as bulbs.  They’re not exactly as ‘bruised’ as the planned colour scheme, but they’re the first I’ve ever grown, and I love them.IMG_7613

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Just as a little aside, in 2012 I visited the Flower Farm at Carlsbad, California, and the Ranunculus there were absolutely unbelievable – see photo from their website below.

I’d love to start a Ranunculus farm here, but really not sure the island can quite match the Californian climate…

Anyway, back to home.  The new Bronze Bed isn’t displaying anything in the way of blooms other than the Calendula Sunset Buff, sown last year.  Like the Swing Beds, there’s plenty to come, but I am starting to worry that the Hamamelis, now in leaf in the centre of this bed, is taking up too much room.  Hmmm.IMG_7592

On the far side of the lawn from the new Bronze Bed above, you can see how the over-the-road-Oak’s shadow almost completely covers the Oak Bed.  I really need to try to add some more interest here, but the lure of planning and planting the new Bronze Bed  – in almost full sun – is of course far greater.IMG_7594

Another shady area is this bed, running along the north side of the porch.  This has been completely given over to hostas, which are now bulking out nicely after three years.

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Meanwhile, in the veg bed, the canes are up and the first wave of peas and beans are in.IMG_7606

And to finish, a view of the utter chaos in front of the greenhouse.  These are just some of the seed trays, turfed out of the greenhouse and hardening off all over the gravel.

And no, I don’t know where they’re all going to go.  So don’t ask!IMG_7617

With many thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting everyone’s End of Month Views.

End of month view – yearly round up, 2014

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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.

 

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.

End of month view – June 2014

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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