End of Month – June 2012

It’s that time again, where I get to lament about the passing months and how quickly it all seems to have flown by. Only this time I honestly cannot believe it’s almost July. I think it’s mainly due to work and having my duff knee so really I’ve lost a two weeks just sitting inside most of the time trying to rest.

Right, well I guess I ought to get onto the garden…

Needless to say this year’s been quite a good one, at least in terms of plenty of green and growth on the plants. And for the first time I’m even relatively pleased with the Buddleja border – although I am worried about the Buddleja this year but I’ll mention that later.

The Front Garden

Let’s look at the path border. It’s a little dis-jointed at the moment. And I need to move some of the spring bulbs that I planted in autumn as their growth is covering the Corkscrew rush as it dies away and I can actually barely even notice the Rush or the Salvia attempting to grow. However, I am pleased with the second section that I planted earlier this year and then planted Susan Williams-Ellis to replace the iceberg rose that sadly needed removing.
Here we can see a whole range of plants, perhaps too many to name but there’s the rose, Meadow Clary, Erysimum, Stipa and Oriental Poppy.

At this time of year the front window border is looking less than pretty. The last of the spring bulbs are still dying away and there’s next to no blooms at all now; this is something I need to rectify – does anyone have any good suggestions for a shady summer flowering plant? The area is very wet in winter and generally stays damp even in summer. I do have some Astilbe, but that’s it for later bloomers and definitely no autumn interest at all. Of course, the grass also needs trimming but thanks to the rain, there’s often only a very small window to get it done!

The Back Garden

Here’s the right border, this is the one I extended a few weeks ago – and the very reason my knee is 10x worse than it ought to be. This is the border looking from the side of the house/decking… now it’s been extended round the back side, next year I’ll work on this angle as it’s all getting too dense and the Bird’s Foot Trefoil is taking over; I’ll move it to the slope on the upper tier. From this angle we can’t really see the extension round the other side, but perhaps that isn’t a bad thing and at least means there’s interest from all sides.

And here’s the extended side…

It also has some stepping stones through the centre so I’m able to reach the ‘Harlow Carr’ rose and also weed into the border.

The Buddleja border looks like it might actually become interesting, soon. This is mainly thanks to the Geranium thurstonianum that has grown enormously since last year and I now need to move a couple of Japanese painted ferns to the front window border because they’re being covered by other plants. The buddleja itself is causing me some concerns, so far it’s much behind in growth to my other even though it was chopped back much earlier but it’s also recently lost a lot of branches with the wind – I’ve never experienced this before, and the wind hasn’t even been that bad here; a bit blustery but I wouldn’t say massively strong. So I’m just concerned there’s something wrong with it and perhaps it’s dying.
This year I’ve added a few Lupins here too, and thankfully the Astrantias are doing well thanks to all the rain we’ve had. I’m unsure if I need more height in the border – I removed a lot because of the shade it cast, but now I’m unsure. Tbh I’m glad just to see more than brown soil when I look out now.


Poppies have begun to open in the aster border, however I am also disappointed they’re not what I had planned. All I can assume is some have managed to seed from last year. But this doesn’t explain why none of the many, many poppy seeds have germinated; I have such bad luck with them that I’m on the verge of giving up. In the next week or two there will be far more colour here, especially once the Veronica and Shasta daisies bloom. I stil need to remove some of the grasses I planted late last year, but I need to deal with the right border first.

Samobor in the Cherry border needs chopping back, as does Herb Robert and the Macrorrhizum Geraniums… they are beginning to look an eyesore at the moment. Plus the Foxgloves which almost all are leaning over, certainly adds to the chaotic, messy appearance. Some have grown into real giants, with a couple verging on 7 foot; compared to last year’s that struggled to reach 3foot it’s quite a difference. I’m not sure if there’s much I plan for this area… I’m tempted to move Samobor, but I realise it’s been an exceptional year and many plants are much larger than normal so I may leave it as it is and expect it to be a reasonable size next year – assuming the weather is more typical for England!
Here we can see how obscene Samobor is; it’s huge and looks completely out of place (I’d planned to cut it back today, but forgot!) the Herb robert have also been battered around by the wind so they’re looking very scratty and I think I’ll also cut them back and attempt to tidy up the border. Beneath is a photo of one of the massive Foxgloves. When it’s upright, it towers above me.

The upper tier is difficult for me to photograph – I need a smaller lens – and there is now some colour in this space thanks to rose Gertrude Jekyll, Geranium ‘Orion’, Fever few and Campanula. Veronicastrum and Acontium will soon be blooming too and later followed by Asters and Anemones. I do want to add late blooming Clematis to the fence too, perhaps a white or purple.
I’ve sown loads of Foxglove seeds too that will eventually be planted up here next year, and I may even sow some seeds direct.

Bramble is blooming in the hedge along with the Elder… I wonder why some brambles have pink blooms and others white? There must be quite a few varieties, I assume. And finally, Gertrude Jekyll has opened her first blooms; I’m not too sure about the shade of pink tbh – it is very strong! – but the perfume is similar to that of ‘harlow carr’ but the blooms are much larger; similar in size to Tess of the D’ubervilles. I need to add wire trellising to the fence for or climbers and her to grow up.

Copyright 2012 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden.

16 thoughts on “End of Month – June 2012

  1. Liz I am just loving your borders… especially all the purple with the orange poppies…as far as the wet shade that is always an interesting dilemma…I use hosta in these areas as well as ferns…as far as flowers I like to plant lobelia or cardinal flower with its tall red spikes…it likes a bit of sun but can stand shade and it loves wet conditions.

    • Hi Donna,

      Thanks for the suggestions… Yep, I think I will have to expand my Hosta collection – usually don’t bother with them as slugs love them! But it may be my only hope for interest in this area. The border only gets sun for brief periods of time – and one corner gets no direct sun at all.

  2. Liz,

    Much to much for me to write everything I am thinking….your borders have the WOW factor….lovely lovely lovely.

    Shady border at the front:- Arum italicum…..it has beautiful leaves and a lovely stand of green berries that will turn red in autumn.

    Epimedium…..no flowers at this time of year but the leaves are stunning, green with tinges of red.

    Tellima Grandiflora. Lovely seedheads this time of year and once again the leaves are very very pretty.

    Hosta………lovely leaves and the flowers are beautiful….mine are just waiting to come into bloom.

    Enchanters Nightshade…….bit invasive, although they are tiny flowers, they glow at night. I managed to take a photograph last night and will post sometime in the week. Gorgeous.
    Let me know if you want some in the autumn….but be warned they do spread !!!!!

    What about some of the small Hypericum…….I have some in the shady borders and they do well. I know you are not a lover of yellow flowers but with the red leaves of Epidmedium and the lovely green berries of Arum Italicum, it might just work.

    Well that is all I can think off the top of my head….hope there is something in there that appeals:)

    • Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks for the suggestions – I spotted some Lords and Ladies at my parents that I might attempt to steal off them (although I don’t think mum would be impressed, at least she’ll know dad won’t kill them)
      I’ve always considered Epimedium too, but know it’s a spring bloomer although it is very pretty!!

      I might try some Asters actually, I know they prefer sun but at the moment I have some in a trough on the front and they’re growing quite well (as are Verbena Bon and Dianthus, actually)

  3. Some gorgeous plants there and your garden looks like it’s holding up well to our so called summer. I can’t believe it’s July either. I wish I could press a pause button sometimes although it would be on a warm, sunny day, if we’d actually get one. Hope your knee is better soon.

    • Hi,

      Some things are looking rather battered after the winds, and of course because everything is growing so massive they’re quickly flopping over! I’d love a week of good weather, but I fear it’s asking too much at the moment!

  4. Your borders are looking lovely despite the horrendous weather. For the shady area, have you tried heuchera or heucherella ? Even when not in flower, some of them have lovely foliage.

    • Hi Crystal,

      I have some Heuchera, although not in this particular space – I’m no fan of them tbh, but you are right that they do have nice leaves and will at least add some colour to the border!

  5. Such a lot of beautiful flowers in all your borders, the flowers are enjoying the wet weather even if we aren’t! Lobelia, phlox,astilbes, japanese anemones (they will take over) will all like your shade, or the annual Nicotiana sylvestris, or have it contrasting foliage with hostas, ferns and heucheras.

    • Hi Pauline,

      The only problem now is that we’ve had so much rain for the past week or so that it’s constantly wet and I’m seeing a real boom in slugs/snails compared to before when, yes we were having rain but generally we were also having 2/3 days of dry weather between. Needless to say I’m quite worried now and have had to sprinkle more organic pellets around their favourites – Delphiniums and lupins etc. *sigh*

      Ah! Japanese Anemones! Yes I will definitely put some there, and they’ll do a great job of covering the vile wall dividing our gardens! :D There we go; sorted!

  6. Prettiness! What a fun tour of your gardens. So many soft colors blending together. Some things in my garden have grown to unusual size this year – especially my delphiniums. The dwarf Magic Fountains delphs are nearly as tall as the Pagan Purples – usually the dwarves are lower than 3 feet (1 meter for you!) and the others upwards of 5 feet, but the dwarves got larger because of the weather, while the PP’s are smaller because they’re under the eave of the house and I didn’t water them enough. Some of my roses sat in bud for so long because of cool weather that the second flush of growth was already well on its way by the time the first buds bloomed, making a strange picture with tall stems of foliage shooting through the blooming roses.

    • Hi VW,

      This is the first year I’ve tried Delphs and mine are a bit rubbish – but I think that’s because I left them too long before planting, so hopefully next years they’ll be much better!
      Btw, we use feet here too. I’ve no idea what height I am in metric/centrimetres but do know I’m around 5’5”.

      How has your ‘Harlow Carr’ fared? Mine’s a bit weird tbh, as its branches are far too thin and flimsy and I’m a bit worried tbh. The weight of its blooms are too much for the tiny stems and making them all bend over – the blooms are small on Harlow Carr compared to others such as Gertrude Jekyll. I’m unsure if it’s due to all the rain, or what else could be wrong. I’ll give it another year before potentially moving it elsewhere.

  7. I love the colours in your back garden borders, everything look full and lush too. For flowers in shade, many of the plants you already grow could enjoy the shade: astrantias, hardy geraniums such as Brookside or Rozanne, and the phaeums. Campanula octopus is a pretty shade-flowering plant that I have my eye on, along with Gillenia trifoliata, and some heucheras are happy in shade, with their delicate flowers.

  8. So your roses are flowering at last! It’s unbelievable how English gardens are behind in the season now, and it’s funny because I was almost the last to have some daffs in bloom a few months ago!
    Let’s get back to your pretty garden now and allow me to give you a piece of advice: space more your plants! Have you noticed how many times you talk about moving your plants? :) I love the parts of your garden where you placed few right plants and there is some repetition, like the triplet with salvia, geum, orange poppies and maybe a festuca? That makes a really stunning bouquet.
    Please send me some of your rain and cold, I’m melting and they said another anticyclone is coming: Minesse this time. And then what? The devil in person?!

    • Hi Alberto,

      Yep the roses are blooming – and have been for a month or so now, with some just coming into bloom recently (Gertrude Jekyll is only a young plant bought a few months ago). We have had an incredibly bad spring and summer though with double the usual rainfall; so it’s hardly surprising we’re currently behind. At the moment we’re having temps of around 20-25, but with rain. so it’s high humidity and totally miserable. I’m sticky and feel terrible. I’d much rather have dry heat. If I wanted to have high humidity, I’d move somewhere like the amazon.
      I don’t wish our current weather upon you, because you’d just be miserable – as we all are right now :(

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