Sunday Safari

At the moment I’m attempting to extend a border, but the poor weather has scuppered it somewhat… in fact I’m so bored of hearing myself moan about the weather that I can only imagine my readers are thoroughly fed up! I’m trying to remain optimistic that things will change and we’ll be back to our more typical weather – i.e. generally fine, with far less of the wet stuff.

Today has been spent at my parent’s again doing a spot of weeding but mainly planting a Cotoneaster and some Delphiniums for mum, and then there were also quite a few pots to plant up. When attempting to empty one out, I discovered an ant’s nest and they were not happy at all. However it was rather fascinating seeing the grubs and them carrying them to safety. In the end I put the compost back in said pot and left them to all go back home (it all came out as one big block of dried, dead compost).

This afternoon was then spent at home mowing the lawn, turning the soil in the extended border, adding top soil and some plastic lawn edging – yes it looks horrible but I plan to allow plants to grow over it so it doesn’t look too bad. I’ve never used the edging before so it’s somewhat of a trial. Finally, I planted the wild flowers I bought a while ago and left everything else until I’ve decided where it’s all going!

Hopefully I’ll manage to get it planted over the next week after work or the week after when I’m off for the week. As always dealing with the grass I’ve dug up is proving to be difficult; I’m piling it to create loam, but then what do I do with the loam?!

Let’s move on to the safari shall we?

We’ll start with a Bee sunbathing on the wall; I’m very pleased to see that I have plenty of Bees around even after all the rain. However I am lacking Hoverflies still – but I’ve seen plenty of hoverfly larvae. I’ve already rescued quite a few Bees that seem to be sleeping by placing them back onto the Alliums for a drink.
Then we have blooms from the Black Elder; these don’t seem to be as pretty as my other type…

The California Poppies are blooming now, and actually combine quite nicely with the Aquilegia! Astrantia ‘Roma’ still looks pretty too, soon I will bring some blooms in to force a second flush.

My ‘Harlow Carr’ roses are in bloom, and I’ve had to bring in a number of the blooms because the weight is bending the branches double. I think all the rain has encouraged it to put on plenty of growth, but it’s fairly weak! Not a problem as I’m more than happy to have them inside.
Next up is a Geum I’ve fallen in love with. I’ve never had Geums before but this one really has me besotted. Photos don’t quite do ‘Totally Tangerine’ justice and has changed its shade somewhat, it’s more of a cool orange than a vibrant shade and actually complements the purples nicely.

I also bought some lovely grasses to go with the airy grace of the Geum – Festuca Glauca Festina

And then Quaking Grass or, Briza media.

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


24 thoughts on “Sunday Safari

  1. Lovely photos of the grass and geum, Liz! They are just dreamy. I have a couple of wine colored astrantia plants, I love their foliage as well as their subtle, unique blooms. Hope you get some sunshine and dry weather soon!

    • Hi Ktlee,

      Oh, it’s been sunny today and rather nice – car saying 21 when I left my parents, so not at all cold. We’re due rain this evening but so far so good… Although it would water in my wildflowers nicely 🙂
      Mixed weather tomorrow though, so I’ve been enjoying today in the sun, snoozing on the grass to rest after digging over the border is my kind of day. When I came in around 5pm after giving up for the day I then realised I’d only had a slice of cake and cup of tea all day – my mum’s idea of breakfast! heehee (well, it was gone 12pm).

      I want some of the darker Astrantias too – is Hadspen blood or something? Need to get some!

  2. Love the Geum Liz! I have Geums for the first time this year too, and suspect there may well be a tangerine one joining them shortly. I am really getting fed up with this weather, and have the heating on again this evening…. is it really June?

    • Hi Ronnie,

      Yep, it wouldn’t be so bad if it was warm to go with the rain, so that whenever the sun comes out the rain dries quickly but at the moment whenever it’s raining it’s also quite cool. So when it does eventually stop, the ground is still too wet. This time last year there was no chance I could dig because it was so dry the clay had turned to cement. Also my lawn was dying and I had to water it a couple of times a week to keep it remotely green.
      Heating isn’t on here – it’s been quite warm today. Enough to make it very hot when I was gardening and I’ve had a second shower (car said 21 when I set off home). But I imagine tomorrow I’ll have it on when it’s raining again.

  3. Hi Liz,

    Put the loam on your borders next spring or mix it with other soils for tubs or pots.
    You can also add it to new borders………it is beautiful soil and most plants thrive when planted it in… least that is what I have found.

    I love Geum….. I planted some last year but they did not flower. I am hoping that this year will be different, although no buds at the moment.
    I have very few hoverfly…..and butterflies are virtually non existant.
    Bees are looking good, especially the little garden bumblebees.

    We are expecting heavy rain all day tomorrow….oh joy 😦

    • Hi Cheryl,

      I had considered using the loam instead of buying compost… Just need to wait for it to form now – most of it is with branches too, so I’m waiting for the branches to rot down.

      Shame to hear about the Geums, I wonder if they don’t like clay soil? Hmmm mine may not bloom next year… I’ll check. I’ve seen a few Butterflies around over the weekend, only whites though no others. We should be seeing them soon though; looking at last year I had small torts by mid-late June but didn’t get all the rest until July (Skippers, commas, admirals, peacocks, torts, speckled woods etc). But I fear this year I won’t have them like last year as last weekend someone came and cut the grass in the garden behind me and I believe this was the source of all the Gatekeepers (larval foodplant is grass). So I’m not expecting the 30+ Gatekeepers like last year 😦 v.upset.

      Yesterday I noticed some cool, small Bees with yellow furry heads and discovered they’re the males! Very cute, but yep everywhere I look is buzzing with Bees. I only seem to have the tiny little Hoverflies at the moment, none of the larger ones or the drone flies.

      I think we’re expecting constant rain tomorrow, but not heavy. So looking forward to it………….. 😦

    • Hi Donna,

      Glad to hear you had sun today! 🙂
      We also had sun, but I know we’re back to nasty nasty tomorrow… Although I think Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are meant to be OK, if not very warm. Better than rain! So I might get the planting finished after all!

      Hope the weather stays OK for you 😀

  4. Despite the rain, it sounds like you are getting a lot done in your garden, and your flowers are beautiful! Your images always have such a dreamy quality about them. You are a gifted photographer as well as gardener.

    • Hi Debs,

      I’ve had to do the work on the odd clear day, but really tbh I haven’t done a great deal so far, especially since I’ve had so few seedlings survive for me to plant it’s taken away a lot of the work for me.
      Seriously, I wish I was a good gardener, but I’m happy enough. Thank you for the lovely compliment though 🙂

    • Hi Pete,

      Sorry I gave up watching spring watch and autumn watch a few years ago since it’s always the same – and I find that guy who laughs like muttley really rather annoying, and of course chris is just pompous.

  5. So glad someone has had some sunshine! You seem to have got such a lot of work done in spite of the rain, well done you!! Really like your geum, such a lovely colour, just what I need for my peach and purple bed.

    • Hi Pauline,

      Yep we had some sun, but today’s has been solid grey and it feels like it’s the middle of winter when it doesn’t get light until 9am. Guess I can’t complain, after all it isn’t raining!
      The Geum isn’t really Peachy, so it may not quite be right in your peach and purple border… Worth a try though!

  6. Hi Liz. Girl your Geum’s are so pretty. This is the first year I have had one in my garden and I love them. Your Black Elder is lovely too. I really need to find one to put in my garden since I adore the foliage. Sounds like you have been busy in the garden with the beds. It is fun to start more beds and add more flowers. LOL! To answer your question our year has been such a wonderful improvement over last years rainy cool one. This one has been quite the opposite in fact. LOL!

    • Hi Lona,

      I have two types of black Elder – black lace and black beauty, and of the two the Black lace has the nicer foliage but black beauty seems to have the nicer blooms.
      This will probably have to be the last time I extend any borders in the back. I’m losing too much of my lawn and know that when I move, it will be the grass and family friendly aspects that sell it. However I do still have plenty to do in the front garden, so no doubt I’ll be posting plenty about it in the coming years.

      Our weather this year has also been very much the opposite of last year. This time last year we were well into a drought and it had barely rained for months. The grass in the city centre was all dead, and my own grass was struggling. All work in the garden had long stopped because the ground was rock solid.

  7. How beautiful Liz!!! that Tangerine Geum is particularily gorgeous! I absolutely love wild flowers
    I tried growing some califonia poppies in my garden from seeds, ( Both on the ground directly, and in pots), but unfortunately they didn’t germinate at all. I have no idea if I did something wrong. 😦
    I would love to see how yours look like when they fully blossom

    • Hi,

      I usually have fairly good luck with the California poppies – at least with the orange/yellow ones. I’ve tried a few times with other colours (creams for example) and I believe they also germinated but last year were killed off by lack of rain and this year probably killed by too much rain as I know I saw seedlings earlier in the season! Previously I’ve grown them both in pots before planting and direct. Perhaps you had some dead seed? I’d try again! They are after all, wild flowers in the US, so ought to germinate quite readily… Although, saying that I’ve never yet managed to have Ox eye daisies, teasel, corncockle or campion from seed either!

      To be honest, I don’t have many so, sadly no nice field of poppies. I actually think this is a plant that’s survived the past 3 winters now, as it’s always in the exact same place every year; even though they’re meant to be annuals here. Needless to say, I will take more photos before the end of the year.

  8. Hi Liz! That geum is very pretty, I might plant some too, they have hot colours but in shades as if they were waterpainted and they look lovely with purples! Nice festuca, I’m going to plant a spot with that too, it is a very tough plant when placed in very well drained soil (as much as it is fussy and weak in heavy soils…).
    I see bumblebees asleep in some flowers too, sometimes, do they need to be rescued?? I thought it was something like feeling sleepy after sex, so I let them bee…

    • Hi Alberto,

      Thanks for the tip re: Festuca. Now I’m glad I’ve already added sand and compost to the border to help improve the drainage, hopefully it’ll be happy enough. Although I am tempted to add some more sand just where it will be planted!

      I only rescue the Bees that aren’t on blooms when they’re asleep (usually during a cool day and they seem lethargic… well imo they do!). I just place them on a bloom so they can rest there or have a drink – more often than not they stick their tongue out immediately to drink! Of course if they don’t want to, then they can always just sit on the bloom or fly off.

  9. Hi Liz, Beautiful photos as always. I do like Geums but find they always disappear after a couple of years, such a shame as they are very attractive and colourful.

    We had heavy rain all day yesterday and today is dull, dull, dull! Butterflies are few and far between and damsels and dragons all but non existent! It is so disappointing 😦

    • Hi Jan,

      Hmmm, I hope my Geums survive! We shall see, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
      Yep, it’s been grey here for the past two days but right now I’m just happy not to have rain – it’s been four days so far! I ususally find the flutters don’t arrive here in great numbers until July, so I’m still hopeful. It’s hard to believe that this weather it going to continue… But then I also thought that in April.

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