End of Month – April 2013
May already? Well, summer is almost here! And I’m counting the days until I go to Portugal… I don’t think a day passes at work when I don’t mention it; as much as I love my colleagues I really REALLY need a holiday.
Since the weather has become warmer I can’t believe the difference in the garden. I know I’ve been harking about this for seemingly weeks but it almost feels like a miracle. When in fact I know that we’re behind last year, so why does it feel so amazing that things are growing?
I think it’s a result of it being so cold, for so long. And I’m so incredibly grateful that it’s warm, sunny and bright now (if a little windy, but shush).
My opinion is somewhat mixed on the front garden. Drumstick Primula have come on well considering they were divisions from a couple of pots bought cheap last year. I’ve also recently added Primula ‘bullyana’ to the border which are actually for my mum and when they’re large enough I’ll divide them and give some to her. She loves the Candelabras but dad being his wonderfully useful self has ‘weeded’ them out of the garden over the years. My plan is to supply her with newbies from my own Primulas as and when theirs ‘disappear’.
The window border looks to have lost quite a lot of Muscari with the only ones blooming this year are those I planted in autumn towards the back of the border and subsequently half hidden by the much larger Daffodils – but I can easily see them from the window, which let’s face it is the primary position I look at the garden from. I’m impressed though with the Daffodil show this year and had forgotten that I’d ordered some ‘poached egg’ daffs in autumn (feature post to come on them).
Lady’s Mantle and Astilbes are slow coming up this year, hence the strange gaping holes in the border…
Moving round the house to the back garden (ignoring the side), we arrive at the ‘right’ border. There’s no real identity to this border because there’s so much in there. During April it’s the Magnolia border, then in May it’s the Allium border and later in the year it’s the Erysimums… It’s such a large space and the slope it’s on its misleading as it’s actually quite large.
Towards the bottom of the border (near the house) it’s mainly Alliums. I lost the Bird’s Foot Trefoil in winter sadly but over the years the Alliums have seeded and it now looks like there’s lots of grass, when in fact they’re all 2/3 year old Allium seedlings which I think will likely bloom next year if left to mature further. I need to pull some out though to add some grasses for interest later in the year once the Alliums have died away but for now this lower end looks incredibly busy. But remember the Fritillaria, Daffs, Muscari, Crocus and Snowdrop leaves will all die back, leaving almost no interest later in the year. I think I might also have lost the Veronicas down this end; I need to look closely, but they should have plenty of growth by now and be close to blooming! All the Verbena Bonariensis were lost in this border too – a big one can be seen almost in the centre of the shot.
I bought two more Erysimum to replace the two lost over winter, these are far smaller than my large mature plants so I’ve planted a few wildflowers around them to bulk it up a little. I’ve also been tidying the border ready for a nice layer of mulch/fine bark to go down.
The Tulips are awe inspiring. I cannot believe any have come back after the wet summer last year. I even have blooms on some! Most seem to be the frilly whites, but I think I might have one of the blacks too. All seem to be lost in the Aster border though.
Moving to the order end of the decking and we meet the Buddleja border, the thorn in my side for the past 5 years. Nothing ever seems to work. I’ve tried shade lovers, hot dry lovers, inbetweeners… nothing. The only thing that seems to do really, really well are the chives and Geranium Thurstonianum. But then this Geranium is a brute and will grow anywhere and take over the world (can be seen to the very lower left of the shot blurred). I planted some Agapanthus last year as this border gets very dry thanks to the Buddleja and the top is very hot as it’s full sun most of the day in summer. However they seem to have died in the snow *sigh*. Back to the drawing board.
I seem to have forgotten to mention the Aster border… So we’ll move onto the tier and the cherry border… this really is a spring border, however the Geraniums will help to keep interest going throughout the year and into Autumn even if it is just for their leaves. Last year this area became a jungle and really thrived in the rain, this year it’s looking good and I’m quite happy so far. I’m concerned Geranium ‘Herb Robert’ will attempt to take over again as it’s seeded everywhere so I’ll have to be vigilant to keep it under control.
Every year I struggle with the slope on the border, and planted quite a few Bluebells in autumn and recently added some Foxgloves too. I’ve tried all sorts here before; ajuga for example but that too seems to have died in the snow. There are some small Aubrieta, but really I need something to keep the soil in place as it gets washed down as you’d expect.
Finally the upper tier – well there isn’t much going on up here, I need to tidy it, cut things back and add a fresh layer of bark. However the Shasta Daisies, Asters, Geraniums and Aconitums are coming up and once I clear away the old growth will look much nicer.