End of Month – July 2013

It’s been quite a month, lots of heat, not much rain and then suddenly for the past week or so more rain than I care to remember and even I’m beginning to feel down as memories of last summer creep in. I don’t mind rain, but a week of it is wearing me down.

Most of the Ragwort has ended up lying on the floor, a catastrophe for the Cinnabar caterpillars, especially as there’s nothing I can do, they look a mess and really I need to chop/pull them out. Also, I fear many caterpillars have been washed off in the heavy, thundery rain. I can’t have Ragwort lying around the garden when I want to sell… We’ll see.

Anyway, the right border may no longer be a mixture of orange and purple, but there is still a little interest. Mainly high up though with the Tuberous Thistle blooming, but more Geum blooms are on the way, and the Salvias should bloom again too. I think I need a little something to fill the lulls.

Right Border

Sedum has the very first hint of pink, Veronicastrum has been heavily leaning over this year, I think first it was due to the dry conditions, then due to the rain. I’ve never really experienced this before… clearly they need staking in future.

Sedum, Veronicastrum and Salvia

The Aster border… well, what a riot of colour this year! I’m not sure if I’m grateful for the Ragwort seeding itself or not. I think this border atm is fun. And not at all my usual colour scheme. And here I thought I was really pushing the boat out last year having red AND orange. Well, now I have everything.

Aster border

Please try to ignore the Shasta Daisies on the right. They really, REALLY annoy me, even after being staked they’re tumbling over. Thing is though, the Butterflies and Bees love them. I don’t think I’ll have them in the next garden though… regardless.

Aster and Right border

Now the Astilbes are blooming in the front garden it’s much brighter. This area has been quiet for a few weeks, but the Astilbes and Lady’s Mantle help to perk it up a little. I do like how it’s filling in though now.

Front border

Although perhaps the sickly pink isn’t quite to my taste, it really does go a long way to adding interest in an area that receives no direct sunlight, at all.


Here we have a little bit of everything, made for another post I never got round to writing. So we’ll focus mainly on Salvia ‘hot lips’, Coreopsis and Verbena. All of these are in pots around the front steps. Hot lips and Coreopsis are together in a clashing, or garish mixture; actually I think they look OK(??) and Verbena is with bidens in another pot. I couldn’t leave the pots empty, not when I want to sell. They’re full of spring bulbs, which obviously have gone over and left, sad, dead pots in their wake, which I think many people wouldn’t understand/forgive.

Salvia, Aster border and Salvia

Coreopsis, Verbena and Salvia

Copyright 2013 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden

10 thoughts on “End of Month – July 2013

  1. Always a problem when selling a house, having to keep everything neat and tidy, hopefully your caterpillars will survive the rain we have all had. Love the Veronicastrum, must get some for the back of the border by the field.

    • Hi Pauline,

      Tell me about it, I’m going to really struggle keeping things tidy, especially in the house. Not that it’s a pig sty, but I’m no tidy freak. Mostly I’m struggling with the clutter; you know, those things you want, and need but they make the house lived-in and add clutter that people viewing probably don’t want to see. Things like books, DVDs, nail varnishes, moisturiser, jewellery etc.

      It looks like the caterpillars have survived, I have some on almost all my Ragwort plants – and that’s a lot! So if I do move this year, I’ll be leaving a nice legacy behind 😉 I just hope I have Cinnabars in my next house…

      Definitely get Veronicastrum! Insects love it, and of course it looks pretty amazing too.

  2. Poor caterpillars, such a pain having to garden with selling in mind, you are right, most people don’t “get” the need to leave things a little untidy at times for the wildlife. But at least you are taking lots of good learning with you to your next garden, not least that you get a rush from a boldly coloured border! That made me smile, I remember my surprised delight at my own first experiments with mixing strong bright colours together. Now I am itching to carve out the space for such a border in the back garden. I love how your right border has come together, and am envious of your veronicastrum. I still haven’t worked out where I can best give one the conditions it likes, probably the acer border in the back, a white one. Mmmm… And I really must get me some of those lovely dusky orange geums, my sil has a similar combination in her garden, I love it. Fingers crossed we get some summer back again soon, and good luck with the viewings. remember to breath!

    • Hi Janet,

      I think perhaps some of the caterpillars hid down in the grass/at the base of the Ragworts because there are now caterpillars on them again – I’ve seen them do this last year, in the evening they head to the base and hide on the grass. I now have loads of them and feel bad if I need to cut some down. I’ll see if I can move some to other plants so I can cut some back.
      Tbh, the bold colours were an accident… I hadn’t intended for it to happen, as with everything I always go for blues, purples and pinks. But forced myself to try Helenium for late season interest, and then the Ragwort decided to gatecrash the party! I quite like it, I’m not sure whether it’s because it’s different or because it’s late season colour. The Ragworts are there purely because of their wildlife value – and boy do the insects love them.

      I’ve a few Veronicastrum, one is hidden by the Flat-Topped Aster, usually I can get to it from the other side but with the Feverfew taking over the path through the Aster border, and the Persicaria growing huge this year I’ve had a lot of difficulty getting in to the border. I cut the Feverfew today and discovered there are some Stipa hidden under it, I was certain I’d moved it all!

      Good luck with your planting, I do hope you manage to get some Veronicastrum, their leaves are lovely and the butterflies seem to love them too. Until now I’d only ever seen Bees (and lots of Ladybird larva) but this year I’d seen flutters on them too 🙂 You also won’t regret getting the Geum, mine is ‘totally tangerine’. You have to plant it somewhere you can catch the sunset on it. Then it really lights up like magic.

  3. Your aster and right borders particularly are looking good – and how did you get that layout for some of these pictures Liz? PicMonkey layouts tend to all based on squares – did you recommend another editing site to me many months ago? You are doing a lot of talking about putting the house on the market – is something (other than decorating) holding you back…?

    • Hi Cathy,

      I create the images in photoshop using some templates I’ve made. There might well be websites out there that create them for you, but I don’t know names of them. I assume there probably are; there’s something for everything out there!

      Really it’s just decorating holding me back, plus not having the guts to get someone round to value the house etc.
      I’m also waiting for my brother to move his stuff out of the spare room so I can attempt to set/tidy it up. So really I’m procrastinating, but know the year is drawing in, and generally people buy in spring/summer and I know I’m leaving it too late. We bought some paint for the bathroom ceiling, and turns out it’s an icy blue/duck egg shade! Why is it so difficult to find plain old white paint these days? So that’s set us back, not to mention the waste of money and need to buy more. Also been waiting for a new bathroom window (handle broke) and that’s being fitted tomorrow, so I’d hoped to have that all done. Grrrr. All I want is white paint, not wheat white, jade white, ice white and whatever else!!!

  4. Hi Liz, definitely looks like butterfly heaven to me! I especially like the pastel shades, all very cheerful. My Veronicastrums never flop but stand like chandeliers among the grasses and perennials. Maybe your soil is too rich? We’re also trying to sell, a lot of patience needed though and energy to maintain everything. Keep your chin up and have a nice weekend 🙂

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