End of Month – August 2013

I really wish the months would stop passing so quickly. It’s been another lovely summer and I don’t want it to end. Especially after last year, this year has been such a welcome relief.

We’ve had hot weather for around a month and since then more reasonable temperatures which sometimes begin to reach the too hot stage but mostly I’m pleased. Although, saying that the garden would probably appreciate some rain.

So, what’s been going on in the garden.

It’s slowing down.

I’m not happy.

There’s quite a lull in blooms at the moment, the Asters aren’t yet out so I’m in limbo and unfortunately the roses still haven’t produced more flushes. I wonder if the hot temperatures stopped them? I’m not sure but I haven’t had any in vases for a few weeks now and I’m suffering from withdrawal.

Hoverfly larvae have done an excellent job of getting rid of the aphids on my sweet peas so they are once again full of blooms and I love the perfume that greets me whenever I go through the kitchen door.

It’s the time of year where the grasses begin to take centre stage. Well they would if they weren’t being dwarfed by various plants that have grown much larger this year than previously! I can’t even see my Miscanthus ‘Flamingo’ underneath the Persicaria that decided to grow to shoulder-height this year. I also discovered fairly recently there are two Stipa Tennuissima hiding under it too which I was certain I had moved!

Japanese blood grass hasn’t done much because it too was swamped under the feverfew that seeded everywhere and it wasn’t until I completely cut the feverfew away (I’d gradually thinned it for vases) that I discovered the blood grass under it! Panicum virgatum ‘Rehbraun’ also suffered the same fate when a Ragwort chose to seed itself in the middle of it. Consequently I can barely see the poor grass.

This time we’ll start with the Upper Tier, really this area needs some real work on it. Actually, perhaps that’s a little unfair. Basically what’s happened is a lot of plants have ended up falling over, after lots of dry weather and then came thunder storms they’re now horizontal. Including the Teasel. Which is quite a problem as it’s across the centre of the area. So to get past I have to pick it up and run under before it falls again and stabs me. I think, now the blooms are gone I’m going to have to cut its head off. I could always use it then as a stake for the Gold/greenfinches to eat the seeds. The Monkshood, Veronicastrum and Ragwort has also done the same. So it looks really rather messy.

Consequently I’m not showing wider views 😉

Ah, the Cherry border. This area has been mostly ignored this year except a bit of tidying i.e. ripping out of Herb Robert before it completely took over. It didn’t take long for it to grow back again, thankfully this time it’s formed a nice cover without swamping. I also need to do a general tidy – raking the flint to rid it of the debris and removing dead foliage.
Also, in the flint/wood chippings there are a lot of Geraniums growing. No doubt hybrids of Phaeum and Maccrorhizum. I’m tempted to keep them until they bloom and then see if they’re worth keeping. Would anyone like any? Some have dark on their leaves like Phaeum, others are plain green. If you enlarge the image you can make them out dotted around towards the bottom of the image. Actually, the lower tier makes a great nursery for any self-seeders. I often get Verbena Bonariensis and Foxgloves in here too which I then move.

Moving down the garden to the Aster border, I’m unsure of my feelings for this border. It does its thing, and I mostly leave it with a touch of editing here and there. I think in all honesty it needs a complete shake up. With the Persicaria being so large this year, the Nettle patch behind it has grown too large and needs to be dealt with. I will have to leave that job for a while yet because there are Comma caterpillars on it. I do try to keep on top of cutting the flower heads off to help stop the spread of nettles elsewhere in the garden, but some still manage to pop up.

Stepping further down the garden we’re now to the decking and house… The Buddleja has had a booming year with more blooms than I’ve ever seen, and they’re huge! No wonder the butterflies have loved it. It does mean though, that the border beneath is darker than ever before. Plus, with the thunder storms, a number of branches snapped and this is the result… I’ve begun to dead head it, removing branches to thin it out so the plants get more light. I know the Buddleja is a brute, but it provides the only shade in the garden. My mum said I’d have to cut it all back for people viewing the house because it makes it too dark. I pointed out that actually, that’s why I leave it because otherwise it’s so hot in the kitchen because it’s south-facing that I need the shade from it! But anyway, I know I’ll have to cut it back, and I do at this time of year anyway.
The Hosta has been blooming for so long… And had so many blooms on each stem…

The Magnolia border probably has the most interest. I’ve had to cut some plants back – Sea Holly which inexplicably died and Tuberous thistles which really don’t die well at all. I have some gaps where I am tempted to place some grasses for late-season interest. But I know there are a lot of bulbs in the areas which are bare.
Check out the Ragwort lying on the lawn… It’s mostly seed heads now and I will have to cut it to stop it seeding. There are still Cinnabar caterpillars though…

Finally let’s finish with the front. It’s looking much better than it did only a couple of years ago. I’m quite pleased, although I would like more blooms and preferably for the roses to bloom again! The Stipas act as blooms by themselves and I do enjoy seeing the Crocosmia next to them. There are some small signs of Autumn on the Geraniums, however this actually happened when it was hot and dry. Since it’s a little cooler and some rain they’ve stalled.
Centaurea looks much better now, another plant which flopped over after growing huge in the warm weather, then flopped over leaving a real eyesore of bare crown and stems. I chopped it and it’s grown from the centre again and looks lush once more. I need to remove from of the Geraniums – they were planted only as fillers until others matured; I think it’s time to remove them now.

It’s an odd feeling being in limbo – do I/don’t I work on the garden knowing I aim to move. I’ll be calling estate agents soon to come and value. Over the coming months I want to lift/divide plants and take them to my parents so I have something when I move. I’ll only do this with the plants I know I really cannot be without or are more difficult to find in nurseries/garden centres. I will probably also remove my roses, at £25+ for each David Austin, I don’t plan on replacing them.
Copyright 2013 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden


20 thoughts on “End of Month – August 2013

  1. Why are you so depressed, Liz? Your borders look absolutely beautiful and there’s no reason whatsoever to feel down because summer’s not over yet and we have yet so much to cherish! Just look at your garden: Anyone would (or should!) be happy to be surrounded by such splendour. And think – now’s the time that we can relax and enjoy the garden not as before as we didn’t know where to start. Be happy 🙂

    • Hi, I’m Natalie and have a blog on WordPress. I just read your profile from your comment on Gwirrel’s blog and would love to be able to read your blog. We traveled in the UK and France in June and I fell in love with that part of the world and love reading about gardens there. Gardening in Texas is a challenge in summer, but I manage to keep a large selections of flowers alive and post pictures and musings about them on my blog. Enjoy building your new garden. Natalie

  2. Hi, I’m Natalie and I can live in Texas. I enjoyed reading about your garden and I can tell you that the roses definitely slow down considerably when it’s hot. We have long, hot summers here and the roses try to bloom but they are smaller than normal and fry the minute they open. They won’t do much again now until we get some cooler weather again which is still a month or more away. I hope you find things in your garden to cheer you up again. Blessings, Natalie

  3. Oh some glorious cheering colour in your garden Liz as well as a cool oasis of green. Hope that your roses come good with a second flush. Maybe they are just behind schedule. Must be unsettling knowing what to do in the garden when a move is on the cards. Good idea to be lifting/dividing stuff that you treasure as it’s not always easy to replace. I would be most reluctant to leave the roses too at those prices. Were they all container grown rather than bare root?

    • Hi Anna,

      Most of my roses are usually good repeat bloomers but I think it was just too dry so they’ve become upset. I do have some Roseraie de l’hay blooms but they’re too high so I don’t notice them when I’m actually in the garden! But they are there 🙂 I also have some unknown white ones blooming again in the front garden… Tempted to bring them indoors for vases.

      I can’t remember about the roses, but I think they were container/lifted because the DA bare root ones are usually cheaper. Just the time of year I bought them wasn’t right… Plus I’m impatient and wanted blooms asap.

  4. You have certainly got lots flowering to keep all your insects happy, pity your heavy rain has knocked a few things over, but at least you have had some rain, we keep getting promised some, but it never turns up, my poor garden is so dry! It’s always a problem when you put the house on the market, how much work to do, how many plants to take with you etc, I wish you luck!

    • Hi Pauline,

      The heavy rain was weeks ago – remember all the thunder storms after the heat/caused by the heat hitting cooler air? Way back in July I think it was. Since then we haven’t really had any rain. Even the promised day of rain a couple of Saturdays ago didn’t happen – rained for the morning and stopped by 11am. We had a surprise shower a couple of nights ago, but everything is still very dry.

      I think with it coming to the end of the year my plan for the garden is to cut everything back, because I know most people won’t appreciate ‘dead plants’.

  5. You have quite a lot going on and for all the reading I had in mind ‘did I miss something about a maybe not-moving-anymore-thing?’. But I didn’t indeed. I wouldn’t bother about new addition to the garden, I’d rather start ‘packing’ the plants I like more and maybe leaving more room to the house view itself rather than a garden that could interfere with the property look (absolutely prune the buddleja and make cuttings out of it and get rid of the teasel). The aster border is particularly pretty now, I really love that flat topped aster and the huge persicaria too. You could take cuttings from the roses too, moving grown plants could be risky sometimes, I’ve lost a couple of roses when I moved to Cà Rossa and after all having a back-up is never wrong, especially with expensive roses.
    I have an invasion of teasel in my garden, I call it dipsacus and it’s a native here. I love its seed heads but really plants could grow too tall and become rather weedy and difficult to eradicate with all those pricks.

    • Hi Alberto,

      No, I’ve just had some things to sort out before trying to get it on the market – window broke so had to wait a few weeks for a new one, then our shower died, so another couple of weeks sorting that, plus painting etc and the weeks soon pass.
      Plus, I’m scared.

      Yep, I’ll start moving perennials to my parents, but I’m thinking of leaving spring plants in case I’m still here in spring and need some colour/interest early on for viewers. So things like Hellebores, Pulmonaria and Aquilegia. There will be no mass bulb planting this year though and hope I haven’t lost too many over summer and end up with almost no spring bulbs! ha ha. Just my luck 😉

      Ah, I thought roses were generally OK with moving. That is a shame. I’m no good at cuttings 😦 Tried before and don’t have a greenhouse to keep them happy over winter while they develop their roots.

      Teasel is native here too, I’ve always struggled to get them to seed here – the one I had was bought as a small plant. But yes, I am prepared for it seeding everywhere – can’t be much worse than the Ragwort which is everywhere.

  6. Hi Liz! It’s tough gardening when you have a move looming. I had in mind I might have to move at the end of the year due to financial reasons so did lose a bit of interest in new plants etc. Things have changed since my unscheduled stay in hospital and I may now be able tor return to work which means I will stay put. My buddleia has been an absolute brute this year.

    • Hi Ronnie,

      Oh dear Ronnie, I do hope you don’t have to move due to money! Always the worst possible reason, however that isn’t to say you can’t find something just as lovely, or possibly better elsewhere. It doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.

      The Buddleja in the front hasn’t done so well this year, I think it’s because I floored it a few weeks after the one in the back, and by the time it began to get big, it was dry and hot. So the blooms are very small. Compared to the one in the back with masses of large blooms on it. Little wonder I’ve been getting 20+ Peacocks on it. Mine in the back is next to the steps so every year we spend a few weeks fighting our way up past it, getting hit by its branches. I quickly cut them back though once blooming has finished! 😀

    • Hi Donna,

      I just hope I manage to move relatively quickly. Still have the odd few jobs here and there to do, but they’re easy enough to get done in one day – such as moving things I’ve put away in boxes up into the loft out of the way.

  7. Oh Liz, dig up whatever you feel attached too and plant it in a decent size pot and set the intention that they will stay nice and healthy till you have found your new home. I am a bit late reading this post so I wonder if you ahve had your agents round now, and what they have said…. Your garden is looking lovely though, and I think we would still have liked to have seen some wider views despite them being flattened or whatever 😉

    • Hi Cathy,

      Not had any agents around yet, no. But I plan to phone them… it’s just so easy to forget when you’re at work, things fly out of your head then you get home and don’t remember until it’s too late to call! I’m off in a week and a bit so can book for them to come round then.
      Ah I just use create angles to hide the flattened plants. Or in this case didn’t really show the upper tier at all because of the Ragworts, Teasel and Monkshood leaning everywhere and making the space quite uninviting.

      I wonder if anyone buying the house will be garden lovers…. I know it’s one of the main points that made me buy it! That is before I discovered it’s mostly solid yellow clay, with the odd nice patch of soil mixed with bricks, rubble, wood, concrete and the kitchen sink.

  8. You have lots of lovely colour. It’s a hard time of year, when some things are really coming in to their own while others are beginning to decay, and not always gracefully. Your persicaria looks gorgeous: something I really must get!

    • Hi,

      Yep I know what you mean about the mixture of the nice, and downright ugly plants which are now dying. For example, there are plenty of lovely Asters, but then there’s the ugly mess of Ragworts. The fluffy seedheads are OK, but the actual body of the plant isn’t very attractive at all. But I need to leave the cinnabar caterpillars something to eat until they pupate. The Nettles also look a real mess, mostly eaten by Comma and other caterpillars, but they’re also well past their best so I can see many people being off put. However they are mostly hidden by the Persicaria, unless you go up onto the tier then they’re clearly visible.

  9. It might be slowing down but you caught some pretty views of the garden. Yes, those DA roses aren’t cheap here, either, and are well worth a few pricks to move them. How nice to have your parents’ home as a holding area for your favorites. Maybe collect some seeds to bring along to the new house, too? Good luck.

    • Hi VW,

      My parent’s had a large hole dug in the garden for water drainage a few weeks ago, so when it was filled back up I asked my dad not to sow it with seed because I wanted to use it as a nursery bed temporarily. However I fully expect him to have completely ignored me and when I go round this weekend he will have sown grass seed on it.

      I’ve already been collecting seed – Aquilegia, Thistle and some others I can’t remember now. I’ll definitely be moving my Hellebores and Salvia – Hellebores are too expensive to leave and I can’t live without Salvia.

  10. I can totally understand what you mean about the season coming to a close and all the plants not producing as much. You just have to love summer and all the things that come with it.

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