Last Friday MsV and I planted up the garden at Tymperleys. At this stage all the plants are small and green and blobby so a picture doesn’t look very impressive:
The central beds are edged with Lavender ‘Hidcote’ and Santolina incana and contain various herbs. Some of these aren’t available from the nursery yet so there will have to be another smaller planting session in the middle of April.
In the corner beds I’ve taken my cue from the existing cardoons and echinops, so we have more of those to give height, plus yellow roses (‘Charlotte’) and hypericum and a variety of pretty perennials including Leucanthemum ‘T.E.Killen’ to provide some cheery daisies. On the wall to the right I’ve planted more yellow roses (‘Maigold’ and ‘Golden Showers’) and a blue Clematis (Perle d’Azur’) with blue Irises along the front of the bed.
Planting them up was done in a jiffy – then we had to contend with the fact that there isn’t an outside tap yet! In the end a long hose and a certain amount of bodging sufficed but it still didn’t quite reach so I hauled watering cans for the furthest plants.
This edition of GB&B is brought to you from my garden at home.
I made some changes last year. I shrank borders to make them more workable in the time I have, turning some areas over to rough grass and this has worked well. The beds are in need of weeding but this month I’ve actually enjoyed chilling out in my own garden, rather than allowing it to become job #2. Hurrah! Success!
So what does this success look like? Nothing like a Chelsea show garden that’s for sure:
The fork being lazy – shameless!
Crab apple ‘John Downie’ and the tree trunk seat.
Apple tree with three varieties – Gala, Lord Lambourne and Egremont’s Russet.
This family tree (a tree with several varieties grafted onto one trunk) is really nice but was discontinued after I bought it and now I think I see why – the Lord Lambourne branch is vastly outgrowing the others but bears a lot less fruit. I was pleased to get it because these are my three favourite apple varieties but next time I’ll know to enquire more deeply – a great idea for a small space though.
My raised beds.
The veg was planted up a bit late this year thanks to weather and busyness but now they’re done. I cheated by buying module grown veg but given the busyness and not having a greenhouse at home it seemed the most sensible way so now I have tasty things to look forward to.
And my monster of a lilac is looking awesome in the background.
Snails! Sorry to be a broken record on the topic but just take a look at my beans:
Horrible little snailses have been hungry.
In all honesty the little blue pellets don’t seem to help much but I keep trying.
Papaver orientale – unknown variety.
The label for this lovely poppy has disappeared. I remember choosing it for the fact it looks rather like a bigger version of the field poppy and really wish I could remember the variety! It lacks the black blotches of ‘Beauty of Livermere’ and my Google-fu is currently failing me. Anyway, whatever it is, it’s currently making a glorious display all round the crab apple tree.
Most of the broadleaf trees round us, barring the oaks, are just clinging on to the last few leaves. I did (what I assume will be) the last raking of the car park today. The ginkgo has dropped its leaves rapidly since my plant of the month post.
Last of the Ginkgo leaves
Bye-bye pretty leaves.
The Swamp Cypress (Taxodium distichum), as always, is later than the broadleaf trees and I have found myself raking up just before the staff Christmas dinner in previous years. Considering tonight’s forecast was for wind I didn’t bother raking up today and will do it tomorrow. The needles are a lovely russet colour, similar to the brickwork of the tower:
Swamp Cypress in autumnal glory
I feel very much like Winter is really just round the corner now. Question is… is it carrying an ice pick? What will it do with it? Have I been reading too many murder mysteries? Who knows?
And just for a change, a sprinkling of unexpected blossom:
Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’? Maybe?
This Prunus flowers from about now with a sprinkling of blossom throughout the cold months, it’s never very generous but always pretty. I wish I knew for certain what it is but suspect ‘Autumnalis’. It has beautiful autumn leaves too – flaming yellows and reds.
Onwards! Into winter…
This last couple of days I’ve mostly been weeding the new-ish borders I planted last year, AKA Soggy Bottom and (less amusingly named) the swimming pool wall border. Soggy Bottom in particular was pretty dire as at various points this year it has just been too wet to weed it. It’s doing quite well despite the competition from innumerable docks (now languishing on the fire heap):
Soggy Bottom is flourishing!
I should be capable of coming up with some crude innuendo right about here to do with Soggy Bottoms, and the words ‘growing well’, ‘verdant’ and ‘lush’. But, well, maybe I’d better not. The Primula florindae sent to me by Kininvie are doing really well still, although the Rheum ‘Ace of Hearts’ and the kingcups are looking less enthusiastic.
The swimming pool wall border did really well this Spring/early Summer but is now looking a bit tired. It needs a bit of a reshuffle this autumn methinks and some later flowering plants. I did forget to cut the Achillea back and if I had, that would probably be giving a second flush about now.
Should still be looking vibrant…
I’m not particularly worried because this sort of editing is part of the process. The Echinacea didn’t do as well as I’d hoped and the Fragaria are threatening to take over the world, the Clary Sage was even bigger than my memory suggested and the Stipa got rather swamped. A bit of a shuffle and it’ll keep being great for longer next year.
Still looking nice in this border are:
Cosmos ‘Sweet 16’
Both grown from seed by my own fair hand. I can tell these two are going to become staples – I just love the Erigon particularly.
This months Plant of the Month could have been last month’s, and could be a candidate for next month or even February and into March, it flowers for that long. Please give a big round of applause for…
Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’
The delicate pink flowers start appearing mid autumn and keep on appearing throughout winter and into the Spring. Like other Viburnum x bodnantense flowers they smell like a good mead to my nose, which doesn’t help you if you have never tried mead (which is a fermented honey drink of about wine-ish strength and in my opinion the drink of the gods). So perhaps I should just say they smell like a rich and velvety honey.
It’s definitely a shrub to enjoy from close up as its general form is not particularly elegant and in Summer it’s distinctly boring. ‘Charles Lamont’ sends branches up from the base so the oldest can be periodically cleared out to keep it young and uncluttered. It prefers some sun and a well drained, fertile soil (don’t we all?) and the one I’ve pictured is growing on a west facing terrace in our fairly heavy clay.
Its gentle smattering of flowers through the season can be kicked it into a higher gear by a mild spell and it’s very cheering to see its delicate pink flowers at a time of year when the gloom can get a bit much.
Another common Viburnum x bodnantense variety is ‘Dawn’ with brighter pink flowers (although they’re not exactly garish) and everything I’ve said about Charlie also applies to Dawn, I just happen to prefer Charlie’s palest of pale blush pinks. Also I think he might just flower a wee bit longer, judging by the specimens of both in the garden – but that might be aspect or micro-climate so I’m not certain.
So if you’ve got a spot within sniffing distance of a path, reasonable soil and need some winter cheer you won’t regret a Viburnum x bodnantense (except maybe when its being boring in the summer, but hey, most things are boring all Winter!)
Sorry but I don’t. I think it’s because they just seem out of time. At the point the leaves are turning and we’re slipping on wooly jumpers and thinking about casseroles and soups they’re out there jangling their spangly bikinis.
If they flowered in July I’d be there waving a little flag that said ‘Yay! Nerines!’ but I just can’t get over the wrongness. Also I’m not a fan of Barbie pink generally. The garden is about the only place I can stand it but Barbie pink + frilliness + being the wrong time of year just finishes them off for me I’m afraid.
Is there a plant you hate that everyone else seems to love?
Earlier this week I came to the conclusion that the border in front of the tower, while it worked well earlier in the year, was lacking a certain something in late summer.That old passionflower scrabbling around the doorway needs to go, but that’s a project for later in the year I think. It only looks passable for a few short months every year, and positively dreadful from about November to June. So out it will go. But today I was concerned with a lack of colour and particularly a ‘gap’, not really apparent in this pic, below the window.
The nursery was having a Dahlia sale which was a bonus and I picked up these two:
Dahlia ‘Playa Blanca’
Dahlia ‘Dark Angel American Pie’
The former had lots of dead heads and a small amount of mildew, and the latter are much more dwarf than their label suggests, (I suspect growth retardant – grrrr) so I expect next year they’ll be taller. At the moment they look a little odd in their new spot, with the ‘American Pie’ being a little shorter than the Sedum in front but I reckon they’ll fill it out nicely.
I also hauled out a load of Geranium cantabrigiense which had spread rather a lot and planted Phlox ‘Velvet Flame’ where they’ll be sniffable from the path.
And then, because I was aware these plants won’t really be ‘doing their thing’ fully until next season I slotted in some cheap and pretty Platycodon* in a couple of spots like this. My camera has real trouble with the blue of these flowers which are a lot more purplish in real life.
By next year they too should have filled out somewhat (and maybe shrugged off any growth retardant?) and be less squat and blobby. But for now they’re welcome colour and I do like the wierd bulbous forms of the flower buds.
One of the things I like best about planting out is visualising how the new plants will grow and work in the space. They always look a little gawky and awkward at first, but they soon settle in and start looking comfy (or look more and more awkward until they go to the great compost heap in the sky!) and that’s when you really start to see whether it all works (or not.)
*They are just Platycodon according to the labelling – speciesless plants are the new big thing dontcha know? Why not label things properly I ask you? Do they think their general customers will be scared off by a bit of latin? Maybe they are right. Sigh…
It threw it down again today and this time I had my camera with me, so I snuck off for some quick pictures.
Echinacea purpurea (unknown variety)
Clematis ‘Etoile Rose’
I think it was worth pausing a few minutes in my weeding for these pictures!