I can’t quite believe it is the end of May already. A May, I might add, that is ending with a distinctly Aprilish feeling to it, cooler and with very welcome rain – and not so welcome wind! The rain means a shorter post than normal, as I’m afraid my dedication didn’t extend to putting my camera in a plastic bag and trying to get close-ups of raindrop decorated blooms. Instead, shots taken from the doorway will have to suffice! Though in fairness, there aren’t many new flowers to display since I posted on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Magnolia Bed

The sweet rocket is still dominating the Magnolia Bed. In fact it is in danger of smothering the Veronicastrum, so I may have to attempt to move at least some of it, now that the ground is mercifully no longer bone dry. I will definitely grow it again, but it clearly grows rather larger than advertised on the rich soil in this bed, so I will have to be a little more careful about where I plant it next time. The large collection of pots conceal the bare earth towards the front of the border, where I have autumn cyclamen and spring crocuses, together with hardy geraniums that have been hanging on for dear life in the dry conditions we have been experiencing rather than spreading enthusiastically to conceal the gaps. There used to be a clump of Astrantia major ‘Hadspen Blood’ there too, but it likes moist soil and was suffering, so I dug it up and put it in a pot, since it is definitely a plant I want to take with us to our next home. In a couple of weeks the oak leaved hydrangea should flower, along with the veronicastrum and the foxgloves, changing the feel of the border yet again.

Pond Border

The Pond Bed is beginning to really fill out, with achilleas and rudbekias almost ready to flower, and the lovely new plants that I brought back from Malvern adding splashes of colour. Next year the geums should have filled out more, and I really look forward to seeing masses of the bright flowers floating above the rest of the border on their wiry stems.

Filling The Gaps

I’ve had my eye on the pale pink perennial scabious in the foreground here for a couple of years now, but always resisted – until I lost the Kanutia macedonica to powdery mildew. I picked one up to help fill the resulting gaps, and planted some Cosmos ‘Sonata’ seedlings in there too. I shall miss the combination of the Allium sphaerocephalon and the Knautia, but at least there soon won’t be large bare patches.

Jungly Pond Border

Its really quite amazing how much bulk the plants in the border have put on after just a few days of rain. The crocosmia (‘Lucifer’) in the back right looks enormous, and the echinacea has put on so much height and bulk I am beginning to fear that it will look out of scale. On the other hand, I am really happy with the way the deep blue-purple of the Geranium magnificum (bottom left) echoes the colour of the nepeta and the irises. I really must be brave this year and cut the geranium and the nepeta back hard after they finish flowering to try and get another flush. I generally chicken out!

So, thats it for another month – thanks to Helen@Patient Gardener for hosting the EOMV meme. Pop over to her blog and see what other people’s gardens are looking like right now. Better yet, join in!

60 thoughts on “End of Month View May 2011

  1. Your garden is looking blooming. Love the loose planting and the contrast of the green with the acer. There’s a lot of astrantias in our garden and some of them are wilting after a dry spell. It’s not helped by the fact that there is some sandy pockets and he water just drains away. Beth Chatto would say the atrantias shouldn’t be there.
    An end of month review is a good idea. It might show me how much things have moved on since the end of April. Where’s my camera?

    1. Thank you Janet – and absolutely, sand and astrantias are not the best of buddies! I thought my heavily mulched and enriched clay would be OK, but not with the prolonged dry spell – and the poor thing had only be there since last Spring, and they do take a while to establish. It is much perkier in its pot! And yes, do join in, it is a wonderful way to keep track of what you like and dislike in your garden, or just in one or two areas of it. Plus I love to have a nose around…

    1. Thank you! I love it when something you have been carrying around in your head actually makes it out into reality and works. Wish it always did…

  2. Hi Janet,

    Everything is looking very nice indeed! I’m loving the delicate purples/lilacs. The scabious are an excellent replacement for the Knautia, I just wish my Scabious would get moving; they’ve been slown down by the recent grey, windy and cooler weather.

    My plans to get my recently bought plants in the ground this weekend were ruined by the rain, it’s clear skies today but I fear the found is just too saturated and because it’s clay I think it’ll be a bad idea to attempt to get them in today… Hopefully later in the week.

    1. We’re never happy are we – either too little rain or too much at the wrong time! Sorry your plans have been scuppered. I’m loving the purple/lilac thing too, and the yellow aquilegia against it. The bees seem to approve of the Scabious – hope yours start flowering soon.

  3. Everything is filling out so beautifully for you now! I think it was just a month ago here I was wondering if there would be enough to cover the ground, and now it’s clear a lot of dividing and moving needs to be done. We never quite believe what is coming :) Love the strong vertical of ‘Lucifer’ even before the flowering!

    1. Hi Cyndy, I was the same, concerened that I would have large bare patches. Now I am worrying that I might have too much… Again… Glad you love the lucifer leaves, me too!

  4. The rain was very welcome as many plants were suffering. My Astrantia would win an Oscar for portraying unhappiness!
    Your garden is looking very good, eveything blending well together. I too have never got up the courage to cut back the Geraniums, which is strange as I am generally quite ruthless in the garden.

    1. Am so glad to know that I am not the only ruthless gardener who fails to chop things back. Love the “Win an Oscar for portraying unhappiness” phrase – hope you can soon lose the “un” though.

  5. I know exactly what you mean about its being the end of May – even worse here as when summer really kicks in there isn’t so much flowering here. Your colour and texture combinations are lovely. Try to think of the passing of the Knautia as an opportunity rather than a disaster – you’ve already been able to try one thing you wouldn’t have been able to. Christina

    1. Hi Christina, I’m OK with the passing of the Knautia now, though I will certainly give it another go in the future. After all, in this garden space to try new things is in short supply, so I need to enjoy it!

  6. It’s all looking wonderful, and the pots are a great way to cover empty earth. We seemed to have lots of rain yesterday but in reality it’s hardly touched the earth, which is still bone dry. I’m glad the winds have died down though, my worst kind of weather.

    1. Hi Jo, I agree about the wind, it dries the leaves out so much, as well as battering everything. The only downside to having so many pots is the time it takes to water, but at least we had lots of rain yesterday, really useful rain, falling gently and steadily.

  7. Hi Janet! The garden’s looking great and filling up nicely! :) May wasn’t too bad, a bit on the cool side and very windy even here, looking forward to a lovely summer now (cross fingers!)

    1. Oh, you just had to go and jinx it, didn’t you. Surely you know by now, if you look forward to summer it will be awful ;-) Forecast is for higher temperatures again soon, so looking forward to gardening in crops and getting a tan, there have to be some advantages to having to do so much weeding!

  8. Janet it is all looking lovely…I have masses of green weeds everywhere and when they finally get pulled I will see major bare spots…I finally was able to get some geum blooming this year and it is lovely…funny weather we have…90s today and the cooler May weather loving plants have appeared and disappeared..I have to be quick to get pictures to even remember them…but the veg garden is still going fine…I wouldn’t brave the rain either and I love the far away views..the pond is just looking so nice…

    1. Hi Donna, I know exactly what you mean about the weeds – though in fairness they were acting as a living mulch for my peas and beans at the allotment in the dry spell! Glad you have flowers on your geum – they are lovely plants, aren’t they? The pond is looking much better since FIL scooped out a lot of the duckweed – though the frogs don’t care at all.

  9. The garden looks lush, with lots of lovely blues and those hot geums standing out from the greenery. Your acer makes a lovely backdrop to the pond border, and I like the new scabious.
    Sara

    1. Thanks Sara. I think the acer is one of the things I will most miss when we move. I can’t imagine it surviving a relocation. The geums make me smile!

  10. Lots happening at yours. I have sown sweet rocket but they are still in their seed tray – opps! Glad you joined in again this month

    Helen

    1. Hi Helen. I think sweet rocket should come with a thug warning! And thanks for hosting EOMV, it helped give me the impetus to ring the changes in the pond bed, and I am so pleased I have, such fun to experiment.

  11. Janet, I long for your cool and rainy weather. We had an extended cool and rainy spring, but today, and every day recently, it is in the 90s and incredibly humid. I am hiding in my air conditioned office. Carolyn

    1. Hi Carolyn. We’re never happy with the weather we have, are we! Mind you, I’d rather have our cool dampness than high humidity. Apparently we are heading for another long hot dry spell, so I may become extremely jealous of your air-conditioned office…

  12. Janet~it’s a lovely end of the month view into your garden! I love the gravel (must get more for my dry creek bed) It’s hotter then you can imagine in Nashville! We went from 54F to 94F in 24 hours! gail

    1. Good grief Gail, that is so hot it makes me wilt at the very thought of it! Stay cool… I love the gravel too, we’re trying to work out if it would be worth our while to take it with us when we move, its so expensive. Guess it depends on who we sell to when we come to it.

  13. Happy to see your EOMV. It must be a knautia thing; I lost my happy little seedlings too. Be brave with your nepeta! I usually am brutal with mine, and I think it must grow back overnight.

    1. Hi Hanni, thank you, I needed that kind of encouragement on the nepeta front. Sorry to hear about your Knautia seedlings – I’d send you some of mine, but I doubt they would survive customs, let alone the journey…

    1. Hi Ronnie, I am a new convert to pots, but they do add interest and it is fun moving them around to change the effects. Glad you enjoyed the post.

    1. Hi Esther, the poor old allotment has been very neglected recently, but thankfully FIL and TNG are helping me whip it into shape again. Don’t know what I am doing wrong with the baycorns though, neither are showing any signs of life, despite warm bottoms.

      1. I have one bay plant about an inch an a half high – but the other that had emerged through the earth seems to have got over-watered and is rotting. Another baycorn seems to have pushed itself towards the surface and is showing a bit of green through the brown so I’m a bit hopeful. Don’t give up yet. They don’t have 100% germination rate, no-where near, but I have often been surprised by them coming up when I’d even forgotten they were in the pots.

        Esther

        1. Definitely NOT giving up – I’ve had recalcitrant coriander that seemingly wasn’t going to germinate, just one seedling, and suddenly, loads. I have hope…

          1. I am so pleased. Relieved! I was getting worried, thinking it was all going to be very embarrassing – sending out the baycorns then none of them coming up. My first one is about three inches now. The one I dug up to look at died – the shoot came, then it went brown and brittle – but there are little green bits now, coming out from the baycorn again. Don’t understand how this can be – thought once one had killed the main shoot that was it. I can breathe again about yours so that’s something. Sent to two other people, one in the autumn, one just after you . . . I wonder how their’s are doing.

  14. One of these days I’m going to start giving far more consideration to what I plant where and with what, so that I end up with borders as lovely as yours rather than my current hotchpotch that ‘bung-it’ gardening brings!!! :)

    1. Oh, what a lovely compliment, thank you! I have become a little obsessed with textures in the past few years, and spend a ridiculous amount of time day-dreaming about plant combinations, but some of my best bits are the product of “bung-it” gardening, so don’t knock it!!

  15. Janet your visitors no doubt appreciate your garden so much because unlike you we cannot see the template in your mind. The plan to ultimately move lock, stock and almost barrel must make planting a rather contradictory enedeavour. On the other hand, the garden itself would sell the house, if it were me. How your pots must have appreciated the rain though here we have only had one deluge which the winds soon dried. Flaming June might just finish my garden off!

    1. Hello Laura, “contradictory endeavour” sums it up beautifully, and I am torn between wanting to sell to someone who falls in love with the garden and wanting to sell to someone who wants us to rip it all out and put a lawn down. At least with the latter I could remove plants en masse with a clear conscience.

      I am rather concerned about this “Flaming June” business too – far too many pots, not to mention the allotment, which has already taken a beating because I got ill just when I should have been watering! I have drafted in reinforcements, but dread the water bill.

  16. What a lovely garden full of blooms and soon to be blooms! I think you are funny hiding the soil with containers. I do like Crocosmia, maybe one day…….

    1. Hi Janet, I was all set to plant out some geraniums in the bare patches until I saw that the forecast was for another long dry spell. Think I’ll hold off, there’s nothing worse than wilting plants. Well, except dead plants I guess!

  17. Its all looking in good order Janet. Hope it stays that way as they are forecasting hot and sunny weather for the next few weeks. Here comes summer…l feel a song coming on!

    1. Oh great, thanks Trevor, I now have that song running round and round my head… I fear the water meter will be working over time soon – thank goodness the water at the allotment is free!

  18. It’s good to know your Malvern purchases are doing well. So much to showcase in your lovely gardens. I always love stopping by. Happy June!

    1. Oh, thank you, what a lovely thing to say! The best thing about the Malvern plants is MIL’s response. She didn’t think much of all those floaty flowers on wiry stalks when she saw them – not that she admitted this – but now, seeing it all planted up, she loves it. Result! Bodes well for the next garden. Happy June – which I hope won’t turn into Happy Drought…

  19. Janet, I’m loving the colors in your garden, all those lilacs and blues, so pretty! You really do have a stunning garden, one I think I could just sit in and enjoy for hours ;) I’m new to your blog and loving it. Looking forward to following your adventures and drooling over some more of your gardens eye-candy…Cheers Julia

    1. Hi Julia, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment, particularly such a lovely one. Nie to “meet” you, glad you are enjoying the blog.

  20. Lovely garden – I especially like the blues & greens and the wonderful assortment of interesting textures in your borders. I also suffer from being “chicken” when it comes to cutting certain plants back – but yours all look very orderly & well organised right now – definitely some inspiration for my rather overgrown woodland garden!

    1. Hello Anne, “overgrown woodland garden” sounds rather lovely actually. I wish I could take credit for the apparent orderliness of my own patch, but most of it is down to all the plants being relatively new and therefore not yet unruly! Thank you for the compliment though. And good to know that I am not the only “chicken” when it comes to cutting things back.

  21. Everything looks so lush despite your lack of rain. I had never thought of combining allium sphaerocephalon with knautia so thanks for such an excellent suggestion Janet :)

    1. Hi Anna, I wish I could take credit for the Knautia + Allium spaherocephalon combination, but I nicked it straight from a picture in Piet Oudolf’s book “Designing with Plants”! It is lovely though, assuming the dreaded powdery mildew doesn’t take hold.

  22. I like the blue against the acer very much, and how happy everything looks; that rain was evidently very welcome.

    (And I also like the rain on the line of pebbles – gorgeous…)

    1. Hi Kate, I love the rain on the pebble too – when I was choosing them I had a bottle of water with me so that I could see what they looked like wet. I think the garden centre people though me loopy…

  23. Hi Janet, your garden is not half looking lush, the rain does so much more than our attempts with the hose. Just back from Cheshire, visited Tatton park, what an amazing place. I see the house move is still on the agenda.

    1. Hi Alistair, sorry not to have responded earlier, I’ve been ill. The garden has been loving the rain – glad you enjoyed Tatton, it is wonderful, isn’t it! Yes, no timescale for the move other than “some time next year when we’ve got everything done” but definitely happening.

  24. Be brave with the geraniums and nepeta!! I recently whacked both back severely and my geraniums have already put out a mound of new growth. Your nepeta will do the same. Plus, you’ll end up with more flowers!! Your garden looks great! :o)

  25. The April-in-May phenomenon seems to have hit California as well. We had umbrella weather during May, which came as a big surprise since the month is often the beginning of our long dry summer season. Your plants seem to be making good use of your own spring weather. The blues and lavenders make for a serene garden, even if you were only able to take advantage of the sights from the shelter of indoors.

    1. Hi James, we had a peak at summer again the other day, now it is back to distinctly April-ish showers and cooler days. Not that the garden is complaining, though the chillies would prefer more warmth. Sorry not to have got back to you before – I’ve been ill :-(

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