Well, on the upside, I am actually doing an EOMV post. On the down side, the weather is totally rubbish, so no arty close-ups of perovskia ‘Blue Spire’, verbena bonariensis, cosmos ‘Purity’. No clever shot showing how the deep purple foliage of sedum tenuifolium ‘Purple Emperor’ is echoed in the colour of the newly-flowering knautia macedonica. Instead, shots taken from the landing and lounge windows showing wind-blown plants, though in fairness they are probably delighted to be getting a drenching. And at least it demonstrates that the colours work well even on a dull grey wet day.

hydrangeas with perovskia and verbena bonariensis
Verbena bonariensis and almost-flowering Ammi majus
Verbena bonariensis and almost-flowering Ammi majus
Cosmos 'Purity'
Cosmos ‘Purity’
Sedum telephium 'Purple Emperor' almost flowering with the buttons of Knautia macedonica floating above them.
Sedum telephium ‘Purple Emperor’ almost flowering with the buttons of Knautia macedonica floating above them.

Eventually I will deepen the wall border and propagate the perovskia so that they dance and waft and soften the solid mass of the hydrangeas behind. I also have a large number of stachys byzantina which I have grown from seed to edge the border and some Echinacea ‘White Swan’, also grown from seed, to add late season interest and contrasting foliage. It is a very young border, but I am pleased with how it is evolving, though I really should have pruned the escallonia hedgelet back to encourage it to bush out more. I haven’t been doing much gardening lately, what with Project Kitchen and visitors, but I did manage to squeeze in a mass planting session before the many, many plants I had lurking in pots became irredeemably potbound.

The main focus of the Great Planting episode was the fence border. In total I planted 58 plants, mostly grown from seeds or cuttings, or brought from my previous garden, but with enough nursery-supplied plants to represent more money than I ever imagined planting in the ground in one go! I’ve been lucky enough to get enough work to pay for lots of lovely plants, including the sedum above, euphorbia myrsinites, cephelaria gigantea and a beautiful bronzy-green carex, carex testacea. Rather than planting in blocks, as I usually have in the past, I have tried interweaving the different plants through the border to create a more tapestry-like effect. The jury is out on that one, the plants are mostly too young to make much of a statement and I have had terrible problems with weeds, since I at least tried to use sensible spacing. In the end I have let the wild euphorbia romp around to fill the gaps on the basis that it is more attractive than the alternatives, but it does mean that the overall effect is, at the moment at least, rather muddled to the eye.


This is even more obvious viewed in greyscale:


The area I am most pleased with at the moment is the central bed. Eventually this will be dismantled and the stone used to edge the fence and wall borders, and the planting will spread out through a sea of gravel, once the grass has been removed. In the mean time, and after re-homing the hundreds of orange and yellow marigolds that had self-seeded with either ‘Cemaes in Bloom’ or my next door neighbour, I planted achillea ‘Terracotta’ in a sea of stipa tenuissima with anthemis tinctoria ‘E. C. Buxton’ as contrast.




It was Sara over at Hillwards that confirmed that the pretty pale yellow daisy I had seen in an image on line was ‘E. C. Buxton’, and I like the idea of contrasting the daisy heads of this with the flat tops of the achillea. I added a deeper yellow achillea, ‘Moonwalker’, grown from seed, to pick out the center of the anthemis, but wax and wane about that. I often think the yellow is too strong for the overall effect I want in that bed. The photos above were taken a couple of weeks ago, but the colours have faded now, and do exactly what I wanted them too, echo the yellows and browns on the cliffs on the opposite side of the bay.


Having skipped an entire month it probably looks as if I have done a lot, but other than the mammoth planting exercise, and pulling out armfuls of weeds, I haven’t. The fence remains half finished, the front half of the garden is a wasteland, and the fuchsia and Bear’s Breeches are still there, periodically obscuring the view until ruthlessly cut back. But the mystery foliage I asked about in the April EOMV is no longer a mystery:


Definitely linaria!

Do pop over to Helen@Patient Gardener to catch up with her garden, and to follow links to all sorts of other gardens too.

53 thoughts on “End of Month View July 2013

    1. Beautiful, isn’t it? I’m so glad I finally have the conditions to grow it in. And I agree, always fun to watch how things evolve.

  1. You are so lucky to have the sea as a backdrop and I am laughing that you are most pleased with the central bed considering how much you have hated it even before you moved in!

    Thanks for joining in the End of Month View this month

    1. Hi Helen, it is a little ironic, isn’t it! At least I feel I can live with it now, until I manage to garner the time and energy to remove it and the grass.

  2. It is really starting to come together! There is an awful lot of weeding to do while borders mature – next year will surely be easier. I love your floating Knautia buttons!

    1. I keep telling myself that next year will be easier – less weeding, less decorating, more lounging around and perhaps kayaking in the bay catching mackerel to cook in the new oven for supper. Which of course pretty much guarantees that next summer will be pants! And of course without at least some bare soil I won’t get self seeded accidental and harmonious planting combinations. That’s what I keep telling myself. The buttons are lovely aren’t they – I must plant more…

    1. Thanks Jane, I do love the sedum, I want to propagate it and use it further down the border too.

  3. Janet nice to see you posting, I too smiled when I read you like the central bed remembering how much you diliked it, I can see why though as you have changed it and the plants there now do look lovely, I love the white cosmos and the purple emperor sedum, considering how the garden looked last year you have come a long way and it is looking good, I have masses of weeds too, and decided to just go with some and not drive myself mad feeling I have to get them all out, so long as my plants are surviving, I hope the bad weather doesn’t last long, Frances

    1. Hi Frances, I am pleased with how it is beginning to feel mine, and to have something of the look that I was after. I’m with you on a little weed tolerance, life is too short to get stressed out by them!

  4. am amazed at what you’ve achieved so far Janet – juvenile borders look positively adolescent and the artist has a few new canvases – the purple/red sedum border is nicely offset with blue-grey foliage. As for the terracotta achillea, I can only see caramel toffee which makes me lick my lips. Interesting how the term ‘sea’ has crept into your planting descriptions!!

    1. Hi Laura, thank you, I am so enjoying my new playground. I had to smile at the thought of you licking your lips at the sight of the achillea – I was moving my agastache rupestris plantlets around this morning, lovely airy pale silvery foliage that smells of aniseed, a sensory delight. As to the sea, it gets everywhere!

  5. Hi Janet,

    Your Yarrow is rather lovely… Hrm… Maybe…………………


    Shame about the bad weather, looks like you’ll have to take more photos for us! heehee.
    Looking good so far me thinks considering it’s still so young, and I know exactly how you feel about leaving the weeds to help fill the borders in… I’ve done exactly the same before, also with the wild euphorbia stuff. As a result I’ve been ripping it out for years since and still it comes! Oops.

    1. Hi Liz, definitely more photos required! And once I get some breathing space I am going to rip out a lot of the euphorbia so that I can see the bones of the border and work out what I want to change. At least weeding gets me up close and personal with the plants, though I have a terrible tendency to leave piles of them about waiting for me to move them to the compost heap and then I get distracted and somehow a week later they are still there…

    1. Thank you, I am really enjoying it, it is going to be fun extending it once I start taking up the grass. I am going to have to collect seed from the linaria, I have never come across it before, but it is beautiful.

    1. Hi guys, thanks – and yes, the view is what steals the show every time, I never get tired of it.

  6. I think you have been busy, whatever you may think. I like the idea of the plants being more naturally interspersed; it is working for me in on ‘the slope’. It needs careful planning to look natural as there should be blocks melting into single plants; when it is done well it is my favourite style of planting. It is all coming together well; give it time, you haven’t had this garden long. The plus side is you are using the wonderful views to perfection.

    1. Hi Christina, that careful planning side is the crux, isn’t it, otherwise it so easily just looks a mess. I am far from convinced that I can pull it off at the moment, but I am enjoying the experiment. There are years of experimenting ahead of me, after all! Glad you think I am using the view well, I am enjoying the process of feeling my way forward when it comes to what I do with the rest of the front garden.

  7. Your garden definitely looks to be enjoying the rain and the sunshine. The soft oranges and yellow in the central border do look lovely. I must actually get some EC Buxton myself, I was thinking just the other day it would look nice next to where my Aster Monch is just beginning to flower, taking over from the pale yellow of Potentilla recta sulphurea which has stopped flowering, with the spires of blue campanula behind to break up the daisy style.
    I too prefer the pale yellow to the strong colour of Moonshine/walker, though I have seen the bright yellow achillea looking lovely in other gardens with lots of strong purples, but I tend to prefer more muted yellows here.

    1. Hi Sara, my “Monch” is in the fence border, but I had been wondering about another blue aster in the middle, or possibly a salvia, for pale blue spires as a contrast. I had to look up the potentilla, very pretty! I have one I hope to re-home in that central bed once I get the side border cleared. Moonwalker is going to get a new home in a hot border in the back garden…

      1. Always space for another aster ;) Sadly my turbinellus seems to have died over winter :(
        The potentilla is lovely, very tall and airy, looks great scrambling through hardy geraniums; the seeds were free when I ordered some others a few years ago from plant world seeds – it is self sowing happily too, so if ever you want some seedlings/seeds just holler!
        Adding moonwalker to a hot bed sounds ideal. You could add some blue agastache to your central island for spires… I am immensely enjoying three A. black adder plants this year. Salvias are always good though; I’m a huge fan of Caradonna, and S. napifolia, grown from the RHS seed scheme, has come back really strongly for me this year, with whorled flowers on long spikes in a very soft purple.

        1. Oooh, yes please on the potentilla seeds/seedlings! Sounds perfect. I have ‘Black Adder’ on my list for the wall border, but I was after a softer blue for the central bed, I would go for nepeta but with so many local cats loving our front garden I fear the results… Sorry about your aster turbinellus, it is on my list to try growing next year, what a bummer. Am off to look up caradonna and napifolia…

  8. Thanks for sharing all this Janet – these EOMVs are a bit like washing dirty clothes in public, aren’t they? We may as well as be honest about our gardens and I think we in the UK are all in the same boat as far as the effect of the weather goes. You have done such a lot though, and your newbies should romp away (like the euphorbia – ha ha) now they have had the rain. The terracotta achillea does indeed look lovely but I struggle to grow it although I have a new one that is still alive! Well done with your cosmos – mine are tiny and spindly and i need to make sure I prick them out earlier next year :(

    1. Hi Cathy, yes, definitely washing the horticultural linen in public! I find it a really good way of making me look critically and thoughtfully at the garden though, and the constructive comments and suggestions make it worth the faint blush of embarassment when something isn’t working. I could never grow achillea in my last garden, or not until I discovered that ‘cassis’ will tolerate part shade and doesn’t completely flop in heavier soil. The cosmos are the best I have ever had, I think because I sowed them really early (February) in a propagator. Definitely something I will do again, in the past they have barely started flowering by the end of August!

  9. Love that achillea – I have a creamy lemon one that I grew from seed. Nice to see how your borders have filled out in such a short time.

    1. Creamy-yellow and growable from seed sounds perfect – what is the name Elaine? Because that darker yelloe does not belong in the central bed, it needs re-homing in a hot bed in the back garden…

  10. A most enjoyable post as always, and terrific photos. The weather been like here a couple of days this week.
    I wish that I had that many cosmos on the plot, and I’m thinking about growing achillea next year. xx

    1. Thanks Flighty, I’ve never had cosmos this good, they usually don’t get around to flowering until late August, and even then are pretty spindly. I think it was because I was able to start them in February in the propagator and then keep them going under the grow light and then the greenhouse. Mind you, the dwarf pink cosmos have been very disappointing. And go for achillea, the bees and butterflies love it, so you will get lovely flowers and even more insects to enjoy.

  11. I always love to see the views of the sea from your garden and I’m always fascinated, too, by how you plant to compliment them. I’m thinking of buying Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’ for my garden because the bees love it so much. I haven’t planted much Cosmos this year because I got so behind with my seeds in the spring, and the sight of your lovely flowers does make me miss it.

    1. Hi Wendy, we are so very lucky to have those views, the process of learning to garden with them is fascinating me. ‘Blue Spire’ is a really beautiful plant, I hope to propagate from it and have much more. As for the cosmos, there’s always next year. I think that is fast becoming my gardening mantra!

  12. Whatever the weather, Janet, I love what you’ve achieved! I wouldn’t have thought of putting perovskia and v. bonariensis together but it works really well; should be glorious with the stachys in front as well. Just lovely. I’m also VERY pleased to see your sedum telephium, I didn’t know of this plant before but it looks wonderful next to the knautia and the grasses. I must add that to my wish list… ! Wonderful EoM view and one that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and seeing your lovely pics! Cxx

    1. Thanks so much Caro, what a lovely comment – and compliment! I agree about the sedum, it is a beautiful plant, I must work out the best way to propagate it. Hey, if I am successful, I can send you some baby sedums, so cross your fingers!

      1. Ooh, Yes Please!! Thank you! A neighbour has some ‘hen & chick’ succulents in his ground floor balcony windowbox – they were put there by a friend who has a knack with these things and she keeps on just tucking the babies into a bald patch and away they go!! I don’t fare so well but was interested to read Sue Beesley’s 2011 post on the subject. You may well already know of her blog (Bluebell Cottage Gardens) but here’s the link anyway to propagating sedums … :) :)
        http://bit.ly/11JpuDy (hope it works!)
        Caro x

        1. Thank you, perfect, now I just have to work out how many stems/leaves I can do without… *wriggles with excitement*

    1. :-) Though it is always really interesting to get a different perspective, a bit like walking a different way around your garden I suppose, or just standing somewhere you don’t normally use as a vantage point.

  13. Oh I do like that deliciously dark sedum Janet. That central border is looking great and will be even better next year. You should be pleased with what you have achieved in such a short time. I like Sara’s idea of adding some blue agastache. Have just found out that agastache flowers are edible but have still to have a nibble.

    1. Thanks Anna, I do love the sedum, and adding blue to the central bed is a grand idea, it will help tie it in to the wall bed too.

  14. Almost 60 plants, you are on a roll! I know what you mean about leaving space for plants to grow and then being overwhelmed with weeds. I’ve been battling this in my flower garden the last couple years as things fill in.

    1. Hi Marguerite, the weed are a pain, aren’t they, but on the other hand, self seeders can be wonderful. And I have to laugh, I can already see places where I have planted too close together!!

  15. My, your garden has come on, I love the colours you have chosen for your centre bed, its going to look stunning when it has gravel running through.

    1. Hi Pauline, thank you, I am really looking forward to getting the gravel down, but I suspect it will be Spring next year at the earliest. And I have all those lovely rocks to play with too!

  16. I am sorry to hear of your trials…no real gardening here either and it is all overgrown and weedy…it was too hot, then too wet, then no time…hoping to carve out time in the fall. I do like the yellows in the front.

    1. Hi Donna, sorry you are sharing my weeds and lack of gardening time. Frustrating, isn’t it. Mind you, I did wake up thinking about planting combinations this morning, a sign that perhaps I might soon have enough brain space to re-engage.

  17. The Achillea Terracotta is lovely.
    Weeds have been a real problem this year, it must have been the wet spring. A planting spree could well be the solution for me too, reducing the amount of bare earth, although I will have to go some to catch up with you! Your new plants will settle in well after all this rain.
    Creating a new garden is an awful lot of work!

    1. I think I could here the plants slurping up the rain this morning, unfortunately I fear it was probably the weeds I could hear, they are louder, in every respect… I imagine your river is rather full again now! I am so looking forward to swapping a paintbrush and sandpaper for a trowel and trug.

  18. E.C. Buxton is so pretty! I love the lemony yellow of its petals; I’ll have to see if something like this is available in the U.S. No need to apologize for the weeds–I can’t seem to keep up with them either. We’ve have had a beautiful summer with just enough rain and few really hot days, so I can’t even use the weather as an excuse for why I haven’t accomplished more:) But with all these pretty blooms, who even notices weeds?!

    1. Hi Rose, it is a lovely plant, isn’t it, I hope you can find it in the US. As for weeds, I think every gardener needs to be able to adopt a selective way of viewing the garden, one where you can see beyond the weeds and other shortcomings and enjoy the good. We’d all go mad else!

  19. What a great tour of your garden! I love the cosmos and the achillea terracotta is fab! Hope project kitchen is going well! :)

    1. Hi Anna, the cosmos has been amazing this year, I can’t believe it, proves that sowing early works, and that they like my light soil. Project Kitchen is nearly over but has hit a slight glitch in the shape of a sloping ceiling making fitting the extractor hood chimney more exciting than it should be. But I will be hopefully cooking in it full time come the weekend. The kitchen, that is, not the chimney hood… Sorry, was up very early worriting about said chimney!!

  20. I like the use of the greyscale photo to see shape and texture in the garden. A good tool to use. So glad your mystery plant was IDed, and that it was a good plant and love the color! Ours has been such a wet summer, even my Achillea didn’t bloom. As I write this it is getting ready to rain again…lots of thunder (one dog hiding from the weather).

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