I had been thinking that I wouldn’t have a lot to say for this End of Month View post. Hah! The combination of Mil and Fil being here – with their car – and willing to do trips to the tip, plus exceptionally mild weather, has meant I am tired and aching but things have moved on a little. And some of it is even visible.
The progress begins with pink. I quite like pink in the garden now. I even have a Tamarisk, for heavens sake, and I love the deep cerise pink of the achillea (of which more anon.). But the lacecap hydrangea that I moved to the house end of the fence border this Spring has been driving me mad. It is baby pink, and makes too big a statement in a totally wrong way. The house end of the fence border has lots of lime green and acid yellow from euphorbias and alchemillas. A big blob of pink just doesn’t go.
I felt bad, it has really thrived since its move, but I am not one to mess about with soil ph locally to get the perfect shade of blue. Fortunately I have given Fil the border that runs alongside the driveway to play with, since he is rather nomadic at present. He was delighted to have the lacecap, so we moved it, and I think it looks a lot better in its new home.
Best of all, it has created space for a new plant. Perhaps a small, well behaved tree. I have been lusting after an Amelanchier lamarckii for several years now, they seem to be very well behaved, and I really rather fancy planting a multi stemmed specimen in the space where the hydrangea was. What do you think – too close to the house for even such a well behaved large shrub/small tree?
Further along the fence border I took the opportunity presented by planting allium atropurpureum bulbs to move some plants around. I thought I had been reasonably careful about planting distances, though I know that one of my besetting sins as a gardener is to plant perennials too close to one another creating extra work when they start to fill out. But I did it again, so I shuffled things around, which gave me the opportunity of re-planting one of the cephelaria gigantea in front of the phormium that I moved earlier in the month. I am hoping that the flowers of the former will tie in nicely with the variegation in the leaves of the latter.
I am pretty pleased with how the fence border is settling down, I like the feel, and the mild weather means the cerise (magenta?) achillea ‘Cassis’ is still flowering its socks off, as is the knautia, though the aster and even the sedums have almost given up. I am really looking forward to the cotinus that you can just see popping its head up at the back growing large enough to act as a foil for the achillea – and the aster – and then to watching it turn shades of fiery orange and red. Not that it shows much sign of changing colour at the moment.
It’s too early to plant the tulips that are going in the wall border, so that part of the garden looks pretty much the same except that the cosmos has stopped flowering. I am wondering if it will self-seed, and if so, whether those seedlings will flower even earlier next year, though I will sow seed myself too just in case.
As Autumn starts to take hold and days draw in, I am turning my attention back to hard landscaping. I have to finish the fence, which means clearing enough space at the front end of the garden to put the fence posts. We want to extend the fence further towards the end, though are still debating how far. We want to mark our boundary clearly, and I want a clear space to plant up next Spring. The wall that runs along the lane is falling down, and it is not our responsibility, so we need to make sure that we leave enough space for the wall to get mended (she said optimistically) without messing up my plants. On the other hand, I rather like the idea of opening up the planting at the far end of the garden, making it something nice to look at from both sides as people walk past. Lots to ponder. But in the mean time, lots of very congested plants to dig out – and save where possible.
Its strange, fossiking about in amongst plants that were clearly carefully chosen and planted to form a dense and prickly hedge. There is holly, pyracantha, what was once, I think, a hawthorn before it died, plus lots of ivy and gnarly honeysuckle. The landscaping fabric and layer of rough gravel demonstrates that much thought and care went in to this boundary, and yet by the time I came to it, it was weedy, overgrown, full of bindweed, and hiding a wonderful view. In the end I was only able to rescue a pyracantha, which I promptly re-homed in the back garden by my wonderful stump.
I’ve not introduced you to my stump. It was hidden away in the back corner behind a mass of spotted laurel, brambles and bindweed. I have been working away at clearing it (hah!), which in turn has disturbed several sleepily nesting bees and revealed the stump in all its glory.
I have several log piles hidden about the garden, but it seemed appropriate to have a small one at the base of what was once obviously a pretty large tree. This corner is deliberately quite wild, and already has wild garlic, a hazel, a cotoneaster and a hawthorn, so the pyracantha should fit in well.
The mattock made short work of most of the rest, including the remains of the brachyglottis that did not survive being pruned and then getting very, very cold in our wonderful Spring.
It was lovely, today, working outside without a coat. The thermometer in the back garden read a very balmy 18C when I took a break for a mug of tea this morning. I took a photo, because I just couldn’t believe that Halloween was so warm.
Now I can think about ordering the timber for the rest of the fence, and can ponder how to edge the beds once I get rid of the grass, how to shape the borders as the garden narrows, and what to plant along the rest of the wall.
There is a gentle curve to the wall, and I want to follow the lines with the border edge as far as possible, and plant a low growing hedge of something evergreen – or evergrey – and pretty. Unless I get rid of the great lumpen forms of the mophead hydrangeas there will always be a bit of a disconnect in the wall border. They will stay another year while I ponder, but I plan to plant at least one teucrium against that wall, to get to know it, and see if that might be what I want to see along there. I’ll need to prune it, to prevent it from obscuring the view, but it is another plant I have fallen for through reading Christina’s blog.
Staring at the garden from above, I keep changing my mind about how to make the front part of the garden work well.
I really like the deep border that runs alongside the fence, but if I carry it on that deep it will eventually meet the other side. Each side of the garden nearer the house is deliberately different in colour palette and feel to the other, so at some point I need to “reconcile” the two with what I do with the very front. And I have lots of lovely pieces of rock to play with. What a good job winter is coming, plenty of time to think, plan, dream, write lists.
Thanks again to Helen for hosting the End of Month View meme, do check out the comments on her EOMV post with their links to other people’s gardens at the end of October.