Definite progress in the back garden this month. The cutting bed has been planted up and hopefully will produce lovely flowers for the house as well as adding a hot splash of colour to the garden.
The backbone of the bed is a selection of dahlias, ranging from deep red through shocking pink to orange. Add marigolds, cornflowers and hopefully some crocosmia ‘Bill McKenzie’ and there should be plenty of zing.
We’ve also made progress sorting out the entrance to the garden, laying a new path that runs from the shed past the re-sited greenhouse, and best of all, creating a herb bed.
Eventually we’ll move the path that currently runs along the back of the garage out a little, making space for another planting area against the wall. Come Autumn I am hoping to plant a cherry there, I love the thought of being able to pick sun-warmed cherries.
Its a really good location for herbs, close enough to the back door to make collecting them easy, even when wet as it is surrounded by paving, plus it is right next to the greenhouse which will hopefully benefit from the pollinators that will be drawn there by the thyme etc.
The black pots mark the places where the three remaining plants will go when they arrive, a rosemary with a very upright habit, a purple sage and Perovskia. OK, so cheating a little, but it is called Russian Sage, and it will provide late summer colour. I also have thyme, lavendar, echninacea, bronze fennel, verbena bonariensis for height and the bees and butterflies, and some annuals for froth – white scabious and Ammi majus. Hopefully it will be pretty as well as useful. I am going to take cuttings from the Erysium ‘Bowle’s Mauve’ that I have planted in the front garden and add it in for early colour, and intend to add lots of bulbs too – crocuses, dwarf iris and scented narcissus. It has totally changed the feeling of the entrance to the garden, and opened everything up, I couldn’t be happier that we decided to move the greenhouse, this works so much better.
Elsewhere the park border has also seen a lot of action, again with the aim of adding more colour to the garden. Last year I was distressed by the sight of pink comfrey flowering away next to orange crocosmia. Shocking pink and orange is one of my favourite colour combinations, but pale pink and orange? No. Just, no… So, after debating what to move, I decided to keep the fruity area of the border cooler colours, and dug up the crocosmia instead.
Aquilegia alpina will be followed by blue campanula, and the lovely Astrantia ‘Shaggy’ will be followed by the equally lovely Aster divaricatus. A selection of purple and white geraniums help fill the space and will hopefully also help suppress the weeds.
The currants are doing really well here, as is the rhubarb, and I have now added a Japanese wineberry. I’ll also be moving the alpine strawberries here, they are taking over the raised bed they are currently planted in and I need the space, but they should make a really good edible edging. Further up the border the colours will become hotter, with a shocking pink wallflower and a pair of daylilies, one orange the other yellow. Together with the borage they will add edible flowers to the mix, which makes me smile. But not as much as this does:
You have to use your imagination, but that tiny plant in the middle there is Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’, so it should erupt – eventually – into a enormous plant smothered in yellow flowers, which I think will look great against the bright green foliage of the Griselinia behind. ‘Lemon Queen’ is one of those plants that I have lusted after for years now, but I didn’t have a good location for it in my last garden. And when I finally worked out where I could plant it we moved!
Further along again, next to one of the daylilies, I have one of three geums that will hopefully supply me with zingy colour, at least next year. Not much sign of flower buds on this one yet.
The geum is ‘Karlskaer’, which has (will have!) cheery orange flowers. I like the contrast in foliage between it and the daylily, and really like the daylily against the foliage of the Coronilla valentina subsp. glauca ‘Citrina’ – which is a lovely plant but good grief, what a name. I’ll be wanting to add more blue in the form of the campanula, but I ran out of time yesterday. I also have some ‘Johnson’s Blue’ geraniums for the front of the border, which should contrast nicely with the Lady’s Mantle.
Moving along, more hot colours.
Well, not yet, but there will be! Silene ‘Jack Flash’, and another longed for plant from my wishlist, Helenium ‘Moorheim Beauty’. Where the bamboo cane is. When it arrives. I’ve also planted a yellow dahlia, but I can’t remember whether it is a hot yellow or a cool yellow. Never mind, if it doesn’t work it will come out.
Right at the end, next to the acer, I have a new Geranium, ‘New Dimension’, which has lovely dark purple foliage and flowers that seem to change colour depending on the light. Sometimes they look blue, at other times more purple. Either which way, I love it – I got it from a garden in a neighbouring village that was open as part of the National Garden Scheme. Well, it would have been rude not to really. After all, it was for charity…
All in all, I am pleased with the way this border is taking shape, although there are still precious few flowers to show for all my hard work at the moment. Here are the current sources of colour – click on any image to see the slideshow:
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My next target is the back border. From a distance, and particularly in the soft evening light, it looks pretty good.
However, the ferns are growing in the wrong places, and even the end I have started to plant up needs some serious attention – only Geum rivale ‘Leonard’s Variety’ is really earning its keep at present. And the weeds! The weeds are making a concerted effort to reclaim the whole area.
This is my contribution to Helen’s End of Month meme, which I find tremendously helpful for tracking progress on the areas of the garden I am focusing on. Do check out her post and the links there to other people’s, it is always fascinating.