..in the greenhouse.
The New Zealand seeds are an orange cosmos.
When as often happens, I have so many things to do I don't know where to start I sometimes list them all and do just 10 minutes on each. This was my list for today in the garden.
transplant forget me nots
plant out foxgloves
set up the propagator
sow seeds of ox eye daisies
clean up greenhouse
That took an hour by which time I felt I'd made a surprising amount of progress on all fronts and knew what I wanted to concentrate on most. It was really springlike and a chaffinch sang his little heart out all the time I was working.
I'm looking forward to the gardening season again.
.. flowers for cutting..
Even tiny pickings are lovely. I had to creep into corners to find these little gems.
The dainty blossom from prunus 'Kojo-no-mai 'doesn't provide much for picking but if the weather is poor and I feel I am not seeing much of it's short lived blossoms I sometimes pick a tiny bit to put in a jar on the bedside table.
The bold and handsome foliage of viburnum 'Davidii' is uselful all year - the pink buds are followed by white flowers then blue berries and a spray looks very fine in a jar on its own.
I have daffodils for quite a long time. Topolino and Tete A Tete, then February Gold, then Jenny, then Thalia (still to come) with some others I don't know the names of which were here when I came.
A simple pleasure.
I thought you might like to see the stunning garden Jennie created for a wedding on the first of September. These two photographs were taken in July and she managed to keep them looking this good for a further six weeks.
These were for either side of the entrance to the garden.
There were several troughs like this one.
The double border consisted of agapanthus, hakonechloa, white cosmos, and white and lime green nicotiana (very scented in the evening when there were also lots of fairy lights).
There were hay bales with rugs, and a marquee this side of the arch, and the weather on the day though not sunny was dry and warm.
My photos don't really do it justice!
A close up of the pretty mix (matching the bridesmaids' dresses). Smallish petunias, lobelia, helichrysum and the confetti-like euphorbia which although tricky and slow to start is still looking effective in my own garden..
I am amazed at how green the grass has stayed in the heatwave.
I watered it every few days when the weather first turned hot (before Open Days) but not since. I can only suppose that all the early season lawn care - scarifying, feeding and weeding - got it into really good condition and that has seen it through, and in the last couple of weeks we have had the odd rainy day. Just enough to keep it fresh.
Short blog break coming up (to keep me fresh too).
The morning of the longest day finds me on my hands and knees in the back garden sniffing the exquisite scent of a newly discovered orchid!
I'm pretty certain it is platanthera bifolia or the lesser butterfly orchid. Who knows how long it has been there waiting for it's chance to flower? I leave different patches of grass to grow each year just to see what comes up.
Everyone loves the mini-meadow in the front garden and a lot of visitors say they will try leaving a patch of lawn to grow in their own garden - even a metre square as an experiment might be fun to do.
If your soil is rich you may just get the coarser grasses but if you rake off the cuttings thoroughly each year you will gradually reduce the fertility and then are more likely to get the kind of flowery meadow we all dream of!
We're having a family party on Sunday.
Do you celebrate midsummer where you are?
My most memorable midsummer was in Sweden where they really know how to celebrate it!
How come your hostas are not eaten by slugs?
I do use pellets, sparingly, from when the first snouts show till the shoots are about 4 inches high and especially in wet weather.
What is the name of the one with the dark purple flower?
The hosta is Devon Green (lovely glossy leaves) but the flower is an orchid -dactyllorhiza elata - which seeded itself from another pot!
What is the name of this plant?
It is euphorbia 'Silver Mist'. Quite tender and it's leaves droop when it gets too cold or wet - it looked better during the hot spell recently. Very dainty.
What's in the bag?
Perfumed soap. The deer rubbed some of the lovely white bark from this betula 'Jaquemontii'. The smell deters them (and I painted over the damaged part with Dulux Brilliant White emulsion!)
I hope you have enjoyed this little tour!
..with replying to your comments (which I really did appreciate so much though I haven't responded to them all yet), food shopping, eating properly (I've just been snacking mainly), decisions which I've been putting off till 'after Open Days',writing my journal, a haircut - I so need a haircut!
I stood in the almost eerily quiet (and sunny!) garden on Monday morning after the two open days and I could still see it peopled with visitors in twos and threes,looking, chatting, asking questions, taking photographs, making notes...
It takes more than rain to stop keen gardeners and we were surprised and delighted to make £1013 for the SGS charities - Maggie's Cancer Care, The Queen's Nursing Inititute Scotland, National Trust for Scotland Garden Fund and Perennial. Considerably less than we usually make but in the past five events we have been lucky with the weather!
Lots of compliments - always nice!
One of the advantages of doing it early in the summer is that we can all just sit back and enjoy our gardens now - the hardest work is behind us but for a little grass cutting, perhaps some watering when the sunshine returns....
I did enjoy it and it has revived my passion for the garden.
Some photos tomorrow.
The plants have it, but do I?
Flattened but not broken...
Heavy rain all night and 50 - 60 mph gusts of wind are dong their damage as I watch. Today is the day that all the gardeners taking part in the Open Days visit each others' gardens! At least we will be able to commiserate with each other and the winds should have reduced in strength before we meet here at 2 this afternoon.
I will go and do some baking - we can console ourselves with biscuits!
Latest. Today's visits cancelled.
Might catch up on my emails.
Well, it would be romantic if you could sit out in it but the midges made that impossible last night - but it was romantic to look at!
There are midges, there are tics, there are horseflies, there is weather. Our glorious sunshine is forecast to end in 50 - 60mph gales and heavy rain - just in time for Open Days Let's hope they are wrong again. It has been known. I am trying to be philosophical but I just might cry if it all gets bashed to the ground.
My temporary solution to the problem of the great space left by the loss of a lovely viburnum 'Maresii' (see this post) was to paint some canes and make a wigwam to fill the space.
We uprooted some golden hop - the fastest growing thing in the garden, but it didn't like being moved and won't cover the structure till later, so I added a clematis which I had in a pot.
Any day now I'll change the subject!
A progress report.
With a week to go to Open Days (see details here) I am still working pretty hard. It is too hot by 10am! Not good for the grass which despite frequent watering is not looking too good. It's also too hot for dividing and moving plants and I've been doing quite a lot of this.
However we're now at the finessing stage - which I love.
Things like 'lifting the skirts' (sounds very non-PC today). I love doing this with trees but it works well with alchemilla mollis and hostas for example. You cut back, from underneath and right to the base, any leaves which are touching the ground.
It does several things. Lets light and air into the bottom of the plant, prevents the grass underneath from dying off altogether, allows the lawn mower under to the edge and looks much much better -don't you agree?
Pulmonarias are finished flowering now and I find that cutting back to the base all the flowering stems and giving the plant a good drink discourages mildew (to which they are very prone) and encourages a quick flush of beautiful new leaves.
I love the contrast with the hosta leaves. All the hostas are doing brilliantly.
Today's rescue job was to reclaim the seat from the ferns and aquilegia....
You will see what I mean about the poppy being in the wrong place!
I like to think it has a certain charm...
I love the way this bed is looking.
Thinking about a poppy bed as attainable only if I had a bigger garden, I remembered the two herb beds I've just cleared....
I could have one herb bed, and one poppy bed.
Not very big but big enough for my three favourites and a 'Cedric Morris' and a 'Patty's Plum' with annual poppies to follow the oriental ones.
Spray painted the metal table and chair back to the original colour.
Ran out of paint!
..in the wrong place, floppy, messy, hard to move, every year I think I should get rid of them but..
..every year I let them stay!
If I had a big enough garden I would have a poppy border and grow 'Cedric Morris' and 'Patty's Plum' and from seed 'Pizzicato' from which I would select my favourites (This is how I came by the ones above.) I would interplant them with irises and agapanthus for a succession of wonderful colour. I could also have the Welsh poppies, the Iceland poppies, the Californian poppies, opium poppies, Shirley poppies, Angel;s Choir, Dark Plum...
Just as well I have not got a bigger garden. I'd be exhausted.
What would you grow if you had a bigger garden - or if you had a garden. I didn't have a garden where I grew up but In my first flat I had two window boxes.
I have about ten acers in the garden,mostly in pots and while the log store is empty I thought some of them looked rather nice in there....As I do with my paintings I like to move my plants around.
Do you move your plants around, in house or in garden? Or your paintings? Or perhaps your furniture?
This one however stays in the same place as it covers a tree stump which was too big to remove.
The good gardening weather continues!
and in every garden, you do from time to time lose some.
It's just a pity when it is a star plant and four weeks to Open Day!
But viburnum 'Davidii' a very handsome shrub, despite being weighed to the ground by snow more than once this winter is looking splendid by the front door. The flowers are followed by berries of an amazing blue and the evergreen leaves are beautifully veined. Unlike viburnum tinus which smells so awful I wouldn't grow it, this has no scent.
Viburnum plicatum 'Mariesii' I love for it's horizontal form. This was a beautiful specimen, so perfect that we spent some time clearing away other things from around it to show off it's form and 'honour it with it's own space'.
I had hoped that it was just late coming into leaf but since these few leaves appeared on a low branch it became clear the rest was dead. It took many years to grow to this size and leaves a big gap.
But I have an idea....
Planning my gardening day I sat here and heard a woodpecker, the wren which I think is nesting in clematis 'Freda' and I watched a deer delicately pick its way up into the forest through that patch of sunlight on the right there. I imagined it's forest life so different from mine yet so close.
Jennie saw a deer jump lightly over the yellow gate early one morning. I guess it owns the place as much as I do...
Today's list under my four headings for garden work -
An Ongoing Job - weeding the lawn which is again and at last beginning to be worthy of the name after some very intensive care!
A Start and Finish Job - tidying the edges of the cutting patch and consolidating the ground (trampling it) ready for some better-late-than-never seed sowing - gypsophila, poppies, cornflowers, night scented stock, marigolds, nasturtiums....after a couple of disappointing seasons I am giving it one last shot...
A Job I Want To Do - I think I will plant up a hanging basket just with trailing lobelia. I've seen it looking very pretty and have been meaning to try it for years.
A Rescue Job - there are always things to be rescued here! Today I think it will be the space at the back of the shed. Having emptied the compost bins onto the cutting patch, it's pretty messy back there.
Meanwhile there are some pretty bits and pieces - some planned some just happen - like the self sown things on the greenhouse floor...
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)