What a funny week! Sunshine and showers. Heavy showers. I know the garden needed some rain, but enough please! I want to enjoy this time of the year outdoors, plenty of time for indoor activities during our winter months. I did manage to mow the lawn on Sunday afternoon, taking a chance that it would remain dry and it is just as well I did. I cut down my mini-mini meadow bit too and scattered some yellow rattle in the hope that it will germinate and help get rid of the grass. I have other wildflower seeds to sow there too, but will wait until August / September to do so. If you are looking for wildflower seeds of different kinds / different locations I can suggest Wildflowers UK if only as a resource into identifying our native flowers.
Tomorrow is the longest day here in the northern hemisphere, which makes me feel sad. This year has been weird in many ways and has thrown many of us out of kilter. I have reached the mid-point of the year feeling that I have not achieved very much.
(1) The gravel garden is an area I began to create back in 2017 as I realised that with just a narrow stone wall around the edge of an untidy lawn there weren’t many places in which to plant flowers. With a lot of stops and starts it was finally finished last year. Not a gravel garden in the true sense, it’s far too wet here to grow the usual plants that love dry conditions, but there is a pebble path that leads you around the area and plants that enjoy a dry sunny position have been installed in the wall itself where there is very little soil and lots of grit. If you click on Garden Diary in the menu you will find a plan of the garden and can see where this area is.
At the moment the wall is full of colour and I am pleased to have finally managed a cohesive colour theme along here. Pink, purple and white Osteospermum, Erigeron karvinskianus, Erigeron glaucus, Campanula and common yarrow cascade down the stonework. At the base Penstemons (not yet in flower), my lovely variegated Agapanthus ‘Silver Moon’ which has no flower spikes for the second year but has those lovely green and white leaves, a weeping Buddleia and a large Fuchsia with yet more Penstemons form the edge. You will have noticed in the top photo a rather large flat rock. This really annoyed me when I moved here as the lawn grass just grew tall around this rock and had to be cut by hand. What a laborious task. Now there are three Carex grasses, a rosemary and an Olearia Haastii shrub (which is about to flower) a pretty blue hardy geranium, possibly ‘Orion‘ and a couple of magenta Geranium sanguineum and Hylotelephium (Sedum/Stonecrop) ‘Ruby Glow’ which is low-growing and spreads and although disappears altogether in the winter, regularly reappears in spring. The rock has a dip in it too which I keep filled with water for the birds to come and drink and bathe in.
(3) Geranium ‘Orion’ is flowering well this year too, probably because I ousted a rather large overpowering G. oxonianum from its side. Such a pretty blue. And a welcome change from all the pink ones in the shady border. Although in the gravel garden are a couple of very pretty magenta (4) Geranium x sanguineum which flower for months.
(5) Also in this area is a raised bed which you can just glimpse in the top photo (where the Alliums are). I had the clever idea (not) of planting several Sempervivum around this bed on the sunniest side to disguise the black plastic edge (recycled of course). I used lots of smaller rocks and plenty of horticultural grit along with a gritty compost in which to plant them so they wouldn’t suffer from the wet. Unfortunately it was an exceptionally wet winter and a long one to boot. Raining from September through to March! And I hadn’t consider how the leaves from the weeping willow would fall and lie on top of this area. Result most of the Sempervivums rotted away…
(6) I managed to rescue these four and I think I have the correct names, but given the labels may have been disturbed during the winter storms I’m not sure. A certain Sixer may recognise them though. Above is ‘Pippin’ and below are three more. Happily replanted in a pot and sitting on the patio table in full sun they are now regrowing. My plan is to empty the Belfast sink and reuse it to plant more Sempervivums and stonecrops.
And the header photo? At this time of year a lot of the local bird life pop into my garden to the bird feeders and sometimes bring their young with them which is delightful to watch as the babies cheep and wriggle to get attention. Whilst I am pottering about the sparrows and the chaffinches often perch on the top of the twisted hazel so as soon as I head indoors they can make a beeline (or should that be birdline) to the food! As always, if you want a peek over other people’s garden walls then please pop over to our host, the lovely Jon, AKA ‘The Propagator’ where you find links to many more wonderful garden enthusiasts from all over the world.
See here for the participant’s guide.