A funny old week weather-wise. Some sunshine, some cloud, some rain. And for me a surge in energy that has been lacking for several weeks now. Reading about gardens on the blogs and in magazines I was reminded of the fact that you shouldn’t have anything in your garden that you don’t love. Especially when it is as small as mine. So on Monday I set out to clear the patch of ground next to my ‘Zen Patio’ which has irked me for the last couple of years. Here grew Iris pseudacorus a British wild native marginal iris with sword-like leaves and striking yellow flowers, a couple of Arum lilies, a mass of Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet), some type of water mint and clumps of Japanese Anemones. Bindweed and brambles also interleaved themselves throughout and I couldn’t reach the fence to sort out the climbing white rose. I have always felt that there must have been a small pond here as all these flowers are the kind you find around a pond or a bog garden, but having cleared most of the patch I found no evidence of one. Most of the irises hadn’t been flowering well, the Meadowsweet was pretty but crowded and the mint invasive, though the bees like it at this time of year. However, it all had to go. Along with the Buddleia alternifolia (weeping butterfly bush/ fountain buddleia) which was growing too big and sprawling everywhere despite my best intentions in pruning it back after flowering. Although a mature specimen (it can grow to 4m wide and tall) can look very beautiful, I found that despite the clusters of sweet-smelling lilac flowers it never attracted any butterflies.
(1) Gone – the sprawling fountain buddleia, irises, mint and meadowsweet. Hopefully now the little peach tree and the fuchsia shrub have light and space to grow properly.
(2) Hemp Agrimony ( Eupatorium cannabinum) is also under threat. Last year I pulled a lot of it out and I usually give it a Chelsea chop in May to prevent it growing too tall, but this year I left it alone. It grew too tall. Usually it is smoothered in butterflies, especially Red Admirals, but hardly any this year. it overshadows my pots on the patio so I think I shall be attempting to remove more of this shortly.
(3) Japanese Anemones – The tall pale pink ones have spread over the past four years and although I like the flowers a lot I don’t like all the foliage, especially as for some reason a lot of mine becomes very diseased looking with black blotches. I shall be removing all but one clump of these once I have some space in my waste bin!
In the raised beds however I have a couple of different types – ‘Pamina’ with lovely dark pink double flowers and ‘Wild Swan’ which is white with a pretty lilac-pink reverse stripe and apparently not invasive. They do need moving as this bed also requires a revamp.
(4) Selinium wallichianum (Wallich milk parsley) also grows in the raised bed. A perennial umbellifer bearing broad umbels of white cow-parsley like flowers, held above delicate, fern-like foliage, from July and into autumn. The seedheads are supposed to be interesting too, but this is the first time it has flowered (planted spring 2019) so I will wait and watch.
(5) Yarrow – this pretty lilac-pink flower has just appeared in the Cornish hedge. I guess from the same pack of seeds that the ox-eye daisies, the musk mallow and the wild carrot appeared. I have the common white one in the garden, but this is a very pretty addition and I shall be happy if it spreads.
(6) Restio Chondropetalum tectorum is a Rush-like plant forming an ornate erect tussock. Also known as Cape Thatching reed it comes from the Western Cape region of South Africa. It’s not fully hardy and supposedly likes to be kept on the dry side in winter, but it’s survived so far in my bee and butterfly raised bed, even coping with the Beast from the East! I like its lovely coloured stems.
I wonder if I will regret being so ruthless, but time will tell. I have a few ideas as to what I want to plant in the vacant space, but I shall wait until next spring to decide. A new clematis definitely and I might move one of my roses to the back of the border. And it could be a good spot to grow sweet peas.
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.