(Almost) end of the month view: May 2011

I’m going to be away next week, leaving my beloved garden in the tender care of trusted friends, so I reckoned I’d get this done beforehand (also the forecast isn’t brilliant, but I did manage to get some photographs taken in a brief respite between storms).

Heaven only knows what the weather will do while I’m away, too; given what it’s been up to this month, rains of giant frogs wouldn’t surprise me. What a change since the last EOMV, when I was complaining about having empty water butts and it being too dry. Be careful what you wish for, indeed!

The meadow is beginning to get into summer mode. Most of the daffodills have died back and the grasses are beginning to be tall enough to obscure what’s left. There are a lot of buttercups, a good patch of white clover, sorrels, hawkweeds, vetches and other delights coming through.

The ox-eye daisies are spreading, too. Has anybody else noticed how much cuckoo-spit there is this year? These were covered in it, and my winter jasmine hedge looked as though it was summer jasmine. Well, until the latest storm hit.

Happily the spotted heath orchids are in quite a sheltered spot, though I’ve only got a couple of flower spikes this year. There are more rosettes of spotty leaves, so hopefully there’ll be more next time round.

They are rather camera-shy little darlings and, in several years of crawling on the ground and trying to capture their delicacy, I’ve never quite nailed it, not even with my Leica. I think they do it deliberately, like truly great movie stars who do their best to merge into the background.

The  middle garden is beginning to get its summer frock on as well. Some of my paeonies are blind this year – not sure why, suggestions welcome – but the ones that are flowering make quite an impact.

I’ve planted some new things here. There’s an arch now, with clematis growing well up it – not flowering yet, but the colours should work when they do. The paeony border itself is a bit bleak and infested with couch grass, so I tend to rely on the rosemary bushes and the paeonies and their gorgeous leaves to hide most of that.

However, it broadens out around an ancient rosemary, and I cleared this out, and added a couple of  pyrethrums and monardas. Well, there were two monardas, but something has eaten clean through one of them. Hm. The crimson pyrethrum has just started doing its thing:

I know, I know, they’re as common as muck and ‘nobody grows pyrethrums any more’. But poo to that attitude: they’re fab, and I do. They were my favourite flower when I was three (I must find the photographs; in some I’m even younger) and I still adore them. They’re so uncompromising and jolly and they make my heart lift. And it’s colour again; I’m a sucker for it.

The bottom garden has suffered in the storms, but though the beans are a bit mangled, I think they will be fine. The tomatoes are beginning to take off in the shelter of the greenhouse – I can’t believe I didn’t get a greenhouse earlier – and even the squashes are OK, with only one slug-related loss. They look a bit stunned, as do the courgettes we managed to get out in the main veg plot, but they’ll get used to outdoor life. Why are polytunnels so hideous?

I may have sourced a brown iris for next year (thanks!), and the rest are almost over. They were really bashed about, and the last of the flowers from the big white is now caught in the hedge at the far end of the garden, about five metres away. So this is a requiem shot, really:

They were just breaking into bud at the last EOMV. What a useful way it is of monitoring how your garden changes… and my next change is huge, but a short lived. It’s the kitchen path.

Because of the steeply sloping ground, the garden side of the path from the outside world to the kitchen door has a stone retaining wall. On top of that wall – so you don’t fall a metre down onto slate and break something – is a tangled rambling rose hedge. It flowers for about three weeks, and is amazing. Honeysuckle is entwined in it, and that’s already in full bloom.

Give it a couple more weeks, and the hedge will be covered in small double white roses with a sweet scent. And the walls below will be masked with trails and trails of hardy geraniums. That’s if the weather doesn’t go completely off the rails.

Plus, I know my garden. It has a tendency to misbehave if unsupervised by The Boss – that’s me, not Bruce Springsteen, ahem – so I’m not quite sure what it will get up to. I’m sure the guys are quite up to dealing with anything it might throw at them, and I’ve checked the trees for loose branches, so it shouldn’t be too serious…


10 thoughts on “(Almost) end of the month view: May 2011

  1. easygardener

    I like the Pyrethrum – it’s a lovely colour. I remember using a pyrethrum pest spray when I first got interested in organic gardening. I also noticed huge numbers of ox eye daisies as we drove along a dual carriageway today. A white carpet over the grass. Beautiful.

    1. kate Post author

      Aren’t the ox eyes good this year? I spotted loads as I drove back here from Glasgow – and one area where the motorway bank was covered in orange hawkbit. Lots of orchids (!) at Tebay services too!

  2. Janet/Plantaliscious

    Why doesn’t anyone grow pyrethrums any more? In my case, I never have because I’ve never heard of them before, but apart from them apparently being floppy and needing support they seem wonderful! I like the idea of your garden being unruly and perhaps acting out in your absence… Love the sound of your kitchen path. Hope you return refreshed, and are not faced with more slug-damaged plants. I’m having trouble growing coriander and basil this year, though I think that is snails, blast them.

    1. kate Post author

      Pyrethrum appreciation society definitely needs forming! My pink one is being a bit shy at the moment, unlike the rest of the garden, which has gone mental in my absence. Can’t believe the amount of growth… agh….

  3. Mo

    It’s great to read about your garden and the photo’s are great. Enjot your break. I’m sure you’ll notice a big difference when you get back – in a good way.

    1. kate Post author

      Thanks… not so sure about the ‘good’ way – I almost needed a machete to find the kitchen door. Everything’s gone mad!

  4. Laura @ PatioPatch

    thanks for the olde worlde pyrethrums – love the fiery colour and simplicity. Shame we gardeners are forced into buying what is ‘hot’ whilst old favourites get forgotten. What a lovely meadow and I’m sure your garden will find much for you to do on your return

    1. kate Post author

      I think we need to form a pyrethrum appreciation society. Mentioned them to a gardening friend, she said ‘oh, those must be the plants I get pesticide from, didn’t know they were so pretty.’ Hmm!
      Could barely get into the house for plants on return – agh…

  5. Janet

    Our lavender gets covered in cuckoo spit. I hose it off but it always reappears. Doesn’t seem to harm the plant just a bit unsightly.

    1. kate Post author

      Hosing it off is a brilliant idea – though it’s really annoying me on a hedge, and that’s due for clipping today… if it still remains, I’ll give it a go – thanks!


Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s