but it has done everything else, often in the space of a couple of hours.
On the plus side, we haven’t had tornadoes or flash floods (yet). On the down side, plants are either sulking, rotting apart with mould or weakened by slug attack, or have been damaged by the weather itself.
The poor old meadow has been suffering but, fair play, it pulls itself together very quickly when it gets a chance to dry off.
The rain can almost flatten it completely, but give it an hour or so in sunshine and it pings back up. The fritillary seed heads hold their own when everything else lies down, but I’m not sure they’ll set any seed at all this year; probably not.
And I have spotted the very first orange hawkweeds, which I tend to regard as a forerunner of autumn. Yikes – what has happened to summer?
In the gaps between storms, I have been mulching for Wales. When I had work done on one of my Western Red Cedars last year, I gained a rubble sack full of chippings. It’s very sad, but I think the whole tree is going to have to come down this year; it’s just too near the house and the roots are lifting paving slabs far too close to the steps. This of course means that I’ll gain a load of logs – and a lot more wood chippings. After due consideration of the soil’s ph, the likely effect of adding loads of cedar chips and the persistence of ********* couch grass, I decided to spread last year’s anyway. The bottom garden has been the main beneficiary, especially the new bed.
The Angelica gigas in the middle is looking really good, but all the nicotianas have fallen into the sulking bracket. Admittedly, this could be because after dark the entire garden is a heaving mass of slugs and snails; I’m hoping the roughness of the wood chips will keep them at bay and allow things to grow on…
However, I have had huge success with my cerinthes. Despite the wind, they have flourished and are a wonderful dark indigo.
And the white fuchsia in the background, which we moved with much groaning and violence, thrives. It was big; a real bastard to lift and relocate, even though I pruned it so much beforehand that I thought I might have killed it – evidently not.
Other successes in this new bed include a Silver Posie thyme, which is delightful (wish I’d bought more, but it’s common enough; I’ll add extras if I need to); the garlic chive clumps which I have managed to keep clear of couch grass; the Echinops ritro, ditto; and the Verbascum chiaxii album. These were sent to me in the spring by Hillwards, who had grown too many. I definitely need to make sure I have more next year; they are just beginning to flower and I am entranced.
This is the time of year when the bottom garden looks its best. Having said that, I’m trying to extend its season after last year, when the sheer uninterrupted greenness of everything began to wear a bit thin.
So we’ll see what happens later on, as I’m hoping for something more exciting than just a load of crocosmia.
I realise that it will take several years to make a significant difference, but you’ve got to start somewhere… and I’ve already had one surprise. I’ve a late iris:
It’s Braithwaite, an old traditional variety, and I only bought it at the Crug Farm plant fair at the start of May. I never dreamed it would flower this year, but it’s been a gem.
And the euphorbia which I wrote off last year when it did nothing has proved me wrong.
At least it provides some refreshment for the insects – I’ve seen them on it whatever the weather – and the colour is just fabulous.
The old climbing rose that grows in the trellis (behind me when I took the wider photo of the bottom garden) is absolutely beautiful – or that should be it is absolutely beautiful until it gets blown to ******* and covers the lane in petals – but I have no idea what it is. Any thoughts? I’m afraid I don’t know my roses very well; they don’t do well around here, by and large. It is beautifully scented, anyway.
On the opposite side of the bottom garden the big Portugal Laurel is flowering, and for a few weeks it is absolutely gorgeous, laden with heavily scented white panicles. Karen finds the scent rather overwhelmingly medicinal, but I’m not sure I agree about the clinical quality – it is a bit odd, though. Not unpleasant; just odd…
And then it rains, and that speeds things up, and all these delicate flowers turn brown. Sigh.
In despair I finally ended up taking photographs in the rain. (I resisted the urge to photograph slugs – there are limits, though they’d look good on a wanted poster.) The rose hedge by the kitchen gets bowed down, and then mould spreads – but for a while it is a delight.
Then I end up hitting it with a broom handle.
I wish I could hit the weather gods with a broom handle.
I am struck by how often I go for plants that are somewhat unlikely – that euphorbia, anything striped, the cerinthes – though it’s a tendency I have subdued in this garden, as they don’t always fit in this traditional setting. Even so, I cannot quite believe that it has taken me so long to grow cerinthes. Wonderful things.
Thanks to Helen at The Patient Gardener for hosting this meme, as always.