I did realise that by simply saying ‘it stopped raining’ I was tempting fate, but nonetheless – it was St Swithin’s Day yesterday, and it didn’t rain. Well, there were a few drops late at night, but that doesn’t count, does it? And even though today may be nasty – crap broadband prevented me from posting yesterday – at least I now have faith that the next 40 days won’t be universally horrible. Of course, I could be wrong…
Whatever, at least the break in the nastiness enabled me to take some pictures without wearing a sou’wester and thigh waders, and I am amazed at what is surviving. Some things are even thriving, and a few are better than I remember them ever being before.
Like these, for instance. I have quite a few of these saxifrages, S. stonolifera tricolore, and they are flowering their invasive little socks off. Nearby, one of the three verbascums which I hoped might lighten a gloomy corner is happily doing what it was supposed to, as well.
For the first time ever I have had to remove some spent Dicentra stems from the area in front of this Verbascum (blattaria var. album) – they were not fading away to nothingness as they usually do. They weren’t completely rotten (unlike my shallots and a lot of my spuds, hrumpf); just yellowing and horrible. At least I can see what’s happening there now. Unfortunately the answer is not a lot, but hey.
My new bed is at least providing me with some interest – a huge improvement on last year, when I was moaning about having very little in flower. The Cerinthes have been a triumph, and I have carefully marked the ones with the best colour for seed saving; I’m not doing without them next year. And I’m not the only one who loves them; they are alive with bees the moment the rain lets up.
I am very pleased with how the colours are working out – the idea was blues / purples / dusty pinks and white, with the occasional ping of brightness from red / crimson.
For height, there is some Verbena bonarensis (as well as an Angelica gigas, Echinops ritro and a globe artichoke – spectacular but covered in blackfly). It’s so easy not to look closely at the verbena, and I fell into that trap until this weekend
Beautiful. I gave into my alyssum weakness (I like the scent) and have some near the verbena; I am rather tickled by the resemblance.
One tall, one small.
And the white fuchsia which will be the heart of the new bed eventually, the one I thought I might have killed by moving it with great violence?
Not a chance. I’ve removed a few non-variegated branches, but otherwise it’s fine, thank you very much. Admittedly you have to bend down to see it in detail, and that’s after crawling through bark mulch up to your ankles, but give it a couple of years and it will be just how I want it (and then I’ll have to be violent towards it again).
Nearby, the big lavender and rosemary border – they should be lining a path but you can’t see that anymore – is getting cracking. One or two of the plants are early lavenders, and they are well away:
but the majority aren’t in flower yet. A bit of warmth, a little light, a bit less rain, and they’ll be fine.
And the first agapanthus is almost out, too, rain or no rain:
I’m quite pleased with this. I spotted it, marked down, in a local garden centre and realised that all it needed was splitting – and I’ve got several healthy plants for the (reduced) price of one apparent invalid. Where I’m bringing new plants into the bottom garden – and of course I am, despite arguably not needing to add anything as I’ve lots I can propagate – I’m sticking to the same colour palette as the new bed. And anyway, who doesn’t need another agapanthus? Hm?
One last shot, my (newly identified) New Dawn rose:
It’s been lovely. Nearly over, though.
All in all, and despite terrible weather, there’s definite progress from last year. That’s a great reason why doing GBBD is a great way of monitoring what’s happening – and thanks to Carol from May Dreams Gardens for hosting; do pop over and see what other people, all over the world, have in flower…