It’s drizzling, and has been for ages. P and I stood under the big cedar, contemplating the general wetness of everything and the fact that we were both wearing the sort of gear which would have been fine on a North Sea trawler, and decided that there’d probably be no mowing. He’s gone to do something less outdoorsy and I thought I’d catch up.
Then I found myself looking a little wistfully at sunny pics of the veg patch,
ones without flattened potato plants and foot-tall grass, now bent and unmowable, and realised it’s been ages since I managed to post a general round up. I keep missing The Patient Gardener’s End of the Month View meme, which is so useful. Possibly because I’m just too busy weeding. Yeah, right.
Actually, I have been. Since we blitzed everything before the garden open, I’ve almost managed to keep on top of things, though doubtless this current dampness will bring joys like chickweed and cleavers on a treat. Happily there are some areas where it doesn’t matter:
and where all I have to do is keep on top of the paths, which I mow with an old Qualcast hand mower. I did that yesterday (hooray), in a fit of enthusiasm. The foxgloves are new in the meadow this year – one self-seeded last year, so this spring we moved all sorts of foxglove seedlings from all the other places they like to grow and shoved them in here. There’ll be more next year, as many of the baby plants we moved were far too small to flower this time. I also had a mysterious Allium christophii appear in the meadow which I certainly didn’t plant; wonder if that will return?
Back in the veggie area, a lot of work has been done to clear and sort out some parts which had been sort-of ignored. ‘Sort-of’ in that occasionally we’d be working up there and notice a funny smell, think about what it could be and decide not to investigate. But the winter storms stripped the skimmias surrounding the oil tank, and the extra visibility was not a good thing. Time to sort out the compost bins. And remove a giant fuchsia from the top corner, too.
While I really don’t need to contemplate the glory that is the oil tank, I am quite happy to stare at the neat corner with the compost bins. The oil tank will be obscured again soon as the skimmias recover; any reappearing fuchsia, on the other hand, will be ruthlessly eliminated. I may even be forced into the use of – shhhh – aggressive chemicals. It was busy growing through the wall, and that could not be allowed to continue.
In the middle garden, the most impact is coming from my Stipa gigantia, planted last year by the stump of the cedar. It’s amazing in the evening light,
and even looks good this morning, shivering with slivery drops of rain. I am so very glad I planted this – it was touch and go at one point, as I wasn’t convinced it would fit. And it definitely does.
Down in the bottom garden, the beds are finally filling out. The parahebes are spectacular, especially the purple one,
which is unfortunately anonymous; it was given to me by a friend as it didn’t like living at her house (I think she’s regretting it now). It’s certainly happy here, flowering away heavily for ages, and the bark chippings below it are purple with fallen flowers.
The standing stones are still working as a focus, though I may have to rethink the planting around one set in the bottom bed, but I’m generally pleased with the effect. This is the trio, and I think they’re about right – for the moment. What they’ll look like with a Bishop of Llandaff dahlia in front, I’m not sure. OK, I hope.
The spiky-leaved thing behind the foreground geranium (a striatum) is a blue agapanthus; the one in the background is Crocosmia lucifer. The two geraniums are moving elsewhere as their colour is wrong for the way this bed has evolved, and the dahlias are beginning to show themselves and fill up the gaps. In the far background is one of my giant ferns – Dryopteris felix-mas – but this is a baby. It’s only bottom height. Most are waist height or taller; I’m waiting for one to get taller than I am. My garden = temperate rainforest.
The bark chippings are about to run out, but they’ve been great – the last of the Western Red Cedar and assorted other tree work (ash, mostly). They also fulfill a highly important function which I’d not suspected: ideal cat bed. I don’t have cats. Don’t get me wrong; I like cats. I’ve often had cats. But for now, I don’t have cats.
They do not know this.
This is Mum, aka Next Door’s Cat, the digging dragon, fleece snorgler extraordinare (many cats have a wool fetish; ‘snorgling’ is the technical term), Splodge (for obvious reasons). I also have visits from her long-furred son, known familiarly as Fluffy Bum (also for obvious reasons), who is very friendly indeed and likes to play Trip the Gardener. Then there’s Smoke – grey, mad as a bucket of snakes – and the White Cat who patrols the top garden. None of them is fazed in the slightest by the visiting dog. My aim in life is to train them to go after slugs. Watch this space.
And in the meanwhile, I’m watching the roses.
The very first one has opened on the rose hedge by the kitchen. Despite the weather, that means it’s summer. Really.