The year turns… end of the month view, July


I’ve been very bogged down with work, but there’s a small hiatus due to a disappearing author (I’m sure he’s fine, he’s just gone quiet) – perfect timing for an EOMV post. Not perfect weather, though – overcast with a hintette of drizzle.

July’s been splendid here – even been swimming in the sea – and just when the waterbutts ran dry again, it rained. And at night. But it’s a bit more chancy now – well, Gorffenaf indeed. (Gorffenaf – July – translates as ‘summer’s end’). The Rosa rugosa hedges are laden with hips, and the meadow is beginning to look rather tired:

tired meadow

I think the Big September Strim is more likely to happen in August. Most things have set seed and if there are any complaints whatsoever about the fact that it’s lying rather flat, I shall point to the fact that it’s not been so much a meadow this year as a dog’s playground. She’ll be older next year. Or staked down.

The fruit trees look promising, all except for the eirin bach – the little local wild plum; one’s in the foreground here. This one looks as though it’s got mildew – I had to uproot the nearby mangetout more quickly than I hoped; they were dreadfully affected and it may well have spread – and the other has had plum leaf gall mite something rotten. Out?

Moving down from the meadow,

salvia BA

I have been very pleased with my containers this year. Mind you, I have been all round the garden with the three huge urns filled with Salvia Blue Angel (plus Geranium sidoides and, in one case and totally accidentally, a bright yellow nasturtium). It’s a difficult plant to place, but when I suddenly realised how yellow the middle garden was this year, I knew I’d found the right spot. Ignore the erigeron in the background and look at it with the senecio. So glad I didn’t cut the flower heads off the latter!

The middle garden is going to be changed (again). Here it is, complete with big pink bench of doom.

middle garden

That middle bed – packed with tulips in spring and a sundial and some black cow parsley, and now some dill and not much else – is too small; it has to change (the bench is approx 1.8m / 6ft long, to give an idea of scale). Spent ages working out where the washing line goes, where the biggest clumps of snowdrops are, where the deepest shade falls – and completely forgot to consider the fact that the garden slopes, so there’s only one area for the BPBOD. Redrew plans. Plans not right. Accused of adding shaping for shaping’s sake. Quite right. Plans redrawn. Laid out rough outline with P using canes (I know). Canes danced on by dog.

The upshot is that the middle thing will become part of a new bed which will essentially stretch away at about 10 o’clock (towards that shadow), if you see what I mean. It will expand a bit bench-wards, but not that much because there just isn’t enough flat ground anywhere else. But I need more room for plants and this garden isn’t matching the rest now: it’s too functional, I guess. Washing-line space. Barbecue space. Sitting on the BPBOD and drinking tea space. Not garden space.

Mind you, there are some parts of it I love, like the stipa and the dill and this:

love these

plus the snowdrops are very, very prolific – and spreading. I just need to remember where most of them are. Oh, and avoid the roots of the ash, of course. Most of them. The bigger ones. If possible.

Looking down from the top garden, I’m particularly fond of the evening view towards the sea,

path and capel

(especially with the way the sun highlights the down pipe, ho ho). The Stipa has been fabulous and is just beginning to keel over, though that might be partly down to canine activity, and I wish I’d grown much more dill – foreground, left – and planted a bigger clump. Next year I’ll do that.

I also like the way you move down this path and are immediately confronted with the middle bed in the bottom garden, my spiky special – it’s very tall and full of things like Cirsium and Verbena bonarensis and Verbascum chiaxxi album (just cut back) and Echinops ritro: either I didn’t think this through, or I just need to go with it. It’s not too bad when viewed from behind the lavender hedge.

middle bed and lavender

I’m going with it.

On Monday, P said he thought the garden was looking its best for ages. I’m not so sure; I’ve had one real disappointment, and that may have coloured my view, I suppose. Last year my random seed bed was fab. This year, I carefully assembled a selection of seeds, mixed them up, did exactly what I did last year (except I didn’t plant any in seed trays for security) and – huh.


Most of the things I sowed deliberately have failed to germinate, except for some beautiful scarlet Linum.


The whole thing is dominated by wild carrot, now dying back unattractively, and feverfew. Both of these seeded themselves last year, as did the poppies – they are lovely – and the nigella. Then there are interlopers, caused by me literally emptying the seed tin over the bed last year:


When seen in detail, it’s fine. The trouble is that most of the time you don’t look at it like that; you look at the whole and think ‘what a mess’ because it’s all accidental. I know it was ‘accidental’ last year, but it was a deliberate accident, if you like. However, it has taught me two things: 1) those carrots are coming out, architectural or not, and 2) I will be seeding this bed in the autumn and seeing what happens. I suppose there’s a third: have seed trays planted as back up.

And when it really annoys me, I can turn round and worship my heleniums in the bottom bed:


Acer in the background, mostly Moerheim Beauty in the middle, with an Actaea in front of them, and the stems of the Crocosmia Lucifer. And, of course, a dahlia. So autumnal!



12 Comments Add yours

  1. Pauline says:

    Love the salvia and senecio combo, they go so well together. I also like your heleniums, that is la super clump you have. At last we have had some rain, it has been so hot, humid and dry down here, we should be having more rain tonight so the garden should look a lot better tomorrow.

    1. kate says:

      Don’t they? Pure luck – i’m sure there’s a book to be written on the role of luck in gardening. Or maybe that should be laziness…

      Rain here too – quite torrential at times. More moving northwards, as well. We needed it, so I mustn’t complain.

  2. Cathy says:

    Will we ever be satisfied with our gardens?! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your garden and associated thoughts with us – as always it came with a good few reasons to giggle 😉

    1. kate says:

      Never – we wouldn’t be gardeners if we were!

  3. well Kate your garden is looking well even if you are not content with it, I guess we always think other peoples gardens look good as we don’t see all the ‘wish this was better’ that we see in our own gardens, I love that view across the lavender, and the daisies under the tree, Frances

    1. kate says:

      I don’t think I’ll ever be completely content, but I guess that’s what makes us all carry on gardening. Otherwise we’d just sit about drinking tea…. how tempting…

  4. croftgarden says:

    Your garden has the end of summer look, which I like,as it is just gently relaxed and cooling down after the heat of July. Your mixed seed bed looks better than mine which appears to be mainly bare earth, weeds and a few straggly looking seedlings. Oh well back to drawing board on that one!

    1. kate says:

      I honestly think it was the weather earlier in the year. It hasn’t discouraged me from doing it again, but next year I’ll add some insurance in the form of seed trays which I can move into the greenhouse if it gets chilly. I really can’t think why I didn’t this year… laziness, probably!

  5. Love those heleniums, I think they look at their best massed like that, and that view of the sea, with the stupa catching the light, pure magic. I giggled at your description of the planned changes in the “too functional” bit, of course you need more room for plants. Look forward to seeing it coming together. And I really must get round to sowing my verbascum seed…

    1. kate says:

      I cannot say how pleased I am with the heleniums – I’ve just been out doing a little dead-heading until chased inside by weather, and they are wonderful. The Moerheim Beauty is going over a bit now, but there are plenty of developing buds on the others. but I DO NOT NEED MORE HELENIUMS.

  6. wellywoman says:

    An author has gone missing. That made me chuckle – there have been plenty of times recently when I’ve considered it myself. 😉 As for the garden it looks lovely but I know what you mean when something you hoped would work doesn’t. For me there’s such a frustration that it’ll take time to remedy. I’m a bit impatient when it comes to gardening. Annuals are a pain. I gave up on sowing direct a few years ago when I started to tear my hair out after the third resowing of certain seeds didn’t germinate. Nigella is reliable and cornflowers too but everything else is sown and planted out. It’s a real pain but worth it. The local council sowed an annual mix of seeds at various places – roundabouts, verges etc – last year and they looked spectacular. This year they did the same but they have been much more hit and miss. Some have looked fab, other spots look as if most of seeds haven’t germinated. Look forward to seeing your plans for the ‘functional’ bit. 🙂

    1. kate says:

      Author reappeared (hence the delays, but manuscript now delivered)… I don’t think it was deliberate, but many’s the time I’ve felt like doing a flit myself, like once the Daily Mail rang up, not happy with the choice of 100+ recipes that were in a book – I was the recipe author, not the rest, which was… I’d better say no more – and wanting 10 extras. All tested and overnight, please. Fee? What fee? (They got the bum’s rush, also without a fee.)

      I must admit that my sewing direct experiences were entirely like yours – until last year, which glorious abandon I could never have achieved by sewing in seed trays and planting out. My bed sounds exactly like your local council’s – good in parts, deeply disappointing in others. I’ve been wandering round the garden looking at what needs moving, and presently my ideas for the middle garden consist of putting everything in there that won’t fit anywhere else. This will change.

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