Tuesday, 30 August 2011

August 2011 - end of month

At the beginning of the month I asked for more rain please – now I have to put in a request for a little less please, upside, the grass is looking very lush and green instead of a parched wasteland, downside, slugs and snails are out and playing in the puddles – there really is no pleasing us gardeners is there!
Following the completion of the patio, work has briefly moved to the front garden where we have a rather useless little strip of ground running alongside the front of the house, which is 2ft deep x 24ft wide and is east facing so gets all
Sunflower - full of promise of sunny days to come
the morning sun.  I have laid weed suppressant membrane down and covered that with a rather lovely plum coloured slate, I plan to place stainless coloured (possibly) pots on this and go formal with the planting – I think, I may change my mind!  The joys of gardening, it is ever-changing.  Ideas on formal planting in post really would be appreciated.
I brought a lovely chunk of Phyllostachys nigra with me to this garden, sadly it has died – but this was, I am ashamed to say, down to my neglect because I had moved it to a safe place to keep it out of the sun and totally forgot about it.  I doubt I shall replace it here as the garden is very windy and it would be constantly fighting against the elements.
A new, very tall, obelisk has been erected in the garden for a climbing rose – but I fear I may need permission from Air Traffic Control for this!  The rose I have planted to scramble up it is called Highfield Harcomp which is a beautiful pale yellow rose with a delicious perfume; I have ‘high’ (sorry!) hopes for this one.
Ornamental Millet 'Purple Baron' and ladybird
Other planting that has taken place is Ornamental Millet ‘Purple Baron’ which is sitting next to Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ and with Crocosmia ‘Jenny’ making for a lovely planting scheme – the ladybird is a daily lunch visitor on the ‘Purple Baron’, whilst the bees are happy munching on a beautiful bright sunflower.
Nicotiana Sylvestris has started to show its face, this is planted just underneath our sitting room window, so fingers crossed for some hot summer nights so we can enjoy the heady aroma.
A geranium in one of the hanging baskets has come out in two delightful shades of perfect pinkness, underneath which is a pink Dahlia Shadowplay that is surrounded by Gaura Lilipop Pink.

My next project is to use all the turf sods, from the patio excavation, in a raised-bed corner area that I will front with railway sleepers – and then to get my greenhouse re-erected before we get hit by frosts – eek frosts, surely not yet!!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

August 2011

Rain – we really need rain please!  It has been very hot and dry here for a few weeks now.
I am, sadly, losing my battle to keep some of the plants alive that I brought with me in pots – the conditions here are so very different to what they were in Benson, which is just 50 miles west of Henlow.  What a weather-diverse country we live in!
The area that will become my patio
My main project this last two weeks has been to get a patio laid, which will then allow the borders to evolve and flow better once the hard-landscaping has been carried out.  My under-gardener had to go away for twelve days, so it was down to me to dig up all the turf, which I had to do using a hand-held turf edger tool as a machine would not get through our very small quarter which has no back entrance to the garden – all gardening goodies have to come through the kitchen.
I planned to set to and do a couple of rows each day, having had my pals calculate the time-scale for me, gardening I know about, maths I don’t!  So, last Saturday saw me don my iPod and set to – by Sunday I had finished, I felt so proud of myself.
On under-gardener’s return we had the slabs delivered, which due to the location of our married quarter from the road meant that we had to carry slabs and sand approx 90meters, which we achieved in just over one hour.  Then I was able to leave the under-gardener, who had just been promoted to Chief of Landscaping, to slab-laying, whilst I set to with plant attention.
Having laid the (almost) last slab, we decided we wanted to extend it slightly, so there is a little more work to be done next weekend – but it was finished, on Sunday, sufficiently to allow us to crack a glass of bubbly – perfect end to a hard day.
I’m a bit short of nice flowering plants just at the moment which I can now start to rectify, thankfully.  The Lotus is looking really bright in one of my hanging Lotusbaskets, as is the tomatoes ‘Tumbling Tom’ which I planted up in a wall-hanging ‘hay style’ trough.  I set three plants into this trough, but on reflection two would have been better, I have to water them twice-daily and keep trimming the leaves to ensure good air-flow, although I’m quite confident the crop is going to be well worth it.
My neighbour has the most amazing Hollyhock, it is such a dark purple that you Aleca rosea Nigra - stunningwould believe it to be black – it appears to have been self-sown, from a passing bird maybe, as it wasn’t planted by the neighbour – who has kindly said I can take it.  I have my bucket and spade ready for collection!

The poppy seed head is always a thing of beauty, making these flowers excellent value for money.
Cleo and Verbena bonariensis - both beautiful
Cleo decided she looked really pretty against the Verbena bonariensis and Cass decided my pot of Stipa arundinacea looked much better against a black back-drop.
Cass in the grass