Category Archives: plants

oxalis palmifrons succulent plant with white flowers.

Beginning of October in the garden.

I know that I am forever going on about the weather but we have been having quite a bit of rain just now and all my small plants in small pots are waterlogged.  I have been trying to keep them under the table during the worst of the rain but then we had the strong winds so I had to turn the plastic table upside down so it wouldn’t blow away.  Then I put them under the bench with a sheet of black plastic over the bench, with large stones holding it in place, and that helped a bit.  They are still waterlogged so I really want some nice sunshine and gentle breeze to help dry them out.

I do like how the garden looks after a rain shower though and there is still plenty of colour around.  We did get a few nuts from the tortured hazel tree (corylus avellena contorta), the squirrels missed a few, and there were plenty berries on the elder (sambucus nigra ‘Black lace’).  The newly planted crab apple (malus sylvestris ‘Evereste’) has a few tiny, orange crab apples on it,  the rowan (sorbus hupehensis ‘Pink pagoda’) has loads of deep pink berries and the variegated holly ( ilex aquifolium ‘ variegata’) has a few berries too.  We trim the holly to keep it in shape so we can get past it without being jagged, but that can mean we don’t get many berries.  We tend to leave them all for the wildlife.  You can tell it is autumn by the huge number of spider’s webs about that catch the mist and look fabulous.

rowan berries with spider's web
Deep pink rowan berries with spider’s web
hazelnuts from contorted hazel tree
hazelnuts from corylus contorta (contorted hazel)

The astrantias are still looking good in pots on the patio although the dark red one is turning purple as it is going over.  The pink one is a seedling from a white variety ‘shaggy’ and it is quite a lovely pink shade.

dainty pink astrantia flowers
Dainty pink astrantia flowers.

After the rain the view from the patio is quite nice.  I don’t like the very white garage so I cropped it out, maybe one day we will get it painted  a nicer colour (except the house is also bright white so maybe not).

view of the left of the garden from the patio
View of the left of the garden from the patio.
view of the right side of garden from the patio.
View of the right side of garden from the patio.
view of the garden from the patio.
View of the garden from the patio.

In the conservatory I have planted a few purple crocus and some tiny narcissi for some colour in late winter.  My cyclamen have had their summer rest and are staring to flower now.  one in particular is in full bloom while the others have yet to catch-up.  The oxalis palmifrons is looking lovely just now.  The little bulbs were planted just a few weeks ago and they are flowering now.  I love how the flowers untwist.

Single white oxalis palmifrons flower
Single white oxalis palmifrons flower.
oxalis palmifrons succulent plant with white flowers.
Oxalis palmifrons

The small unnamed cactus has had a few fluffy buds on it for the last few months and despite food and water they have failed to open.  It did have a few that opened into fabulous large white flowers that smell divine earlier in the year but not these ones.  I will leave them on and see if they do something next year.

Fluffy buds on a small cactus.
Fluffy buds on the small cactus.

I found some damage on a couple of plants during my checking and watering of the plants.  It is good to catch things early so any diseases don’t get passed onto other plants.  One poor little lithops has damage at the base of a leaf but I don’t know if it is slug damage or perhaps there was a bit of water sitting there.  I probably don’t need to worry about that as these leaves will wither and it will produce new leaves after that.

Lithops damage caused possibly by slugs.
Lithops slug damage?

There is something on one of my Christmas cactus cuttings that I think might be botryosphaera dothidea that causes a kind of canker.  Just in case it is that I binned the plant, washed my hands, then checked all the other seedlings and plants in the conservatory.  The good news it that it was only one plant that had it.

possible botryosphaera dothidea infection on Christmas cactus
botryosphaera dothidea ? on Christmas cactus

The conservatory attracts many pollinators into it but sadly some of them can’t find their way back out again.  I have seen loads of different hover flies, bees, wasps and other insects happily buzzing around the flowers but this  male (I think) twin-spot centurion fly (Sargus bipunctatus) caught my eye with its metallic colours.  It has gorgeous metallic  green, copper and blue on its body and iridescent wings.  In the first photo I was trying to capture the colours in its wings.  The second photo it had sadly died and the wings were apart revealing the beautiful colours on its body.

Sargus bipunctaus fly iridescent wings
iridescent wings on Sargus bipunctatus.
Sargus bipunctatus metallic green, copper and blue colours on body
Metallic colours on the Sargus bipunctatus.

It is now getting colder so we are getting fewer insects in the conservatory, although it wasn’t plagued by the usual greenfly this year.  I have to remember to water more sparingly now and I still need to check the plants daily for any signs of disease.  Slugs are still coming in so I also need to check underneath the plants.

Mid July, flower combinations that work.

You often hear that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but within the garden there are certain plant combinations that work better than other.  I happen to think that if there are too many different textures, colours and shapes all together then you can lose the overall effect, they all battle for your attention.  I usually have a picture in my head of what the overall effect should look like when I pace my plants together and sometimes things workout the way I had imagined them and sometimes they don’t.  For example I planted a purple leaved cotinus behind a pink climbing rose and a white astrantia: the flowers of the astrantia have a pinky/purple colouration in the centre when young  and the zephirine drouhin rose is a nice pink and these should look great against the purple leaves of the cotinus.  The dog had other plans and crashed around behind the cotinus and broke a few branches and it is still only about 30cm high.  The rose doesn’t appear to like that spot and is struggling.  I will replace the rose with a honey suckle to grow up the arch instead as it has purple tinges to it’s leaves but has vibrant flowers which should look good against the cotinus (once it does get going).

The pale pink climbing rose Generous gardener looks good against the purple leaved Sambucus nigra ‘Black lace’ and picks up the pink of the flowers too, but I will have to make a decision soon of how high I want the sambucus to grow as I don’t want a huge tree.

Generous gardener and Sambucus nigra

The relaxed habit of the moss roses go well with the rather straggly foxgloves in the woodland stumpery, and the purples look good together.  The purple of the moss roses fades to almost lilac as the rose goes over.

Moss rose William Lobb with foxgloves.

The dark purple of the Munstead wood rose is picked up in the verbascums (possibly Raspberry ripple) behind it.

Rose ‘Munstead wood’ against Verbascum ‘Raspberry ripple’.

By the patio I have a pink combination that works well.  I did have a struggle to get the Cistus parviflorus to thrive as the rather heavy wood pigeons kept trashing it.  That area is quite heavy clay that holds the water well and these all thrive there now.  The rose Gertrude Jekyll is still quite young but I do like the way that even though they are all pink flowers – all the pinks work together as the flower shapes are different,  and each plant has a very different habit  and leaf shape, so it keeps the combo interesting.

Gertrude Jekyll, pink astilbe and Cistus parviflorus combo.

Beside the ramp into the back garden is a shady,  damp corner.  The front of the corner gets a bit of sun and the cowslips enjoy that area.  Being yellow they add a bit of colour in what could be rather a dull area.  They go well with the ferns.

Primula sikkimensis with Osmunda regalis ‘Purpurascens’ and other fern.

As you wander around the garden your eye should travel easily along as the colours repeat themselves on the way.  I have dots of deep purple in every bed, pinks, and blues with highlight plants with white or yellow or gold.  It doesn’t matter if the colours are in the foliage or the flowers or even the containers or background.

Colours working together around the garden.

It goes without saying really that this applies to the pond too.

Purple Lythrum salicaria with Thalictrum flavium Glaucum yellow.

I just had to show a few other photos of plants that caught my eye this month.

I planted this fern (Dryopteris erythrosa ‘Brilliance’ or Japanese Rosy Buckler fern) a couple of years ago but the shrub along side it grew right over it so I moved it last year.  It has taken a while to get going but I just love the vibrant copper colour it brings to the shady woodland area. It really shows up against the predominantly green background but goes well with the purple/bronze  shade of the heuchera in the front.

Dryopteris erythrosa ‘Brilliance’ (Japanese Rosy Buckler fern)

In the conservatory it is the flower spike of the Sempervivum Mint marvel with the white flowers with reddish/purple centres  that stands out amongst the pinky/peach colour of the other sempervivums.

Sempervivum ‘Mint marvel’ flower spike.
White and reddish/purple flowers of Sempervivum ‘Mint marvel’

Wildlife I have spotted in the garden (and managed to get a photograph of) in the last couple of weeks include: a seven spot (?) ladybird larva, a mottled grass hopper (Myrmeleotettix maculatus) and a few meadow brown butterflies (Maniola Jurtina).  The photographs are not great (taken quickly with my phone) and I have yet to see a meadow brown on an actual plant – I only see them when they have come into the conservatory).

Seven-spot ladybird larvae (Coccinella septempunctata)
Myrmeleotettix maculatus
Maniola jurtina (female I think)

Now it is back to rain, rain, and more rain so not much gardening happening just now.

stephanotis floribunda flowers

House plants and cuttings update.

Some good and some sad news about the cuttings I took back in April.  I will start with the sad – the lovely big Easter cactus was in a very sad state, it did bloom but the leaves were never turgid and just got more flaccid as time went on.  I took the plant out of its pot and it still had roots but the main ‘trunk’ was very damaged so it has gone in the bin.  I had taken a few cuttings and they looked like they were doing ok and had roots but a couple didn’t make it.  I have one cutting left that looks ok and I stuck a few leaves into a pot of compost so we shall see if they survive.  I am upset that I couldn’t keep that large parent plant alive as it was one of Stephanie’s plants (who was terminally ill when she gave me it and has now very sadly died).  Kate’s petrocosmia is not doing well.  I removed it from the pot and could see a material-like pot surrounding the plug plant (from the nursery).  The roots had not been able to penetrate that and had been trying to go over top of it.  It also didn’t have any roots coming from the centre of the base.   I took this material away and tried my best at re-potting it in a way that the remaining roots could reach the soil.  I am not hopeful though.

The good news is that  Stephanie’s palm is doing well, and my attempts to propagate Kate’s echveria have all been successful.  I tried a few different propagation methods:  taking heads off and planting them, taking the middle part of the long stump that was left and laying them sideways on damp compost,  leaving the cut stump ends in the pot to see if they would grow again, and single leaf cuttings.  The stumps are all sprouting, and one of the leaf cuttings is sprouting, a few of them have roots but are not yet sprouting.   The heads are all thriving now and have put down roots.  Some of the leaves look a bit shiny but should soon get their coating of farina on them to give them that soft matt look.  The farina gives the plant protection from the sun and it also repels water to help the plant avoid rotting.

echeveria hybrid cuttings
echeveria hybrid cuttings
middle part of echeveria hybrid stump laid on its side to make cuttings from sprouts
middle part of stump sprouting
echeveria hybrid sprouting from old stump
echeveria hybrid sprouting from old stump
echeveria hybrid sprouting on old stump
echeveria hybrid sprouting on old stump
echeveria hybrid leaf cutting
echeveria hybrid leaf cutting

Also, I  saved another of Kate’s plants recently  that no-one else had wanted, and it is doing well.  I was reluctant at first to take this one on as it is a stephanotis floribunda and it can be tricky to give it the correct situation all year round.  I have been waiting for weeks for it to open it’s buds and now it is creating a glorious scent in the conservatory.  I will have to move it from  the conservatory during the winter as it will be far too cold there so it may come into the dining room over winter.

stephanotis floribunda flowers
stephanotis floribunda flowers

And here are some of my own succulents in flower and about to flower.

a collection of sempervivums in flower
collection of sepervivums

This sempervivum Chocolate kiss doesn’t look like it is going to flower yet though.  It is such a great colour as it is.

deep chocolately/ purple coloured sempervivum 'chocolate kiss'
sempervivum ‘Chocolate kiss’

In flower mid August

There are still plenty of flowers for the pollinators to make use of in mid August: cyclamen are beginning to flower just before their foliage comes up, persicaria, Japanese anemone, nepeta, erigeron, plox, selinum, potentilla, heuchera, tierella, geum, salvia, sweet peas, roses, verbena, lamium, wooly rock jasmine, some hellebores, some verbascum, honey suckle, fennel and oregano all still going.  Just going over now are the  purple loosestrife, pond lily and pickerel weed.  There are a few sporadic flowers on the astrantia and hardy geraniums and campanula.  Some shrubs and small trees think that autumn has come early and are colouring up and leaves are falling so it is time to get the pond net out to start clearing the fallen leaves off the surface.  The rhododendron still looks poorly. Everything needs a good drink but we are still just getting the odd small shower that is hardly getting very deep so I am still having to water certain plants.  The white phlox is looking great but the label says Phlox paniculata ‘ice cream’  but when I googled it they should be pinkish flowers or white flowers with pink centres.  This may have been wrongly labelled and could be ‘White admiral’ instead.

I have moved the succulents that were in the conservatory onto the bench now as we did have a start date for getting the conservatory fixed in August.  That has now changed  to September so I have just left them on the old bench for now.

The front garden is not looking great just now as the perriwinkle is all dried and brown and there is nothing in flower except the weeds.  The mahonia and epimediums are looking ok as is the hedge so there is still some greenery.  The Virginia creeper is doing well so it should colour up well in autumn.  I would like to get more lavender and a few other drought resistant flowering plants out in the front garden for next year.

While I am out in the morning doing the watering I usually come across some bug or other.  I was watching a wasp trying to get a grip of a dried mealworm that had fallen from the bird food.  It had a real wrestle with it but gave up.  I try to look up the Latin names of the beasties I find but they can be hard to identify so I have no idea if they are what I think they are.

brown forest shield bug
Pentatoma rufipes (Forest shield bug)
small wasp trying to get a hold of 1/2 dried mealworm
wasp wrestling 1/2 dried mealworm
Tachina fera flies mating on selinum plant
Tachina fera flies mating on selinum
Athalia rosae turnip sawfly on miscanthus leaf
Athalia rosae (turnip sawfly)
trailing babies breath and unknown rose in pots
Babies breath and unknown  rose
Phlox paniculata White admiral perhaps
Phlox paniculata White admiral?
Honesty seed heads backlit
Honesty seed heads backlit
flowers in pots on the patio August 2022
Pots on the patio August 2022
Succulents on the old bench
Succulents on the old bench
View from the patio August 2022
From the patio August 2022

Excuse the photo of the view from the patio – yes it has the bottom of the bird feeder on it!  You can see how the deep shade creeps up the garden from the back due to the trees in the golf course.  By 16:00 most of the garden and part of the patio is in deep shade.  We used to be able to have BBQs in the afternoon in the summer sunshine, and have our dinner out on the patio at 18:30 but sadly not any more.  This year however, the shade has been a blessing in during the heat waves.

Photos of the garden in May and June 2022

We have had so much sun and wind in the last few weeks that I have have to water the garden, patio and conservatory almost daily so it is nice to finally have some rain so I can get some other work done.

There are signs of mildew on the new variegated honeysuckle, perennial cornflower, meadowsweet, some aquilegias and some pulmonarias.  The slug and snail problems are mainly on the red astrantia (although in many books they say astrantias are slug proof! –  the white astrantia are fine however), the Jack frost brunnera at the back but not the ones at the front of the border, and the salvia Amistad and the baby’s breath.  Most of the other plants are left alone or just slightly nibbled.

I now have to cut back all the irises in the garden as they are all over.  None of the pond irises have flowered yet.  I am still waiting for the dark leaved geranium to flower – it has taken 2 years to grow just a couple of inches wide so I am guessing it will take ages to spread.

Here is a selection of  piccies taken over May and June.

orangey brown moth called the herald or Scoliopterix libatrix
Scoliopterix libatrix

 

unbanded yellow form of Grove snail or Cepaea nemoralis
Cepaea nemoralis

 

unknown white iris
white iris unknown

 

right side of pond
right side of pond

 

right side of pond taken from different angle
right side of pond different angle

 

honey lily or Nectaroscordum siculum by chimney
Nectaroscordum siculum
purple heuchera beside golden spirea and pink flowered hebe
Heuchera, hebe and spirea

 

veronica filiformus (speedwell) on log
Veronica filiformis on log

 

path in the garden May 2022
part of the garden in May 2022

 

Enkianthus campanulatus
Enkianthus campanulatus

 

Enkianthus campanulatus flowers against purple sambucus nigra
Enkianthus campanulatus flowers

 

spreading geranium with pink/lilac flowers
Geranium pink/lilac unknown

 

geranium wargrave pink in raised bed
Geranium wargrave pink

 

white geranium with pink centers in the raised bed
Geranium cantabrigiense biokvo

 

Geranium with double lilac flowers
Geranium double lilac unknown

 

Geranium with blue flowers
Geranium himalayense blue

 

blue iris Jane Philips
Iris Jane Philips

 

Ligusticum scoticum white flowers
Ligusticum scoticum

 

deep pink foxgloves
Foxgloves in the stumpery

 

white foxglove
White foxglove

 

blue creeping campanula
Campanula garganica Blue diamond

 

deep purple clematis
Clematis warszawski Nike

 

red astilbe
Astilbe Fanal red in the stumpery

 

white astrantia
Astrantia major white

 

tall yellow Himalayan cowslip
Primula sikkimensis

 

pink climbing rose Zephirin Drouhin
Zephirine Drouhin rose

 

pink climbing rose Genereous gardener
Generous gardener rose

 

velvety crimson rose Munstead wood
Munstead wood rose

 

selection of pots of flowers on the patio
Patio pots

 

mouse ornament in the trough
Mouse ornament in trough

 

Fabulous, hardy, garden ferns.

What’s NOT to love about ferns?  I simply couldn’t imagine my garden without them.  I have some in the stumpery, in the raised bed, in holes of the wall of the raised bed, in the shady border, in the the sunny border, in the middle bed, on the patio in pots, in the conservatory and some in the house.  I can only remember the names of some of them, and some have just popped up in strange places.  I will however have to take a few out that are going to be a nuisance.  They have self-seeded (spores) in the crevice between the harling and the ramp, also some of the larger ones have popped up in-beside a smaller species in some of the holes in the wall.  Some are just way too big for the space.  Debs chopped a large chunk from the Osmunda regalis purpurea (starts off very purple before turning green) from beside the ramp so we re-located that chunk into a shady damp area of the stumpery where it is doing well.  Some have popped up in with a large pot plant (Beaucarnea recurvata – the ponytail plant). As you can see, ferns come in many sizes, shapes and forms.  Some are evergreen, some semi-evergreen and some are deciduous.  Some are low growing whilst others are huge.  Some are clump forming whilst others spread along the earth or a wall with rhizomes. There is a fern for any location in the garden.  I have many more ferns in the garden – too many to photograph.  A previous post from 2018 shows a few crosiers before they unfurl.

silvery fern with maroon ribs
Athyrium niponicum ‘Silver falls’
eared lady fern with reddish stalks and mid-ribs
Athyrium otophorum okanum
low growing fern with rusty coloured tips
Blechnum penna-marina
compact erect evergreen fern
Dryopteris crispa congesta
Japanese sheid fern beside irises
Dryopteris erythrosa
purple royal fern
Osmunda regalis pupurascens
Japanes tassel fern
Polystichum polyblepharum
hairy fronds of the Japanese tassel fern
Polystichum polyblepharum hairy fronds
large polystichum fern
Polystichum setiferum cristato pinnulum
mixture ferns in a wall
Mix of ferns at the end wall of raised bed
mixture of ferns in the wall
Mix of ferns in the shady sided wall of raised bed
dense almost fluffy green fern in a pot
Polystichum setiferum plumoso multilobum densum
unknown fern in a chimney pot
unknown fern in chimney pot on patio
potted hare's foot fern in conservatory
Davallia canariensis
mixed self-seeded fern in large pot plant
Mixed self-seeded ferns beside Beaucarnea recurvata

Autumn colour

 Let’s start off with the weather again!  October had lots of rain, and so has the beginning of November.  I have had to move a lot of the cuttings, that were on the patio table, indoors to the conservatory as they were water-logged and had no chance of getting drier.  Other plants are sheltering under the table and under the bench (with a cover over the bench seat).

The Japanese anemones are still looking good, and so is the salvia Amastad.  A couple of the hellebores are doing well while other hellebores are struggling to get going.  The cyclamen flowers are over but their foliage  looks amazing and creates a lovely patterned carpet along the garage border.

purple salvia amistad, pink rowan berries
Salvia Amistad and Rowan Pink pagoda

 

Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum Garnet’ is putting on a fabulous show by changing it’s deep purpley/green foliage into bright red before losing it all.  I tried to get a photo from inside the dome of the small tree.

under the acer showing red leaves
Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum Garnet’

 

 The view from the top of the ramp shows the continuation of the red theme in autumn, going from the persicaria amplex ‘Blackfield’ down to the acer then across to the deep pink berries of the rowan.  If I had taken the photo from inside the conservatory I may have also got the indoor red cyclamen and a  few of the red weigela ‘Bristol Ruby’ flowers too.

dark red colours in the garden flowers and foliage
view from the top of the ramp

 

The earth-star fungi apparently pops up anywhere in the garden.  It starts off looking like a bulb that someone has forgotten to plant, then it opens up to form a star shape with a little puffy ball in the centre.  When it rains, the rain drops are heavy enough to dent the ball sending the spores out to start the cycle again.  This looks like the collared earth star Geastrum triplex.

collared earthsar fungi
Earth star fungi (Geastrum triplex)

 

I am attempting to plant the awkward area at the far corner behind the garage.  The ivy was a mess there so now there is a Hydrangea anomala  petiolaris in it’s place, and in front of that, a Farfugium
japonicum ‘wavy gravy’.  In amongst them Debs planted some yellow erythronium that she brought round.   We also spotted some pink flowered persicaria that had popped up beside the deep red one, so we removed that and planted it next to the periwinkle.  That should all fill that corner nicely.

corner with tatty old ivy
corner with tatty old ivy

corner with farfugium and hydrangea
corner with farfugium and climbing hydrangea

 I will finish with a gloriously coloured, fallen leaf from the witch hazel, Hamamelis
inter Diane.

colourful leaf from Hamamelis inter Diane
Hamamelis inter Diane leaf


 

Spring 2021 has sprung at last!

Some of the bulbs are up now adding some lovely splashes of spring colour.  The dwarf narcissus Tete-a-Tete are really cute.  I have a couple of small clumps of these that were in the conservatory last year.

Narcissus Tete-a-tete dwarf
Narcissus Tete-a-Tete

The dainty crocus (unknown name) looks so delicate compared to the big bright purple ones but only a few survived – I think the mice may have eaten a few.

Small dainty pale purple crocus
Dainty crocus (unknown variety)

Same goes for the Cyclamen coum Ruby Star.  I had a few planted at the edge of the stumpery but kept finding that something had dug them out and nibbled some of them.  Only one survived so I took it into the conservatory over the winter and it is now flowering in a small pot.  Maybe I can collect seeds and get a few more going.

Cyclamen coum Ruby Star
Cyclamen coum Ruby Star

The hellebores have suffered a bit with all the rain we have been having and are looking rather bedraggled and soggy, so I have only photographed the slightly better ones.  I am still waiting for a few doubles to flower that I bought a few years ago as very small plants.

Hellebore
Deep purple hellebore
Hellebore
Purple hellebore
Double hellebore
Double white spotted hellebore

My Iris Katherine’s gold alpine have gone over already.  Having pigeons sitting on them didn’t help.  I haven’t seen the Iris reticulata this year? Not out yet or have they died off?  The primroses are only just flowering, as are the pulmonaria.

Primrose by stump
Primroses by the stump

Out in the front garden the Mahonia is flowering away and has a fabulous scent.  There are large daffodils along the hedge and are about to put on their bright display.

On the patio the pink erica goes quite nicely with the blue glazed pot. Usually the patio is full of seedlings and cutting that I have prepared for the Duddingston Kirk Garden Club plant sale, alas, covid 19 is still among us so that event has been cancelled along with many others.  I did have 3 trays with some cuttings taking cover under the bench but the foxes were about last night and pulled them out ad even pulled a few small plant pots out too in their quest to find the mouse.

Erica in blue pot
Erica carnea Westwood gold

Although I didn’t buy more bulbs last year, the conservatory is still pretty colourful.  The cyclamen always do well as the temperature is pretty cold but kept frost free.

Conservatory
Conservatory colour

Review your garden.

As I trundle around the garden every morning search for slugs and snails I tend to do a mini review of what is doing well, what needs tweaking, dead-headed, weeded, staked etc.  Now and again though I do a bigger review of certain areas that just don’t work for me.  Some plants may have outgrown their space.  Some I just don’t like how they have grown ie their shape or colour or their relationship with the plants next to them.  I am trying to be ruthless so am having to make the decision whether or not to keep the aster I planted (rather too close to the path), or move it further back, or do away with it altogether.  It isn’t a plant that I love but it is a good do-er.  I think I will wait until it has gone over and then find a replacement – one that I do love.  The area near the patio where the soil can get quite wet and is rather clay-like is still annoying me.  A thorn-less rose like Zephirine Drouhin might do well there, but then maybe a couple of dogwoods would thrive in those conditions?  Is there room for both dogwoods and a rose?    Another area of uncertainty is the central bed where the large tree heath is growing just a bit too large.  You can see from the photo that it wasn’t pruned right after flowering this year (you can see the old white blooms have gone brown) and I would like to cut it down in size to allow the other plants a bit more room.  How far down should I prune it?  I don’t want to take it right down to the base so maybe just take a 1/3 off?  That would mean I wouldn’t get any flowers next year but I can live with that.  We are still waiting for the house next door to be sold (been a few years now) and both the front and back gardens will be in a right state.  The garden wall is needing fixed as the previous owner removed the buttress on their side and has started to fall over at the back.  I haven’t been able to sort that area out and plant up as we don’t want any builders walking all over it.  Major pain in the backside!  Hey ho.

There are still a few plants which are flowering sporadically and some that come into bloom fully at this time of year so the insects can still enjoy a feed. The Japanese anemones, cyclamen and persicarias are looking great just now.  A couple of heathers are about to bloom.  A few of the hellebores are in flower, so too are the nepeta, mint, oregano, aster, coreopsis, viburnum, weigela, geum, knapweed, prunella, deadnettle, roses, parahebe, and even a few flowers still on the geraniums and foxgloves.  The apples are looking good.  They are not really keepers so I always have a bit of a glut at this time of year so I make apple sauce, apple pies and crumbles, stewed apples to freeze, eat some and give some away to pals.  Today however I will just be weeding and browsing my bulb catalogues.

ajuga coming through saxifage
Ajuga coming through a saxifrage
Large aster bulging over path
Tree heath
Persicaria amplex ‘Blackfield’
Some pots on the patio in front of weigela

Jobs to do in July

There is always something to be done in the garden these days.  The never ending dead-heading and weeding, the chopping down and cutting back, re-positioning unhappy plants, potting on, sowing seeds and buying more plants.  This last week I have been pruning (with some help from Harry) the deutzia, philadelphus and weigela, which have all finished flowering now.  In the raised garden I have cut back some geraniums and dug some out that had outgrown their space.  The violas had spread far too much too so they were hoiked out.  Most of the foxgloves have finished flowering now and I have pulled a lot out but will save the seed from a couple to sprinkle where I would like the next lot to come up.  I am thinking of just getting rid of all of the nettles along the side wall now as I had originally grown them for wildlife, and I have not seen a single nibble on them over the last six years so I think it is time for them to go – a  job for Harry as I can’t reach them.

In the conservatory the cactus had five lovely big flower buds at first but the weight of two were too much and they fell off.  I put them in a vase so I could still appreciate their wonderful scent.  They only last a day or so which is such a shame.

plants, flowers,
5 cactus buds ready to open
plants, flowers,
only 3 flowers left on cactus
plants, flowers,
2 cactus flowers in a vase
plants, flowers,
cactus flower side view

At the moment I am loving the combination of the Heuchera ‘Rachel’ coming up beside the Spirea Japonica ‘White gold’.  The spirea buds have a pink tinge to them which go so well with the pink flowers of the heuchera.

plants, flowers,
Spirea Japonica’ White gold’ and Heuchera ‘Rachel’
The moss roses are looking good just now too.  Harry thought that they were covered in greenfly but it is just the kind of furry, mossy look that they have.  I have found that if they get chopped quite low then they don’t get such a straggly look.  They tend to behave more like a shrub rose.  The other roses are doing ok but the ‘Munstead wood’ has some rust on it.
Moss rose ‘William Lobb’
I treated myself to some air plants during lockdown.  Harry had given me some Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) at Christmas which I split into two clumps and I have kept thinking about some of the other Tillandsias that might go well with them.  I am keeping them upstairs which means that I had to get a grow light for them.  The trouble with upstairs is that I need all the blinds and doors shut to keep out the summer sun, which means that any plants I have would have to cope with very low levels of light.  The grow light I did buy has a few settings and I have chosen to use the pink light for 9 hours per day and see if they like that.  I don’t actually like the look of this black light in front of the plants so I may try to find a way of clipping it to the side of the shelf but the lead is quite short.
plants, airplants,
Collection of Tillandsias and couple of ferns
plants, airplants,
collection of Tillandsias and couple of ferns with pink grow light
And lastly, here is a photo of a moth pupa I found nestled in the corner of a door in the conservatory.  I did keep it until it hatched but alas I did not get a photo of the moth.  It looked kind of khaki coloured and I looked through some moth charts but couldn’t identify it.
wildlife,
Moth pupa