Sunday, 31 August 2014

End of Month view August 2014

End of Month View July 2014

There is now a distinct chill in the air of an evening. Many of the plants around the garden are gearing up for autumn.  However, if the press are to be believed we are in for an Indian summer come September....roll on Monday then!  It's chucking it down here right now, early Friday evening.  We are experiencing a few more rain falls here and there and of that I am glad - keeping this new border and lawn adequately watered in it's first season has been a long slog!  Lack of water here in Scotland is certainly not the norm.  We are renowned the world over for our miserably wet summers.    

End of Month View August 2014
For this month's view I decided to take a couple of steps back and capture the entire area up there at the back of the garden.

Sorbus Autumn Spire
yellow berries
I wanted to include the Rowan tree in the shot.  New to the garden earlier in the year.  It should have been planted last autumn or at the lastest early spring but by the time I had made up my mind we were well into late spring, knocking on the door of early summer.  This year has been one of the driest I can remember, I've had to be very diligent when it came to watering.  I was doubtful of getting berries this year.  Although the Rowan flowered, the blossom didn't last very long, over in a matter of a day or two to be precise.   I had put this down to stress of me possibly not providing quite enough water.  I did up the watering considerably from then on in and it hasn't looked back.  You can just make out in the large image the little bunch of yellow berries.  I'm glad I chose this variety (S. Autumn Spire), I like the yellow berries way more than the red - it's nice to be different.  We've lots of Rowans growing nearby and all of them produce red/orange berries, I hope the birds appreciate something a wee bit different.

The new  lawn, although it doesn't show in the picture, I feel could do with a little pick me up - it's looking rather parched close up.  I'm not one for feeding lawn, lawns generally do just fine here on their own but only this morning, as I was mowing, I thought it was looking a bit miserable.  I've given it a general lawn feed and just hope I don't live to regret it.  Although the instruction said it can be used right up until September - it's at the back of my mind it's late in the year and don't particularly want growth to go into overdrive.  Mind you, it won't the the first time I've had to mow the lawn in winter.
There have been two minor changes since last month.  The first, was to do away with the Sambucus Black Lace on the back tier.  There had been a niggling doubt in the back of my mind at the time of planting - I was betwixt and between the Sambucus and the Physocarpus. The Sambucus won on the day of planting but the niggling doubt just didn't go.  I've now swapped it for the P. opulifolium Lady in Red - I like it far better than I did the Sambucus.  I think the reddish tones of the foliage fit better and the fact that it will grow no where near the massive  proportions of the Sambucus, is another plus.  I don't think you've seen this back tier since the early summer growth sprut of the perennials on the lower level.  You might be wondering what I've done with the Sambucus - it's found a new home in the neighbour's garden.

The Clematis montana Marjorie and Cotinus Golden Spirit have also settled into their new home well. Whilst the jury is still out on the Pyracantha as fence cover on the back fence, I have been tying in the growth from the clematis away from it but should I feel the urge to remove the firethorn if it gets out of hand, then it won't take too much effort to redirect some of the Clematis growth that way.

The contrasting difference I was hoping to achieve between the Sambucus and Cotinus is still achieved with it's substitute.  The observant amongst you will spot an out of place Verbascum.  Well not entirely out of place but certainly not reaching the 1.5m as promised on the label!  The Verbascum being raised a further foot higher than the perennials on the lower tier was supposed to make height that it would still be seen behind the taller perennials below.  What happened? Too much shade created by the other plants, I think.  I've been doing a bit of reading up on this plant and it is said to be more reliably perennial than other verbascums, if it returns next year, I'll find a new spot for it.  Verbascums generally don't do very well here in my garden but no point in making the effort now if it doesn't return next year, it can wait til spring and as you can see, the Hellebore is still flowering too.

The other change is not so apparent and came about when I got in a bit of tizzy regarding what might happen if we ever experience flooding again.  I lost so many plants a few years back that the risk of loosing my rather expensive Itoh hybrid Peony is one risk too many.  It's been replaced with a red flowering daylily and a new home found for the peony in the front garden.      
I would like to offer a public apology to the Lupins.  I've did nothing cut complain about them for the past 4 months or so.  Many of you liked them and some of you even when to the bother to suggest on what to do to help bring out the best in them.  My, how the tide has turned!  I'm growing rather fond of them - I'm not entirely sure why, I can't quite put my finger on why but it could be one of two reasons.  A.  The yellow of the Helianthus and the Blue of the Lupin go really well together or B.  Of the 3 plants, the two growing to the rear have been completely smothered by the larger one in front (proof that not all were dwarfs varieties either!) and rather than 3 different colours of lupin plants - a group of blooms in the same colour is making it much easier to the eye. It could of course be a combination of both reasons or neither but I've said it now and just for the record, I'll repeat myself......I like those Lupins!  

Another combo I think is still looking good and should continue for a while yet - Hydrangea paniculata, Crocosmia Lucifer, Persicaria JS Caliente, Helenium Moerheim Beauty and Sedum spectabile.  Nice autumn colour on the persicaria foliage too.  

We all like surprises, don't we?  I'd like to end this post with a couple of surprises, nice ones, I should add.

Back in November, when I was moving a honeysuckle that had been growing over the front panel of the shed, a stem with the tiniest piece of root detached itself from the root ball.  Thinking little off it, I stuck it in the ground and completely forgot all about it - I was taken a back when I spotted a single stem meandering it's way along the ground between the plants.  I untangled it and brought it out into the light and within a day or two, the sorry pathetic looking buds fattened and opened.  
Lonicera periclymenum Fragrant Cloud

Another wee surprise lurking around in the undergrowth is an Aster, just poking it's head out from beneath the Philadelphus.  Last time I had Asters in this part of the garden was before the flood.  That was back in 2012 - I hadn't noticed it last year.  Either the parent plant has recovered or it is a volunteer.  It will be nice to see what colour the blooms turn out to be.  

Thanks for reading and please join me over at the Patient Gardener's Weblog to see more End of Month Views from gardeners across the globe.