Guests and the weather mean that I have not managed to do as much in the garden as I would have liked. The weeds have thrived with the rain and short sunny spells. However, the rain stopped on Wednesday and in the late afternoon the sun came out, followed by three glorious hot days. It was extremely humid this morning, and the rain has just returned...
On Thursday I pulled out a lot of the long grass and weeds along the front of the long bank - it is trying to reclaim the territory.
On Friday I re-weeded the small bed at the far end of the lawn. I got to use the swivel garden scissors I bought in Aldi a couple of weeks back to trim the edge of the lawn there - they were perfect for the job. I also got around to planting the remaining aquilegia 'Black Barlow' I had bought from J Parker, two in the bed I had just weeded, one in the raised bed on the opposite side and two in LB2.
Yesterday I decided the time had come to go back up the high bank and start digging in some of the soil I got from Anne's wood to break up the grey stony clay up there. I decided half a sack at a time was all I would manage to take up with me, and even then it was quite a struggle. There is only one clearish route left, up the side of the oil tank and then fight my way between a tree and a large berberis. This is made twice as hard when carrying stuff up with you. Luckily I had left a garden fork up there, so just needed my gloves, hand trowel and secateurs which I could put in the sack. The half sack of soil treated about a square metre at the left-hand side of this rhododendron. At least I got to see that about a dozen of the foxgloves, also from Anne's wood, that I planted earlier in the year are thriving.
This rhododendron is at the right-had side of the fruit bushes bed. It did not flower last year.
Two of the three rhododendrons I bought from Aldi are also flowering. Hopefully I will get them planted in the high bank later in the year when I have finished the soil improvement up there.
The first of the hebes is now in full flower. Buds can be seen on the others, so they will not be far behind.
The first flower on my clematis Niobe, that I brought up in a pot with me when we moved up here, has opened. It is obviously shy as it is facing the sheds. I was concerned that I would get no flowers, as all the early buds were damaged in the strong winds we had last month. I tied all the stems into the trellis when I saw the problem, and new leaves and buds developed.
Five of the six miscellaneous roses I bought have now put on growth. I fear that the sixth one is a no-show, but for £9.00 it isn't too bad. All except one of the original roses are doing well, and are in bud. The wild rose up the high bank that I failed to dig out has sprouted very healthy looking new growth. I am quite happy to keep it if I can control it...
I am over the moon with the hybrid aquilegias that have self seeded, mainly in the front of LB3...
I do not remember seeing any last year, but maybe the semi-aquilegias I planted last year led to this promiscuity...
I look forward to some more interesting combinations if the 'Black Barlow' flower this year, but my favourite of this year is this double pale mauve one.
The 'Nora Barlow' are also now looking rather good...
The dark blue ones are still in flower all through the long bank.
A couple more geraniums are now in flower. I think this one looks particularly good next to the saxifrage, which is now so covered in flowers it is hard to see the leaf rosettes.
The yellow-flowered heuchera are now starting to flower. They obviously love there location, seeing the number and size of their flower spikes...
The polygonum I got from Jean is doing very well. I was worried when I first planted it that it wasn't going to pull through - it was very droopy and I needed to water it frequently over the first few days. Maybe it is all the rain we have had, but it is now looking very healthy and has sent up a lot more flowers. I am still not sure whether I should move it to a shadier spot.
I planted a different variety last year in the rockery. The foliage turned a rusty brown colour over winter, but it has come back through fine now. I was warned by everyone that it was a thug, but it appears to be behaving itself so far.
The saxifrage x urbium (London Pride) is excelling itself this year. This patch at the top of LB2 has spread from last year. When we first got here this area was extremely wet and overgrown with weeds.
There are two saponaria (I think) covered in flowers draping down the wall at the front of the high bank.
The seeds I planted are doing variably.
The californian poppies, shirley poppies and godetias are behaving well, coming up in their nice neat rows.
There is no sign of the nigella - I think the seed had not ripened fully.
I can see a few seedlings that could possibly be the nemophila amongst the weeds.
A few of the cornflowers came up, but have been eaten by slugs and snails.
On the other hand the self seeded poppies appear to be thriving, and I spotted the first flower today.
The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...
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