I have been wanting to write about the garden for so long… A few notes in the Gardening Diary page is all I could manage. But leave it too long and then you don’t know where to start, ending up with a disorganised post…
Most garden blogs I follow have been stressing what an extraordinary summer it has been: so hot, so dry. For weeks, members of several (if not all) Facebook gardening groups were seen tracking the mere possibility of rain up and down the country, each of us envious of any sign of dark clouds pictured in another vicinity, and triumphantly showing off drop-covered leaves whenever the winds would favour our own parched bit of land. Only on the surface was it fun : of course, somber considerations on climate change and the fragility of our (near) future on this planet could be felt behind seemingly light-hearted comments. I don’t remember how many weeks we went without any proper rain in my part of Kent. I couldn’t bring myself to let my plants die and I confess to having watered every few days, knowing it might all be in vain as I was due to be away for more than a month. As for the green bit in the middle, the ex-lawn so to speak, it was the same yellow and brown hue as everywhere else in the country. Even the clover struggled. My lovely neighbour agreed to help with the more precious plants, but he too was going to go on holiday soon. After his departure, the garden and the new pond would have to fend for themselves. Thus I left for France, prepared for a very sad return, having bid farewell to those plants I was sure to find dead, from damp loving creatures that wisdom should have kept me from purchasing in the first place (mainly three astilbes, a Sanguisorba obtusa – pimprenelle du Japon, my son’s little dionaea muscipula – dionée attrape-mouche) to acer palmatum seedlings and other potted and therefore more vulnerable green friends (not to mention our first tomato plants).
I left, I came back, I saw.
First, the “lawn” : of a vivid green, and of an endearing though not very respectable height.
Then, the hedge : big, naughty, escaped, free.
The pond : full to the brim. Finally, the plants : alive, the whole lot. As for the little carnivorous beauty : it was thriving ! After our neighbout’s departure, Canterbury had apparently been showered by a storm or two, of the generous kind. However, tidying up would have to wait : we only had time to quickly mow the grass before leaving for Lancashire for another week. September arrived and I started clearing, as well as cramming in as many of my foxgloves as possible in the space available. Foxgloves galore next Spring !
The little pond, my favourite thing, in July and October :
The heuchera at the front is Alabama Sunrise (how could I resist that name ?) and its leaves will soon cover the plastic edge of the pond liner.
I couldn’t resist the urge to cut off another strip of grass in order to be able to plant more stuff. Here is the new border, looking a bit young, where my favourite thing is the pheasant’s tail grass. I can’t wait for it to grow and fill the space.
Quite a lot of hacking back and pruning was required. I carried on with the tentative pruning of a box (previously barrel-shaped) in the niwaki-style which I had started last year. For the first time, I used garden twine to try and train branches into the desired direction. This scupture will require a few more seasons’ growth to reach a better shape.
I also pruned my oddly shaped Acer palmatum Redwine which is a vigorous and messy grower. It was a bit daunting but I am happy with the result. Unfortunately, I don’t have a suitable picture of what it looked like before.
Our other shady bed now (with the Japanese maple starting to show colour) :
Some of my favourite flowers and plants from mid-summer until now (the pictures are captioned if you want to know the name of the plants) :
Some babies for next year :
Next things on the list : buy some more daffodil bulbs, plant the allium sphaerocephalon bulbs, sow honesty, and… get rid of a lot of ivy (I will tell you about that…).
I will leave you with funny pics of my kids’ idea for mulching / pot decoration and a brave little holly.
Happy gardening to you !