Saturday, 22 August 2009

Side garden

Yesterday the trellis went up in the side garden. Ian made it from scrap wood and we painted in a soft dark green. It seemed to take years to paint but it looks great.

Today I planted out a melianthus which I bought as a tiny and very cheap plant and which I have been growing on. I also planted the dierama pulcherrima which I bought when F and I went to Aberconwy nursery after our Bodnant visit. Then there was a catmint and a soft yellow potentilla. I moved a bit of sedum from the other bed and planted out a dark purple sedum Picolette. It all looks a bit empty and thin at the moment. It needs some climbers and they must be able to be cut back fairly hard from time to time to maintain access to the tank. Clematis viticella would work well and we have also ordered some honeysuckles, two each of Tellmaniana - large copper yellow flowers in June-July, Halliana - white flowers changing to yellow. Fl. June-Sept., Belgica - early purple and yellow flowers from May to July. Might not be room for the clematis as well.
The side garden is doing quite well for its first year. The clary has been a big success, lovely colours of soft pink and blue. I think it is an annual type which I would certainly grow again. The white foxgloves which I grew from seed are still flowering and have been stunning. The major problem with them has been the wind which has sent the flowers every which way. I suppose I should have staked them but had not thought foxgloves would need it. Certainly last year's were fine without staking. Perhaps we have just had much more wind this year.

The colours are mainly purples, pinks and blues with some strong magenta from a geranium, Ann Folkard I think. I have planted out an Artemisia Powys Castle which I grew from a cutting last year and hope the silvery foliage will be good in there. At the moment it is more about foliage than flower which is ok by me.

The other bed, the one which was there when we came, or at least half of it was, is a bit of a curate's egg. The oriental poppies are superb when in flower but smother everything else and leave a huge bare swathe when they are cut down. It still looks a bit sad and stony and bare. I tried to fill the gaps with cosmos which self sowed from last year in the cutting garden but there are not enough to fill out properly as they don't make a big meaty plant in my stony soil. The ones in the cutting garden are quite a bit bigger than the ones in the side garden. Next year I shall grow lots more from seed and plant out ten or twelve in the space where I currently have five. At one end it is looking quite good now with a crocosmia lucifer just going over and three fennel plants which I grew from seed coming into flower. Fennel is good here. I shall sow some more this autumn. The Johnson's Blue geranium looks good and should be split a bit more so that some can go on the edge of the new bed by the trellis.
I need to work out what bulbs to put out there. I should have a lot more tulips I think. Last year I put some Ballerina out in the side bed and they were lovely. Think we need more ballerina in both beds and some Spring Green as well.

Friday, 7 August 2009

We dug up the early potatoes last week. These are Arran Pilot which has cropped well. We also dug up the Charlotte potatoes, great taste, definitely one to grow again and a single line of Ratte which we had from Emma and Ian and which produced a heavy crop, though with perhaps not the most interesting taste.

I lifted the garlic a month or so ago. Goodish crop of Cristo, fine crop of Arno, nothing much from Marco. The red onions produced a very disappointing crop but the white onions are spectacular, big onions, very little damage of any kind. They are drying on the slatted bench in the wooden greenhouse. Need to check the variety and consider growing again.

The peas are still cropping well and the beans are reaching for the sky. There is a lot of blossom on the green and runner beans although not much to be seen amongst the riot of leaf of the borlotti and the Trail of Tears. The broad beans have stopped now. I think it is worth having a go at an autumn sowing to try to elongate the cropping season. My second sowing in late spring produced beans which were only a week or two behind the early spring sown ones.In the cutting garden the echinacea has established much better this year. I love it and will look for some other varieties to have another row. All the cosmos is self sown bar a couple of plants which came up from my greenhouse sowing. I think the seed was not fresh enough but if they self seed as well again next year they will become something which the garden is never without. I loved the white cosmos at Bodnant. I will try growing quite a lot from seed next year as they are an ideal plant to put in front of chopped down oriental poppies.The fennel is lovely again. I will sow some more from the kitchen garden one when it sets seed. Three plants from last year's sowing are in the side garden and are beginning to bulk up. They are a lovely plant. Perhaps I should look for a bronze one too.

The sweetpeas are better than ever. These are the sweetest smelling. I am particularly pleased that I grew these myself from seed. They include some Sarah Raven seeds given to me by Zoe which I think are these deep coloured ones.They all have lovely long stems and are ideal as cut flowers - just what the cutting garden is supposed to be doing!A rather bleached out picture of some of the new bed in the side garden. The euphorbias really earn their keep as do the erysimum bowles mauve. The clary which I grew from seed has also been a good and tough addition. The white foxgloves have been a lovely flower but really suffered from the wind tunnel effect at the side of the house.