Saturday, 1 June 2013

May - My month in review

Where has the time gone?  I seem to be saying that quite a lot recently.  First of all, an apology goes out to all those who may have been eagerly awaiting a follow up to GBBD.  I just never managed to find time to squeeze in an extra blog!

Please join me and other garden bloggers who are reviewing their garden this month end.  A meme very kindly hosted by Helen over at The Patient Gardener.  Whether you have a blog to share or are just plain curious or should that read nosy?  Head over and see what other garden bloggers have been up to.  Everyone is welcome.

Over the last few weeks I've been getting ruthless in the garden and I'm taking no prisoners.  If something hasn't been happy - it's gone!  If something needs too much attention - it's out of here!  I'm fed up with plants that need molly coddling!  Much of my planting is now coming into it's 3rd year - it's easy to take stock, see what's thriving and what's not!  Those that are just hanging on in their have been given a good talking too - if by summer they haven't shaped up - they will be shipped out!  They can't say they have not been warned.

As well as being ruthless in the borders -I've lots of 'things' growing in pots and containers that should and will be perfectly happy in the garden.  The majority of which have now found home in the ground.   Work has started on a new Japanese Maple and Primula bed.  Rocks have been sourced, handy that I have a neighbour who manages a local quarry!  The Acers have had a couple of weeks to settle in their new space - there was no issues with planting them out in the garden at this time of the year.  An Enkianthus was transplanted over to the sunnier side of the garden - it has failed to flower this past 2 years and I suspect that it was not getting enough sun.  It is not advisable to uproot shrubs at this time of the year but great care was taken to ensure I had a large root ball and a strict watering regime will follow for the rest of the summer.  I finished planting the Primula and a few other perennials yesterday.  All they need do now is grow!

The long sunny border - which really isn't very long and the term 'sunny' comes complete with poetic license if last year is anything to judge by!  It is what one might call a summer border, plenty of summer flowering perennials which not only look good but also attractive to bees and other pollinators.  Rightly or wrongly, I don't choose many native plants but do aim for a selection which are considered 'beneficial'.  I do try to make sure that the pollinators are catered for!  It is presently a sea of green with a few dots of colour here and there.  Late spring/Early summer colour in this border comes by way of creeping phlox.

Phlox subulata
Amazing Grace
Phlox subulata
Emerald Cushion
Phlox subulata
Kimono






Garden stalwart - Aquilegia are just beginning to flower, the deeper colours of Purple Emperor and Black Barlow alongside a self seeded pink variety.
Aquilegia at end of May

Semiaquilegia Sugar Plum Fairy

Semiaquilegia Sugar Plum Fairy a smashing little 'mingler' - billed as short lived, I was quite surprised to see these come through winter successfully.  Cirsium, Allium and hardy geraniums will take over soon enough!

Still on the sunny side of the garden, one of my garden 'late starters' - not just this year but every year.  I will never complain about that fact.  To it's benefit - the fact that it buds late means it misses any late frost.  Cornus alternifolia Argentea (Pagoda Dogwood) is a favourite shrub in the garden.  My specimen is just a baby and it will be many years before it really makes a statement.    


Cornus alternifolia Argentea
Elsewhere in the sunnier borders Peony buds are fattening, Aconitums are reaching skyward, Astrantia are on the verge of flowering and many more waiting on the side lines.  Woodland cranesbill, Geranium sylvaticum Album tucked behind the peonies has just made it for a May time flowering.

Geranium sylvaticum Album
     

Over to the shadier side of the garden -

In the little yellow and white border outside my back door - the cowslips, drumstick primula and Primula vulgaris have now gone over but just before the golden Physocarpus opulifolius (Ninebarks) takes over for summer,  Doronicum orientale Little Leo is providing food for the tiniest of pollinators and oddly enough untouched by slugs thus far!


The wildlife pond is situated on the shadier side of the garden.  Flowering now in the pond is this wildflower, Cardamine Pratensis, commonly known as Cuckoo Flower - tiny little pollinators do enjoy this one!  Being that it is a small pond, probably considered more of a puddle than a pond - most plants would be very invasive.  Acorus also grows there, a tight reign will be needed.    
     

Growing in the pond
Cardamine Pratensis
Hostas, ferns and Astilbe are gearing up as I write - Polygonatum multiflorum, a british native grows at the rear of the pond.  Despite being stocked with tadpoles last year - the frogs that emerged have thus far failed to make an appearance.  We do have frogs in the area - they are often seen at night and I get quite sad that they haven't shown an interest in my pond.  One day they will come or so I keep telling myself!

Polygonatum multiflorum


Ajuga Burgundy Glow
A couple of Rhododendrons flower  - a good few weeks later than they would normally.  Other residents on the shadier side - namely Pieris, Leucothoe and Camelllia are all putting on new growth, yet have failed to flower.  Interesting that no flowers have been produced - they are all healthy and happy enough.  I'd be interested if any of you experienced gardeners had any thoughts on this?

Rhododendron Red Jack
grows as a standard
Unnamed Rhododendron
A nice delicate colour



Acer palmatum Orange Dream


Hydrangeas are still generally leafless twigs and are adding no value to the garden at the moment. I've removed one of the to make room for a little Japanese Acer, a supermarket purchase a couple of years ago.  I feel it is now time for it to embrace the big wide world and make it on it's own.   
Acer palmatum 'Orange Dream' might one day become a lovely sized tree - currently only just over 1 foot tall - my hopes and expectations exceed it present stature!   



Let's take a walk down the side path.  My side garden is long and really quite narrow - it does not allow for layers of planting, especially where the shrubs grow.  The fact that the shrubs are quite young - I can, for now, enjoy a few perennials dotted in the gaps between them.  Also in the side border, 2 Camellias failed to flower.  I am attempting to train one to a fan shape on the fence.  I have not been rewarded with blooms.  There's always next year, isn't there?
It's not all doom and gloom down the side path though.

At the top end, nearest the back door - Acer palmatum Crimson Queen.  My favourite and oldest Japanese Acer.  I've been the keeper of this beautiful little tree for 17 years.  Flanked by a couple of young Pieris, Flaming Silver to the left and Forrest Flame to the right.
A closer look
Aquilegia spring magic and Dicentra spectabalis bloom in the background, the foliage of Hostas and Japanese Holly Ferns will take over when those are finished.
Epimedium and Heuchera foliage fill the gaps around Dicentra eximia King of Hearts - Hosta Halcyon and Hart's Tongue fern are shoehorned in!
Just out of shot Shuttlecock fern, Polypodium and Dryopteris are unfurling - Cortusa mattholia, a new addition this spring are about to flower and should make their debut in June's Bloom Day.

Magnolia Stellata - as shown in my last Wordless Wednesday Blog looked as if it was only going to produce a solitary flower.  I'm surprised and delighted that it delivered a couple more this week.  Try as I might though - I'm just not getting that fragrance!!
Moving swiftly along a pastel pink Rhododendron is beginning to bloom it's heart off.  I think the Rhododendrons really benefited from the wet summer last year - they are or have been putting on a great display this year. A couple of self sown Aquilegia are flowering.

I am on a week's annual leave from work, dare I say it that I intend to take it easy this week.  I've a few little chores to do in and around the garden - nothing major, she says!!  I hope the nice weather continues, it's been so long, I've almost forgotten what it's like to eat al fresco!

I'd like to end my month review with a question.....

I am hoping that amongst you - we have a lily grower or two!  Can anyone offer an id of what kind of lillies both these plants are.  The top one - I suspect is an asiatic lily (white flower) and the bottom one came as a gift without a label.  The foliage on both are quite different and am unsure what conditions they would prefer.  
Flowering Augus 2012
White Lily Foliage



Unknown Lily 
Over too you lily growers!

That's about it for now but before I go - I thought I'd share a picture with you.  This is Chip - one of my 3 cats.  He loves spending sunny afternoons in the shade of the Acer tree.  Of all my cats, he is the scardy cat - afraid of everything, even his shadow!   


       
Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed!  I'm off now to see what you've all been up to! 

37 comments:

  1. You have so many lovely plants, I especially like your side border planting around your acer. You mention some of your shrubs haven't flowered, how old are they, could it be that they are busy putting down roots, before forming flowers? Have a good week off!

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    1. Pauline, I hadn't thought that they could be putting down roots - thanks for that!
      I've had a super week off - batteries are recharged and ready for work next week!

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  2. Oh I have that semi-aquilegia, I bought it the other week. I take a ruthless approach to the borders as well, its quite liberating
    Thanks for joining in this month

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    1. Pleased to have going in Helen - you won't be disappointed with your plant!

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  3. Wow, you have a lot of blooming going on, and a lot of plants I am not familiar with but find intriguing. Geranium sylvaticum, Cardamine pratensis ... Chip is looking rather mysterious, but cute!

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    1. Jason, just like me when I visit your blog - many new plants. I wonder how many have different names but are the same plants.
      Chip says thanks - we know only too well how cute he thinks he is ;)

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  4. Beautiful flowers!
    You seem to have something in just about every color there is!
    Love the cat portrait!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    1. Lea - thanks, yes almost a rainbow!

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  5. You have quite a lot of interesting plants in your garden, enjoyed reading your progress with them. But who is most beautiful?Chip the cat behind the Acer, he feels more comfortable hidden by the foliage, nice colour combination too.

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    1. Janneke - yes, Chip knows he is a beautiful cat - he gets told often enough :)

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  6. Your ruthlessness sounds well placed Angie, I am the same way, if it doesn't work it has to be moved or removed! Love your acers, and as you say, the time waiting for them to fill out and become proper trees leaves space for plenty of perennials. That is a really beautiful semiaquilegia.

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    1. Janet, yes and the ruthlessness has carried on right through this week. A few more plants have bitten the dust, so to speak!

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  7. Your gardens are lovely. I changed to mostly flowering shrubs a couple years ago and am waiting for all of those to grow up and fill back in my gardens. You have beautiful choices in your gardens.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Cher, like you I'm busy waiting on all the shrubs filling out - just wish I had a bit more patience though!

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  8. Sometimes you just have to be ruthless. Mind you there is a lot of good stuff going on in your garden. We planted an Enkianthus in quite a shady spot in early Spring, loads of flower buds ready to open now. You do have me wondering if these buds were already set when we planted it. I will see how it is next year and be prepared to place it in a sunnier position.,

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    1. Alistair, don't be put off with growing your Enkianthus in a shady spot. It wasn't until after I wrote this that I saw one growing at my local nursery in quite a bit of shade. So now I'm wondering what is causing mine not to flower. It's now into it's 3rd year. We shall see next spring!

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  9. lots of lovely flowers and foliage Angie, I don't like plants that need molly coddling either, all I know about spring flowering plants is that the buds usually form the previous late summer/autumn so you have to think back to the what was happening then for a clue to no flowers, they most often say too dry but as your rhododendrons are flowering well that can't be the problem unless the camellias are in a dry part of your garden, your white lily flower and foliage look like the oriental lilies I have, I have no idea about the other one, love the cornus foliage,

    as a cat lover I adore the photo of chips, Frances

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    1. Frances, I don't think drought was the problem. I keep my camellias well watered throughout summer (I know from experience they need it) As Pauline above has suggested maybe they are still settling in!
      Thanks for id on one of the lillies.

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  10. What a lovely garden you have Angie. I have one with the size of a stamp. Never mind I am just like you (I think) a small pont with frogs and others, and butterfly's in summer and of course so important to me the birds who are coming in to visit my garden. I like your cat it's gorgeous.
    Have a wonderful evening.

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    1. Marijke, thanks for visiting. Yes, my pond is very small, better than no pond though ;)
      I do try to encourage all sorts into the garden. Especially the birds, I enjoy watching them and learning all about them.

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  11. I am hoping to grow a Pagoda dogwood this year and I wish i could grow Japanese maples but they do not like it here. I also will not keep anything that needs pampering. Your gardens are looking full of color.

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    1. Donna - good luck with your Dogwood. What a shame you can't grow Japanese Maples - they are such a lovely shrub/tree. I'm please with the colour that is there at the moment.

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  12. It took me many years to learn that it is not worth persevering with something which does not do well. I am sure many potential gardeners are put off because they buy something totally inappropriate at the garden centre which then disappears. At least with a local nursery, if you are lucky enough to have one, you stand a chance of buying something suitable for the local area plus some sound advice.

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    1. Rick - 3 years it's taken me with something.
      I think you have a point re buying something unsuitable - a mistaken friends have made. One very recently who spent rather a lot of money recently - when we got talking, I realised he had bought mainly drought loving mediteranean plants for a shady moist garden. I've given him a few things from my garden to get him going, they have all settled in and are going well - he is now very pleased!
      My local nursery is excellent, independent and knows what grows well in the area.

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  13. Lots of fabulousness going on in your beautiful garden. :-)

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    1. Jane, likewise. Thank you for visiting.

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  14. Hi Angie,

    Lovely garden, so much to see and I imagine you're enjoying yourself in the lovely weather at the moment! It's almost torture being at work knowing I could be out lazing around on the grass.

    I have little patience with plants which don't survive or thrive. It's all about the tough love here. If it doesn't survive then that's it, I generally won't keep replacing things unless it was an exceptional winter then I can understand if something doesn't survive - scabious and verbena bonariensis this winter are two examples. They'd normally survive, so are worth buying again.

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    1. Liz - yes, what a great week off I've had. Although as usual each time you sit down you find something else to do!
      Verbena bonaariensis - I have to treat as an annual. I didn't grow it last year but planted a clump just last week. Scabious are another that doesn't do too well but I do grow it. It's probably another one I should bin!

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  15. I love this post, because it is like looking back at the things that have already had their day in the spotlight around here. I was sad to see them go, but here they are again! Thanks!

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    1. Ricki, I'm glad to have shared these with you. That's gardening isn't it. We say good bye for another year on some of our favourite plants!

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  16. The only plant that I am familiar here is that acer ;-) Rest is strange but very pretty flowers. With frogs, they can really give you a surprise. Be sure to watch carefully next time you are near the pond. You can see them unless they move hehe... Have a great day and happy gardening!

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    1. Stephanie - there are definately no frogs in the pond. I examine it closely everyday!! Thanks for visiting!

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  17. So much activities in your garden and you have summarized it so nicely. The pictures are so wonderful. Call out the frogs to your garden quickly so that we both can have lovely dance. Bagpipe music is my favorite, but not sure of any Scottish Dance. So, you are going to teach me some and we will dance to bagpipes :-).

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    1. KL - Maybe if I play the bagpipes it might scare the frogs away :)
      Joking aside - I love the sound of the massed pipes and drums. It sends shivers down my spine.
      There are lots of example of Scottish dancing on YouTube, you should take a look. I haven't done any Scottish dancing since I was a little girl.

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  18. A lovely post Angie, you have so much going on in your garden! I’d love to have that Ajuga Burgundy Glow, beautiful!
    I grow a lot of different lilies, both Oriental and Asiatic, it used to be that Oriental had lovely fragrance and Asiatic had no fragrance so that was one way of tell the difference, but lately there has been some Asiatic lilies produced with scent so it is no longer so easy…Your white lily is a trumpet lily, is it fragrant? If so it is an oriental lily, but which one is hard to tell, I need more pictures of both flowers and foliage. I can tell you it is not Lilium regale, which I have loads of, they have purple colour on the outside, but it could possibly be Lilium regale ‘alba’, Google it and see if you can find some pictures to compare. The other one is impossible to tell until you have some flowers. Oriental lilies are easy to grow from seeds by the way, just sow them fresh and leave them in pots outside in semi shade for 3 years and then plant out in the garden. No stratification or growing indoors, no fuzz at all, just remember to water them enough. And they would like a bit of fertilizer during the summer. That’s it!

    And finally, your cat is adorable :-)

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    1. Oh, forgot to say, all lilies grow happily in quite shady conditions, some in almost complete shade, but then you’ll get less flowers. A semi shade position is best, in full sun the flowers go off very quickly but most can tolerate full sun. They like humus rich soil, if you have clay mix a bit of ericaceous compost in before planting new bulbs. A bit of sharp sand below and above the bulb for good drainage is also good if your soil is compact and lack drainage. The biggest problem is slugs and lily beetles, I have good control of both but I still go on daily patrol of my lilies, I have around 100 all in all, some not old enough to flower yet.

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    2. Helene - what a fully comprehensive answer. I don't think I could have asked as many questions as you've given me answers. This is great - I'm so pleased to read that they prefer a bit of shade. I've got an ideal spot or two for them. I'll move them after they have flowered.
      Luckily Lily Beetles haven't reached here yet, one less problem!! Thanks again.

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