Saturday, 15 November 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day November 2014

Unsurprisingly there are more blooms this November than last.  The extended warm days and nights have helped a lot I think.  We are now experiencing a more November like feel, yet the thermometer contradicts that!  We've only had a couple of measly little frosts and they've had no effect on the plants at all.

As well as sharing what's blooming in my garden, I'm using this post as a useful record of what I've been getting up to in the garden this last couple of weeks.

The shadier side of the gravel area has seen the removal of the small pond.  Half of this bed had been planted up in my previous post but everything is in and has been settling in.  I will not begin to see the fruits of my labour until spring.  It doesn't sound too far away if you say it fast, does it!

For obvious reasons, I can no longer call this border The Pond Bed, therefore it has been renamed The Mahonia Bed.  OK, The Mahonia Bed may be a tad unimaginative but it does exactly as it says on the tin.

The Mahonia Bed
Much to my surprise delight Anemone Andrea Atkinson has finally managed to open some blooms. Seen here mingling with Astrantia Ruby Wedding.  The Heuchera have been flowering all summer.  I moved Heuchera Binoche here 3 weeks ago and it didn't even flinch.  If you are in the market for a very dark, almost black leafed Heuchera, I can thoroughly recommend it.  Heuchera Marmalade is also flowering but I couldn't get a decent shot of it in the light available.

Left to Right: Astrantia Ruby Wedding, Anemone x hybrid Andrea Atkinson, Heuchera Paris
Mahonia x media Charity, Astrantia Snow Star and Heuchera Binoche

On the opposite side, the Bumble Bee border, has also been extended.  In all honesty, I think I was perhaps a bit too cautious at the time I carried out the work.  I'd have gotten away with adding more depth to the middle section.  The young Hawthorn tree planted earlier this year, will at some point in the future dictate the way this bed is planted but for now, there is still plenty of room to enjoy the perennials.  I've cleared out a few that were, quite frankly, clashing in terms of colour and replaced them with new Roses.  The two Escallonias that had struggled along have been removed.  For fence cover I'll be relying on Clematis and Honeysuckle.  Other than the Astrantia flowering in the back corner, you'd be hard pushed to see many blooms right now but there are one or two.  I'm also trying out the bird feeders here.  The lawn up in the top end of the garden has only just recovered from last year's mess.  I'm hoping that the sprouting seeds will be far easily removed from the gravel.  Despite the fact I do buy 'no mess' bird feed, this is indeed not the case.  Where it is now will also make replenishing the feeders far easier, especially when the weather is bad.

Campanula poscharskyana, Sanguisorba obtusa, Astrantia Buckland and Potentilla nepalensis Ron McBeath
Clematis texensis Princess Diana

Fuchsia magellanica Alba
Through the arch and into the back garden proper, The Wedgewood Rose continues to put on buds but sadly, when they open, they are not lasting very long.
The Wedgewood Rose
On the shadier side, the Enkianthus autumn colour has finally arrived.  Digitalis x mertonensis is still flowering and the Lupin blooms, which are a bit misshapen due to the fact that the stems had been caught under the Enkianthus.

Digitalis x mertonensis and Lupinus The Page
Emma and Eve!  Rosa Lady Emma Hamilton and Viburnum Eve Price that is, happily bloom together this November time.  I rather like them together.  Earlier in the year, Emma was paired with the blooms from some Heuchera and Sedum.  This little corner has really pleased me this year.  

Rosa Lady Emma Hamilton and Viburnum tinus Eve Price
Providing a little greenery in front of the shed, a selection of evergreens (in containers) along with a yellow chrysanthemum and some white lavender continues too bloom.  It's difficult to get a picture of the yellow chrysanths as the sun just glares against those yellow blooms.

Chrysanthemum and Lavender flowers in November
 At the other end of the deck, my miniature garden sits and basks in the sun all day long.  The alpine wallflower, Erysimum kotschyanum, is enjoying the extended good weather.  Those little yellow blooms look just like miniature yellow butterflies.  It's full of buds, a few more sunny days and they might all open.

Erysimum kotschyanum
The top border, which is the subject of my EOMV, I cut down the Helianthus and Cardoon.  You can now see the top tier clearly from the house.  Climbing rose, Warm Welcome, really doesn't belong up there.  My attempt at growing this rose together with Clematis montana has been a bit of a disaster.  The more I look at it, the more I can see how pruning is going to be an issue and even more so when the Cotinus grows up!  The Verbena bonariensis has been left in the hope that it self seeds.  I do this each year and each year it doesn't happen.  I always have to end up replacing the plants.  Luckily they are not too expensive.  Lupins and Persicaria are also still flowering away.

Rosa Warm Welcome, Lupins and Persicaria
Yet another clump of Persicaria flowering a bit further round.  Geum Bell Bank has spread out nicely, a bit too nicely and is just about to smother Bergenia Overture.  Note to self: find the Bergenia another home in spring.       

Persicaria JS Caliente and Geum Bell Bank blooming in November

Lady's mantle flowers continue to bloom beneath the Heptacodium.  The Heptacodium shows little signs that it's autumn other than the fact it has finished flowering.  When it's finished flowering the red sepals are supposed to remain for some time.  I've never experienced this as they just don't seem to appear.     

There's not a heck of a lot going on in the side garden right now.  It's mainly about the foliage right now but a few Cyclamen flowers are lingering and a late flowering Saxifrage.  It does suffer somewhat with the wind and never quite puts on as good a show as the other Saxifrage that bloom profusely in containers. 

Cyclamen hederifolium and Saxifraga fortune Blackberry and Apple Pie

The new layout of the front garden makes it's Blog Debut this November.  I've been working away in the front garden since early summer.  Some of the roses are still flowering away.  Namely, Lady of Shalott, The Lark Ascending and Port Sunlight. 

Front garden almost complete November 2014

I think my garden has exceeded all expectations this November.  It's nice to still have a few reminders of summer.  I thank you for joining me in a wee stroll around the garden and all that's left is for me to invite you over to May Dream Gardens where bloggers from around the world share what's blooming in their garden on the 15th of every month.   See you there! 


Sunday, 9 November 2014

One, two, tree!

A brief chat with my neighbour Jim the other day, consisted of the usual pleasantries around the family, weather, and gardening, as is usual with these kind of conversations.  We both touched on the subject of the old Birch tree that used to stand between his and another neighbour's garden.  Despite it's size, we both kind of miss it.  I'll bet we are not the only ones - the birds probably do too!   It was taken down a couple of years back.

Then, as fate would have it, a few hours later I read Pauline's EOMV, her Birch trees featured heavily.  You can read it here, if you haven't already done so.  Immediately, I remembered falling for her Silver Birch/Cornus winter combo last year and wishing I could replicate it or something similar in my garden.  Back then it was immediately put to the back of my mind.  Maybe one day I'd have a big enough garden in which to give them a go.

A visit to my local nursery, Binny Plants, whilst taking my youngest niece home following a weekend sleepover, would fill my Sunday just nicely.  It's sometime a bit too handy that it's en route to my brother's house, or on the way home, depending on how you like to look at these things.

I had planned to fill the now redundant space behind the shed with a new tree.  I noticed earlier this year that he had a couple of Kashmir Rowan trees in stock.  Sorbus cashmiriana and it's white berries would do the job.  Something a bit different.  There are plenty red and yellow berries elsewhere in the garden, this would make a nice change.  After getting there, I was disappointed to learn that he had sold out and if at all it would be next year until they are back in stock.  Ach well, I'll just have to wait!

Billy, the nursery owner and I stood and had a wee blether, seeing as the nursery was very quite.  It usually is at this time of the year.  I was admiring the red Cornus stems and how they stood out in the low afternoon sun down at the bottom of his garden, where it borders part of the Golf Course.  I then commented about Pauline's Birch/Cornus combo I saw the other day and how I'd love a white stemmed birch in the garden but felt I hadn't the room.  As luck would have it  he told me that they had some purple leafed birches that would eventually have white peeling bark and that it's size might be better suited to my garden.  Betula Crimson Frost were new in stock, which explains why I hadn't noticed them before.   They are narrow and very upright and not nearly as large as some Silver Birches.  I walked over to have a look. Not that there was much too look at, they were rather small and of course at this time of the year completely naked!  I asked myself 3 question.  Was I particularly after one with green foliage? Considering I hadn't gone shopping for a birch tree, foliage green or otherwise never crossed my mind!  Could I live with the Purple foliage?  No brainer, I do like plants with purple folage. Finally, Could I make room?  Make room?  I had the perfect spot which had been cleared for the Laburnum back in spring but since I chose to plant the Laburnum elsewhere, I had filled the gap temporarily with a couple of perennials.  You bet I can make the room!  Sold!  Fate has played a big part in choosing this plant, I just hope it likes my garden.  It will be a few year before it's big enough to be partnered with a red stemmed Cornus and a few more after that before it makes some real impact in the garden but it's good to have something to look forward too.      

When I had finished paying and making my way over to the car, I decided I'd take the long route home and visit another favourite nursery, New Hopetoun Gardens.  Those of you in the UK familiar with BBC Gardening programme, Beechgrove Garden, will know only too well that one of the presenters is the wife of the owner of this independant garden centre.  I might find the Sorbus in stock there.  Indeed I did find the Sorbus in stock.  I chose not to hang around as it had just started raining and I didn't have a jacket with me.  It really is great to have such top quality nurseries less than a 10 minute drive from the house.

Here they are, certainly not much to look at right now.  The Sorbus to the left is a great deal bigger that the twig that is the Birch Tree.  I think the phrase is 'they have potential'.  Tomorrow's job is to get both of them in the ground.  Thankfully it's still warm enough for planting.  It's not often we get a chance to plant out in November here in Scotland.

Sorbus cashmiriana and Betula Crimson Frost
It amazes me that this pencil thin chocolate brown, almost black stem, will become a beautiful white, peeling trunk in a just few years time.  Isn't nature wonderful?  I have to admit though, that I was a wee bit disappointed that they take so long to turn white.  I had no idea before today that this was the case.   Every day's a school day, eh?

Stem Betula Crimson Frost
A solitary leaf lingers long enough for me to get it home and take a shot.  I can see now just how it earned it's name.

Betula Crimson Frost

I can't believe that in a matter of 10 months I've gone from a garden with no trees to a garden with 5 trees.  That of course might be 2 or 3 trees too many, I might never know - I'm not getting any younger am I?  Why shouldn't I enjoy a few trees right now, I should have planted them 4 years ago when I first set this garden out!  If the worse comes to the worst, I'll be looking to employ a tree surgeon!

I wonder, has fate ever played a part in choosing a specific plant for your garden?  Do tell us?  As if impulse buying isn't costly enough, I now need to contend with fate when I go plant shopping!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Recycling stepping stones

Some of you might remember the incident I had with the whirligig early in the year.  A brief reminder for those that don't - I tripped over my own feet and went crashing into it.  I not only completely snapped the metal post at surface level, rendering it completely useless, I lost a crown and cracked my front tooth into the bargain!    

Purchasing a new whirly, brought with it the opportunity to find it a new spot in the garden.  Where it had previously been sited, was at one point, in the dim and distant past the most practical place for it. That did however mean that planting in the area had to be dictated to allow for the laundry to waft freely.  This was not conducive to my ever increasing plant collection and certainly did not help in my urge to deepen and widen borders to make room for them.

A new spot further up the garden was chosen and in it went.  It's new position worked really well all summer and the fact that I chose one which hoists up means that it is not hampered by anything.  I gave myself a pat on the back, as you often do.

All was going well, until it rained rather heavily.  A few rainy days later, it was apparent that I needed some sort of solid surface on which to stand when loading and unloading the whirly.  The grass beneath was getting heavily compacted and further use, especially in winter/spring, would mean the whole area would become a quagmire.

I had some Marshall's Heritage paving slabs that I had previously from lifted from elsewhere in the garden. I was going to offer them up on Freecycle but never quite got round to it.   My forgetfulness paid off, it means I don't have to cough up for new slabs now.  They are, or will be, sandstone colour when I manage to get the power washer on to them.

Over the weeks between September to October, I tried out the individual pavers in different positions/spacing, moving them around until I got a layout that was practical.  The offset T route seemed to work best coming through the arch.  I continued positioning the slabs right up to the decking, it allows a natural flow straight from the house right up to the back of the garden now.

I've still got to lift the turf and sink them down level this will allow me to run the lawn mower right over the top of them when I mow the lawn.  The lawn that had suffered by my previous design attempt has now fully recovered - you'd never know it had been starved of sunlight for a couple of weeks.

All I need do now is work on a vista to the left of the step leading up to the deck.  But that is something for another day and another project.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

To pot or not to pot?

I'm in need of a wee bit guidance - can you help?

rooted Salvia cuttings November 2014
I took some cuttings of my gorgeous Salvia Amistad back in mid October, as was suggested by a few of you when I raised my concern re getting it through winter.  I rooted some in water and also the more conventional way in compost.  The ones in water rooted rather quickly (50% success rate) and were potted up into individual pots 2 weeks ago.  Those that have successfully rooted in the compost took a bit longer but are now showing signs that they have rooted.  Tiny roots are now appearing from the holes in the base of the pot.

This is where I get stuck!  Do they need individual pots now or will they happily survive in the same pot for winter?  - and - At what point to I nip them out to make them bushier?

These are my first attempts at taking cuttings so am quite excited that I've had some success.  Any advice greatly appreciate.  Thanks.

Salvia Amistad and Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Saturday, 1 November 2014

End of Month View October 2014

I must say that I've truly enjoyed taking part in End of Month View posts this year.   Joining in has really made me concentrate on what's been going on in this border.  Work on this bed started at the beginning of the year.  Participation in this meme hosted by Helen over at The Patient Gardener's Weblog has been a bit of a change for me.  I chose the plants, planted them and let them do their own thing.  This is not how I normally go about things in the garden.  I'm a plant now and think later kind of gal, or I was.  It's been good to see how plants have settled and performed without my interference. Helen, credit to you, you've taught me how to be a bit more patient.  No pun intended, honestly. Thank you!

It's hot, hot, hot!  For October here in Edinburgh that is!  Despite a couple of cold mornings, the
End of Month View
September 2014
temperatures here in Edinburgh continue to impress.

Mind you, we are forecast more seasonal norms from next week onwards.  I need to find the time at some point to get out and chop a few things back.  Most of the flowers are finished, as you can clearly see in the large image below, taken a couple of days ago.

I think the Acer on the top tier is the stand out plant, foliage wise, this week.  Perennial wise, the Persicaria continues to impress me.  It is now entering it's 5th month of flowering.

End of Month View October 2014
A few other blooms are putting on a brave face.  Sadly, I've not seen any bees or other pollinators for at least a week.  It's shame really, as it's not only this border that has blooms, there are lots more elsewhere in the garden.  
Lupins, Sedum and Helianthus blooming end of October

Geum Bell Bank, might be showing signs of powdery mildew but it is not blighting some welcome late blooms.  These coppery pink blooms, may for some, be a bit wishy washy in comparison to other Geums available but I don't mind that, I rather like it.  I also find this plant holds a bit better shape than some that I've tried and got rid of before.

Geum Bell Bank flowering end of October 2014

The Photinia fraseri Red Robin, which for the first few months, was quite frankly, getting on my nerves and all summer it just blended into the background, so much so I hardly noticed it.  The plant had previously grown a bit straggly, not quite how I envisaged it.  So back in April I introduced some canes in an attempt at getting it to grow a bit more upright.  They seemed to have done the trick and is now making quite a nice shape.  It's earned itself a bit of a reprieve for now.

Photinia fraseri Red Robin
There is little else to report for this post, other than the fact, I spent a few weeks contemplating about how this area of the garden will look come spring time.  I noted at the beginning of the year that I would source bulbs to plant this autumn and to be honest, I'm betwixt and between on what to do. Nobody will venture up here in the winter, would they be a waste of time?  I know I should plant some for the early pollinators but I do have lots more elsewhere and I'm not sure how much of a difference having a few more here would make.  We shall see how I feel when the time comes.  It's not difficult to source bulbs by the pot full in springtime here.

I hope the weekend is a good one and I'm off now to see what's happening in your garden!  Thanks for reading.