I have started and then re-started this blog post – not quite sure how I was going to handle it. After originally writing a good chunk, it became apparent it would be to long for me to be happy with and felt like a full blown essay (maybe it still is?). So I will split it into two parts – this blog will cover my flower beds which have changed quite a bit this year. The second blog (to follow shortly after) will update on the veg side of things which have had a few challenges already.
The flower beds, in contrast to the veg, have been fairly painless this year…so far, how long that will last I don’t know but happy to take it while it does! I had thought about just keeping them ticking over this year – but as is often the way with me, I couldn’t wait and got stuck in with some changes. As well as the planned changes to one of the beds I have also started to change the pond area which I will cover a bit more as we go, this was a new idea which again I couldn’t wait to make a start on.
The extensions have been to the bed that is to the right hand side as you look up the garden (north as I will call it for now). With this bed I have been able to extend it in two ways – firstly adding a foot to the rear of the bed along its full length – about 13-14meters. The second is straightening out the curve in the front of the bed – by two feet at its narrowest point, tapering out as it reaches the points. This has changed the narrowest part from about 50cm to over 1 metre, which allows for a bit of depth in the planting. Beforehand this narrow point was hard to really do much with – the ivy filled hedge behind, easily dominated anything planted there. Now I am able to get two or three plants depth which should bring the focus on the bed not the hedge.
This extension has been coupled with a significant replanting of about 4 metres of the bed space along with some changes to the rock garden area. I have created space for a number of dahlias – 9 new in total and four existing, some Achillea, Echinacea, Iris and Hemerocalis have also gone in. The Dahlias have taken well to their new home, followed closely by the Achillea which have also put on some strong growth and have plenty of flower heads starting to shoot up. The echinacea are a little behind but they are growing nicely nonetheless. Lagging behind a bit more are the Hemerocalis – being new and quite small plants received as bare-root. I think this year will mostly be about them establishing and hope that next year they will join the party fully. The biggest test of my planting will be the final heights of all the plants – hopefully I have got it correct and can get a really good show when everything is in bloom.
I moved a Buddleia out of the north bed to the south at the beginning of the year, the south bed had some very poor roses that just were not coping well at all. Three of the four were sacrificed as they were struggling with both their shape and being hit with black spot defoliating them more than once. The fourth – a different type seemed to get on well; so has been moved to a pot for the time being until I find a home for it. The space in the north bed will be the new home for a centre piece rose ‘Pax’ a white rose with good scent – the flowers on this look exactly how I recall roses to be like from a young boy. With all of the colour from the Dahlias etc in this bed I am hoping a good sturdy white rose will calm things down and bring it together.
The south bed is largely unchanged for now but come autumn I will extend it as planned adding a small but useful bit of space by straightening the curve out (like with the north bed) This will add about 2 extra feet at its narrowest point.. There have been a couple of changes in planting this year – the Roses and Buddleia I have just mentioned. Also removing a hydrangea and replacing it with a dogwood and round the base of that 3 Primula Vulgaris, for now that is about all that has been done along with a few annuals in the odd spaces. The main plants currently in this bed are Sedum, Geranium, Lupins and a small number of Geum. I plan on moving the Sedum and re-arranging or moving the Geum which are located in the same part of the bed. This space will benefit from the bed extension and I plan on adding some new plants which will include Foxgloves and Aster; but beyond that I am yet to decide. I may also make some small changes to some of the Geranium’s locations just so they fit a little better with each other.
My newest idea (which has already been implemented) has been to remove the grass paths going to either side of my pond. These have been dug over and stepping stones placed through each side – I have done this to allow access to the planting and keep a bit of flow to the garden (as well as to allow different angles to view the plants). One side of this – the north will be the new home for my Sedum and possibly a few more Iris (getting into these big time now). The other side will be used for some Geranium and possibly add one or to Dahlia to the space but that is still under consideration. The change gives me somewhere between 4 & 5m2 of planting space which will be made good use of. I will need to find some good low growing and tough plants to place between the stepping stones to fill the gaps and be able to survive the odd accidental standing on.
For now that’s about it – I’ll keep the updates coming on Twitter and Instagram as and when flowers open or new plants get chosen and/or added. The veg patch update will be coming as soon as I can manage after this one and it might mention the giant pumpkin attempt as well. Lots going on with the veg so going to be plenty of things to share and talk about. Between the flowers and the veg I’m being kept fairly busy so writing has been less frequent than I had intended. But if I don’t look after those first then there would be very little to share and write about – and of course for me to enjoy looking at or eating.