The weather felt warm enough to venture out into the garden this weekend. I had been to the nursery and bought trays full of pelargoniums, fuschias, surfinia, lobelia and calendula to add summer colour to my little patch.
I also treated myself to a new clematis, Montana rubens “Elizabeth”, a pale pink climber to complement my pair of white Montana “Alba” which sprawl across my back fence. One of these has failed to come into leaf this year and I have had to perform a salvage operation today in the hope that it’s not too little too late. The plant has been growing in a large pot for about 5 years (probably four years too many) and has become waterlogged this spring. Upon investigation, I discovered that the roots have grown through the drainage hole which has become completely blocked and drowned the plant. This is a definite no-no for clematis according to all the info signs at the garden centre. I had to take a hammer to its ceramic pot then plant the rootball in a large hole in the earth. I hope it will recover.
So what’s thriving?
- Spirea “Magic Carpet” has doubled in size and looks fabulous. It has overrun Heuchera “Green Spice” which I’ve moved to the front garden along with Heuchera “Key Lime Pie”.
- Dicentra (Bleeding Heart) “Alba” gets bigger each year and I’ve moved the Geums which are being swamped by it.
- Clematis “Daniel Deronda” is covered in buds and I’m being strict with it, training it across the fence rather than letting it tangle with itself like it did last year. The hard prune I gave it in winter seems to have paid off.
- All geraniums – they are such good value.
- Oriental Poppies which I planted last spring. I’m hoping for a good few blooms.
- Oriental Lilies are all getting tall and lush. It’s a wonder really as they are in pots which I neglect year after year apart from the eviction of evil red Lily Beetles whenever I spot one.
And what’s struggling?
- All the Heucheras in the back garden. I’ve moved two and given some gentle words of encouragement to “Sweet Tea”.
- Echinacea “Purpurea” seems to have been attacked by slugs. The gloves are on!
- Aquilegia – one has been totally decimated by slugs and I’ve moved it. The second is being overrun by Spirea. The third (self-seeded) is OK but in a shady location and looking a bit frail. Maybe I’ll move that too.
- Foxglove has not appeared at all which is a bit of a surprise and disappointment.
- Lavender. Just a tiny frond of green is left on an otherwise brown twiggy clump. Maybe my soil doesn’t agree with it.
Gardening is a bit hit and miss with me. I only venture outside in fair weather meaning that for most of the year my plants have to fend for themselves in the cold and wet. I don’t really follow the rules which is probably why I suffer the odd failure, but overall I think I do pretty well and for a few months of the year it looks super colourful outside the house.
All the hanging baskets are planted up now, plus a few pots of fuschias and pelargoniums. In a month they will be a riot of colour. My next job is to replace my poor old shed with a brand new one and install some guttering and a rainwater butt alongside it.