The Butterfly Bed, October 2019

This time last year I started planting up my brand new flower bed. A year on it looks like it has been there forever. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย It has been amazing all summer, despite the drought, and with some welcome rain in the autumn it has continued to attract butterflies until today.

We have had no end of Painted Ladies all summer in all sizes and some very pale and washed out but with exactly the same markings as this bright one pictured above. The German name ‘Distelfalter’ – Thistle Butterfly – reveals its favourite plant, and we have plenty of them both in and around the garden! It has enjoyed the Verbena bonariensis, Buddleia and Cosmos especially.

Another butterfly was caught with my camera the other day. I thought it was a Silver Washed Fritillary, but now think it may have been a Queen of Spain Fritillary. In any case it also loved the Verbena. ๐Ÿ™‚

I have also seen Great Tits eating the Verbena seeds, which surprised me.

There are four Buddleias which I think attract the butterflies most in summer, but they are practically over now. Currently it is the Aster that is grabbing all the attention in this bed – not only that of the bees, hoverflies etc, but mine too!

Aster pringlei ‘Pink Star’ is leaning at a rather odd angle I’m afraid, as a storm in September threatened to topple it completely and it was propped up as best I could without damaging it. The butterflies – especially Peacocks – have been visiting regardless, and the bees love it!

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ has just got better and better since the heatwave in July which caused it to stop flowering almost completely. The little Achillea next to it is a relatively new addition. It is called ‘Pomegranate’ which describes the colour pretty well. Although we have wild Achillea all over the garden, the ones planted in the flower beds have not thrived, so I am hoping this one will do better.

Here is a wider view of both Pink Star and Rozanne.

Mmmm… Miscanthus!

It is one of my favourite plants! This is ‘Adagio’, chosen because I grew it in the old garden and it is a relatively compact one. I have planted other Miscanthus, but they need another year or two to get established it seems. Adagio must be a strong one to have done so well in such a short space of time. The Gaura in front of it in this photo was planted in spring and will probably not get through the winter, but it has been a wonderful splash of pink here all year.

Finally, the hardy Scabiosa (S. caucasica ‘Perfection Blue’) which I grew from seed have flowered on and off all summer and already set seed with new plants appearing. The flowers are about 8-10cm across, and such a beautiful shade of blue… I really recommend this plant!

So, all in all it has been a good year for the Butterfly Bed. Next year I will try harder to get photos of the other butterflies visiting.

Have you had many butterflies this year? Which was most common? I would also love to hear what plants you grow for attracting butterflies.

Wishing you all a wonderful Sunday and a great week. Thanks for visiting!

 

Sempervivums and a Sledge…

I love plants that take care of themselves, whatever the weather throws at them. Who wouldn’t?!

Recently I collected some old pots of Sempervivums from our old garden that had been neglected for … ahem…. quite some time(!), and replanted them in some grit and a little bit of compost along with all their ‘babies’ and a few new additions.

They have been placed in this antique sledge that a friend found for us on an old farm last year.

Now, be honest with me, do you think this is kitschy?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I can see the sledge across the yard from the kitchen window and we put some fairy lights on it last Christmas… now that was pushing it a bit!

Do you have any kitsch/almost kitsch in your yard or garden? Do share! ๐Ÿ˜‰

In a Vase on Monday: Experimenting

I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden with a Monday vase.

It is always a joy to cut flowers and bring them indoors. What is even better is when there is enough material to experiment a little. And even better than that is when you have a ‘new’ vase!

Well, actually this ‘Lotus’ vase was purchased in the spring, and I was hesitant about using it as I feared it would need so much to fill it. It is a shallow glazed dish with a removable lid that has about 30 holes in it. Iย was surprised at how I could put varying stem lengths in it to create a rather pleasing arrangement. It will definitely be used more frequently in future!

The flowers and grasses used are:

Zinnia, Rudbeckia fulgida, Rudbeckia Prairie Glow, Cosmos Bright Lights, Cosmos Purity, Cosmos Double Click Cranberry, Lantana, Fennel seedheads, Echinacea Sunrise, Miscanthus Adagio, Pennisetum, culinary Sage leaves, Artemisia Silver Queen, Helenium Lemon Queen, Borage, Hypericum Miracle Night, Verbena bonariensis and probably a couple of others I have forgotten!

Special thoughts are with our host today. Do go and visit her and see what lovely flowers have been put in vases around the globe.

(Click on any image below to see a slideshow)

Wishing you all some of the gorgeous September sunshine we have been enjoying!

 

In a Vase on Monday: Antiquity

I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday meme once again, and have picked some flowers to put in a vase and share.

I don’t think I have a single antique among my possessions, but the title of this week’s vase refers rather to the pretty Cosmos which features here and gave the inspiration for the pink colour theme. Whoever gave this flower its name was quite clever – the colour does in fact fade as the flower ages, just as a piece of material might fade over the years, giving a feel of time passing by, or nostalgia. How apt as we see summer fading to autumn as well.

The glass vase also contains some of the last wild flowers blooming in our meadow: Queen Anne’s Lace, Chamomile, Achillea…

In addition, there is a sprig of Buddleia, some Miscanthus, pink Heuchera, a white Cosmos ‘Purity’ and the lovely deep pinky red Cosmos ‘Double Click Cranberries’. I can recommend all three of the Cosmos. Each has a different growth habit; the white is tall and willowy, the Cranberry tall and bushy and very resilient to wind, and Antiquity is much shorter with barely noticeable foliage. Antiquity does need deadheading though, as the dark seedheads look rather unsightly. But since I love deadheading I don’t mind – I spent a whole morning doing the rounds last week!

I wonder if you grew Cosmos this year and which ones you liked best? I will be choosing seeds for next year soon and these three are on my list.

Before I go, I have got an extra vase today which is for my Mum and Dad. ๐Ÿ™‚ Mum gave me the sweet little cream jug recently and my Dad loves Antirrhinums! These red and orange ones set seed at the foundations of the house where a pot of them stood last summer. A nice surprise.

Do visit Cathy to see her vase today.

And have a great week!

In a Vase on Monday: Gold

Another week has flown by and it is time to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden once again with a vase of materials from our gardens.

Last week my vase featured soft silvers and blues, so this week I decided to bring some bolder colours indoors. The flowers used are mainly from the sunshine bed. The starting point however was some Golden Rod growing just outside our garden fence… a sure sign that summer is slowly coming to an end.

Various sunflowers add some more yellow and gold tones, while the Tithonia, Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Glow’ (gorgeous isn’t it?) and Echinacea ‘Flame Thrower’ provide some orange.

A couple of Zinnias add a hint of red – the seed packets said they would be pink and white, but I am so glad they turned out this colour!

The grasses are Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ and a wild grass which looks like the original grass Mr Foerster got his inspiration from. In fact it was seeing these grasses growing in the wild that ignited my growing passion for using grasses within my own garden. I added another splash of gold from some Euphorbia and a sprig of fennel, Patrinia scabiosifolia and Hypericum from the herb bed.

(Click on any picture for a slide show)

I hope these colours have made your Monday a bit sunnier. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a good week!

Heatwaves, Summer Flu, some Tuesday Views and a Mystery Plant

Having recovered from the second (mega) heatwave and a rather nasty summer flu virus, temperatures (both mine and outside!) have subsided enough for me to enjoy the garden and share a few Tuesday Views at last. ๐Ÿ™‚

At the beginning of July I enjoyed a two-week interlude between our heatwaves with pleasant temperatures and good company while my sister visited ๐Ÿ™‚ The garden was left mostly to its own devices and a few individual plants were watered to tide them over. Overall, considering the incredibly low rainfall we have had since April, the new beds have done well with minimal watering. I am constantly amazed.

Here is the Sunshine Bed in early August…

The annuals really filled in the spaces and the fact that they all survived has confirmed my suspicions that slugs and snails and not lack of watering were responsible for previous failures in my old garden. So far slugs are few and far between here, and I don’t think I have seen any snails yet!

Tithonia, various sunflowers, cosmos, as well as some (leftover) zinnias – which have fortunately turned out to be red – have transformed the bed into a sunny oasis in the dry surroundings.

And I finally got some Californina poppies to grow for me!

Oh, and a mystery plant… it may have been in with some leftover seed scattered haphazardly, but is more likely to be a weed as the flowers are rather unspectacular. But I have never seen it before. Any ideas?

 

 

The Butterfly Bed has done well too, although more ground cover will be needed – autumn will probably become my main planting season as two dry springs and summers in a row have been a challenge.

The Buddleias steal the show and have been attracting butterflies galore. Mostly Painted Ladies, a couple of Swallowtails, some Fritillaries, loads of small blues and recently also Red Admirals…

Some sturdy Scabiosa have finally flowered – sown indoors in February they were brutally planted out at the end of March and barely started growing until the end of June. But they are rewarding me with dozens of flowers and buds. ๐Ÿ™‚

And finally, the Herb Bed…

Some of the annuals are looking a little tired – it has been a tough summer. But along with the beautiful Stipa tenuissima, the Hypericums and fennel, Echinacea and Baldrian (Valerian? ‘Patrinia scabiosifolia’), as well as some cosmos and Tithonia the whole bed has provided interest since mid-June.

 

 

 

Do you also feel summer is flying by? July is just a blur now, and I am wondering what the rest of August will bring… more showers we hope!

I have put ย all the photos in a slideshow…

 

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I hope to catch up with some blog-reading soon and wonder how everyone’s summer is progressing. I do hope excessive heat or rain hasn’t stopped you enjoying your gardens.

Happy August! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐ŸŒธโ˜€๏ธ

 

Springing into Summer in the Sunshine Bed

The last few weeks have been busy in the new garden, and the Sunshine Bed has slowly filled. Plants ordered online wereย put in during May, and a couple of trips to garden centres have also been fruitful. I found a lovely dwarf Deutzia which is all but over now. I think it will look gorgeous here when it puts on some growth next year. I have also planted out annuals – Tithonia, Cosmos, Helianthum and Nicotiana – still tiny but hardened off as our nights were still rather cool until the end of May. The colour theme – yellow and orange – has expanded slightly with the addition of white. Red will also creep in. I shall just see what works as I go along. ๐Ÿ™‚

This is what it looked like five weeks ago ….

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

And after a big weeding and planting out campaign early June…

And now…

 

…with plants finally showing growth, although many still seem stunted. Conditions are tough here, so it will be the survival of the fittest!

Some of the new plants I added are:

Panicum virgatum ‘Cloud Nine’ and Miscanthus sinensis ‘Silberfeder’ at the outside corners. Does anyone know how quickly they fill out – my plants are so very meagre still!

The dwarf Deutzia gracilis with white flowers in May.

More Alchemilla, aย golden Euonymus and a yellow Potentilla – ย ‘Goldfinger’ Don’t you love some of the names plants are given! (And hate others! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

A lovely white Aquilegia ‘Kristall’…

Several Achilleas – still rather smaller than they should be – and some Chrysopsis, which are tall yellow aster-type flowers that will flower later in autumn, brightening up a fading garden. ๐Ÿ

A small Geum ‘Mai Tai’ which has started to perk up and flower now the nights are warmer…

I am impatient to see my little seedlings and young plants plumping up, but do constantly recall what my old garden looked like when I started out planting the rockery. It took a couple of years before things started taking shape and here we really have had the weather against us since spring 2018. Have you ever started a garden or flower bed from scratch? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Oh, and if you have any spare rainfall could you send it our way please? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a good weekend!