New Flowerbeds 2018: Update

If you visit here regularly you will know I had two new flower beds dug at the beginning of the month. Well, I was extremely lucky and our beautiful October weather continued long enough for me to get the plants in that I had ordered, as well as several hundred bulbs.

Here is a photo of the herb bed in the sunshine…

… and on a frosty morning (We even had snow flurries today!)…

This contains my kitchen herbs as well as some for pure decoration such as a red-leaved Hypericum. I added some grasses – a couple of Pennisetum, an Erogrostis trichodes and several small Stipa tenuissima (will the Stipa survive our winter I wonder?) – and a Viburnum (‘Eskimo’) as a focal point in the middle. The rosemary has been planted out, rather optimistically, from a pot. Depending on how cold the winter is it should survive with a bit of coddling (i.e. mulch and fleece). (Any tips on overwintering rosemary?)

The other bed is the ‘Butterfly Bed’…

… and has already been visited by a few late butterflies, including this one (no idea what it is), posing on this newly planted Aster pringlei ‘Pink Star’…

I have also planted a lot of different grasses here as wind protection as well as for their love of dry and open positions. But among the grasses are geraniums, lavender, verbena, Japanese anemones, Perovskia and three buddleias. I am not sure if I should cut the buddleias back as they are only about 1m tall anyway. Any buddleia experts out there?!

I also bought this lovely Hellebore “Ice ‘n’ Roses, rose” from a garden centre. It is a new hybrid from the north of Germany and is supposed to flower from December to April! Well, this one is already in flower, brought on early for the nurseries, and it is so very pretty.

It will be nerve-wracking to watch these exposed beds through the winter, but most of the plants were small, well-rooted specimens from my favourite trusted online nursery (in southern Germany) costing only a few euros each, so hopefully any casualties will be minimal and not too expensive to replace. With our last two springs being so very warm and extremely dry, I have become wary of spring planting and am taking some risks.

Do you prefer to put in new plants in autumn or in spring?

As I write the rain and sleet is hammering against the window – a fine start to our ‘winter time’, as we turned our clocks back last night. Do your clocks change soon too? The debate is on in the EU whether we should finally get rid of daylight saving and stay with ‘summer time’ all year. But it may take some time before a decision is made. I will just wait and see, as I can’t see much of an advantage either way!

 

 

In a Vase on Monday: Asters and Co.

On Mondays, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden invites us to join her in gathering materials from our gardens to put in a vase or similar container.

I cheated a little this week, since I am still out in the country and am only paying infrequent visits to my flower garden. So these flowers were actually picked last Wednesday and transported in a large bucket!

Originally I had two vases – one crammed full with the Alma Poetschke Asters and the unnamed Aster Annette gave me a couple of years ago…

The asters surprised me, flowering earlier and more profusely then ever without a drop of water from me all summer. Definite winners!

The second vase is simply a mix of all the best from the rockery at the moment: Sedum, Persicaria, the golden asters, zebra grass, yellow Achillea and Japanese Anemones.

Forgive the yellow photos – the barn as a background is perhaps not as ideal as I had thought!

Yesterday I sorted and rearranged all the ingredients, discarding only the anemones and a few of the spent asters. Here is the refreshed vase on the area of grass where my first new flower bed will be dug later in the week!

I had collected some Physalis seedheads recently too. They glow like lanterns in the rockery in the autumn sunshine, but I must warn anyone considering planting them – they are very invasive! I added a few dried golden hop flowers to them which came from a branch plucked from a local hedgerow a few weeks ago.

These lanterns always make me think of autumn, even though they are already turning bright orange by early August. By the way, they were the subject of my first ever Words and Herbs post back in September 2011 – yes, I have now been blogging for over seven years!!!

I look forward to seeing what other gardens around the globe will be offering up for a vase this week.

Happy October!

🍄🍁🍄

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Brief Summer Update

Hello dear friends! I know I have been silent for a while and do apologise! As several people have asked, I thought I would just briefly interrupt my blogging break to post a few photos – all is fine, but we have moved to our country house to care for our hedgerow shrubs and trees which were planted in April. Needless to say, the weather has been challenging; temperatures were in the mid to upper twenties all through May and June, rising into the thirties in July, and we have hardly a drop of rain for months. So watering is the main activity here – mostly at night to avoid the heat. No rain forecast for the near future and the heat goes on…

Back at my garden things look fine. Only a couple of hours of care over the last two months and it is still bearing up well in the heat and drought. This is the Perovskia mid July in all its glory.

Thank goodness my rockery doesn’t need watering!

Here is the Perovskia again a couple of days ago… fading a little, but that isn’t bothering the bees. The Scabiosa ochroleuca is wonderful again, but one of my favourite plants in this view is the Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’.

I hope you all have a wonderful August. I will try and catch up with all your posts I have missed very soon!

😀

Lavender Love and Pretty Pollinators

The lavender has been glorious this summer, flowering just after our heavy rain earlier in the month and with very little rain since.

The dry and hot weather suits these shrubs best. And I am not alone in admiring them either… here are a few of the visitors to my garden who love lavender too…

Vanessa cardui – Painted Lady

Inachis io – Peacock Butterfly

Ochlodes sylvanus – Large skipper

Pieris brassicae – Large cabbage white

Polygonia c-album – Comma

Melanargia galathea – Marbled white

Argynnis paphia – Silver-washed fritillary

Gonepteryx rhamni – Common brimstone

Macroglossum stellatarum – Hummingbird hawk-moth

Bee 🙂

Here is the long view of the south-facing rockery – some of these lavender shrubs are ten years old or more and have been cut down hard at some stage. I try and stagger the cutting back, so that I have plenty of shrubs flowering well every year. The white ones will be cut back this autumn and next spring. Others are cuttings or self-seeded plants.

Do you see any of these pollinators in your garden? And if you grow lavender, what visits it most frequently?

Here is a slideshow of these beautiful creatures. 😀

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Happy Summer!

In a Vase on Monday: Classic

It’s a beautiful day, the birds are singing and it’s Monday! That means I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her weekly meme, where we plonk things from our gardens into vases to share with the world! 🙂

This week I kept it simple and classic – what could be more elegant and modest than roses and lavender? Add some Alchemilla mollis (not too much) and a few strands of grass and voila! No more fuss and ado.

The light was not quite so harsh and I was able to take the photos on my patio with the top of the south-facing rockery behind.

The grass in the centre is Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ and I am in love with this plant. Its feathery flowers opened this week and transformed the rockery.

Here is a picture of it taken from the patio…

The sun was hiding behind a humid haze when I picked these flowers and I took the opportunity to harvest a few bunches of lavender before the flowers get burnt and lose their intensive perfume. When I looked back at these photos I realised the vase completely mirrors what is in the garden behind it!

Oh yes, and the other grass on the left is Melica ciliata, which I first saw growing wild in a nearby deserted stone quarry and knew it would look good in my rockery.

The pale pink rose is ‘The Fairy’, but the deeper pink one was inherited with the garden and is therefore nameless.

The scent of peonies has faded, allowing the lavender to take over, although you have to rub it to notice. The strongest scent out there right now is in fact the wild strawberries. Perhaps I will post about them another day!

What smells good in your garden today?

Have a good week, and don’t forget to visit Cathy and the Monday Vase crowd for some inspiration and smiles!