Tag Archives: Cottage border

Wise Words

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“A garden should be somewhere you want to go, every day of the year.”

John Massey VMH.

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A Day of Delight and Devastation!

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What a delight today has been! Sun and high temperatures – a perfect day for the garden! A day with lots of little highlights which just scream out “Isn’t life in the garden wonderful”!

First we must get the devastation out of the way. It’s not as dramatic as it sounds – honest!

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The Philadelphus “Virginal” had been threatened with a drastic haircut. A bowl cut no less! Pruning by the book had resulted in vigorous new growth, which resulted in a plant that looked huge and gaunt, with strong, straight regrowth and huge leaves. So I decided to shorten all these long growths, in the hope of some branching lower down, with a more twiggy and pleasant, rounded appearance. Devastation, no less! But I think the results are more pleasing.
The Philadelphus was not alone. I apprehensively wielded the secateurs to our fruit cordons – not such a hacking venture. It did involve a lot of double checking with the manual, but I hope I’ve got it right. They certainly look more the thing!
So devastation is not really the right word. Nerve racking tasks that provide delight with a satisfactory outcome.

It was not all hard work. Among the watering and feeding, there was ample time to appreciate the many delights of the garden today.

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The Cottage garden has now reached its “teenage” phase, where it no longer wants to behave and just wants to sprawl about everywhere. Thank goodness for the late developers!

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I can’t rave enough about Hydrangea “Annabelle”. I’m so glad I added it to our Cottage border. It really packs a punch once the roses are past their best. I say “it”, I’ve repeated it another twice through the border. (I must confess, one is the very similar, Hydrangea “Bounty”.) Add to that the Leucanthemum, and the border takes on a distinctly white appearance, now, contrasting with the blues of the Aconites and Echinops. The rest keep ticking over.

But it’s not all over, yet! We have another bite of the cherry, with our Grass garden, just coming into its own now, extending the garden’s season of interest a bit longer.

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No soft pastels here! It’s all hot colours and textures. It moves from golds and blues, through plummy reds with silver, and onto hot chocolates, oranges and bright reds. All softened with grasses. It’s been ticking over up till now, when it’s heading towards its peak. Once the flowering is over, the grasses and seed heads will keep the interest going well into the autumn, and even winter.

Some little delights!

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Doesn’t the Echinops look wonderful against the lime-green of the hop covered fence?

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I love the way the light strikes this Hemerocallis!

The “Allotment” was also delivering delights.

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Apart from the handful of Japanese Wine berries I displayed earlier, the rest of the patch was filling me with great pleasure. All planted now, and produce, such as broad and French beans, cornichons, lettuce, and artichokes, not to mention my very first sweet pea flower, were all starting to burst forth. And the herbs I added a couple of weeks ago, were well settled in.

Wildlife were basking in it as well. Look closer at the globe thistles and you will see it’s not only me that enjoys them. The bees do too! (By the way, they smell gorgeous! That’s the flowers, not the bees!)

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I also spotted a dragonfly flitting by, and as soon as my back was turned, a robin pinched my seat! (Doubling as my kneeling stool – sadly much loved – and hereby, showing my age!) All too fleeting for my camera.

But I managed to catch one photo. (Annette asked for this, if I could!) One of our frogs, sheltering behind a fern.

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A happy day! 🙂

Roses are not the only scent.

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Our roses this year have put on a magnificent display. As you can imagine, the scent, walking through the garden has been intoxicating. Mind you, the roses haven’t had it all their own way.

There’s been a bit of a scent battle going on in the Cottage garden of late. The lawn has become a bit like a boxing ring! “On my right, we have …. THE ROSES!” “And on my left, we have…. PHILADELPHUS!” It all depends on the direction you’re ambling in, or the direction of the breeze, as to who wins that round!

Or, since it is Wimbledon fortnight, a bit like a Lawn tennis competition. “ROSES to serve ….. Fifteen love” “Game, Set and Match to ….”
(It’s also an excuse to show you some of our strawberries!)

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To put you in the picture, the Cottage garden centres around the lawn. On the right is our cottage border, with the roses and other lovely cottagey plants. On the left is the scented shrub border, home to (obviously) the majority of our scented shrubs, which has been planted with the aim of providing scent all year round – which, I’m pleased to say, it does pretty much achieve! Here is home to our Philadelphus – hence the battlefield!

So back to the battle of the scents, between our Roses and our Philadelphus. The alternative name of Mock Orange will give some idea of the serious competition between the two.

We have two different Philadelphus

Philadelphus "Sybille"

Philadelphus “Sybille”

“Sybille” is a lovely, delicate shrub, no more than 3-4 ft high, with single white flowers, which have a purple blotch at the centre. The scent is gorgeous – like bubblegum or tutti-frutti!

Philadelphus "Virginal"

Philadelphus “Virginal”

“Virginal” is a different beast altogether. A very vigorous grower, that, despite pruning as per the manual, seems to go berserk, reaching heights of 8-10 ft. It is ungainly as a shrub, and if it wasn’t for its showers of beautifully fragrant (a different scent to Sybille, by my nose!) pure white flowers, it wouldn’t be worth its keep. But for now, it’s easily forgiven. It just needs a firm hand!

And waiting in the wings, or front garden…

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I have to take you here to update you on what’s happening now. The focal point is the Eucalyptus, now starting to reveal its magnificent bark, as well as its aromatic leaves, though it does need a bit of heat to appreciate the latter. Under its canopy is a Phlomis fruticosa, which is coming back after a severe haircut. It has felted, silvery aromatic foliage, similar to sage, but the flowers, although not scented themselves, make a dramatic statement – whorls of yellow flowers arranged around the stem, that give way to sculptural seed heads.

But, as to the battle of the scents, who is your money on? Game, Set and Match to Rose? Or to Sybille? 😉

“June is busting out all over”

All the buds are now well and truly bursting!

The Cottage Border

The Cottage Border

The Cottage Border is showing its first wave of flowers. The irises, pink poppies and aquilegias have been flowering now for a while, and geraniums, and the first of the roses, are starting to join in.

Angelica archangelica

Angelica archangelica

The Angelica buds I showed you last month, have exploded now. I’ve counted 14 flower heads! Quite dramatic. If only it was perennial!

Iris "Jane Phillips"

Iris “Jane Phillips”

I also showed you last month, buds of, what I thought, was “Jane Phillips”. THIS is she – those buds were an imposter! I’ve been told that they were the buds of “Immorality”, (although I’m not 100% convinced!)

Alliums

Alliums

The allium bulbs are blooming now. I think they’re Allium aflatunense. They have been there, under performing, for several years, and now that I have revamped this bit of border, they have decided to remind me they are still there. The border was redone as a “Champagne border”, trying to reproduce Luciano’s Laurent Perrier garden. Thankfully, they fit in with the scheme – they’re the bubbles!

Astrantia "Buckland" with Nectaroscordum

Astrantia “Buckland” with Nectaroscordum

The Nectaroscordum, now that they are flowering, has thrown up an unexpected plant combination, with Astrantia “Buckland”. The colours mirror each of them, creamy white tinged with pink and green. A pleasant surprise!

Papaver orientalis "Patty's Plum"

Papaver orientalis “Patty’s Plum”

Papaver orientalis  "Patty's Plum"

Papaver orientalis “Patty’s Plum”

This is definitely my favourite flower – at least today! Sadly, these 2 pictures were taken only 1 day apart. Maybe that’s why it’s my favourite – because it’s so fleeting, and longed for. Thankfully, I have more buds. Isn’t the colour so dramatic?

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And the first of my roses have started to bloom. Think of this as a taster. I hope to do a future post on my roses. The pale pink one is our rambler, rosa “Albertine” and the deep pink one is the beautiful English rose, “Gertrude Jekyll”, nestled among more emerging buds, of Hydrangea “Annabelle”.

Papaver orientalis ( unknown)

Papaver orientalis ( unknown)

Iris "Cable Car"

Iris “Cable Car”

And two more recently burst buds. They certainly demand to be noticed! P.s the iris smells like it looks – chocolate/orange! Mmm!

Thalictrum "Elin"

Thalictrum “Elin”


And what do you make of this? This is the flower spike of Thalictrum “Elin”. I checked – it’s supposed to reach 6 ft. This is more like 10 ft. Honest, I’ve not been feeding it steroids!

And on that lofty note, I’ll say bye for now! I’m off to see what else is blooming lovely!

Fit to burst!

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I love May! I love May for all its lushness and freshness, for all its promise. So much foliage and so many buds just waiting to burst open. So much anticipation for what’s about to happen. It’s all there, waiting to explode into a wonderful floral display. Or that’s what we all hope and pray for. After all, we’ve worked hard enough for it! The spring overture is fading now, (and hasn’t it been wonderful!) and it’s time for the main number. There have been some flowers, but only a few to start with. Let’s say, they’re the intro!

It’s the carpet of forget-me-not that provides the floral link between spring and summer, in our “Cottage Border”. Let me show you some of its amazing buds.

Buds of Oriental poppies with Nectaroscordum

Buds of Oriental poppies with Nectaroscordum

Iris "Jane Phillips" in bud

Iris “Jane Phillips” in bud

In the Black and White Beds, it is the foliage that holds sway just now.

The Black Bed

The Black Bed

From this angle, and without its flowers, this bed doesn’t live up to its title, but I can assure you, its time will come.

Foliage pots

Foliage pots

The Black Bed backs onto the patio with its array of blue pots, this collection being for foliage effects.

The White Bed

The White Bed

And for contrast, the adjacent white bed looks so fresh now and is the first of the two to start flowering, with The Solomon’s Seal looking so cool!

Angelica archangelica

Angelica archangelica

This may be the piece de resistance! Angelica about to flower, in the Herb Garden. Shame that’s the last we’ll see of it, though. Let’s hope for lots of babies to take its place!

All this, AND two Bank Holidays!! 🙂