Down in the Woodland, all has been quiet for a few months. The spring bulbs have done their bit, and the early summer flowers are now collapsing and disappearing underground, as they do. But the watering has still been needed, so it hasn’t been forgotten.
And now these little beauties have appeared, almost from nowhere. Cyclamen hederefolium “Album”, shining out amongst the green foliage, under our silver birches. They have, not only pure white flowers, but also beautifully white marbled, dark green foliage. They seem to like it here – the clumps are spreading out and popping up throughout the border.
A beautiful sight! But why bitter sweet?
Because they signal to me the waning of summer and the onset of autumn. The waning of a truly amazing summer, too! It’s been many years since we’ve been able to enjoy a summer like this. Just as well I don’t mind watering! Me and the watering can have enjoyed many relaxing hours together ! We’re bezzy mates!
Now I’m starting to see other signals too!
In the grass garden, our sedum (now Hylotelephium, I believe?) is now showing hints of its future colouring.
Now, I have to keep my eyes peeled for the colchicums’ purple goblets to erupt from nowhere – I hope before the slugsnsnails get there!
Hopefully, nobody will let on to the weather, and we can continue enjoying this glorious weather for a wee while longer. And when all good things come to an end, as indeed they must, we still have much to look forward to and enjoy in our gardens.
I’m afraid, there’s not been much blooming in the garden this month to provide us with perfume.
There’s the last of the lavender.
These lavenders, “Hidcote”, were planted earlier in the summer, in the sunny front garden. They’re settling in well and flowering nicely already. I love the dark purple flowers. They should be completed well by the paler Perovskia planted behind. The beauty of these two plants, is that they don’t need to flower to provide perfume. Like the lavender, Perovskia, too, has aromatic leaves.
And, of course, flowers don’t have the monopoly on scent. So many plants have scented, aromatic leaves and they provide the backbone to the scented garden. We all know the Mediterranean herbs well – Rosemary, sage, thyme and so on. Every well stocked garden should have these stalwarts, whether as decorative specimens, (just think of purple sage in a border!) or a as a dedicated herb garden. Brushing against the leaves gives a whiff of sunny climes!
At this time, when flowers are becoming more scarce, leaves are there to plug the gap. Apart from the obvious lavenders and herbs already mentioned, we have several other interesting plants who give us scent through their leaves. The Caryopteris, which has just stopped flowering, still has, for the moment, its aromatic foliage. Choisya ternata, Drymis and Calycarpa are other shrubs that have scented leaves when rubbed. Did you know that, when crushed, Gaultheria procumbens (I know! It too, has had a name change! I think it’s now Pernettyia!) leaves smell of germolene? And that, when wet, the leaves of Rosa rubiginosa, the sweet briar rose, smells of apples?
Oh, and there’s Cestrum parqui, but that’s not pleasant!
So all is not lost!
Autumn is all about foliage, mainly due to its myriad of colours.
Isn’t this gorgeous?
This is Cercidiphyllum japonicum “Red Fox”, which have growing in a pot, under planted with the golden grass, Milium effusum, or Bowle’s golden grass, which complements this plants plum coloured foliage. But at this time of year its red leaves become a gorgeous mix of toffee shades. And that’s not all! The fallen leaves smell of candy Floss!
But, it has reached the time of year, where the scented flowering shrubs are heading towards their winter display.
Our wonderful Coronilla “Citrina” has started flowering again.
I swear it can only have stopped flowering a couple of months ago!
Mahonia japonica’s racemes of lemon, perfumed flowers are just starting to open, and Viburnum farreri has its tiny “cotton wool” balls of pink, flowering too.
Yes, summer is definitely gone and it’s all about winter now!
How’s your garden smelling this month? Do tell us!
….and a couple of mysteries!
First, my new “toy”!
We decided to invest in a mini raised bed for our strawberries. We never have enough for our liking! The strawberry patch had become very overgrown and weed infested. It was a mix of runners from 3 different species, and we wanted to start afresh, as you should after a few years. Last year, we bought 3 new plants of “Cambridge Favourite”, which we decided we liked the taste of best. We planted each of them in a large terracotta pot, with the intention of replacing the “mass” of self-rooted plants, with runners of pure “Cambridge Favourite”. We didn’t want to replant them in the weedy ground, and so thought a mini raised bed would solve the problem, by raising them off the ground in fresh, new soil.
The bed consists of 4 black plastic boards, connected with pegs, giving a bed of 51x97x25cm. You can buy an additional fitted liner, necessary if you are using the bed on a hard surface. Easy! You see the bed in process of being filled with compost. Boy, did it need a lot! But we do love strawberries!
And now the finished bed!
It was hard, to dig up and throw away the old strawberry plants, no matter how much it was the right thing to do! I still saw disappearing strawberries! However, the 3 original plants are still in their pots, and hopefully, next year, we can expand the bed and have more strawberries, from the runners. And so on! Should be self perpetuating. That’s the plan!
Some of the gorgeous buds are now bursting forth.
A beautiful pink unknown Oriental poppy.
And now to our first mystery! Although, by the time I’m typing this, the solution is starting to come to me! I thought this patch was of “Deep Black”, but when I saw the blue buds, I thought they were instead “Jane Phillips”. I must have muddled up my labels. The mystery was, that when they opened, they seemed paler than last year. How could that be? However, by now, the adjacent irises are now starting to open, and I am now recognising the familiar blue of last year. The solution is becoming clear! My “Deep Black”, which incidentally hadn’t flowered yet, was not, in fact, “Deep Black”! I must have been sold a mislabelled plant. It’s pretty (with a lovely scent!), but it’s not “Deep Black”!
And what do you make of this aquilegia? How can two different colours and forms of flowers come from the same plant? Or so it seems! I can only assume that I must have planted two different seedlings together. An interesting effect!
And the foliage goes on! Several of you admired the foliage pots I showed previously, so I thought I’d show you the complete collection!
That was a most enjoyable and satisfying weekend!
And this week is Chelsea! Another highlight! I love May!
So I’m off to the telly!
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.
In the Black and White Beds, it is the foliage that holds sway just now.
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.
The Black Bed backs onto the patio with its array of blue pots, this collection being for foliage effects.
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!
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!! 🙂