We might now be in August, but you certainly wouldn’t believe it with the weather the last few days; there’s a distinct autumnal chill in the air early mornings and not warm enough (for me) to sit outside, but the forecasters say it is only a blip. Meanwhile, thanks to the wonderful invention of photography, I can at least sit back and admire the garden as it’s been these past few months – it’s been glorious!
It’s been one of our best for colour. Dave and I love colour; not for us the subtle tones and pastels as we love big and bold and bright and the unusual. We happily plant pink and yellow flowers together – they look great and, let’s be honest here, nature doesn’t pick and choose and colour co-ordinate. And the yellow rudbeckia planted next to a pink phlox and overhung with a blue clematis works for me!
This year we have planted the hanging baskets and pots with begonias, the showy, blousy sort I never used to like but I have been converted. It is a pity the winds and heavy rains of recent days have knocked them about a bit but they should recover. The dahlias, many of which have been grown from last year’s seeds, have not failed us. The bees love them and so do we.
Other plants in pots include pelargoniums (or geraniums as they used to be called), particularly pink ones, and complimented by black pansies. These have proved a lovely foil for many plants and ones we will grow next year.
Also we’ve included lots of white nicotianias in the borders. Not by design, more by luck. These have all germinated from those we grew in planters last year – plants for free and, again, a perfect backdrop to bring the colours of other plants particularly in the shadier parts of the garden.
Best of all has been the wild flowers. A couple of packets of seeds strewn in the bare patches where I have removed unwanted or thug plants and bingo! A plethora of flowers have been growing non-stop for weeks.
Many of these wild flowers I do not recognise, others I’ve not seen for many a year, and I shall let them all set seed and fling themselves around the garden in the hope they will come again next year. Plants such as corn cockles, marigolds, love-in-a-mist (white, pink and various shades of blue), candy tufts and violas, snapdragons (although I know them as bunny rabbits!), cornflowers in blue and pink, poppies and many, many more I do not know and need to find out. I just hope I can buy the same seed mix next year.
The bees and insects have been loving all this although what is missing is the numbers of butterflies seen, way down from last year. Just a few red admirals and painted ladies, the odd comma, spotted wood, a holly blue, and very few cabbage whites – a good thing as it’s meant there’s been few eggs laid on the nasturtiums and thus no caterpillars to destroy the leaves, that’s been left for me to cut back to allow the flowers to be seen. I wonder if the lack of butterflies after last year’s plethora has been caused by the wet spring we had. There must have been lots eggs, chrysalises and caterpillars about. Did most get washed away, drowned or destroyed in the floods and rain?
On the plus side, I’ve had many birds visiting, thanks in part to the new feeding station, but also I think because of the extra insects thanks to the wild flowers. Apart from my resident sparrow flock, now numbering over 30 that congregate and sleep in my firethorn, along with the usual robin, blackbirds, wren and tits always flitting about, I’ve had goldfinches and chiff chaffs as regular visitors this year.
Yes, it’s been a good summer so far and there’s much still to come. It’ll soon be time to gather stock and decide what add, what to move or to change for next year. I’m hoping the sun will come back soon so I can put my feet up sitting in the shade on the patio, enjoying the sights, smells and sounds of my little patch of heaven.
Kit, your garden is truly stunning! I know how much work is involved because I’ve been doing a bit of gardening myself recently. But that blaze of colour is spectacular and I bet you spend every minute you can (that you aren’t weeding and dead-heading), enjoying it! I can imagine afternoon tea, or a glass of wine early evening … perfect!
Thanks, Linn. It’s so rewarding if frustrating and annoying when thinks don’t work or die on you but it’s certainly helped keep me sane… sort of.
This is my favorite blog of the year, when we get to see Kit’s garden in full bloom. I am so jealous of your ability to mix and design an outdoor sanctuary as you have. We have an acre here and it’s almost all grass because this is not where my imagination excels. Yours certainly soars, though. It’s beautiful!
Aww, how sweet of you, Laurie. It’s lovely when others can share and appreciate it too. I really wish I had a big garden, what I would do for an acre or more. Mine’s odd shaped, small, north facing and in shade from October to March. It’s been a long, hard battle to get it looking good, with many failures and deaths to plants but have enjoyed every frustrating moment out there.
You have a beautiful garden. I like the idea of scattering wildflower seeds. Might try that next year here…
Do give it a try, Siobhan. Am hoping most of the wild flowers will set seed for next year. It’s brought so much pleasure to us and the wildlife.
We’ve had record heat here but the last few days has brought rain. Still warm, just have to sit under the patio. Oh Kit, I wish you lived closer I’d love to get your advise for here. Your gardens fantastically beautiful. Certainly inspiration for those wonderful paintings.
Thank you for posting and sharing with us. The pictures make me want to step into them.
What a lovely thing to say, Lavada, and yes, lots of inspiration for paintings which will keep me out of mischief during the dreary cold days of winter. 🙂
Absolutely beautiful Kit, your own private Chelsea Flower Show. It must take a lot of work, but the results more than compensate.
Thanks, Jo. Apart from daily watering of tubs and baskets – which Dave does – the rest isn’t a lot of work, just a little bit each day or so, thus nothing gets out of hand or becomes a chore. I believe in an easy life in the garden! 🙂