I can’t quite believe how long it has been since I last blogged. Or read any blogs. Or gardened. I can’t quite believe that it is October already! First it was Project Kitchen. Then it was recovering from Project Kitchen. Then it was filling in forms describing how rubbish I feel most of the time and enjoying a good long visit from mil and fil. Now, though, it is down to Bad Attitude.
I have been severely hacked off with my perceived lack of progress in all things gardening, from collecting and sowing seeds and taking cuttings to managing the kitchen garden and developing the borders. I have been suffering from a peculiarly negative form of tunnel vision, in which I can only see all the things that I haven’t done. I have explained away my lack of enthusiasm for blogging as being down to the lack of actual gardening activity, forgetting that, actually, whether you actively garden or not, there is always plenty to see and think about. And, let’s face it, enjoying whats there at every stage should be a key part of the adventure of starting a new garden in such a wonderful location. So I am attempting some attitude adjustment, and jumping back in to the whole blogging thing with the aim of celebrating the good and ignoring, for a while, the rest. So thank you Helen, for hosting the End of Month View meme, which yet again has provided the impetus for me to get going again.
So, in the spirit of being grateful, I do now have a new kitchen, complete with beautifully laid bamboo flooring. It is a joy to work in, and for all my grumbling and grousing, I have been cooking in it, enjoying the new ovens and experimenting with bread.
I also pinched a sunny afternoon, ditching the chores, to take the kayaks out with TNG for possibly the last time this year. We had a magical hour exploring the rocky inlets around the bay and listening to the sound of the waves sloshing and gurgling as the tide came in.
And when I came to actually look at the front garden, there was a lot to take pleasure in, so I am going to avoid the thorny subjects of the bulb order, and the large collection of plants waiting for somewhere to go, and accentuate the positive, which is typified by what I have christened Cosmos Corner.
There is a large area by the gate post which will, eventually, be filled by the escallonia hedgelet and a ceanothus. Not wanting to leave it blank this year (I have enough weeding to do as it is), I planted a block of Cosmos ‘Purity’ and a load of Verbena bonariensis, and it has been wonderful. For the first time the cosmos started flowering early, right at the beginning of June, and they are still going strong – despite a complete lack of deadheading! They and the verbena have provided the feast for bees, butterflies and other pollinators that I had hoped for, and have tied in with the hydrangeas to make a pretty reasonable show for anyone walking up the road.
If I could only ever sow one annual, it is going to have to be Cosmos ‘Purity’, the feathery foliage complements the simple white flowers and provides a really dramatic show, and all for the price of a packet of very ordinary seed.
Most of the rest of the wall border is planted with shrubs still too small to have much of an impact, and is waiting for me to “manage” the vast crop of self-sown forget-me-not and Lychnis coronoria ‘Alba’ seedlings, but two plants in particular have had me doing a little happy dance whenever I take the time to look at them. The first is the euphorbia I got instead of the Euphorbia glauca ‘Silver Swan’ I had fallen in love with. Called Euphorbia glauca ‘Blue’ it already promises to make a dramatic statement in the border, with its delicately margined leaves.
The other is Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’, which is one of many plants that I fell in love with through following Christina’s blog. Until we moved here I assumed that love was due to be unrequited, I had neither the soil conditions nor the light levels required for it to thrive in my previous garden. Here, however, in a sunny border of free draining soil, I should be able to build up a glorious mass of them. I love the white stems and delicate silvery leaves, but had never realised that the vivid violet-blue flowers were actually furry!
The circle bed, now free of the violently coloured bedding plants, is home to one of my favourite plant combinations, stipa tenuissima and achillea ‘terracotta’. Wonderful, and one I hope to extend as the clumps develop as the colours go so beautifully with the cliffs in the distance without stealing the focus like brighter colours do in that location.
The fence border will be much improved when we garner the energy to finish the fence, but it is actually filling out nicely.
Again, one of the plants that will have the most impact in the border given time is so small it is barely noticeable at the moment, but I love the foliage of Euphrobia characias wulfenii.
In fact foliage is one of the things I am really enjoying about this border, with some good combinations beginning to develop as well as some plants that are stars in their own right. I seem to be developing a bit of a thing for euphorbias, as two of the other plants I am really enjoying for their leaves in this border are Euphorbia mellifera and Euphrobia myrsinites. Dramatically different from one another, but wonderfully architectural.
Yet another euphorbia crops up in one of the foliage combinations I am enjoying, Euphorbia palustris, here growing with cephelaria gigantea and hakonechloa macra, which is one of my favourite grasses.
(If you think those holes are bad, you should see the hostas. Or rather, you shouldn’t…)
Further up the border I am enjoying the foliage of Knautia macedonica with stipa tenuissuma, though the knautia flowers do rather steal the show, even when they sneak in to the middle of the sedum ‘Purple Emperor’.
One of the things missing from the fence border at the moment is more contrasting flower shapes, but I am enjoying the buttons of the knautia and the knapweed. The knapweed is new to me, but I love the feathery effect of the petals and it is the perfect colour for this border. Plus, such an insect magnet! And eventually the echinacea purpurea will add in pale pink daisies to the mix.
All of this is great, but my favourite plant at the moment has to be Aster frikartii ‘Monch’. It spent two years in a pot, but now that it is in the ground it is repaying me with masses of daisy-like flowers in vivid violet blue, which contrast wonderfully with the cotinus ‘Palace Purple’ behind it.
Well that was a good dose of therapy, lots to smile about, and I am sure if you check out the End of Month View post over on The Patient Gardener’s blog you will find links to lots of other posts to make you smile. Happy October!