In a perfect world I would have cut the grass and done more weeding before I took these photos, but it is supposed to be an honest reporting of the state of my back garden, and I have been busy on other, more urgent matters…
Between us TNG and I have managed to re-site, concrete in and glaze the aluminium greenhouse. Just in time too, as today the compost arrived ready for the tomatoes, which are certainly starting to look in need of planting out. So, this afternoon I finished the path and built raised beds, filled them with rich soil, and spent what seemed like hours securely tying in bamboo canes as stakes. Last year I suffered an embarrassing tomato collapse. Last year I trained the vines up string. Which broke. No string this year – well, except for tying in the canes. And anyway, I’m not using string, I am using wool. Twool, to be precise. Lovely strong soft stuff made from Dartmoor sheep’s wool.
Looking down the garden, across the shaggy, dandelion-infested grass, the acer shines out like an autumnal beacon. It wasn’t this vivid last year. I’ve mostly just been walking past it and admiring it, but in the process of taking the photos for this blog post I realised the extent to which it sticks out, a little like Jessica’s azalea.
Its making me feel a little uncomfortable, if I’m honest. Don’t get me wrong, I have no intention of getting rid of it, but I would like it to sit better within its surroundings. The colour was darker, less vivid last year. I feel I need to plant something(s) around it that – dare I say it – tone it down a little, bed it in. Its alkaline soil, so no azaleas, and the euphorbia happily seeding its way around is more brown than red, I’m not sure it would do the job. Any ideas? I am happy to completely rethink the area behind it, between the bamboo and the acer in the photo above. This area is currently home to a hazel rescued as a seedling from my previous garden, an extra raspberry plant, and underplanted with wild garlic. The hazel has flower buds for the first time, and I adore the flowers – and leaves – of the wild garlic, but things can be moved.
The area is still relatively bare, because I am still working on eradicating the bindweed.
Nasty pernicious stuff, I have glysophate gel, and am planning to persuade the wretched stuff to climb up bamboo canes rather than my plants, and then kill it off…
The acer isn’t the only source of jarring colour, to my eye at least. In our first autumn here I bought some dwarf narcisuss to start naturalising around the base of the yellow bamboo, and some tulips to put in pots. For some reason, I am at a loss to explain how or why, I planted the deep purple, wonderfully elegant, ‘Burgundy’ tulips in the border instead, and was astounded to see a pot full of daffodils appear.
I can easily find a better home for the tulips. Perhaps nearer the drift of forget-me-nots I have gained this year, assuming they will seed around with their normal gay abandon.
Moving back to the park border, I plan to add more perennials this year, both geums for early colour and then, given how sunny it is, late flowering brightly coloured plants like Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’.
But first I have to dig out the violets I inherited which don’t really flower, and when they do, the flowers are not fragrant. It is choked with goosegrass, and removing both will free up lots of lovely space. I also need to dig up the fruit bushes and free them from the Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Album’ and aquilegias that are currently threatening to choke them. G. mac. is agressive, and many people find the smell of the leaves unpleasant, but I find it really pretty, and am happy to use it to help supress weeds elsewhere in the garden. Just not at the base of my blackcurrants…
If it wasn’t for my newly discovered acer conundrum I would be feeling pretty optimistic about my back garden, so I think I will finish with some random pretty pictures from elsewhere in the borders and suggest you pop over to Helen’s blog to check out the other End of Month View posts linked to there.