Friday, 16 March 2012

Planting Up

What a difference a month makes. Exactly 4 weeks ago and we were in the midst of the coldest spell for at least 35 years, arguably the most severe since 1956, but today, wall to wall sunshine, the thermometre nudging 25 centigrade, wind flat calm, not a zepher - vrai printemps.


The spring weather has been perfect for taking time out to plant up the new garden area I mentioned here.  I've finally arrived at a pretty much final planting list, or at least I think I have.

Last Autumn I fully intended to plant seeds of Onopordum acanthium, the Scots (or Cotton) thistle but forgot. Shame, I had visions of this stately specimen punctuating the border here and there, rising up to 2 metres plus but alas, this year it ain't to be. Of course that's not to say things aren't at least a bit thistley.  Following a slug attack which chewed up my Cardoon seedlings, I picked up three young artichokes, Violet de Provence, a slightly smaller variety than the enormous monsters associated with Brittany and with  finer, grey green  foliage. Voila the replacement.


A visit to Pepiniere Lac du Joncs earlier this week also helped me to make a final decision.  There it is in the photo below taken last June, hidden away in the countryside near Rouffignac and which in my imagination  has a feeling close to being  middle earth, though not inhabited by small, slightly hairy folk with a penchant for the Lonely mountain.



Sadly, almost 50% of the plant stock had been lost during the recent cold spell. Temperatures in some areas had dipped to -20C, so if you're a zone 8 borderline 7 plant sitting on the ground in a small pot, well you've just experienced a bit of zone 5 winter. 


All was not lost however, above are three Euphorbia myrsinites, they came through the big freeze without a problem. In fact there were some unlikely candidates who also survived the chill, notably  Pennisetum macrourum ( I brought three) of which I've read many conflicting reports as to exactly how hardy it is.

So the final plant list is as follows;

Aster frikartii 'Monch'

Cynara scolymus 'Violet de Provence'

Echinacea pallida

Echinops ritro

Eryngium planum

Eryngium planum 'Jade Frost'

Euphorbia myrsinites

Gaura lindheimeri

Nassella (stipa) tenuifolia

Nepeta x faassenii 'Six Hills Giant'

Panicum virgatum 'Northwind'

Pennisetum macrourum

Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose'

Perovskia abrotanoides

Salvia nemorosa

Sedum telephium 'Matrona'

Stipa gigantea



I'm sure there'll be one or two groundcover additions, perhaps thyme or a sedum of some sort, but that's the list for now, possibly too long, possibly not long enough, time will tell.



31 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Phillip

      It may be a little hit and miss year one, but I'm pretty confident it'll look good thereafter.

      Delete
  2. Several of my shrubs look like they are dead but I have cut them all back and now I hope. Your garden will look beautiful when you have finished. The last few days have been amazing but it will cool down again next week! Diane

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    Replies
    1. Hi Diane

      Hopefully they'll all recover. Looks like we're forecast some much needed rain this weekend and cooler next week. It's easy to forget we're only in March after the run of practically Summer days.

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  3. I envy your warmth and unbroken sunshine. We have had days of chill, grey weather here in the Cotswolds with quite a lot of fog, too. Just an hour of sunshine would lift the spirits!

    Johnson

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    Replies
    1. Hi Johnson

      My sister lives near Chipping Norton. Beautiful part of the world. "Just an hour of sunshine" you need a spell of as the weather people put it "where the cloud breaks..."

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  4. Not middle earth, but still gorgeous. It will be a beautiful spring for you, for sure. Just looking at these pictures I can imagine what's coming. Lovely.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Andi

      Thanks. I'm waiting for the Perigord to blossom, not long now.

      Delete
  5. Hi Rob, your new bed looks divine already! I can see the vision using the plants you listed and am just as excited, maybe not quite, as you are about how it will all play out together. I just saw artichokes at the market today and must now go right back and get a few. As always, you inspire me!

    Frances

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    Replies
    1. Frances thanks, I take that as a huge compliment coming from you.

      The artichokes should look great, fingers crossed, and if they don't I'll eat 'em. I wish I'd sown the Scots thistle though.

      Delete
  6. Sounds like a good list. I look forward to seeing how you arrange them. Judging from some of the photos, you got large, well established plants, so may have a garden by this summer. Looking forward to it.

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    Replies
    1. James I think it's a pretty good list. The totally unplanned was the Panicum, but I'll probably end up liking it the most. As to arrangement - I've planted blocks of some and woven others through in drifts. The least sizeable plants right now are the s. gigantea, I've put one in the middle and two others elsewhere. In the plant list I forgot to mention the 'glue' I used that being V. bonariensis which I've woven through everywhere.

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  7. What a good stretch of ground to let loose those great silvery blue plant choices. I keep reading March has been the warmest on record, so it's almost a relief to read there's been a cold spell somewhere, but I am sorry to hear of plant losses. Ouch!

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    Replies
    1. March has been warm and dry here too. It follows two dry winters so we need rain!

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  8. Luv the Tolkien reference!! We had a colder than normal late winter here with snow as recent as last week. Quite abnormal. You've made some wonderful selections. It will be fun to follow how your new garden takes shape. Cheers, Jenni

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jenni,

      I'm hoping the garden takes shape exactly to plan.

      Delete
  9. I can tell already that those new beds are going to look fabulous! You have a great xeric plant list.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Sweetbay

      I think pretty much all the plants will be ok dry. That said, subject to water restrictions I probably may do a little supplemental watering.

      Delete
  10. Well shoot, I may have to come visit if you put my favorite E. pallida in there. Some good plants on that list. And as always, mouthwatering images. C'est vrai!

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    1. Banjamin thanks.

      The E. pallida was an afterthought. I'd grown some from seed last year and just left them in small pots not paying them an iota of attention. I didn't have anywhere to put them at that time but now they're in the garden and hopefully with roots in the ground should do their thing.

      Delete
  11. Bonjour...Je suis ravie d'avoir découvert votre blog et suivre l'evolution d'un jardin en Dordogne . Je suis native de périgueux et je connais bien la partie du périgord que vous habitez. J'ai passé mes vacances dans un village près de sarlat qui se nomme Saint Amand de Coly.
    Cette année dans ma région actuelle nous avons eu l'hiver le plus froid depuis de nombreuses années.
    Je reviendrai découvrir votre blog avec un grand plaisir. Jocelyne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci.
      Le temps froid est juste l'histoire maintenant. Nous avons tous besoin d'un peu de pluie.

      Delete
  12. How lovely your garden will be! Great layout and the plant list is superb and low maintenance. Glad to hear the weather is warm. We're heading to Antibes on the 28 March; Paris on 4 April.

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    Replies
    1. Comes around quick. Another year gone, back to France! Have a great time.

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  13. Your gardens are gorgeously set up! We have had a VERY WARM start to late winter and spring here in New England and although I'm out cleaning up and planning, I'm trying NOT to awake the gardens too soon...
    I am your newest follower and plan on visiting often, I am anxious to see your gardens in their full splendor!
    Have a wonderful week,
    Donna

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Donna

      Hopefully the garden will achieve 'splendour' to some degree this year.

      Delete
  14. That's an ambitious list, it should be lovely when it grows in. We've had 80F here so everything is in bloom early, even the DC cherry trees.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Pat

      80F, lovely. I bet the cherry trees look fantastic.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete