Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Walkabout


Another beautiful May morning, April's rain and the bitter cold of February long gone, however Spring lags behind just about every year I can remember in the nine Springs we have seen here. Like everywhere, the garden is a catalogue of hits and misses.


Definite hits are Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', sedums and Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia.


Bronze fennel is putting on good growth, the grass to the right is an Elymus variety, I've no idea which, it looks good and as I remember has an arching habit, being a 'cool' season grass the inflorescences are not far away now. It's getting big though, almost swamping out some Muhlembergia rigens or deergrass which being 'warm' season is a liitle out of sync. and will probably need to be moved.


Artichoke, 'Violette de Provence' is starting to gain some size. I'm growing it purely for decoration, as for my money both the foliage and the eventual mauve 'thistley' chokes warrant that.


I mentioned before I had seeds for Onopordium acanthium, the Scots thistle. Well here they are, about five weeks old and in need of planting out. The question is where? I'm a little dubious as they can grow into huge ten feet specimens, but I'm going to plant out at least a couple and see what happens. Scotch thistle is undoubtedly magnificent.


Cheery souls Fleabane.  I love them.


Do well in pots too.


Salvia sclarea, the clary sage, is starting to grow rapidly. It may shade out the Japanese anemones, but will need a trim before they want to flower, in amongst it are seedlings of self sown borage.


A sheen of green is visible where I sowed the meadow flowers back in mid-April. I agonise over this bit of land, it seems a race between the emerging seedlings and re-emerging bind weed and creeping buttercup. It has potential to be beautiful, stunning in fact, there's just so many factors that come into play. Fingers crossed it works out.


Lining the pergola, allium are popping up amongst the stipa calamagrostis. I am sure there are less this year, something has definitely eaten some of the bulbs, a vole maybe? I'll plant more this Autumn.


Continuing the onion theme, an onion relative, Nectaroscordum siculum or Meditterranean bells are looking really fine. I  like this bulb and hopefully it'll seed itself around a bit more for next year.


I keep adding Sempervivum and Sedum at any opportunity. I've also found myself developing more than a sneaky regard for Delosperma. I picked up a Delosperma dyerii 'Red mountain' which shows better in the photo below.

 
Perefctly hardy in this zone I'm told.


So that'll do for now. Off to a plant fair held in the grounds of an old abbey in the Lot department this Sunday, can't wait.

20 comments:

  1. Your gardens are coming along. That artichoke is magnificent and now you've stoked my curiosity about the Scots thistle! Delosperma is a great succulent especially after a few years when it forms a sparkling mound of blooms. I had to dig out some that grass had taken over, but I stuck pieces here and there. You can pinch off pieces and stick those in moist soil (like sedum) and make more and more!

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    1. I've planted three artichokes, the one pictured is romping away, the other two much slower. I'm concerned that the roots are being eaten on one. Chafer grubs are a problem for me and it's soul destroying when they eat through a plants root system. Scots thistle, to be or not to be?

      I'll definitely 'pinch' off some pieces of delosperma.

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  2. Looks better weather than here Rob, everything growing well too. Beautiful.

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    1. The weather's much improved from April, warm sunshine and occasional showers have evrything romping on.

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  3. I'm not so sure about the meadow flowers bit. It seems to me that "wildflower" patches I see are really "lots and lots of gardening work done" patches.
    See. http://sierrafoothillgarden.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/weed-and-more-native-plants-will-come/
    Sue talks of days and days of weeding a patch.
    Cheers -- Kerry

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    1. Ah the pictorial meadow. Well wildflower it ain't, more a mix of seed for succession and colour.

      It's already taken lots of work. Weeding may be difficult, as it grows I doubt I am nimble enough to step through it without causing damage.

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  4. Love the sedums in the pot. What a great combination. I think I will also try your fleabane in pots. The gardens are looking great and I look forward to seeing the meadow in flower.

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    1. Thanks Patty

      The meadow, the meadow. I looked at it again this morning. It's growing away OK but the seed distribution leaves a little to be desired. Not evenly sown. Maybe that won't matter in a month or so?

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  5. It's amazing how much work you've done since we came to see you a couple of summers ago. It's all looking so good too!

    Everything is way behind here as it's still cold and wet - plus I've been seriously busy in my school governor role as we're in the middle of the process of finding a new Head Teacher! The interviews are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week and then, hopefully, my life will become my own again and I can actually get back into the garden .....if it ever stops raining! :-(

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  6. Liz I don't envy you going through the recruitment process.

    I guess it's the sum of parts regarding the garden. It's a case of a bit here, a bit there since you visited - suddenly it's a fair bit.

    Weather's been OK this May. We had a couple of days at 32C, nice and hot. The next week looks to start a bit 'iffy' then picks up.

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  7. Your garden has such a marvelous Mediterranean look to it.

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    1. Sweetbay I think it's the light quality and the old stone.

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  8. I feel like I'm on vacation for a few minutes reading your blog. So beautiful! I also grow fennel and a few of the other plants you mention. Clary sage is such a huge, fabulous plant. Wonderful!

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  9. I hope the Clary sage doesn't completely stifle the anemones. I may have to cut back some of the lower leaves to get light through.

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  10. Rob,
    The garden is really filling out. It looks great.

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    1. Thanks Pat, It's much slower this year but should catch up

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  11. Your garden is looking good and well ahead of ours. The cold winter wiped out my artichokes and now the new shoots are only a couple of inches high! The rest of the garden is still way behind what it usually is at this time of the year. Diane

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  12. Hi Diane, I'd say we are a couple of weeks behind too, although we've had some warm days which seems to get things to catch up. This time last year I could barely recount the last time we had rain. Not so this year!

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  13. Rob, All of your plants and blooms look lovely and promising . . . even the meadow - and I remember the pergola or archway you built further in the distance . . . I hope that all works out as you wish. Scotts thistle sounds sculptural and in your setting it will be a show-stopper. I am really taken by the beauty of your solid estate in the background of all of your images here. Just beautiful! Captivating and inviting details. I particularly love how you have trained (wisteria?) into such a graceful climber. Spring for us this year has been earlier than most and even the bluebirds have already two fledglings!

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    1. Carol you're too kind.

      I'm hoping the 'meadow' which leads to the pergola will give it a sense of place. I know spring has been very early for you. I bet the bluebirds are a beautiful sight.

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