The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

Bone dry


A typical Brit is thought never content.  It's too hot, it's too dry...it's too wet, it's too cold.  Seldom happy.  The truth is Britain has seasons; summer is supposed to be hot and sunny, and winter is supposed to be cold and snowy.   2018 has given us a proper winter and now we're having a proper summer.  The issue is that in recent history the British weather is well known to include poor summers.  We're not equipped for extreme weather conditions, be that snow and ice or prolonged "heatwaves".  So does that mean our usual 2 hot sunny days followed by storms is now history?


I'm not going to moan about the sunshine.  I'm not going to moan about the heat... however, as a gardener I'd like some rain now please Mother Nature!  Northern Ireland have a hosepipe ban - if we don't get any rain soon, that will likely be the outcome across mainland Britain too.  The forecast is for Yorkshire's hottest weekend of the year and although it clouded over this afternoon, it remained dry.


R. New Dawn 


Astilbe 


Pink fuzzy Spireae japonica in the Yen Garden. 


Hydrangea Blueberry Cheesecake opening its tiny flowers within blue-purple bracts. 


Succulents are beginning to flower.  They're doing well in the drier conditions.


As are the cottage pinks.


R. Special Anniversary has done really well so far and has further buds forming. 


The yellow daylilies around the pond look fabulous. 


And the first crocosmias are opening.

I can just about remember 1976 with standpipes supplying households with water.  I hope we can avoid such scenes.  



June's end


The garden in June is something very special.  It seems to release all that was promised in May.  The excitement never fails to catch me, even if the winter like the last one was long, and everything has caught up.


The Man That Can cutting back the neighbour's ivy. We're allowing it to envelope the bird house to help our feathered friends by providing some protection against the magpies that would take any offspring from the open front that is aimed at robins.


The tiniest bee we've ever seen.



Crocosmias budding up.


Hebes beginning to shine.


R. New Dawn 




Hydrangea Blueberry Cheesecake either side of the patio arch.  All the other hydrangeas are still in bud.



The heatwave is causing issues as the water butts are quickly depleted. We're having to save the rainwater for the acid lovers and use tap water or waste washing up water for everything else.  The high temperatures are set to continue into next week.  We Brits aren't used to such weather!

Note to self


...the Chelsea Chop is valuable.

This year I could not carry out the Chelsea Chop due to my shoulder so I figured I would experiment whether it was actually worth doing it.  Every year since having a garden, I have cut back the foliage of certain herbaceous perennials, particularly hardy geraniums.  This does delay the flowers for a few weeks, but the advantage is a bushier plant with more flowers.  It is called the Chelsea Chop due to the procedure being carried out around the time of the Chelsea Flower Show in May.


The experiment has shown that the geraniums are taller, obviously, but that makes them prone to becoming flattened more easily during foul weather, and that they need more by way of support.  Therefore by the middle of June they are having to be cut back.  This will provide a new flush of foliage and further flowers later in the year...but that happens anyway with doing the Chop, but leaves an ugly gap at the wrong time (before neighbouring plants are flowering, such as hebes) The conclusion is then that next May the Chelsea Chop will return.


The magenta hardy geraniums seem to have suffered more than any of the others and most of them have now been cut back.  This will also allow other plants to breathe and have their turn in the limelight.









The photos never quite show the colour correct on these Eryngiums.  They are really very blue.











TMTC swapped the white bistro set with the potting table as we reckon it looks too nice to be hidden.








The garden in June


Despite the long winter this year, pretty much everything in the garden has caught up and as we move into June, new flowers can be seen on almost each day.


The Front Garden 

It's difficult to squeeze along the cobbled path in the front garden now that all the plants have knitted together.




Rosa Tall Story has begun to flower through the hardy geraniums above, with r. Margaret Merrill below.



There are yet more buds to open on both the clematis Warsaw Nike and r. Maigold combo on the dividing fence.


The tidy up of the huge hydrangea at the top of the front garden has given a great new planting opportunity.  I will add spring bulbs here, along with some prostrate Ceanothus I have growing in the Yen Garden.


The unnamed shrub is doing a great job filling the gap between the Photinia and the fence.  I recognise the leaves but for the life of me cannot recall the name just now.



The Yen Garden 


In this corner, most of the colour comes from foliage, rhododendrons, azaleas or blossom.  The rose below hangs over the fence from our neighbour's garden, which we regularly have to trim back to prevent it becoming entangled in our apple and cherry trees.




New for this year is a trachycarpus palm and a clutch of cannas, the latter are just forming their flower spikes.  I have decided to incorporate some more exotic looking plants here.  There are already some red crocosmias and a fatsia japonica which are a little more jungle like, but we'll keep the 'Japanese' theme also.



Apples are forming this year...so the tree has a stay of execution.


I really like this vivid pink foxglove and plan on sowing some of its seed into the pink garden.


I will also divide this bold coloured hardy geranium and plant a couple of clumps in the pink garden come the autumn.


The peony Bowl of Beauty is really outstanding this year.



The Pink Garden 


There is still not quite enough pink, but it is getting there.  This patch had a major overall last year and there are still some gaps to fill with pink flowers.  Since the area right of the birch tree is mostly shaded, pink flowers can be a bit more tricky to get right.  The persicaria however thrives well here among the ferns.  The plan is to divide the grey hosta behind the pond later this year and add a portion to the pink garden for some contrast, along with a clump or two of the bold pink hardy geranium and foxgloves from the Yen.





The very first bloom of r. New Dawn which sprawls along the fence of the Pink Garden.


R. Mum in a Million smells divine.



The Terrace Border 


This has more of a purple-blue theme with iris and foxgloves...



...hardy geraniums and Eryngiums, the latter will soon take on a bright blue hue which looks almost metallic.  In this bed there are also airy verbena bonariensis and Russian sage, along with a blue Salvia Superba. This is an experimental bed really, as I planted a number of gifted Irises last year that hadn't flowered. Only one of these has flowered so far and last month showed off its velvety purple blooms, which can remain in this bed.


There is a tall grass in this corner which needs moving as it keeps trying to flower behind the trellis.  It might take some time, but this is certainly a work in progress border.


The Patio Arch Borders 


If only we had smell-o-vision! This is rosa Gertrude Jeykll.  The scent is absolutely knockout.  It's about a third of the way up the right hand side of the arch so far, and the blooms are in reach of a sniff each time I pass under this arch.


As allium Purple Sensation fade, allium siculum are thrusting through the hardy geraniums.  Not quite the amount of flowers spikes as expected, but we can always add a few more if they like the conditions.






The Long Border 


There are plants filling every nook and cranny in the Long Border after its overhall last year.


The last of the clematis Montana Rubens fades as the first of the white peonies opens.






Any gaps have had a sprinkling of poppy seeds from our Dutch friends.

So far June has been a cloudy affair. Usually I like to sit and enjoy the June garden in the warm sunshine, and while it isn't exactly cold, the sun is noticeably absent...still, there are another 3 weeks before the month is out.