Thursday, July 09, 2009

The garden in July

I had a day pottering in the garden yesterday. These are Bishop's Children dahlias which I grew from seed this year. There are three plants in this container, in a sunny spot, and they have come on well. I wonder what colour the third one will be? The ones planted down the garden are a bit further behind.

It really is satisfying growing things from seed. I usually start off one or two different packets each year in the porch (in the back of this picture) which is currently being repaired and painted inside and out... hopefully preventing it falling down next winter! The dahlias have been a success for the last couple of years. I must admit that I did not know how easy it was to grow the singles from seed, and have never been one to be bothered overwintering tubers. I'm sure it was a hint from Gardener's World that got me started.

Outside now, some biennial Wallflowers and Sweet William for next year have been pricked out and are growing on.

I've grown a few different varieties of potatoes this year in new raised beds.

I still get a thrill when things go well!

Colleen on the left and Swift on the right. Both very tasty!

Almost exactly a year ago I planted a native hedge along the edge of the north facing bank (see below). The pic above shows a part of this, although not very well! It is growing. On a visit to the Royal Highland Show I bought a selection of plugs, mostly of beech and hawthorn, with the odd guelder rose (viburnum) and dog rose to add interest. I was pleased to find that most of the small plants came through the winter OK and there is appreciable growth already. There is no instant gratification in planting a hedge in this way but it should provide the desired effect in a few years time! The path is new too.

This is what the hedge will divide off - the part of the garden (around half) that I've not blogged about before. It's the 'wildlife garden' on the slope on the north side of the plot! Indeed, so wild is it that this morning I came face to face with a roe deer, quite likely the same one that I got all excited about recently (here). I saw it before it saw me on this occasion, but unfortunately the wind was blowing from my direction. It took one look at me, no more that 12 feet away, and leapt spectacularly over the fence and away.

Bracken, brambles and rose bay willow herb are the main colonisers of this wild part of the garden. I've carved a path of sorts through the 'wilderness'. It has the potential to be developed in some more productive way. One day, perhaps.

That even this part of the garden was once well cultivated can still be seen by some blackcurrant bushes and these gooseberries which are doing well this year, thriving on neglect.

Anyway, back to the bit that's under control. Many of the plants therein were given to me as divisions from friends. The Astrantia Major here on the right, from Brian, is doing well near the pond, and peeking out beside it is one of my favourite perennials which has just produced its first flower of the year.

Why is it my favourite? Because I always get it wrong when I try to pronounce its proper name: Schizostylis. It's from South Africa and is commonly known as the kaffir lily.

I admired a pink form in the garden of another good friend, Lady Rose Saunders, in Dollar, and was given a division a month ago. It seems to like where I've put it, and I noticed today that it has produced its first flowers. Just one worry. My gardening book has it flowering in the 'late summer'. We're not there already, are we? We could well be curling next week then. Oh yes, we are at that. Stay tuned.

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