Sunday, September 11

Progress on one front at least

Just thought I’d let you have a quick update about how things are progressing in the new front flower bed. It's good to see something actually coming together as our other plans have suffered from what Mark from Mark's Veg Plot describes as the domino effect.

The plants that I bought from Beth Chatto, Unwins and Hayloft are growing really well. (See here for a photo taken 13 June) I’ve been really pleased with them and wouldn’t hesitate to buy from any of these companies again although for larger and more advanced plants I’ll use Beth Chatto.
Photo taken July 5 2011
The number of plants that I estimated I would need was about right.

The poppy alongside the dreadful fence shouldn’t be there - it’s a self sown seedling but as it was doing no harm where it was, I left it - many of it’s brothers and sisters were less fortunate. I pulled it up once the flowers had died before it sent thousands of poppy seeds everywhere.

The perennials are growing well - the Michaelmas daisy at the back has been flowering since sometime in April before I planted it  and is still going strong. It should flower in late summer - early autumn. When first planted I hadn't set up any plant supports but have added some since.
My allotment plot neighbour gave me a white campanula which split in two, cut back and planted. It had already flowered and so I didn't expect any more flowers or growth from it this year. Surprisingly though the small piece has flowered.
Photo taken 8 August 2011
I've planted some of the aquilegias that I grew from seed. These are in three groups of three near to the front of the bed and should provide a different leaf and flower shape. Again I don’t really expect them to do much this year but maybe next.
Photo taken 13 August 2011
One blow to my plans has been the revelation that the salvias that I planted may not survive winter. I was hoping that this bed would fill up more next year but if the salvias fail then this will leave large gaps. I've taken some cuttings  as an insurance policy. The ones from the large purple salvia - Amistad - at the back have already developed strong roots and been potted up.

I bought lots of spring bulbs - miniature daffodil, crocuses and tulips - and planted them in gaps between the perennials. The tulips were a sort of pick and mix so I haven't any photos but I bought Czar Peter, Fashion Show WinnerThis should ensure that the bed isn't just a summer feature.
I've also order some Katherine Hodgkin irises.. It's a shame really as I had assumed our local nursery wouldn't have them - but they did and now I have to wait for a delivery when I could have got them planted.
An added bonus was the appearance of a couple of self sown antirrhinums - no idea where they originated from as we have never grown them but they fit in well so maybe I'll grow some next year or I could just let them self seed again.

I've also brought three achilleas and some heucheras (Plum Pudding) back from the plot and planted these in some gaps. The heuchera should spill over onto the paving to soften the edge - well that's the theory. I may have planted too many but they can always be taken out later.
Photo taken 3 September 2011
A problem is that fence - it’s not ours - our neighbour erected it - we look at the back of it and it's not really a pretty sight. It’s only about a metre (three feet high) and so not really high enough for climbers. Maybe once the plants thicken up they will hide it but that will only be effective during the summer months.

What would you do? Bear in mind we can't actually change the fence!


  1. Gorgeous and I'll bet it attracts so many beneficial insects!

  2. And the fence...have you considered painting it on your side?

  3. It's all filling out very nicely, you've got a lovely selection of plants there. You could pin some of that brush screening to your side to soften the look or paint it a coulour that'll blend in a bit more.

  4. The front bed is looking have done a great job with it...the flowers are all so tall and proud...have you not had the strong winds that we keep getting?? A lot of our tall flowers have been broken off at the base due to the winds.

  5. The bees do love it Tanya LG. I did wonder about painting our side - but our neighbour isn't the most pleasant of people

    Willow screening was something we are considering Damo as we have it elsewhere in the garden. Rush screening would be easier to cut though!

    We have had the strong winds Tanya so I am surprised that the flowers have stood up to it - maybe they get some shelter from the car and of course the dreadful fence. Some dahlias have been completely broken off on the plot.

  6. It seems to have filled out in no time at all. I was going to suggest willow screening against the fence.

  7. I'm surprised that it has filled up so quickly too Jo. Some plants such as the rudbeckia, salvia and asters have made the quickest growth. The penstemons will need a little longer

  8. pretty collection of plants!

  9. Sue, I wonder if you provide some cover, mulch or straw for your salvia, if that would help guard against a cold snap. I have had great success with this with my salvia...except when I forgot to do it this past winter..oops! I like the sound of the willow screen...but the plants will spread and grow taller next year. The bed is looking really nice!

  10. Just a few more to add Malar

    WE have covered tender plants with straw in the past Jenni but bees move in before we can remove it. Once they have set up home I don't like to disturb them, Also we end up with lots of weeds.

  11. Hi Sue, your border is filling out beautifully, a lovely combination of colours and the bulbs will help extend the season really well. As to the fence, I'd be inclined to paint it and then put some taller trellis in front of it painted the same colour and add climbers...

  12. I like that idea Janet - the only trouble is our neighbour would probably object. Either way she would snip any climber that dared venture slightly to her side within an inch of its life.

  13. Oh dear, THAT kind of neighbour...

  14. Hi Sue! Its looking beautiful! Gosh I love the flowering plants you can grow in europe!
    What about a low hedge with dark green foliage to screen the fence? It would provide a nice backdrop to the garden bed...

  15. A nice idea Phoebe but I'm afraid that there isn't room for that - the plants are growing quite close to the fence.

  16. Your garden has really filled in nicely! It's going to really be beautiful next year!

    I would put some type of a trellis in the back and plant some climbers on it.

  17. We are pleased with how it has turned out so far Phoebe just hope everything survives if we have another horrendous winter

  18. I have deleted several comments from this post that seem to be just trying to use this to link to commercial sites - I'm sorry if you have an email update set up and have been bombarded with these comments. If it continues to happen I will set comments for approval only but would prefer not to do this.

  19. So many lovely variety growing in that patch! To be honest, many of them I don't know the names. I am really bad at flower names.

  20. I guess I wouldn't know the names of some of the things you grow Diana.


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