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The Opposite Month....August


I try to always be planning for the opposite month of the year, so at the moment I am thinking about my new Hydrangea and planning to get it out of the greenhouse and into the ground asap. But not this week! But that’s just one of the jobs to be done for this year’s late summer display.

I’ve just ordered a handful of Monarda ‘Westacre Purple’ plants from Plantsman’s Preference online. It was absolutely gorgeous last year (I only bought one to see if it would do well). It performed better than any Monarda I have ever grown and is so elegant with it’s blackish stems and dark foliage. The colour is superb too. Dark Violet. It didn’t get mildew like most of them seem to.

I’ve removed the Rosa glauca and the Ground Cover Rose ‘Scented Carpet’ from the Central raised border, and substituted a magnolia Leonard Messel (More of a late Spring flowering shrub) and a hydrangea. My new Hydrangea will go in there as well.

I also removed the big clump of Clematis heraceleifolia ‘Cassandra’(centre of this photo). Much as I loved it, it only flowers once, very late in the season and it takes up a big space for the rest of the time before disappearing for the winter underground. So in keeping with my ‘plants have to earn their place policy’ it has gone and been replaced with a Hebe that Shirley kindly gave me. But I might replace that with something else…am pondering that one. It’s useful to have some evergreen plants in that place to get me through the winter. But Hebe gets very woody at the base and this raised bed brings woody bare legs very much to the eye. Hmm…suggestions welcome!

There are more than half a dozen red and orange stemmed Cornus in the higher part of the central raised border. Last year I didn’t cut them back hard enough and they took over the bed during summer, obscuring the lilies and other colourful flowers. So this spring, they will get a serious pruning. I might have to remove the biggest one…its a bit too vigorous. The orange ones (Midwinter Fire) will only get a light prune because they are still small.

The little Herb Garden had a big refurb in the Autumn. I decided to just make it into a mixed border for plants that like a dry soil..although I did add some patio roses. Time will tell whether they can take the situation there. I planted most of the sedums in there that I removed from the pod planting area. I also planted some alpines that I had in small pots and were really struggling in them. There are still a few herbs in there, but hardly any now. I might grow some annuals in there as well…from seed. We’ll see. But I want it to be a colourful area all season long.

This is it last August, shortly before it was revamped. Still all herbs and edible flowers.

A plant that I would certainly like to increase is this lovely dwarf Red Hot Poker called Knifophia ‘Lemon Popsicle’. Its a really beautiful and very long-flowering plant that retains its foliage all winter like a clump of coarse grass. I’ve not yet found a supplier, but I will try again this evening now that I’ve reminded myself by looking at this photo! Its a fabulous plant for the front of a sunny border, or a rockery. I’m not generally a fan of the pokers, but this one is beautiful!

Back in the raised borders and the somewhat strident orangey/yellow flowers of Ligularia dentata ‘Desdemona’ at the rear of this photo. They won’t be there this year. I removed them last autumn and replaced with a River Birch (Betula nigra), and also a Physocarpus ‘Diable D’Or’ which came out of the Pod planting area. I shall miss its glorious green plates of foliage with purple undersides. But I shan’t miss the effort of trying to stop the slugs destroying them!

Speaking of slug destruction, I have removed some Hostas from meditation corner and have replaced them with Hydrangea ‘Wedding Gown’ from a pot, and Sedum ‘Marina’. I have severely cut back on the numbers of Hostas in this garden. I am fed up of battling the slugs. One of the small Acers has died and been removed. It was the very finely cut leaved one. It was never meant to grow here really…far too fragile. Hopefully the Iris sibirica will flower this year. It was split and replanted here from the pond area two autumns ago and never flowered at all last year. It has one more chance…maybe two! I do love it.

Hydrangea ‘Wedding Gown’

Sedum ‘Marina’

I am not planning to display my Aeoniums here this year. The weather was so wet and gloomy that they all suffered and became spotty with the damp air. They all recovered once I took them inside the greenhouse, and they are looking great in there at the moment. I shall leave them indoors. So….once the annual potted tulip display is over, I shall enjoy planting the pots up with colourful annuals and my begonias which are overwintering in the greenhouse will complete the display. So that’s something exciting and colourful to look forward to this summer.

I have no plans to alter the pond area except the annual pruning of the conifers and splitting if not removing the Hesperanthus which has grown so so big!

And finally….this beautiful flower is Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Deamii’ which I have seven clumps of in Golden Border. The biggest ones are now ready to be split and replanted which is hard work, but means I shall have even more of this glorious flower through the border this year, and it flowers from September right through till the end of November! :) So much to look forward to.

So…what changes are you planning in your gardens?

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Will it ever get here - - August! We can only hope.

10 Feb, 2020


Have been wondering today whether you were having any snow today.K?Watched the weather maps.
That Monarda looks you remember we mentioned buying some more this year..must have a look at Plantsman.
I seem to have already done 2 changes here..the drive edging and the new shed....have to give OH a break!
I did remove a few Roses in the Autumn which weren't that spectacular when in flower.

10 Feb, 2020


Yeah....get in there Julia while they still have it in stock! I'm off to look for that Knifophia! ;) I also removed a few roses last year. I'm very excited to see what the new ones will be like. :)

Bathgate....of will come! Be prepared! :)

10 Feb, 2020


I love the Wedding Gown hydrangea Karen! And how appropriate to remind you of Rachel's wedding, I think it's the prettiest one I've seen..😄
I need to do some serious pruning in my garden and I'm hoping to replace Graham Thomas and New Dawn roses with Clems. I'm fed up with black spot to be honest. A couple of trees, the Tamarix and Golden Birch have to be reduced so I can manage them myself and the Laburnocytisus has to come out, it has a really ugly shape.

All nepetas are coming out as they are basically snail communes! I want to allow more space round the plants so the air can circulate and everyone has room to grow and look good. That's the theory, the practical may be full of good intentions....ha ha...😁😉

10 Feb, 2020


THanks Janey. That Hydrangea turns a very dark red with age, its quite stunning. I have two Graham T's and I'm thinking of removing one and planting a Sorbus in its place. Haven't quite decided yet. But yes, dealing with disease is exhausting isn't it. And I've ordered some blue flowering clematis to go into Golden border as well. I didn't know nepeta was a slug hotel though. Might explain why I have lost one or two in the past. I hope you manage to achieve your goals! Thanks for your comment.x

10 Feb, 2020


The hydrangea is even better then. I love the ones that are a very dark red well into Autumn. I've never lost a nepeta Karen, they take over and shelter the snails of which I have very very many!
I'll do what I can, luckily it's only a small garden as you know, I don't fret about it like I used too....

10 Feb, 2020


I need to dig out the couch grass and re arrange the plants in my red/orange/yellow border. I allowed Hesperis matronalis to seed and I now need to have a serious weed out of this.

I want to take out a wisteria that has had 5 flowers in 23 yrs, so definitely going this year. then I hope Clem Victoria and rosa New dawn will do better on the same wires/wall.

11 Feb, 2020


Lovely blog, beautiful flowers and displays.

I have no idea what to do. A week ago I did the first pruning of the wisteria, 25cm from the base of the stems. The other plants, cherry, magnolia, podocarpos, photinias, rose bushes and lavender from the front garden, I don't know if I'm going to prune, as they are in their first year here. They were planted in October last year, in the middle of spring.
The same goes for fruit trees.
I think that only the bed of herbs and vegetables will be treated.

11 Feb, 2020


Janey, I'm trying to remember where I got the hydrangea....I can’t. It was online
...possibly Parkers.

Thanks SBG. You have a lot of work ahead. Couch grass is a pain. I get it out wherever I see it.

Thanks Aleyna. Whatever you do...just keep loving it! X

11 Feb, 2020


Karen severely pruning your Cronus will only encourage them to grow even bushier! believe me, we thrashed ours last year...and they were enormous in the Summer, we had to prune them, which was totally the wrong time to do it, and they flowered late, and the flower heads are still there now! I don’t think you can keep them compact......they don’t do small!
I agree with you regarding Rudbeckia ours flowered for months on end and were the stars of our Autumn garden.....have ordered a smaller variety!
We grew several Monarda last year, and the year before, and they did exceedingly well, will no doubt grew them again....
We have two projects on the go.....both have been started, but just waiting for better weather, to complete them, there will be a blog as and when......
We have just taken a booking for August, so the garden will need to look good....unfortunately if it’s a very hot Summer, that can be quite a challenge here, our garden is at its best in June and early July, still we like a challenge! don’t we?

11 Feb, 2020


We do love a challenge Angela! However, I must admit, I am loving my garden more again since we decided ‘not’ to open this year. Its mine, mine , all mine! Lol :) But seriously..I think its just the lack of pressure and not having to be anxious about the weather which is so bloomin contrary here! Do you remember...We will never forget..the day we spent tying everything in fleece and netting those raised borders in mid summer because of gales!! I mean we succeeded, but boy that was stressful. I think Scott aged about 5 years! ;)

11 Feb, 2020


Thanks Karen, I'll have a look..

11 Feb, 2020

11 Feb, 2020


Karen I remember it well, what a nightmare that was! is stressful I will admit, but, when it goes well it’s a very enjoyable experience....and it’s our contribution to the charities.......have been pruning Shrubs today and Peter has been tying in all the roses with dark green garden twine, we ran out last year, had to use some horrid plastic stuff!

12 Feb, 2020


Oh...funny that. We also had to use plastic twine last year. Really horrible stuff.

12 Feb, 2020


Lots of planning and planting Karen although how do you improve on perfection ;-)

13 Feb, 2020


I enjoyed looking at your blog Karen and its also given me a few ideas. I think I will have to send for that Monarda and I will also look online for the Lemon Popsicle.
I also got fed up of slugs and snails eating my Ligularia so put it in a pot last year with the pot on legs and it seems to have worked ! I have the other Ligularia (can't remember the name , but it has long yellow blooms and doesn't seem to get eaten .YET !!

13 Feb, 2020


Dawn, thank you...not perfect though...still needs a lot of work!

Rose, thank you I'm glad you enjoyed the blog. I've ordered my monarda and my Lemon Popsicles now. I found the kniphofia on Hayloft. You're right about the Ligularia 'The Rocket' if that's the one you have. The slugs don't seem to care for it much! Pretty foliage, but nothing like Desdemona. The flowers however, are much prettier than Desdemona. They are all gone now from my garden, along with quite a lot of my Hostas. I shall still have to get my pellets out though as I still have quite a few precious Hostas, and some lovely Lupins which they cannot resist!

13 Feb, 2020


I have a few Monarda, I really like them plus the bergamot fragrance from the leaf is so good.

13 Feb, 2020


Yes, a lovely aromatic plant :)

13 Feb, 2020


August phew, I just want to get past the next four days without any wholesale destruction happening in the garden with this next storm. Still its only fence panels, and when you look at what has been going on throughout the country with major floods and sides of houses falling of I think we get away lightly.
Keep on thinking of what I will do this year but will have to see what plants I have coming back and what I have coming in march. As I have said before boredom and plant catalogues can be a bit of a disaster recipe. Still looking around the garden the first signs of spring are starting to show. The camellia's are in full bud, crocus are starting to flower, bit of new shooting on the peony trees, hydrangea and clematis, the tulips and a few other bulbs are starting to poke their way through and I have a skimmia japonica shrub well in bud. What a lovely subtle scent you get of this shrub, only noticed it last year as I was walking past it and went back a few times just to pin where the scent was coming from, you live and learn.

13 Feb, 2020


True Davey, and it is a lovely scent!

13 Feb, 2020


I managed to order my Lemon Popsicle today Karen but found Hayloft quite expensive at £12 a 7cm pot. I am getting mine from West Country nursery for £6.50 a 9cm pot. least I hope it is ! The Monarda was £10 delivery and was only going to get one for now so that worked out a lot more than the price of the plant.

14 Feb, 2020


Yes Rose....very. I bought 6 for £24. They like you to buy multiples which suited me on this occasion! £12 for one is far too expensive for me too!

14 Feb, 2020

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