Miscellany and detritus, from the writer of Is This Mutton?com

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Garden Hits and Misses

This summer we've had a new garden to enjoy. Last year Leylandii trees were disposed of, a new fence put up and the shed remodelled. This year we created a new border with railway sleepers and put down an artificial lawn.
Early spring: the base for the artificial lawn

I set about planting, concentrating mostly on perennials with a few annuals to fill gaps and a couple of ferns and hostas to create additional texture and interest.

Quite a few learnings!
Large border, late July

The weather was of course challenging. Very wet with no prolonged sunshine until late July. When it is dry, our soil quickly gets like the prairie.

My first learning was that I didn't quite get the balance of height and depth right in the big border. Some of the plants just didn't live up to their predicted heights.

The other learning was colour. I had painstakingly designed the big border to be mostly pink with a little mauve and white. Then in spring, nasturtiums from last year re-seeded themselves in the smaller border and suddenly there was a mass interruption of orange and yellow. Undaunted, I allowed that border to be a crazy "jewel garden," and surprisingly, it works. Unlike the main border, which has too much pink . Nicotiana which was billed as lime green, which I thought would be a perfect foil for fuchsias and magenta cosmos, turned out to be a "dwarf" variety, and while growing in profusion, it is more yellow than lime green.
The "jewel border"

I grew cosmos from seeds my mum gave me, and the cosmos was disappointing. I have hoth huge leafy bushes of it and stunted little plants.

Several dianthus plants are starting to flower and smell divine, but they were such tiny plants when they arrived they're only just getting established.

Three lupins were attacked by something which I managed to eradicate. Three penstemons had a brief, lacklustre performance. The much vaunted foxglove, award winner Illumination has been a solid performer but I found the peachy colour a bit disappointing.

Finally it was year two for my blackcurrants and I achieved oh, 10 berries!

Nemesia Raspberry
Hardy fuchsia "Display"

Unknown salvia
The successes were: the nasturtiums, which are winding themselves round the hedge; nemesia, which I bought as an extra was gorgeous and I'll be getting more of them next year; the artificial lawn, which always looks great, and a salvia which I planted in the border after it faithfully grew back in a pot two years running. Two fuchsias were outstandingly profuse. Earlier in the year, clematis Dr Ruppel was fabulous and I have added another clematis, the mile-a-minute Montana Rubens, to sprawl over the fence. I also had a fabulous hellebore Niger  (Christmas Rose) and will get more of those.

Honeysuckle Serotina

Echinacea Vintage Wine
Next year I will re-site some of the plants; have more height and  depth by adding hollyhocks and delphiniums, and grow more of the successful plants: nemesia, fuchsias, echinacea  (I only had three this year as an experiment). For spring, I have just ordered my bulbs and will have a fantastic display in containers, concentrating on mostly purple and mauve tulips and daffodils and narcissi.


Anonymous said...

Ive been thinking about an artificial lawn for a while, but its difficult to judge with just square samples, how are you finding it, now that it is down?

Gail said...

It's really great, highly recommend it, as does one of my friends who had it done. The more expensive it is, the "longer" and more varied the blades of grass are, which make it look more realistic. So go for the best you can afford.

Anonymous said...

By the way... That Anonymous wasn't the real Anonymous. That's me, that is!

Anne @ The Frump Factor said...

I think this garden is quite lovely. I especially like the jewel border. Glad your flowers didn't drown!

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