This series aims to check out if we have been successful in creating a garden for all seasons with interest throughout the year. In this post we look at our Avocet garden here in Plealey in the first week in August, a time when summer is going off a bit and autumn is trying to sneak in by the back door. The wild carrot below is beginning to set its seeds in our wildlife strip behind the lavender hedge alongside the lane.
We have one more garden group yet to visit us which happens in about a fortnight so this post as well as checking on how well we are achieving our aim of a year round garden will also be a way of checking out how it will look to our next visitors.
The” Beth Chatto Garden” still has plenty of interest but sadly the strange weather this year has meant that we have already had to cut down the Eophorbia griffithii Dixter which normally we can rely on for colourful winter stems of the brightest ruby red.
The other front garden borders still have patches of colour with the Perovskia’s pale blue flower spires looking good in a patch dominated by the white barked silver birches and purple leaves of Cercis Forest Pansy, Sambucus nigra Black Lace and Physocarpus Diablo.
Our new sculptural piece is looking good starring with the flowers of Leucanthemum “Shaggy”, several Asters (sorry but I can’t yet accept their new botanical names!), Salvia uliginosa, Gaura linheimeri and various annuals that Jude the Undergardener grows from seed.
The photos below show two very different looking plants which are in fact both Lobelias, the one on the left a cardinalis and the one on the right Lobelia tupa.
It is good to see the wildlife busy on the blooms every time the sun shines.
The ferns border developed earlier this year is looking better as the ferns get more established. From there you can look back along the Shade Garden through the archway towards the Hot Garden.
The Dahlias in the vintage galvanised containers along the house wall are still flowering but having a bit of a rest before hopefully producing more flower buds to delight the eye in a few weeks time.
Opposite them the” Freda Border” is looking cheerful with oranges and yellows and the odd white highlight of this honey-scented Buddleja.
The Tulbaghias continue to produce their delicate pale lilac flowers on their wiry stems. Close by the insect hotel snuggles within the” Pollinator Border”. Here the brightest flower of all must be the annual Leonotis leonora, which has become a real favourite in the garden this year. Opposite the heavy cropping grape vine continues to produce “water shoots” which need regular pruning to let the sun access the fruit to ripen it. The harvest is looking hopeful!
The pathway I take to feed the hens is full of plants that stop me on my way. Eryngium Miss Wilmott’s Ghost is turning from silver to biscuit and Geranium “Rosanne” clambers through any close plant. A real star of this pathway is the Bergena ciliata, a hairy leaved Bergenia with bronze colouring to the reverse of each leaf. I turn a leaf over each time I pass. It has big arching sprays of pale pink flowers in spring too! A great plant but rarely grown.
On the other side of this path we have the” Spring Garden” where the palmate leaves of the Acer japonica and Tetrapanax papyfer “Rex” sit close to each other. The Acer partners a couple of purple-leaved Lysimachia “Firecracker” and the deep green leaves of our thornless blackberry. The Tetrapanax is thowing up new leaves which are glossy but turn matt with the passing of time.
The Tropical Garden which was one of this year’s projects is looking particularly good at the moment. It is so full of contrasts. Contrasts in flower colour, leaf shapes, textures and colour.
The pale blue fish continue to swim through the Seaside Garden. Behind the chimenia a bright yellow flowered crocosmia seems to glow beneath the standard holly.
The Shed Bed has bright splashes of colour provided by Ricinus, Verbascum and Crocosmia.
In the Rill Garden the Aeoniums are all doing well showing great leaf colour but best of all must be Aeonium arboreum” Schwarzkopf” which is tree like in form with the blackest glossiest leaves possible.
If we move further into back garden now we can look through the arches down the central path. Off this path to the left are the “Crescent Bed”, “L Bed” and the “Long Border”.
If we cross the grass path at the far end of this patch we enter the” Japanese Garden” with the” Prairie Garden” to the right, which features two of our sculptures, the Copper Leaves made by our daughter Jo and the dancing figure of “Amber” created by a local artist.
And finally across the central path again to the” Chicken Garden” and the” Secret Garden” which are still looking very colourful. The first photo is of our everlasting sweetpea which although perennial so easier to grow than the annuals it is sadly without scent. The red poker shaped flowers in the second photo are Persicaria amplexicaulis “Firetail” which is so long flowering and attractive to wildlife as a bonus.
So that is the study of our garden in August, hopefully still confirming that it is an all season garden. Next month we will probably be seeing the first signs of autumn colour and seedheads beginning to take on more importance.