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My Garden Journal 2019 – July

We move into the second half of the year with this visit to my 2019 garden journal, where we shall see what the garden has to offer and take a look at some of our gardening tasks for the month.

The first double page spread featured borders in our front garden, beginning with a follow up look at the New Garden, where I wrote, “July began hot and humid so during the first week gardening wasn’t easy. Every job was tiring, but there is lots to look at. Let us visit “The New Garden” to see how it has developed over the last 4 weeks or so.”

“Three different Agastache, including A. ‘Kudos Yellow’ and A. ‘Kudos Gold’ and an unknown blue flowered cultivar.”

“Step across the grass from “The New Border” and we come to one of our two “Doughnuts”. This one comes in two halves, an airy meadow of Dianthus and Briza backs onto our sun-loving ferns and euphorbias.”

“Dianthus carthusianorum”                  “Briza and Dianthus”

Festuca glauca flower buds.”

“Dianthus cruentus”                    “Rosa Prince’s Trust and R. Enchantress”

Foxgloves feature on the next page and opposite we look at the “Layby Border”.

“This year is definitely the year of the foxglove, and throughout June and into the middle of July Digitalis rule the border roosts.”

“Digitalis fontanesii”                                                            “Digitalis grandiflora”

“Digitalis lutea”

 

Across the drive we can have a look at how the “Layby Garden” is coming on.”

 

The next double page spread deals with some of our Achilleas, of which we grow many as we love them as much as the wildlife does, especially bees, butterflies and hoverflies.

I wrote, “Last year we decided to develop a section of our Beth Chatto Border, which is our gravel garden planted with grasses and herbaceous perennials which never need watering. We added a river of Achilleas.”

 

On the next page I concentrate on pink and white flowered Achilleas where I wrote, Variations on a theme, “Pink to White”, caused by so many self-seeded natural crosses made by bees and their colleagues. Thank you bees!”

Turning over to the next double page spread, We look at the perennials in the Shrub Border and then some of our jobs for July.

“Staying in the front garden it is noticeable how the perennials towards the front of the Shrub Border are giving extra colour.”

 

“July is a busy month, but this year it is extra busy as winds and frequent heavy showers mean lots of tying up.” 

“Ready to topiarise the box clouds”

“Low level and high level pruning.”

 “Deadheading climbing and rambling roses.”

Eryngiums or sea hollies feature next.

I wrote, “Mid-summer is when our Sea Hollies, Eryngiums, are at their best, their blue and silver stems, bracts and flowers take on their metallic tints.”

 

The first set of photos are of E.bourgattii ‘Picos Blue’

The next four photos are of E. Jade Frost.

The four photos below are of E. ‘Neptune’s Gold’ with its bright green foliage and metallic blue flower heads.

“Eryngiums add so much to the garden in virtually every month. Amazingly textured, coloured and sometimes variegated foliage plus metallic flowers and bracts.” 

These are exciting plants to finish off my entries into my Garden Journal 2019 for the month of July.

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My Garden Journal 2018 – July

Here is my garden journal entries for the month of July, a month when the garden continued to suffer the effects of the drought.

My opening words were, “July begins as June ended, in a heatwave with temperatures in the upper twenties. And sadly for the garden, still no rain. Rainless time has now lasted for a month and very little for the previous month.”

I featured a set of photos of our Passion flower which grows in our greenhouse.

“We grow our passion-flowers in the greenhouse as we are too cold here for them to survive outside. We train them along the side of the greenhouse  where they can shade our tomato plants. Natural shading!”

On the opposite page I moved on to look at the digitalis we grow here in our Avocet garden.

“We grow so many different foxgloves in our patch, with several grown from seed by Jude. Our native Digitalis purpurea in both its forms of purple and white, enjoying spreading themselves around our borders, deciding for themselves where to settle down. Dan Pearson writes of Digitalis in “National Selection”,

“I like the way vertical lines of foxgloves draw the eye like an exclamation mark. They are delicate, using only as much ground as they need, but providing plenty of bang for your buck with the upward motion.”

Turning over to the next double page spread, I featured photos of a selection of the moths we trapped in our live trap.

“Butterflies and moths have been in short supply so far this year, but both appeared as July arrived. Our first session of live-trapping moths showed how many we had in our garden and how varied they are. We always delight at getting close up to the surreal Elephant Hawk Moths.”

Elephant Hawk Moths

  

Master of Disguise

These tiny moths are equally fascinating.

  

A myriad of moths.

           

The next double page spread features Tulbaghias, Leucanthemum, Helenium and several different Hemerocallis.

“Tulbaghias seem to enjoy the weather, whatever it does. These look great in dappled shade beneath the outer limbs of a Quince tree.”

“Leucanthemum and Helenium catch the light so well. Their shaded petals add extra depth.”

 

I next featured a whole page of photos of Day Lilies, Hemerocallis.

“In the middle of the month we visited our friend Mark (Zennick) with his wonderfully colourful collection of Hemerocallis. As always we came away with a good selection from his nursery.”

Next we take a look at how the garden is being adversely effected by the dry hot weather, and then I share my paintings of Camassia seed heads.

I wrote, “Another quote from Dan Pearson, upon his return from a trip to the Hawaiian Islands ………”I returned to a wet English summer, where the smells were crisp and clean.” Anyone returning to England this July would be met by golden dried-up lawns, trees with wilting leaves and dead leaves on herbaceous perennials.”

Opposite I used water-based pencil crayons to record the different stages as the flowering stems of Camassias were drying out.

“As well as their beautiful spires of blue, cream or white  flowers, Camassias have lovely green pods which dry slowly to digestive biscuit colours.”

My final page for July in my Garden Journal 2018 show a few plants that seem to thrive in the dry conditions.

“July moved on still without rain and the garden continued to suffer. Flowers bloomed but lasted a very short time. The lawn simply remained brown and stopped growing. A few plants though performed really well.”

 

Agastache                              Scrophularia

 

Erigeron and Hebe                                    Clouds of Achilleas

Two deep purple Clematis

As I finished my journal entries for July there was still no sign of any appreciable rainfall, just occasional short-lived showers which hit the ground and evaporated immediately. August will hopefully be kinder to our Avocet garden and its resident plants.

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A Wander around our Garden in August

Our garden in August is a bright, colourful place full of lush growth, rich scent and so much wildlife to enjoy. Our wild birds are mostly quiet at present as August is the time when they hide away as they go through their annual moult. They have gone to ground and gone silent.

Above our heads however avian activity is busy and exciting. The Swallows and House Martins are feeding up in anticipation of their migration south. The sky is full of them, but the screaching of Swifts is absent as they began their own long journey a few weeks ago. For a few days there is a gap in the sounds – we miss them for their excited calls and aerial displays.

The calls of the young Buzzards can be heard above the Swallows and Martins, as they excitedly search out thermals and discover the joy of riding them. The Peregrines have reappeared now that their breeding season is over so we can watch the adult pairs rising in ever-higher circles until they disappear from view. Our eyes become incapable of seeing them as they become smaller, become dots and are then gone. They have the luxury of far better long distance vision than us – they will see the movement of their prey from hundreds of feet up in the air. A real treat is to spot them as they stoop, travelling down at speeds of over 200 miles per hour with a pigeon in their sights.

Yesterday when deadheading in one of our borders we were surprised by a low-flying, high speed Green Woodpecker who zoomed close to us, just a few feet away. A real treat!

Insect life is flourishing. On any warm bright day a variety of insects can be seen hunting out nectar and pollen. Butterflies, bees and hoverflies are attracted to Buddleias, Alliums, Salvias, Nepetas, Lavenders and Echinops. There are so many Peacock Butterflies around at the moment but you can’t have too many of them. The Holly Blues are much scarcer and flit continuously rarely seeming to settle.

Bees and hoverflies are attracted to our Lavender hedge which borders the lane which passes in front of our garden.

The ponds are full of life with shoals of young fish basking in the shallows, diving Beetles and Boatmen moving up to the surface and back to the bottom regularly. On the surface Pondskaters pace out the length and breadth of the pond surface. Young newts regularly appear at the surface take a gulp of air and drop back down. When Jude the Undergardener nets the duckweed and blanket weed from the pond she catches newts every time. She is delighted with every newt that graces her net. I am convinced that removing the weed is an excuse for her newt catching exploits. In August the majority of newts Jude catches are youngsters.

The front garden is looking good! So much colour! The Hot Border is HOT!

The “Beth Chatto Garden”, our gravel garden, is full of interest with Agapanthus taking centre stage. These Agapanthus were actually bought from the Beth Chattos Gardens nursery.

Early in August the front garden was dominated by yellow – even Jude the Undergardener was wearing yellow – but after a few weeks all the other colours caught up.

In the back garden the growth in our Secret Garden is exuberant to say the least. The foxgloves are going over but the achilleas, lychnis and alliums are still giving us a full performance.

Elsewhere in the borders of the back garden the seedheads of our Snakebark Acer add rich reds, Crocosmias give every shade of yellow, orange and red, Achilleas add subtlety and the spiky Erigeron flowers provide silver.

In the greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers and capsicums are adding sweetness and freshness to the cut-and-come-again mixed leaves of ours summer salads.

The world beyond our garden is changing this month as in our borrowed landscape the hay in the paddock has been cut and baled and the wheat fields turn gold and are being harvested one by one. By the time my September garden wander comes around the skys will seem empty as the Swallows and Martins will be on their way to warmer climes, but the garden will be getting busier with mixed feeding flocks of titmice and Goldcrests, and others of mixed finches.