Sunday, 15 November 2015

GBBD: Gunnera standing tall

A torch during tonight’s night garden walk in the rain revealed soggy flowers from Japanese Anemones and Astrantia - their white, pink and deep red flowers are fading with each day just now. Osteospermum ‘Stardust’, the hardy geranium ‘Rozanne’ and Gentiana sino-ornata all had one folded flower nodding as if asleep in the rain.

The level of the wildlife pond has swollen with the heavy rainfall of late. Heuchera ‘Marmalade’ is trying to flower around its edge. Almost black berries from Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' are nearby. Deep purple berries on the recent planting of Liriope muscari 'Royal Purple' are shrivelling away. At the same time the intense red berries on two small Cotoneaster trees are proving too tempting a treat for Blackbirds and Woodpigeons – how long will they last?

Meconopsis and White Campion not flowering in my garden today.

Odd white flowers are like tiny bright lights in the night garden. An upright variety of Campanula hides in a sheltered corner away from the winds, a Jasmine scrambles up through a trellis and Bacopa 'Snowflake' tumbles down from a container. Out in the open, flat caps of pink Sedum flowers are fading fast - no butterflies or bees will feed from them now.

Holding on a bit better, this dark November Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, are the flowers of Lavender, Erysimum 'Bowles' Mauve, Hardy Fushia ‘Mrs W P Wood' and Field Scabious. Catching the rays of light from tonight’s torch were the tiny, pretty pink flowers of the heather ‘Peter Sparkes’ (planted to attract Bullfinches).

The star of tonight’s night garden stood tall in almost defiance of the rain and wind. Not your typical GBBD flower style either. The two flower spikes of a Gunnera looked in perfect condition and in complete contrast to their wilting, soggy leaves falling to the ground around them – a strangely surreal sight tonight.

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in November 2015.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Lilyturf

Liriope muscari 'Royal Purple'

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in September 2015.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Alternative companion planting

Silver Anniversary Rose with a scattering of Confetti (Mix)

Confetti for this wedding related rose wasn’t a planned companion planting.
It was only in reviewing photos I realised this fun, accidental spin.

Virginian Stock ‘Confetti Mix’ seeds sown direct in border back on May 23rd.

Confetti mix was intended as summer filler in area of limited planting depth.

Traditional companion planting is much more practical. Growing French marigolds near tomatoes is the first planting that comes to my mind here. I have childhood memories of my Mum doing this (the strong smelling Marigolds were believed to be good at repelling greenfly and blackfly). Ha-ha... the Marigolds certainly repelled myself and my siblings from touching the growing fruits that's for sure!

Companion planting is all about creating plant communities which have mutual benefits to each other. It can be an organic way to protect your crops from pests or it could help improve pollination of fruit and vegetable crops. Although there is limited scientific research surrounding companion gardening, many gardeners find it extremely beneficial to their plant’s performance. In this article we’ve put together the best known partnerships in flowers, herbs and vegetables to help you improve the health of your garden plants without needing to resort to pesticides.
Companion Planting Guide, Thompson & Morgan

Combining your plants in the right way can be good for their health and growth, as well as from an aesthetic point of view. This guide explains which species can work together and what the key benefits are.
Companion planting, Gardening guides, BBC

Planting combinations for pollinators can be seriously rewarding for the gardener too. This year our small front garden, main border above, has been an absolute joy to see grow and become a-buzz with bees, butterflies and other insects. This area was given a raised path edge earlier this year and has become everything I hoped it would be and more.

Last year’s plant residents enjoying this sunny spot (Buddleja ‘Buzz Ivory’, Drumstick Alliums, Sedum, Foxglove 'Milk Chocolate' & Acanthus) have been joined this year by new edging strips of Lavender & Thyme, a white Echinacea (Coneflower), Verbena bonariensis 'Lollipop' and Aubrietia cascading over the rocky wall edges.

August just had to bow out with a few more images to look back on. The next sunny evening we get, I’ll take a seat out here and sit with my cameras… that will be my reward for the hard work in removing a tired but well-loved, well-behaved bamboo that has given up a prime sunny space for plants to attract pollinators.

Lucky iPhone capture of small tortoiseshell butterfly :-)

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in August 2015.