I didn’t quite get around to July (although it was July before I published June’s). It’s probably not a bad thing as the garden was looking pretty ropy during July, wilting under blow-torch conditions. These photos were taken on a dull day last weekend.
Rear Garden

Border 1 – Look at the state of that lawn! It’s like a biscuit in places. The loosestrife is doing its thing, which is to say sprawling about the place. It was nice and upright until it rained heavily in mid-August. The cotinus in the corner has gone loco since being pruned hard back in March – it has put on a good 9′ or 10′ of growth. Unlike last year, most of the stems are fairly upright and straight – it’s normal MO is to flop about the place rather uselessly, so this is encouraging. This border is a bit drab in general. Next year I need to zuzz it up a bit.

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Border 2 – The long sunny border. It has been a job to keep this border alive, never mind looking good. The roses and clematis along the fenceline have tried their best but have been parched from time to time. One of the roses has been stripped, sawfly I expect, but most of them have put on some worthwhile growth. I’ll need to train them in properly in February, when I can see what’s what. This border is book-ended with tall shrubs or plants, but sags in the middle. I was hoping the climbers along the fenceline would fill that role, but I don’t think they can do it on their own. As part of the general changes to the layout I may expand this border which would give me a bit of room for some taller sun-loving shrubs. I’m thinking of growing some foliage plants in here too – ricinus being a recent addition to the want list. The tagetes ‘cinnabar’, tithonia ‘red torch’ and zinnia ‘queen red lime’ have been good value this year, I would grow all of them again I think. I don’t know what has got into the helenium, they are half as tall again as they normally are – easily 6′ tall. I wonder if they have appreciated my zealous watering attention.

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Border 3 – the Wisteria border. The new seating area is bedding in nicely, the new planting in front of it is filling out. There is a mix of annuals, perennials and shrubs in there, I will see how it looks next summer and move stuff if needed. Talking of moving stuff, buried in the tithonia and zinnia is a decent clump of aster and also a pretty hibiscus, both all but invisible. There was plenty of room when I planted them! Never been a stickler for planting distances, often to the detriment of the overall effect – whatever, I can move them. The planting behind the patio area leaves a bit to be desired. The wisteria has been rampant this year, but there is an obvious gap in the middle of the border that I’d like to fill. There is a perovskia in there, and some salvia grown from seed this year, all still small. Those will help but I think I need something else. Something to think about.

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Border 4 – The lilac border. The wisteria has been doing a good job colonising this side of the arch, by the time it has finished growing this year it will have reached the far end of the trellis. I’ll tie it in properly in the winter when I can see what I’m doing. Hopefully I’ll get some good flowers on this side next year. Otherwise, this border has been quite full, the clematis ‘rebecca’ being particularly good although it is finished now. It has clearly established itself fully and should be good for many years to come. I’m not convinced the white phlox earn their place in this border, I think I’d like more colour.

Border 5 – the shady border. Thank goodness for a bit of shade. This border has not required anything like the tender ministrations of the sunny border. This is helped by mostly being shrubs and underplanting. The shrubs are well established and probably have a deep root network, and they provide some more shade for the underplanting. This border is beginning to look quite lush, I still think there are some gaps that could usefully be filled. Last weekend I planted some eurybia divaricata, or white wood aster, a shade tolerant plant. It should grow to 60cm or so.

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Border 6 – The pathetic border. The much put-off expansion of this little border still hasn’t happened. But it will! When (if) I get around to it, the grass you can see in front of it will mostly go, which should give me an opportunity to put some more interesting plants in. As it stands, it’s a bit meh. On the plus side, on the right side are some eryngium planum that I grew from root cuttings last winter. No flowers yet, but they have begun to throw up stems, so maybe I’ll get a late bloom. The gaura has flopped over so it is not looking its best. Pruning will sort it out. In the mean time I think I will take some cuttings, I do like it. I still have not found anything to go up that bit of trellis. Next year…

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Side alley – I’m happy with the two on the right, the roses, clematis and honeysuckle have established pretty well. The planter on the back-left is not great. It is in full shade, and currently has a random selection of things in there, none of which is particularly happy. I need to do some research and find some plants that will thrive in dry-ish shade. The living wall/fern thingy has done OK. The ferns were all quite small when I got them, so I’ll take this as a year of consolidation. I am expecting better things next year. Overall I am happy with the difference these planters have made to what was a fairly dull access path. –

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Front garden

We’ll take this as a job lot. At times this year the front garden has been great, very lush, then the hot summer combined with neglect on my part knocked it back. A quick tidy up the other day has made a difference, and it is still much better than what was there 18 months ago.

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That’s the lot for this month. I’ll be back next month for another Border Patrol, when autumn will have begun to take hold.

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