So Spring is more or less done, depending on how you count it we are already in early Summer. It has been the sunniest, hottest, driest May for many years and the garden has mostly responded enthusiastically to this, although that has required much watering. A fringe benefit of lockdown is that I am around more to do this, and I am part way through installing a drip irrigation system around the whole garden. Expensive, but I consider it to be a down-payment against future wacky weather. I have been busy planting out the fruits of much propagating, so let’s take a look.

Rear Garden

Starting with the overhead view, taken by a swarm of escaping aphids. It was a job to persuade my foolish children to stop larking about so this photo could be achieved. They were quite determined to photobomb this post. As you look at it, the left side of the garden has filled out nicely, although there are a few gaps and sparser areas to be addressed, I think.

The Patio Border – For a while I’ve had it in mind to add some trellis to the back of this border. Having expanded and refurbished the two planters on the patio, I acquired some trellis and attached each one to the back (or front, perspective is important here!) of a planter. On the garden side I have planted a climbing rose, a tropaelolum ‘ken aslett’ and in the planters themselves a few morning glory plants. The roses are Lady Emma Hamilton and Mme Isaac Periere. The latter is a climber, the former can be trained as such. They probably won’t get too high this year, hence the other climbers. I’m pleased to see last year’s gladioli bargains are returning with vigour. Talking of vigour I’m impressed/alarmed at the growth rate of the crocosmia I planted last year. They are strapping lads. The new planting space, liberated from the lawn back in April, presented an opportunity. Without much forthought I have stuffed in spare divisions, plants grown from cuttings and of course some from seed. In here have gone helenium ‘sahin’s early flowerer’, helenium autumnale, salvia ‘amistad’, lobelia ‘fan burgundy’, cosmos, cornflowers plus some other front row plants that I moved when I expanded the border. Behind the new section will need a bit of work once the legion of annual poppies is done. I probably need another shrub or some taller perennials to go in front of the big asters right at the back. Talking of shrubs, I planted the cornus kousa ‘Miss Satomi’ despite being unhappy about its condition on arrival (I was offered at 50% discount so I opted to try my luck). It still looks a bit sorry for itself but is definitely putting out new growth, so I suspect it will be ok in the end. I’ve planted it in the corner where the cotinus lived.

The Sunny Border – boy has it been sunny! The roses on the fenceline have been enjoying the sunshine, as has the lobelia tupa which is massive, taller and bushier than it has ever been. I am feeling smug as I have this and other taller plants supported, just with canes and string. If and when it does rain properly they should not flop over too much. I think there is room for either a small shrub or a clump forming perennial of some kind, or both, in that area between the lobelia tupa and the salvia hot lips. I haven’t yet got around to planting the annual and tender climbers. Partly this is out of concern for their wellbeing if I plant small plants behind the bushier stuff, I’m concerned they won’t get enough light. Perhaps I shouldn’t fret, see what happens.

The Wisteria Border, incorporating the Eye of Sauron. The overall effect is pleasing, but I remain unsatisfied by the planting in the original border, along the wisteria trellis. Not helped by the remaining untidy bulb foliage there are gaps and spaces that could be filled, either with something structural in the shrub department, or with other planting, perennial or otherwise. The area in the foreground of the second picture is particularly unsatisfactory. When the poppies go over it will not any better. I need to have a proper think about it, my usual haphazard “stuff it in” approach is not cutting the mustard here. I can see soil, never a good sign. That said, the overall effect is quite ok, I just think it can be improved.

The Lilac Border – the lilac itself has finished flowering, it was wonderful while it lasted and very fragrant. The expanded border is looking better. I’ve stuffed a few more plants in, and those already there are filling out a bit. I am in wait and see mode, I can adjust as needed. The new front section gets quite a lot of sun in the afternoon so some of the shadier characters may need moving, especially the impatiens omeiana which shrivels visibly when blasted with our recent strong sunshine.

The Shady Border – I think I am getting there with this one. I have planted two new shrubs. Between the fatsia and the physocarpus is a viburnum tinus ‘Lisarose’. Between the pittosporum and the scruffy weigela is a camellia ‘nuncios pearl’. They should both fill out and grow pretty quickly and are both evergreen so will help with winter interest too. I have also planted other things in what is now the sunnier front row, mostly just spare stuff plus some new plants bought specifically to handle a partial shade aspect. We’ll see what the overall effect is when it all grows on.

The Side Passage

Worth a brief mention as I’m pretty happy with it just now.

The Front Garden

It’s beginning to feel quite overgrown, in a good way I think. There are a few bare patches but not so as you’d notice, particularly, and I have a few things I could stuff in those gaps anyway. I still have some annual climbers to plant against the fence, already partly covered by clematis tangutica and several eccremocarpus scaber.

Finally my little bit of guerilla gardening. This gets even more random things stuffed in than the rest of the garden, just bits and bobs. It is filling out and has some colour to it now too.

That’s the tour. Things should have moved on in a month when I’ll be back for another Border Patrol.