This is my monthly review of the garden as a whole. What works, what doesn’t, what needs to change, that kinda thang. Let’s take a spin…

Rear Garden

First the overhead shot, taken by a passing troupe of garden trapeze artists. The overall impression is still one of lushness, I think. The combination of rain and sunshine that we have had, albeit in quite distinct blocks, have been good for the garden.

Here are the pots on the patio, increasingly a feature of my summer garden, mainly driven by having too many spare plants. I plan to up my pot game for next year, so I’ll be on the lookout for more attractive and larger pots, most of these are plastic buckets I’ve used for tulips in the past. I like the way it all looks and can imagine they may eventually rather take over. Oh well.

The Patio Border – As I suspected would happen, the right hand side of this border looked suddenly sparse on removing the finished poppies. I might have left the plants in for the seed heads which are attractive, but the foliage was a mess – out they came. I decided on a bit of a whim to move some plants about. A cosmos, two clumps of helenium and two lobelia ‘fan burgundy’ were moved. I was worried about the cosmos for a day or two, it wilted a bit, but soon recovered. I also added a hydrangea paniculata I got cheap on the sale bench. In time that will get quite large, but I figure I can keep it to required size through judicious pruning. Worst case it can come out if it gets too big. Anyhow, that right hand side should be considered a work in progress.

The Sunny Border – there is an unsatisfactory section of this border (2nd photo below) that I have attempted to address. I’ve removed anything I didn’t like, including a very scruffy foxglove, a good clump of slug-ravaged dahlia and a floppy penstemon. In their place I planted a decent clump of gladioli which were in a pot on the patio, a group of five aster ‘lady in blue’, an alstromeria, two achillea and a handful of still-small foxgloves with next spring in mind. Hopefully this will fill out a little in what remains of the growing season this year. Ah, and I planted a fuchsia ‘lady boothby’ on the fenceline, which should cover a decent area of fence if I train it right.

The Wisteria Border, incorporating Eye of Sauron. I love the front of this border but the back is just rubbish. In fact, while I love the front of the border, the plants are getting too big for it. I need to do something about. In fact, since taking these photos I have taken radical steps. I’ve removed most things from the back, and moved most things from the front to the back, then planted other stuff in the front. I’ll reveal all that in the August edition.

The Lilac Border – as it always does, the rogue nasturtium is sprawling about the place. I eventually get tired of it and pull most of it up, but there is always enough left to set seed. I planted the big cosmos at the front in the mistaken belief that it was a small one. Oops. Talking of big cosmos, I have some of the biggest beefiest cosmos I’ve ever grown this year, not sure why. The weather must have suited them. Perhaps I should move this enormous one, based on my Patio border experience, it would probably sulk then be Ok. It does rather obscure the planting behind it. In general, I remain much happier with this border than I ever have been. Enlarging it and stuffing with plants was a good move. Well done me.

The Shady Border – also embiggened recently, the new planting is filling out nicely. There is still much more bare fence than I would like. Between the viburnum tinus and the physocarpus there is a clematis montana. I thought it would leap away but is just sitting there. Perhaps it is too shady. Further along, the camellia will eventually get big enough to obscure the fence but in the meantime there is a honeysuckle and another clematis montana. Perhaps I need to look for an attractive ivy to do the job.

The Hibiscus Border – The helenium autumnale seem to get very tall in my garden, and this border is no exception. In this case they are concealing the titular hibiscus. Next year I think I will chop them back in May, Chelsea Chop stylie. That will knock them back a bit size-wise and make them flower later, but they’ll be more in proportion. The climbing rose at the base of the trellis, a ‘william lobb’ moss rose, is doing well. I think it will be visible next year and should romp up after that. I still have not found something that will grow up that bit of trellis on the brick pillar. I am reluctant to plant yet another clematis as I’ve killed two in that spot.

Front Garden

Again with the over tall helenium, I need to take them in hand. They are just about flowering now, all are a uniform shade of tedious yellow. I like them best when they have a bit of orange or red, but have never worked out what drives that colouration. Otherwise, things are looking full, perhaps too full, but not terribly colourful, the hollyhock are doing the majority of the heavy lifting there. I planted about 50 gladioli corms in here, so if they make a flowering appearance this year they should brighten things up for a while!

That’s it for this month, I’ll be back in a few weeks with the August Border Patrol.