Holidays prevented my ritual end of month photo taking, so these were taken about a week into September. Close enough, I’d say.

Rear Garden

First the overhead shot, taken from the stars by gardening aliens, probably using some kind of interstellar telescope app.

I’m keeping a close eye on the patio pots too, they are breeding. Recently added were a number of dahlias, a mix of pukka plant purchases, some scruffy (now tidy) pity bench bargains and several slug-ravaged refugees from my borders. I need to get into the habit of a monthly pot purchase, I would quickly build up a good inventory of nice pots to replace the black buckets that currently make up most of the display. I am also beginning to realise that I am storing up a problem – I usually use those black buckets for the spring tulip display. Most of the plants in them now are perennials, there mostly because there isn’t room for them in the borders. I have about two months to figure that out as several hundred tulips await the space.

The Patio Border. Strange things have happened to the cercis canadensis. Half of it appears to have died. The leaves suddenly shrivelled up and dropped. Apparently it is a temperamental tree variety. I am hopeful that hot drying wind was the culprit, or scorching maybe. The other side of the tree which is less exposed seems to be hanging in there. Aside from that, I remain happy with the view in the first photo, although I’m concerned about Lady Emma Hamilton, crouching behind all that, somewhat smothered by the loosestrife. I think she will kick on next spring, racing the loosestrife for light. I cut back two geranium ‘rosanne’ that were no longer flowering much and were making a bid for world domination. Their severe haircut has left a bit of a yawning gap in the border. The corner needs a bit of a rethink too. I planted several helenium and salvia to surround the cornus kousa. They have done altogether too good a job of that, poor ‘Miss Satomi’ is missing in action, I hope she is alright.

The Sunny Border. I put several plants in the central gap, the result of a clearout of poor performers. I’m happy with some of it, but I think there remains an opportunity. I’ve planted a fuchsia ‘Lady Boothby’, a tall variety that should serve as fence coverage once it settles in. I may also remove the salvia ‘hot lips’, it is a bully. Having cut it back hard in the spring it is now enormous. I wonder if it needs another hack back in mid season, just to show it who’s boss. The far end has been embellished with plants moved from elsewhere in the garden, but I think it still looks a bit of a mess, not helped by the wind and heavy rain we had in the last month or two. My plant support efforts were not up to the job, it seems, resulting in a leaning tower of helenium. On that topic, I am beginning to dislike the colour of these flowers, the default yellow is rather brash. I now have a few other helenium cultivars which are better colours, perhaps I will divide those and replace. Or maybe I’d be less annoyed with them if they weren’t collapsing about the place.

The Wisteria Border, incorporating The Eye of Sauron. Last month I think I mentioned that I’d had a bit of a rethink. The back of the border, against the trellis, has been unsatisfactory for some time now, and I was also getting annoyed by the plants in the front, many of which had grown too large. In short, I removed the too-big plants and moved most of them to the back, planting a bunch of new plants in their place. I chose a really hot and sunny day to move them all, but I got away with it via much watering. It’s definitely a work in progress, but I’m happier with it now.

The Lilac Border. I’m eyeing up the Joe Pye weed on the left. Today I saw a fantastic example in a photo from a garden in Canada, a very vivid purple. It so put mine to shame that I am minded to dig mine up. I have a chinese rhubarb that might just about fit in there, although it apparently gets to 3m across! In my defence, I bought it as I thought it got to 1m, but that seems to be the dimensions of the leaves. Oops. Aside from Joe Pye being a disappointment, and inappropriate placing of a very tall cosmos, I’m pretty happy with this border, certainly in comparison to this time last year.

The Shady Border. I think I have the solution to the fence problem. I recently bought a suitable ivy – hedera azorica. It allegedly gets to upwards of 10m tall, but I plan to train it along the fence on wires. This variety has large leaves and big clusters of amber berries. I also think I will remove the weigela which has never been in the right place, and I have better coloured weigela elsewhere. No room in my life for plants I don’t love, so out it should come. That will leave room for something else, of course, a nice problem to have.

The Hibiscus Border – again with the helenium! Tucked behind that is the titular hibiscus, which did flower but not so you’d know it. Strangely, I like the rudbeckia a lot. Although yellow, ‘goldsturm’ has enough of the gold about it to be attractive, and the dark centre tops it off. Behind those crouches a moss rose, ‘William Lobb’. It is doing quite well, getting a bit more light than the other two I planted at the base of similar trellis in the Patio Border. I finally planted something at the base of that little trellis on the corner. A burial ground for failed plants, I am hopeful that the fuchsia will buck the trend. I forget which it is, either ‘lady boothby’ or ‘riccartoni’. The former is sold as a climber, really just a tall variety that can be trained, the latter is just a big shrub that I hope I can prune and train for trellis living.

Side Passage. I have the planters hooked up to the irrigation system now so they all get a daily sprinkle, and I have to say everything looks a lot happier for it. I think those planters dried out faster than I allowed for when watering manually, which is dangerous when in combination with being a bit out of sight, out of mind.

Front Garden. those pesky helenium again, I don’t like that they are the dominant colour in the front garden at the moment. They may be living on borrowed time. I might be tempted to give them one last chance next year with the addition of a Chelsea Chop, something I have neglected thus far. The fence is less covered than I’d hoped, so some work to do on that next year. I have several clematis waiting for a spot, so that may do it. In the meantime I have planted another tall fuchsia. the gladioli have been something of a disappointment, I planted dozens of them earlier in the summer. They are not growing well, perhaps they are not getting enough water via the irrigation system. Some adjustments may be necessary. Perhaps they are just biding their time and will perform better next year. Or perhaps they are just swamped by the overexuberant growth that surrounds them. “Overgrown” – that is a word I have been reflecting upon recently. Does it mean the plants that are there have gone a bit wild, naughty plants? Or does it mean that there are too many plants, naughty gardener?

That’s it for August, I’ll be back in a few weeks for another Border Patrol, when autumn will be well and truly upon us and the first frosts will be nigh.