A video tour of the roses in Our Garden@19.
Please turn your sound on watch on YouTube and select full screen and enjoy.
A video tour of the roses in Our Garden@19.
Please turn your sound on watch on YouTube and select full screen and enjoy.
Historically August has been viewed as a low period for the garden, due in part, I think, to owners of large estates traditionally moving to Scotland for the grouse season, today it is the main holiday season for everyone with school children. (Except for this year). High temperatures such as the ones we experienced early in the month this year can spell the end of some plants, such as my Sweetpeas.
It does not have to be so. There are a wide choice of plants to fill the borders in August, Phlox, Japanese anemone, roses, if you have deadheaded, dahlias, late sown annuals, pot plants such as pelargoniums, asters are just beginning to flower complimenting ornamental grasses for the late summer look.
The video is of Our Garden@19 filmed towards the end of the month and following the heavy rain and winds. Please select full screen and turn on your sound.
What has survived the August weather in your garden?
In August 2019 Irene and I were invited to a family event near Lincoln, this provided the perfect opportunity to visit a garden that has long been on my wish list ever since reading about their technique for growing Bearded Iris. Sadly when we visited the iris were over, however, as with all good gardens, there was much else to admire. We have many bearded Iris in the garden, several inherited from my Mother and Great Aunts’ gardens. Bearded iris have beautiful delicate, often fleeting flowers, due to our weather, which can make them even more precious.
Bearded Iris has fallen out of favour due largely to the traditional way of caring for them, with the need to lift and thin them, in the autumn, every three to four years. The “Doddington system” is a trouble-free way to divide them, requiring minimum attention. Some of their older iris have been in the same beds for over 30 years.
Their system is based on the fact that bearded iris set their flower initials in August and require the rhizomes to be warmed by the summer sun.
The iris are split every year after flowering in June, just as the new leaves start to grow. The iris are not lifted but split with a spade, leaving the healthy young rhizome with shoots, whilst removing the old rhizome. the aim is to leave 9-12″ between plants. Then you remove the early summer leaves and flower stems leaving the new late summer leaves. They topdress the bed with bone meal, I use rose fertiliser because foxes are attracted to bone meal. Large rhizomes can be divide with the spade with one part lifted to transplant, either to fill a gap, expand the bed or pot up to sell on open garden days.
I have been using this system since 2014, I was initially attracted because it entailed much less bending, having had a back problem for some years.
Bearded iris in Our Garden@19
Another interesting fact with Doddington is they contain the Bryan Dodsworth iris collection. He was the most celebrated C20 British breeder of Tall Bearded Iris and was awarded the Dykes Medal for new varieties 12 times.
This garden description is from their website:Doddington Hall.com
“For many, the Gardens at Doddington are just as spectacular as the Hall itself. Remaining faithful to the original Elizabethan layout, mellow walls provide the framework for the formal East Front and West Gardens. Beyond the West Gardens begin the lovingly restored Wild Gardens. Over the generations, most recently by Antony and Victoria Jarvis and Claire and James Birch, the gardens at Doddington have been restored, cared for, nurtured and developed to their fullest potential.
The point at which the dramatic nature of the architecture of the Hall becomes apparent. A regular pattern of box edging and topiary follows the outer original Elizabethan walls, leaving the central view of the Hall from the Gate House uninterrupted. Standing guard in the forecourt are four topiary unicorns, representing the Jarvis family crest.
Reorganised in 1900 with the help of experts from Kew, the West Garden is a riot of colour from April through to September. Wide borders filled with botanical surprises such as the naturalised Crown Imperials, elegant Edwardian Daffodils and a Handkerchief Tree frame a tapestry of box-edged parterres bursting with glorious Bearded Irises in late May/early June.
A spectacular pageant of spring bulbs begins in early February with swathes of snowdrops and Crocus tommasinianus, continuing through March and early April with drifts of Lent Lilies and our unique collection of heritage daffodils, winter aconites and snake head fritillaries until May when our famous Irises steal the show in the West Garden. There are also winter-flowering and scented shrubs, Rhododendron, and an underlying structure is given by topiary and some wonderful trees – the ancient, contorted Sweet Chestnuts that overlook the croquet lawn are still productive.
Meandering paths lead you to our Temple of the Winds built by Antony Jarvis in memory of his parents, a turf maze that he made in the 1980s, and if you look hard you may find the ‘dinosaur’s egg’ (a large boulder that he put in the branches of a field maple tree to surprise the grandchildren).
A nature trail starting from just beyond the Temple at the end of the Garden follows a circular route back to the ‘ha ha’ at the end of the Yew avenue and provides a pleasant and interesting walk of about a mile. The route passes through woodlands, open parkland and a wetland meadow from where the clay was dug to make the bricks to build Doddington.
Thanks to a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the formerly neglected two-acre Walled Kitchen Garden was restored to its former glory in 2007. Just a stone’s throw from the Hall it now provides an abundance of fruit, vegetables, salads and herbs which take centre stage on the Café and Restaurant menus and are regularly for sale in our Farm Shop.
By implementing organic techniques including crop rotation, minimum tillage, biological controls, the use of green manures as well as no-dig beds, we are able to naturally maximise productivity and minimise pests so we have no need for chemical fertilisers, weed killers or pesticides.”
A great name for an Iris!
If you have an opportunity I would recommend a visit to Doddington Hall, besides the hall and gardens, they have a cafe, restaurant, farm shop and several other shopping outlets, you can even get married there.
When we purchased the house, I designed the garden and the rear of the main border, now named the blue border, was planted with climbing roses, trained to rope swags. Unfortunately, the rope soon rotted and was replaced with trellis. Now several years later the trellis along with some of the posts required replacing this winter. With a coil of blue rope already in stock, I have gone back to plan A. The posts have been replaced, painted to match the colour scheme and furnished with new fittings. I also took the opportunity to remove two of the oldest roses. They came with us from our previous garden and there are still two identical ones elsewhere in the garden. Managing so many vigorous rambling/climbing rose was becoming quite hard work. (Old age, mine not the roses). These will be replaced with clematis, joining some already there.
You may notice, in the picture above, lots of plant debris on the garden. I recently read an article about the Melinium Garden at Pentsthorpe Natural Park in Norfolk, which we had visited in 2012. This garden was designed by Piet Oudolf, the internationally famous dutch nurseryman and garden designer, known for his prairie style planting. Historically, the many perennials and grasses were not cut down in the garden until February, to provide winter shelter for insects, and then removed to giant compost heaps. According to the article, they now cut it all down in small bites, or pieces, leaving it on the ground as a mulch, to continue providing homes for the wildlife.
While I do not claim this border to be ‘prairie planting’, it does contain perennials and grasses so I decided to experiment with cutting it down in small bites, leaving it as a mulch. I did this using garden shears if you had more to do you could use a hedge cutter (Mine has broken).
I will add my usual mulch on top of this in March, I do it then to smother the chickweed, which germinates here around that time. It will be interesting to see how it develops, I don’t think it will suit the tidy gardener. However, we are constantly being advised that as gardeners we should be a little more untidy to help the wildlife.
I will record progress with photos and publish them later in the year.
Have you tried this in your garden?
I have to confess to watching many of the gardening programs on television along with reading gardening magazines, books and of course blogs, for inspiration in planting and design.
One programme featured, what I thought was a good structural design for supporting climbing plants.
When I had finished building my version, I thought it looked too much like railway signals. The original one had used wider timber.
My design consultant (Irene) convinced me it was okay and would soon be covered by the Rose.
I have either been brave or stupid (you will, I am sure, have your own opinion) planted a Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’, which I have grown from a cutting, to help screen one side of a shed. This is the one I have built the support for.
This is the rose the cutting came from! It has never been pruned.
Will it be ideal to ‘train’ a Rose over?
It will certainly need to be pruned.
What is bringing you July Garden Joy?
The National Garden Scheme has posted this quote on their website.
“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” William Cullen Bryant (1794 – 1878)
You can view their Autumn Smile here
What is making you smile this Autumn?
On Saturday the Black Pear Gardening Club visited Blackmore Grange, owned by Doug and Anne Robertson. A total of £206 was raised and donated to St. Richards Hospice, Worcester. The Hospice has recently launched a fundraising drive to support its £5.3m expansion plan. You can find out more via this Link
41 members visited on a beautifully sunny day (another one!), to enjoy the garden and tea and biscuits (of course). Anne also invited members to bring along a picnic to enjoy in the garden.
Anne, a knowledgeable plants women, has previously opened her garden for the NGS. This quote is from the 2011 NGS Yellow Book.
Blackmore Grange. “All year round two acre rural garden surrounds the family home. Packed with a large variety of plants, shrubs and trees. The swimming pool has been transformed into the stable garden, an outstanding area of traditional cottage-style planting. Also a mixed orchard, woodland walk, mixed planting beds and kitchen garden”. Described by Chris Beardshaw as “A natural garden full of interest and variety”.
One entrance to the garden is along this woodland path…
…where you arrive into one of many seating ares in the garden.
From here you have views across the sweeping lawn in front of the house towards two curved borders one edging the west facing terrace, the other viewed across the lawn…
These borders are packed with plants, amongst those enjoying the summer sun were fennel and lavender…
…and this beautiful dark blue agapanthus ‘Navy Blue’…
Following this path along side the border…
…past a thriving kniphoia…
…you enter the stable garden…
…where the teas were served.
The plants which caught everyones’ attention here were the dark red dahlias, ‘Chat Noir’, ‘Rip City’, ‘Sam Hopkins’ and with its dark foliage, ‘Kamar Choc’…
…a double Hollyhock…
and this delphinium ‘Faust’.
Verbena bonariensis, agapanthus and succulents growing in the gravel and broken pots.
Climbers including, ornamental vines, roses and clematis, cover the pergola and scrambled up through support plants.
This dahlia and hydrangea add a splash of light colour, providing a perfect contrast to the smoke bush, several of which were flowering in the garden.
Leaving the stable yard garden for the woodland walk, some of the roses were still flowering with their hips just beginning to develop their autumn scarlet colour.
A welcome bench in the shade…
Anne, on the right with club member Betty Mills.
It is important to read the plant label to ensure you have the correct name to go with the photo.
Turning back towards the house you see the mixed orchard, which is underplanted with spring bulbs and roses growing up into some of the more mature apple trees. In the centre of the lawn, is a magnificent tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera.
Near the house, down some steps, is Anne’s potting shed and the kitchen garden with its fruit cage full of ripening fruit…
…and at the rear, an impressive pot display of hostas, acers and seasonal bedding plants.
No one was in any hurry to leave, enjoying the weather and the setting in this “Natural garden full of interest and variety”.
These winter months are the time of year I try to carry out any ‘estate’ maintenance along with completing the pruning of the climbing/rambling roses, wisteria, vines, the apples and pear trees.
These all require the use of a ladder, which in the past has involved balancing on the top of a rather unsteady step ladder. Having some time ago reached the age where I don’t bounce so well and not wishing to add to the queues at the local hospital A&E department I have invested in a Henchman ladder. This is one of the best investments I have made in garden equipment. The ladder is similar to the Japanese tripod ladders, with adjustable leg heights to accommodate different ground levels and a bar at the top that you can safely lean into, so long as you don’t go any higher than recommended. This feature doesn’t seem to appear on the Japanese ladders which was the deciding factor for me when making my choice. They are made in the UK from aluminium and therefore very light to carry and come in different sizes. I did feel very safe using it this year, it can also serve as a coffee table!
You can view more details Henchman Ladders.
Two jobs required the help of a local builder, one has been the replacement of the walls to the raised herb bed. I originally built it, in 2004, with treated timber planks, as these have rotted away in places, I decided to replace them with new sleeper timbers.
This bed is also home to a climbing ‘Albertine’ rose, on the trellis, a red currant fan trained along the side fence and a standard red gooseberry in the centre. The new bed is not as big, therefore more of the herbs will be in either terracotta pots or the old galvanised bath and buckets.
The lawn just off the patio always looks a mess, especially at this time of year, it is not very wide and all the foot traffic passes through here ( human and animal ). I have had it edged with porous black pavers, to match the ones incorporated into the patio design. Wether the grass remains, in this small area, or is replaced with gravel, is yet to be decided. Another option is artificial grass, I am following Cathy at Rambling in the Garden’s progress, with interest, to see how she gets on with her small installation.
I have also edged the fence along the Green and White garden with the pavers to save having to strim the grass.
Our neighbour has a willow (Salix) tree right against the boundary fence by the Oriental garden. We have dropped several, so far unsuccessful, hints regarding keeping it pollarded to prevent it becoming to dominant.
I decided to remove the worst offending boughs, the main branches will be placed, in a corner of the garden, to become a wildlife sanctuary, with the whips along with some Cornus trimmings, being woven into a small natural edge to the bed behind the banana bench. The remainder will be chipped for mulching around the shrubs in the Oriental garden.
My compost bins are in a poor state of repair and need replacing. I have for two years, had one of the local authority garden waste recycling bins. This has reduced the need for so many bins here. I have replaced one with an extra leaf bin, this is such a useful garden by-product, either for mulching or adding to potting compost that I don’t send it away from the garden.
We have recently taken delivery of 400 NGS Worcestershire County booklets this month to distribute around local shops, libraries and any garden clubs we visit. We also have our county AGM and lunch this month, where we garden openers collect all the publicity material for our open days. It reminds us the clock is ticking ( I think I have heard that before with a french accent!)
We have been fortunate to have recently enjoyed some winter sun, thus enabling me to make some progress on the maintenance list, while enjoying the winter sunshine, entertained by bird song.
What winter maintenance projects do you have for your garden?
I am joining Chloris and her many followers in posting my Top Ten for November, please visit The Blooming Garden to see what their Top Ten are.
Number one, the seed heads of the Lunaria, which provides a silvery shine in the low November sunlight. This plant provides interest through out the whole year, from the young leaves with their maroon spots, the dark purple flowers and now the seed heads.
…growing in front is a young Cotinus, we lost a mature one a few years ago, therefore we are looking forward to this one developing and flowering in the future.
These two ‘Grasses’ make a striking feature at the end of the pebble river in the Oriental Garden. I originally saw this plant combination when visiting The Bressingham Gardens, Nr Diss, Norfolk.
This Viburnum, in the White and Green Garden, is one of the earliest flowering shrubs in the garden. It flowers from early autumn through to late spring, and looks particularly good when there is a blue sky behind it.
Anna from the The Greentapestry was recently singing the praises of this rose, mentioning that it flowers from July to November.
Here it is in the Iris bed on the south side of the house…
…along with ‘ ‘Geoff Hamilton’, I am hoping this bud will open.
I will always have Viola’s in the garden, whether it’s the diminutive ‘Heartsease’ which I grow from seed, (it does also self seed), or ones purchased from garden centres to provide colour through out winter.
We were given two Clivia three years ago, one flowered the first year, none the next year and one, (yippie!) so far this year.
I am not sure if Number ten qualifies for a November favourite, although it is one of mine and it is in the garden. The first sighting, today, of the female Blackcap on the bird feeders. I always like to see the arrival of this aggressive little bird, she always arrives before the male and tries to defend the feeders from all comers. the down side is that it heralds the arrival of winter weather, ‘Up North’ which will eventually make its way here.
This is a picture from 2014, they are quite nervous and therefore difficult to photograph. You can see more ‘Birdie” pictures by clicking the Wildlife Category.
That is my Top Ten in Our Garden@ 19, for November, I wonder what will be around for December?
Choosing my Top Ten flowers in Our garden@19 is difficult at any time of year, however one for October has to be the Michaelmas Daisy. (Aster/ Symphyotrichum.)
This white one appeared in the garden two years ago. I think it may have come in with another plant. It is a runner (ie.invasive) by the appearance of its roots, I was unsure whether to keep it, until it flowers then, when it does, I relent.
I like the way it blends in beautifully with number two, the Acer griseum, ( I know its not a flower, I hope Chloris approves*, See below) with its peeling cinnamon like bark…
…along with the Molina ‘Karl Foerster’. The Grasses make a lovely contribution to the October garden, therefore they are my number three.
Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ has been a feature in this garden ever since I first saw it in Bob Brown’s, Cotswold Flowers, display beds. It stands at the back of the border, stiff and upright without the need for support.
In the White and Green garden the amazingly reliable Iceberg rose is still flowering…
…along with a late planted Sweet Pea that has decided to climb up the Taxus bac. Fastigiata.
Sedum do not seem to do very well in Our Garden@19 so this one is very welcome.
The Crab Apple ‘Golden Hornet’ is in its second period of glory*, blossom being the first. it is growing alongside the raised bed containing ‘THE’ Dahlia for me ‘David Howard’.
The arch is covered with the ornamental vine ‘Spetchley Red’ through which…
…you can stroll to the banana bench and sit, to take in all the autumn colours in Our Garden@19.
I am joining in with Chloris * and other bloggers posting our Top Ten for October. Please visit them using the link to see their selection.
Walking around Our Garden@19 the other evening there were some notable signs of autumn, not least in the temperture.
Some of the plants are starting to develop their seasonal colours. Please join me on a short walk through the garden.
The first to catch your eye is the flowering cherry tree between the patio and the oriental garden…
…wherein you will find the first Acer to change into its autumn coat..
Walking up the garden via the shrubbery path you pass a large arching Cotoneaster lacteus, this can look wonderful either trained flat against a fence or wall or, as here, left to grow freely at the back of a border…
…from there you arrive at the banana bench overlooked by the Green Man who is surround by The Boston Ivy.
After a rest on the bench in the autumn sunshine if you follow the never ending woodland walk you pass the Rose glauca, with its slaty blue leaves and bright red hips.
Further along, providing colour all year round is the Prunus serrula…
…with its beautiful tactile bark.
While Autumn can be a little depressing due to its heralding oncoming winter, the plants brighten up our days with their fiery colourful, leaves, berries and bark.
What is brightening up your autumn garden?
It is often said that August is a poor time for English gardens, if you visit Chloris At The Blooming Garden. you will see how wrong that statement can be.
I am joining in with Chloris and all the other garden bloggers with my ten favourite Plants for August.
In no particular order of preference, the first three are in the White & Green Garden.
They are Rosa ‘Iceberg’ well into its second flowering period, with the Japanese Anenome and the Phlox paniculata ‘White Admiral’.
Number four and new to the garden this year is the Gladiolus papilio. I purchased this one when visiting Moyclare Gardens, Cornwall Here The corms originally came as a gift from the renowned Cottage Gardener, Margery Fish.
Five and six are foliage plants, Eucomis comosa ‘Sparkling Burgundy’…
…and Colocasia ‘Black Dragon’.
These two are both in pots, they are entered into the village show today, respectively as a flowering and foliage pot plant.
Number seven in the charts is another pot plant, Aeonium arborean atropurpurem. This being a tender plant spends its summers in the south facing front garden.
I do like to see Bronze Fennel in the garden, both for its scent when you brush against it and its delicate flowers. The insects appreciate it too. I usually propagate some from seed each year, although given the right conditions it will self seed.
Number nine is the Echinops ritro, this will also self seed. I was originally given a plant by someone who was removing it from their garden because it spreads. It has been well behaved here, it is another the pollinators love.
Last but not least is the Pelargonium ‘Frank Hedley’ AGM…
…with its crimson red flower and variegated leaves, it is a winning addition to the late summer garden.
Do you have favourite August flowers?
To see what others have posted as their favourite plants for August please visit Chloris using the link at the top of the page.
One problem for a gardener who chooses to go away on holiday in May is the work preparing to go away and then to catch up on your return. This is especially so when you have an open garden date looming in June. This also applies to catching up on reading and writing blogs.
Here is a quick tour of our garden@19 to see what is currently performing following the absences of the gardener.
The copper barrier has so far protected the Hostas, although we have not yet had any challenging slug weather. (warm rain).
Leading off the patio the white wisteria has survived the late frost and is now in full bloom.
The White and Green garden is home to Hosta Patriot, the white Hesperis matronalis…
…and Allium Mount Everest.
The Iris are at their peak, here in the front garden…
Also in the Blue Border along with Allium Purple Sensation and Euphorbia ‘palustris’ is…
The Iris sibirica are just stating to open, this is such an easy, beautiful plant to grow.
The Welsh Poppy cheerfully seeds itself around every where.
The last of the Rhodo’s to flower.
The Clematis are beginning to do their thing..
…along with a new Climbing Rose, which true to its name, it is the first to flower this year.
Whether Home or Away, take a seat for a moment and enjoy a garden. This weekend is the NGS Anniversary Weekend Open Gardens. May 27th to 29th is their 90th Anniversary weekend and will see over 370 gardens opening for a weekend of horticultural delight.
For information about the open gardens, where to find one near you and the charities they support please visit NGS
What is ‘Performing’ for you in your garden in May?