Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day


Iris sibirica 002 Wm[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=


Iris sibirica and Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’

A bit of Chelsea bling, up on the bank


It can be so frustrating, this gardening lark.

Remodelling the terraces last year I had a bit of a headstart. I’d been tinkering with that area for a couple of years beforehand and many of the plants were already established, even if some most endured the indignity and subsequent setback of being dug up and shifted. The Precipitous Bank is a completely different affair. It does have some specimen trees, planted shortly after we moved here to release them from the pots that had been their home for the previous three years. There’s a berberis hedge, which I daren’t move for fear of undermining the slope, a few evictions from the terraces that were dumped on the bank for want of a better location and a lot of ferns. Other than that, nothing. Nada. It supported 30 tall conifers in a previous life. I’m effectively working from scratch.

It’s not that there’s no colour.. there is.


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Inherited day lily, one of said evictions


Cornus kousa 'Satomi' 011 Wm[1]


Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’


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Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’


Cistus 'Grayswood Pink' 001 Wm[1]


Cistus ‘Grayswood Pink’


But put those plants into the vast expanse of the bank and they just disappear.. puff!


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The Precipitous Bank: May

They’re all there.. but can you see them? I’m blowed if I can.


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At least it has filled out, a lot, compared with last month.


Three things are at issue here I think. First, it needs patience. (Stop laughing Mike.) Plants bought in new, especially this early in the year, are not going to create the impact I want from the get go. Second, I need a lot of plants, even though I’ve been adding them in the traditional groups of three. No, planting on this scale requires drifts. And third, colours need to be strong to stand out. Pastels are just not working here.

It will improve as the season progresses, I hope. I’ve planted annuals, grown from seed, which should come into their own in the summer months, provided they are left alone. Experience in the vegetable garden suggests that direct sowing of seed is a waste of time given all the hungry critters in these ‘ere parts. So I’d grown them as plugs, thinking that would give them a better start..


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Californian poppy seedlings, found lying limp on the soil yesterday morning

There are holes beside each of the affected plants. Something has been digging them up, leaving the top growth untouched and feasting on the rootball. Mice.


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Hydrangea petiolaris is just coming into bloom along the path handrail


Astilbe 003 Wm[2]


Astilbe too, another terraces eviction.

Note ‘The Heap’ in the background has diminished considerably in size..


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Digitalis purpurea

Wild foxgloves, self seeded. How come the mice leave these alone? Not that I’m complaining.


Digitalis purpurea 002 Wm[1]


Digitalis purpurea, Silene dioica (red campion) against a backdrop of Libertia grandiflora


Towards the top end of the bank wildflowers have completely taken over.

It seems a shame to weed it really..


Linking up with Helen’s End Of Month View (here) at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog. Click through to find out what other gardeners are up to this month.


2017-10-24T19:32:44+00:00May 31st, 2015|Tags: |


  1. Christina May 31, 2015 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    I can’t imagine what pulled out the Californian poppy like that, not mice so I suppose the pheasant? They really only have that long tap root. Had they grown from seed in situ, or had you grown them as plugs and planted them out, they are quite hard to pull out but I suppose a bird may have wanted the soft ferny foliage for its nest. Your slope is beginning to look full, so patience is what’s needed. Also three’s is probably nowhere near enough for an area this size, think 11’s!

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 7:14 pm - Reply

      It was something small digging around the rootball so I think most likely mice. It’s not somewhere the pheasant would usually go. Either mice or squirrels. Gradually it will look more colourful. I shall try direct sowing some more poppies, I still have some seed left, see what happens.

  2. woolythymes May 31, 2015 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    for the life of me I can’t grow a poppy in my garden……they grow in groves along highways, but not in my yard. 🙁 sorry that it looks as if you’re struggling with your poppies, too!!!

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      Isn’t that so annoying. I’m not beaten yet, but gradually coming round to thinking that I will have to seriously edit the list of plants I wanted to grow on the bank. It may be shrubs and a few poisonous perennials and that’s it!

  3. Lorraine May 31, 2015 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Gosh, I’ve just been whingeing about my sloping garden, it’s a gentle incline compared to yours. It does look lovely though but I think you’re right to think of getting colours that will stand out, just imagine how bright oranges and maybe reds and/or yellows (if you like them) would look against that wonderful array of lush green. You could have your very own Monty Don ‘jewel’ garden. It looks as if you have one or two ornamental grasses there, do you have a stipa gigantea, if not would you consider putting one or two in there? They provide such a wonderful backdrop and height amongst other flowers without obscuring any views beyond them, and they stand up to strong winds really well (apologies if I’m telling you to suck eggs). Anyway if the rest of your garden is anything to go by, whatever you choose to do I’m sure it will look wonderful, good luck. Lorraine

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 7:21 pm - Reply

      A Monty Don jewel garden was exactly what I had in mind, it’s a case of finding the plants that will thrive there given all the constraints. Trial and error! I had a Stipa gigantea in my last garden (till some cows ate it..) and it would be good to have some here too.

  4. Linda aka Crafty Gardener May 31, 2015 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    The Precipitous Bank is a daunting project to tackle, but doing it gradually as you are doing will work. With my poor knees I’d never be able to move up or down, though I expect I could move down quickly as I’d lose my footing and slide all the way 🙂

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      Yes, it is possible to move down the bank very quickly indeed! So far all I’ve injured are plants but Mike has had a few cracked ribs.

  5. Sue@GLAllotments May 31, 2015 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    I thought one of our newly planted borders was a failure but two years on and it is looking much better, Hopefully your annuals will self sow for next year,

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 7:26 pm - Reply

      At this rate they won’t even flower this year Sue. I went out this morning before the bad weather arrived and it looks as though the coffee defence is being breached now too.

  6. justjilluk May 31, 2015 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    You have very intelligent mice. They know whats poisonous! Plant more foxgloves.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      Just what I’m thinking… need to do some research and find out what else is inedible that I can plant.

  7. justjilluk May 31, 2015 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    Just remembered, the plant I know as Monkshood, equally poisonous if not more so.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      On the list..

  8. Marian St.Clair May 31, 2015 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Someone told me once the eye can’t read more than 7, so you can plant any number more than 7 and it looks okay. The hillside looks great to me, but you might consider some darker foliage to contrast with the leafy greens and yellow greens. Perhaps some dark red or plum?

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      Darker foliage is a good idea Marian. Other than the berberis, most of the green up there is ferns. I’ve thinned them out a lot but there’s scope for more.

  9. Chloris May 31, 2015 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    The Libertia grandiflora looks great and is really showy. Anyway what’ s wrong with green? I think ferns and grasses look great. Would you like some seeds of variegated Honesty later in the year? It really brightens things up and seeds itself about too. That and Brunnera look good in Spring and what about geraniums in Summer? Anyway, I think it is coming along beautifully. Who wants an instant garden anyway?
    I love your Iris / Geum combo. Very stylish. As for the Cornus, I am jealous.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 7:38 pm - Reply

      Well obviously some things grow from seed because the foxgloves and red campion do.. variegated Honesty might have a chance. It is going to be constant trial and error I think, to find out what works. But I can do that. I’ve planted a couple of geraniums, too small to show up yet, maybe next month!

  10. Alison May 31, 2015 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    This is a big project you’ve taken on, and your list of issues is absolutely spot on, especially needing large drifts, as well as bright colors. And patience. I always want things to look perfect immediately too.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      Patience is not one of my strongest traits. But I am getting used to setbacks now. If something gets eaten, c’est la vie, try something else. If it doesn’t get eaten, it’s a bonus!

  11. Sam May 31, 2015 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    Lovely iris and geum, and cornus. We’re having the same issues with scale here – learning that three of each plant just won’t cut it. I’ve got about 30 small Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’ to plant out interspersed with ornamental grasses. All trial and error though. That’s the fun of it!

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      I’ve got that one on the go too, still very small as yet though. I was late starting seed sowing this year. I hope I can find a method of growing from seed that works because it’s the only way to get large drifts of things without it costing a fortune.

  12. Mark and Gaz May 31, 2015 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    Patience is the operative virtue here burning certainly is shaping up nicely! The Cornus Satomi looks lovelier with those prolific blooms.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 7:46 pm - Reply

      Cornus have to be my favourite trees, beautiful blooms that last for ages and stunning autumn colour.

  13. Sarah May 31, 2015 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    I would love a wild garden where I could sow seed with abandon and plant in 11s. Have you tried thalictrum? It self-seeds like aquilegia but is taller and therefore has more presence. I bought a purple-stemmed unnamed one for £2 at a garden we visited yesterday and they literally had dozens for sale so it’s obviously a profligate self-seeder. It’s common name is meadow rue, which sounds just about right for a wild bank. I love the blue of the sibirica with the orange geum. I get a similar effect from Iris sibirica which grows around the pond but hasn’t even begun to flower yet when it combines with the yellow/orange of Primula Bulleyana. But I think everyone is right, you just need to be patient and keep trying and that after all is the fun of gardening.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 7:50 pm - Reply

      I’ve looked at thalictrum but they do seem to be quite tall, albeit wispy. I wonder how well they would stand up to wind? It can whip across the top part of the bank.

  14. bumbleandme May 31, 2015 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    As a fellow precipitous bank gardener, I think it looks fab! I’m in love with the flowering dogwood – always wanted one of them! I reckon a few geraniums would cover the bank in no time! Buy quite bigs one and divide them into four plants, then plant! They’re hardy little things and will flower and seed everywhere. Next year your have a riot of colour! Good luck. X

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 7:59 pm - Reply

      Next year it will look much better, it does take any plant a little while to establish. That’s where the patience comes in!

  15. frayed at the edge May 31, 2015 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    I was going to be tongue in cheek and suggest astroturf and plastic flowers, but some of your devoted readers might take me seriously and come after me with pitchforks!!

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 8:01 pm - Reply

      If I could get astroturf to stick on a near vertical slope I might just do it!

  16. Julieanne May 31, 2015 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    You are right that you cannot easily see all those plants from a view further back, but isn’t part of the joy is ‘discovering’ them when you get up close? That Cornus kousa is worth seeking out. I can understand your frustration as I often feel the same way with my garden, being so young and starting off with small plants. I guess we need to take a breath and let the plants do their thing, they will get there. Of course, patience is easier to say than do 🙂

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 8:04 pm - Reply

      Part of the problem is with the camera too. When I look at the bank I see colour, because the eye homes in on it. The camera just registers everything the same and the result is somewhat blander.

  17. elaine May 31, 2015 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    It certainly is filling out well – and I love the orange geum and blue iris combination – accidental or on purpose?

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      On purpose. And before Chelsea too. All those designers will have copied me, of course.

  18. CherryPie May 31, 2015 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Following the demise of the Oak tree behind my garden I really must get onto sorting my garden out. New shed first and then I can plan around that. Our garden is of course very very small compared to yours.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 8:11 pm - Reply

      Your neighbours really have decimated the oak, but I hope that you can find something to put in to fill the gap. An opportunity in the long run?

  19. Amy at love made my home May 31, 2015 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    Gosh, it looks as though you are going to need 7’s or 9’s instead of groups of 3!! That is going to be a lot of plants, but I am sure that the effect will be spectacular when you are done, just as the terraces are now after all of your hard work! xx

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 8:14 pm - Reply

      Before today’s weather the terraces were looking OK.. right now I’m watching oriental poppies leaning over at 45 deg!

  20. Linda P May 31, 2015 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    I personally think the precipitous bank is looking good considering the gardening challenges it presents. At this time of the year everything is so lush and green and even in our small garden the green is more prominent on the eye than colour. I’m waiting for the peonies and the poppies to burst forth and give some colour there in some very narrow flower beds.Hopefully your present plants on the bank will self seed. I love your geum. You inspired me to get one from an open garden sale last year and I’m pleased that so far it has survived.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      It is beautiful that geum and certainly adds colour! It’s started me off on a bit of an orange trend. The poppies are out here, currently getting battered by the wind, and one of the peonies. It’s awful getting such storms at this time of the year, everything is so fragile.

  21. snowbird May 31, 2015 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    I think it looks rather good personally, all gardens constantly evolve, and you have plenty of time to add more plants, as you say, Rome wasn’t built in a day….I do get how plants can disappear in a big space though, I have taken out all the hedging and have been buying new largish shrubs, they totally fill the car and yet when planted become instantly invisible! I started my back from scratch two years ago and am now amazed how it’s all growing, patience is what we all need a lot of. Sorry about your poppies, my dogs smashed a new shrub in the new border,it cost 25 quid…. they chase dogs along the railings and smash everything as they go…’s frustrating at times for sure!xxx

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 8:27 pm - Reply

      Yikes! That’s an expensive shrub to lose. Not sure what to suggest, an inner fence perhaps until the shrubs establish?
      Gardening is often all about next year. Much of the work we do now doesn’t really pay off until then, at least.

  22. CJ May 31, 2015 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    It’s beautifully green though, even if you don’t have masses of strong colours in there yet. I love the cornus, it’s a thing of beauty indeed. And the hydrangea is gorgeous as well. I wonder if it’s the same as the one I’m trying to grow up the garage. Mine is a climbing one. Bought very small and no flowers yet. But it clings to surfaces a bit like ivy does. I do hope it’s the same as yours, it’s so pretty. Lovely foxgloves as well, good that the mice don’t have everything! CJ xx

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 8:30 pm - Reply

      It sounds a very similar hydrangea CJ. Once it does bloom it should hold on to the faded flower heads right through winter until you clip them off in Spring. You’ll love it.

  23. Angie May 31, 2015 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    I take my hat of to you both. I wouldn’t know where to begin! Buying plants in such bulk would be incredibly expensive and as you say patience required. I often think it’s such a pity we can’t go out and buy it 🙂 I’m sure it would be a best seller. Joking aside, love the Cornus and Cistus.
    Would Astrantia do well on your slope? Is it something you would like to grow there. I had to lift a good sized clump of Astrantia Buckland to give some plants a bit more room and managed to get 7 pots out of it. Once I know they have recovered I’ll gladly pop them down to you. I’d only give them away to neighbours and friends otherwise. You can let me know.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      Astrantia would work very well up on the bank and I’d not thought of it so thank you for the idea! I’ve several large clumps that are ready for splitting too, but I really appreciate the offer, it was a very kind thought 🙂
      Splitting established plants, cuttings, seeds is the way I have to go. Buying in all the plants that I’d need for the bank would be beyond most people’s budget.

  24. mattb325 May 31, 2015 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    I love it! Most of my garden is on a steep slope, so I understand your pain 🙂 The cornus looks absolutely amazing and the blue/orange combo of the iris and geum is beautiful. The biggest pain for me when gardening on a slope is during summer when I’m trying to weed as well as ensuring the plants have enough water to establish themselves…and things do take longer to establish on a sunny slope

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      It seems a constant fight against gravity Matt. Everything wants to fall down the hill – soil, plants, my weed trug, me.. how to find a stable footing while I dig a hole or weed, without straining every muscle that I have. We’ve put drip irrigation on the slope to lessen the burden, but it’s not practical if you are planting out 30 or so seedlings at a time. Those either need hand watering or rain. The annuals are only intended to fill the gaps in the short term. To make it sustainable I have to move to shrubs and perennials with everything on irrigation.

  25. Kris P May 31, 2015 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    Planting seed here is similarly challenging, although the raccoons and skunks don’t so much eat the seedlings as trudge over and through them – the effect is the same. Digitalis is toxic to humans so perhaps the mice steer clear of it too. Maybe you could load the bank up with toxic plants?! Even if it’s slower than you’d like, you’re making progress!

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 8:50 pm - Reply

      I am seriously thinking about the toxic plants Kris. Mice do leave them alone, daffodil bulbs being a case in point. And the dreaded Spanish bluebell. They must be poisonous too.

  26. Anna May 31, 2015 at 9:59 pm - Reply

    I think that you are being too hard on yourself Jessica. As a half Roman (mum’s side) I certainly know that Rome wasn’t built in a day 🙂 You are getting there despite facing more obstacles than many of us do. I think that the view at the end of June will be even more floriferous. My eyes are drawn to the libertia in your May view. Come to think of it a shades of green and shades of white garden can be most effective and tranquil to look at.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      I’m thinking of making the area along the edge of the drive (in the foreground of the long view) a white border. The hydrangea occupies most of that space already, but I’ve room to add more to it. Fragrant plants would be perfect as the scent would waft across the path above it. Just need to wait a month or two.. the big tree that is coming down soon will fall right where the camera is!

  27. jannaschreier May 31, 2015 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    It’s just beautiful, Jessica. I completely agree with you, big drifts on that bank are the way to go. Three always seems a reasonable clump until you put them in place, doesn’t it?!

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      Sometimes even one seems huge until it actually gets placed. The real benefit of drifts on a slope is the lovely layered effect as they cascade down the hill. At least, that’s what it looks like in my mind’s eye!

  28. pbmgarden May 31, 2015 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    I really appreciate the combination of Iris sibirica and Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’–a nice punch of color, but still subtle. The garden is beautiful. You have to give yourself a pat on the back for the work you’ve accomplished and the plans you’ve made.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      It’s fun watching it evolve over time. They are loose plans, as I go I often change it when I think of something that could work better. Thanks Susie.

  29. Janet/Plantaliscious June 1, 2015 at 12:05 am - Reply

    I’m not good at that patience thing either, but you do have a lovely tapestry of green there. And hey, you are a long way off that phase when you have to kick something out in order to be able to find room for new plants… That’s me, always looking on the bright side of somebody else’s challenge 😉 Just don’t get me started on the weedy mess that is currently pretending to be my front garden… As for threes, pah, think sevens!! Or elevens?! Love the geum with the iris though, lovely combination. Aquilegias? Presumably they would self seed like crazy and give large blocks of colour? Hope your annuals do you proud.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      Ho ho ho! I am always kicking things out… mostly because I’ve planted them in the wrong place. The bank was a dumping ground for them and now they’re getting moved again. Must learn that a problem in one place is more than likely to be a problem in the next as well. I just can’t bear throwing stuff away.

  30. Amy June 1, 2015 at 2:03 am - Reply

    I’m taking notes on the scale issue as I hope to begin planting the much larger “the rest” of the yard come autumn. I love your wildlings. I was shocked recently to find foxgloves offered for sale for growing here… in summer?… caveat emptor… But I’m afraid I can tell you why the mice leave them alone; they are another of the poisonous plants so handy for growing in rabbit (and mice) prone gardens. (I begin to worry a little, realizing how much I know of what is or isn’t poisonous!) By the way, I’m not having any trouble with rodents in any of the salvias I’m growing – not sure whether your slope gets enough sun for salvias, though. The astilbe is lovely – as is the geum/iris bling and, of course, the Cornus 🙂

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      There will be enough sun, it’s the winter wet that defeats salvias here. I’ve lost all that I planted last year. I shall try again but this time take cuttings to overwinter. I may need to pick your brains on poisonous plants!

      • Amy June 4, 2015 at 1:39 am - Reply

        Hi Jessica, I couldn’t help giving the idea of a poisonous plant list some thought – ironically while I was standing at the stove cooking lunch… So here are some suggestions for making the slope less palatable to mice, pheasants, etc.! I haven’t grown all or even most of these plants; and of course, I can’t know what will or won’t make a good choice in your area, especially when complicated with the drainage issues and a steep slope. But this is a list of plants that are said to be partly or completely poisonous. The one that I can’t quite figure out is the Anemones, which are said to be toxic in all parts, while the recommendation is made to watch out for snails and slugs. Hmmm… Toxic to one type of crittur might not be toxic to another! A bit more research is recommended… But here’s the list.

        Shrubs and small trees:
        Hollies are probably unpalatable
        Ligustrum (?)

        Anemone (see above)
        Solanum (hardiness ?)

        Bulbs, Tubers, Rhizomes:
        Anemone (see above, but nothing ever bothered my A. blanda plants)
        Narcissus are unpalatable
        Iris are “ ”

        Mirabilis (Four o’ Clocks actually proved a short-lived perennial for me in USDA zone 6)

        I’m sure there are others in all categories, but even these might help. I generally found tough- or pungent-leaved plants more or less invulnerable to rabbits; I don’t know about mice, let alone a pheasant raising a family!

        Sorry to take up so much space here!

        • Jessica June 4, 2015 at 9:03 pm - Reply

          Wow Amy! This is marvellous, thank you so much. There are certainly some on the list that get left alone, like Galanthus and Narcissus. Anemones, not so sure. Either mice, squirrels or that bird ate an entire patch of Anemone blanda last year, but it has escaped attention this year. I covered it with a cage whilst it was growing. And I’ve seen the pheasant nipping flowers off hellebores too. The trouble is, he finds out he doesn’t like them, discards them on the path.. and then tries out another.. and another, just to make sure!
          I’ll do some more research on the list, as you suggest. There are sure to be things I can make use of on there. The more I think about it, the more it seems the right way to go. I can run around with coffee and wire mesh cages all day, but I really need plants that can defend themselves, then I can get on with more productive work in the garden.

  31. Linda B. June 1, 2015 at 3:10 am - Reply

    Just got home after 12 days away from my out of control garden. Hope to shoot some end of month pix tomorrow. Have you thought about things with colorful foliage as well as flower colors for your bank? I think you are right that you will need big drifts but think about all the changes you’ve made in the garden and how suddenly it all starts to come together. It’s happening already even if it is far from what you hope to achieve eventually. And isn’t it jaw-dropping to watch professional tree pruners?!

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Colourful foliage is definitely on the list. In places I am feeling it is coming together, it’s just joining those bits up and waiting for the plants to mature.
      The tree surgeons seem totally fearless. Sure they use harnesses, but they swing around more like monkeys. The next tree will test them though, it’s about three times the height of the house.

  32. Isobel Fairweathner June 1, 2015 at 3:52 am - Reply

    Watching a show about the coast of Ireland recently, and they mentioned that seaweed is something that really keeps slugs at bay. Might be worth a try. I love your blog, Jessica, have read it all and had lots of laughs. Was sorry when I had finished them all but look forward to all the new ones. Also, the photography is outstanding.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      Hi Isobel, welcome to rusty duck.
      Seaweed is an interesting thought, I wonder if it’s the salt that puts them off? It might last a bit longer than the coffee too.
      Thank you so much for your kind words about the blog, I’m glad you have enjoyed reading it. I keep meaning to go back and sort out the formatting on some of the older posts. I changed the theme and it all went haywire!

  33. Island Threads June 1, 2015 at 10:40 am - Reply

    Jessica, as Helen who hosts this meme said a gardener needs patients, I don’t know about Mike laughing I’m afraid I was as I can hear the demand of ‘I want it now!’ in your post, as you said you have spent more than a year on the terraces, and if you look back over the years you will see you have come a long way with the slope too, I know and completely understand about blooms becoming lost in the vastness of the garden, it is how I feel about my whole garden, there is nothing flowering, I am glad I decided to join GBBD this year as it is making me realise there are flowers in my garden,
    I know you say pastels are not working but try some white, white is different it seems to reflect light and stand out, I planted white bluebells under my large conifers so they can be seen, what has surprised me is how far away from the trees they can be seen, also try some golden foliage, or, variegated,
    to me from your photos it all looks as if it is coming on nicely and when I remember the photo of the weed infested bank, you have moved on in leaps and bounds, a word of warning re the red campion, if it is like mine and you don’t want it everywhere in the garden watch the seed, I have found it can make the self seeding of A.mollis look quite tame in comparison,
    the flowers that are there are quite lovely, Frances

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 9:46 pm - Reply

      The point about red campion is well made Frances. At the top end of the bank, which I haven’t touched since last year, it is growing like a carpet. Very attractive at the moment, but totally invasive. It doesn’t decline prettily either. Once it has passed its peak I will weed it all out.
      If you look closely at the long view pic you might spot quite a large A. mollis – growing on the top of the low wall towards the left, between a yellow euonymus and a clump of ferns. Mike hasn’t realised it’s there, until it flowers that is.. 😉

      • Island Threads June 1, 2015 at 10:32 pm - Reply

        lol, 🙂

        • Jessica June 3, 2015 at 10:08 am - Reply

          I’m tempted just to cut the flowers off. At least I still get to enjoy the foliage 🙂

  34. Sue June 1, 2015 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    It’s looking good, like you say though it’s a long hard slog, not helped by mice, rabbits and pheasants, and Rome most certainly wasn’t built in a day ….. it lasted well though once it was finished 😉

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 9:49 pm - Reply

      I can only hope that the bank emulates Rome’s longevity. And that the ancient gardener will still be able to hobble up there to weed! Thanks Sue.

  35. Cathy June 1, 2015 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    I am green (or perhaps pink) over the Cornus ‘Satomi’. Be patient, you’ve done wonders – it already looks very pleasing to the eye that doesn’t know it and just wants to appreciate … I think it will be incredible in the end.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      You’re very kind Cathy, I hope you’re right!

  36. Jennifer June 1, 2015 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    I certainly don’t have any gardening advice or wisdom to impart to anyone, but it looks to me like you’re doing something (a lot of things) right. 🙂

    • Jessica June 3, 2015 at 10:08 am - Reply

      Thanks Jennifer, little by little.

  37. AnnetteM June 2, 2015 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    Love the Geum and Iris colours together – they look wonderful. As for the slope, it is looking so much better than last month and I am sure it will continue to improve over the summer. Couldn’t read all the comments, but I think geraniums were mentioned. Have you tried Rozanne – it is a lovely blue and spreads a long way in one summer. If you really want colour (puce!) you could try Geranium psilostemon. It grows like mad and you wouldn’t miss it even from an airoplane! I could probably let you have some if you can wait until the end of the year. Of course, it is not everyone’s choice of colour. I bought mine before I knew any better, and have grown to love it.

    • Jessica June 3, 2015 at 10:14 am - Reply

      I think I must have that geranium psilostemon already. It suddenly appeared out of the blue in a bed I haven’t touched yet. The brightest magenta I have ever seen… could only be that! Thanks Annette.

  38. hoehoegrow June 2, 2015 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    Gosh Jessica, what a difference a month makes ! It has really filled out. It must be such a difficult area to plant – I don’t think I would know what to choose to do it justice. You have some lovely plants – the Iris and the Geum are a great combination. It is all looking great, but sometimes it is hard to stand back and really ‘see’ it when it is yours and your focus is intense.

    • Jessica June 3, 2015 at 10:18 am - Reply

      We are our own worse critics that’s for sure. It’s a very difficult area, access alone makes it so.

  39. Christina June 2, 2015 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Dear Jessica, first I have to say that I just love the combination of the iris sibirica and geum ‘Totally Tangerine’, the colors, flower shapes and foliage just go perfectly together, as you said a little bit of Chelsea bling ;-)!
    I can understand your frustration with the slope swallowing all these lovely flowering plants, but I think with your three step program (patience, planting in drifts and flowers that have strong colors) you are right on track and I believe following these guidelines will make a difference. I would add a fourth one: planting plants that produce big flowers in addition to the ones that produce smaller ones, since bigger flowers are simply better visible from a distance.
    That being said, it is amazing how much your slope has filled out and I like the way it looks right now very much! The different shades of green have a very calming effect and the white flower spikes in the middle give it a little bit of sparkle. What plant do these flower spikes belong to, by the way?
    Warm regards,

    • Jessica June 3, 2015 at 10:22 am - Reply

      Thanks Christina. The white flower is Libertia grandiflora. How long it will last I don’t know. I grew them from seed but some of the plants at the top of the bank seem to be dying off. I plan to collect more seed this year are grow more. They are quite architectural and break up the space nicely.

  40. Helene June 4, 2015 at 2:41 am - Reply

    That bank is a huge task, you will need something with a lot of impact unless you opt for a good space between each plant so they can be admired individually. It is filling out nicely and surely, a lot of these will flower soon and bring colour to the bank? I think I would have filled the whole thing with lots of different coloured daylilies, but that’s me – I love daylilies, you could literarily have daylily flowers from April to November and many are semi-evergreen. Let me know if you want to start collecting as I have babies to send you, they are easy to send in the post bare-root 🙂

    • Jessica June 4, 2015 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      Yes, there is a lot of colour to come. I just feel a bit cheated that it is May/June and there is so very little colour. In autumn I’ll plant with Spring in mind and hope that next year will be a lot better too. I struggle a bit with day lilies on the bank because of the need for frequent deadheading. The slope is much steeper than it looks on the photographs and the plants are not always easy to get to. I have two clumps of day lilies up there that I moved from elsewhere. The one nearest the drive is staying, the other is (probably!) coming out. Thank you for the offer Helene, when I get to the next area of the garden I’ll take you up on it.

  41. Jo June 8, 2015 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    It’s such a big project but I’m sure that given a bit of patience it will all work out. I’m still loving geum Totally Tangerine, I must find a place for it in my garden.

    • Jessica June 8, 2015 at 10:24 pm - Reply

      It’s a great plant Jo, flowers on and off all summer long. Definitely get one, I’m sure you won’t regret it.

  42. Linda June 15, 2015 at 3:13 am - Reply

    Always a delight for the eyes!
    Linda :o)

    • Jessica June 15, 2015 at 7:45 am - Reply

      Thanks Linda 🙂

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