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Growth has exploded


It’s been a funny old month. This last two weeks the weather has been truly awful for August. Wind, rain, more rain, torrential rain (did I mention the rain?), severe weather warnings, the lot. The gardener may not have liked it much but it seems the plants did.

There is progress to report elsewhere too. Firstly, the chicken wire is off. Apart from the small pieces that remain permanently embedded in some plants.. it’s gone. The scars on my arms are beginning to heal and the toolkit in the gardening trug has shrunk by one item. Mike’s wire clippers have returned to the shed. Perhaps more satisfying still, we managed to escape any major landslides in the torrential rain, even though plenty of bare earth is now exposed. A few lumps of soil came down. A scattering of stones. But nothing significant to worry about. Yet. I can only hope that between now and the autumn storms the plants I’ve put back in will spread their roots and start the job of binding the soil.


Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow' 004 Wm


From top: Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, young Erigeron karvinskianus, Ajuga reptans ‘Burgundy Glow’


On the steepest part of the bank, the near vertical face, these low growing plants should also provide ground cover and help to reduce the regrowth of weeds.


Ceratostigma plumbaginoides 001 Wm


Ceratostigma plumbaginoides


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Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley)


Another longstanding job out of the way is the complete clearance of the top level on the terraces.  If you recall from last year it had been throttled by Lily of the Valley. I’ve had to dig up virtually every plant from that bed, disentangle the invasive roots and then put them all back. Salvageable clumps of Lily of the Valley have moved to the face of the bank. This, after all, is the perfect place for a spreading mass of roots. Their position, on the edge of the path, should provide a pool of delicious fragrance too.


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The transformed top terrace. Double whammy.


Some Lily of the Valley remain but are now buried in pots. With luck this tactic will restrain their enthusiasm for a couple of years. Then I can lift the pots, divide, put half back and have yet more of them to establish in another needy place on the slope.


Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' 001 Wm


Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’


Eschscholzia californica 004 Wm


Penstemon ‘Garnet’ and Eschscholzia californica (Californian poppy)


I seem to have acquired ‘housemaid’s ankle’. I know this because a couple of years back Mike found out that he had housemaid’s knee after injuring it constructing a bookcase. At the time he was fairly nonplussed by the lack of sympathy he felt he received, perhaps not helped by my suggestion of a French style frilly pinny and the doctor’s scolding that “knees are not meant for kneeling on you know..” But now I find that it is actually quite painful. In my case the cause is probably too many hours spent straining to keep upright, with minimal footholds, on the steepest part of the slope. The only thing for it is a few days with my feet up, how sad is that.


Cyperus 003 Wm


I’ve had this beautiful grass for a number of years but long since lost the label. Does anyone know what it is? Cyperus?


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The Anemanthele lessoniana, on the right, is getting bigger. And very pink. It may be an example of nice plant, wrong place as it really does now dominate the scene. It needs space to grow and perhaps the company of a couple of its siblings to create a more balanced effect. It will get a house move later this autumn, I think I’ve found the perfect des res.


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The usual long view. The scar caused by removal of the chicken wire is starting to soften.

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Onwards and upwards


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.