The bank 057 Wm




The bank 056 Wm




Well you can’t say it hasn’t changed!

It’s full on at the moment and I’m running to catch up after nearly a month out of action at the worst possible time of year. In the top picture, towards the rear, you can see the might of the enemy forces now ranged against me. Weeds. About two feet high. There’s a distinct feeling of déjà vu because we have indeed been here before. The first time I cleared this part of the bank it was equally hard and then I made the fatal mistake of leaving it alone and moving on to something new.


Phlomis russeliana 001 Wm


Phlomis russeliana


This time around it will be different. Stop that sniggering at the back. Yes it will. Because this time as an immediate follow through to the clearing out I am getting on with the planting. Gradually over the summer, I hope, new purchases and specimens shifted from elsewhere will burgeon and do the job of suppressing the weeds. And to give those unwanted invaders even less of a chance I’ve started regular hoeing of the areas where there is still bare earth. Regular as in weekly. Stop those would-be seedlings in their tracks before they even think about peeping up out of the ground.


Briza media 001 Wm


Briza media


At the moment it’s all still very green. With the emphasis on prairie planting this will always be a mid to late summer border. Grasses have gone in, Briza media already bearing its diaphanous arching stems, and Panicum virgatum ‘Squaw’. More will follow. Blooms of blue and white will repeat as highlights with waves of pink, crimson and bronze drifting in and out. As most of the plants are viewed from a distance the colours need to be strong. Eryngium × zabelii ‘Big Blue’, Sanguisorba tenuifolia alba, Heleniums ‘Waltraut’ and ‘Moerheim Beauty’ already feature along with Verbena bonariensis which together with Digitalis ferruginea ‘Gigantea’ will provide some height. Alongside the beautiful Cornus kousa trees, of course. Libertia grandiflora and Chelone obliqua survive from an earlier planting. I shall be dividing and moving Pennisetum ‘Karley Rose’ up here too. 


Eryngium x zabelii 'Big Blue' 001 Wm


Eryngium x zabelii ‘Big Blue’


Everything is on irrigation. That may seem surprising given all that I complain about the rain. But a south facing slope with clay soil dries rock hard given half a chance once the temperatures start to rise. We’ve gradually extended the pipework around the garden as work has progressed into new areas. There are now six different circuits, timed to run sequentially from a control unit attached to the garden tap. It’s a lifesaver. With all the planting I need to do there is no way I would cope without it.


Mystery tree 001 Wm


Remember the mystery tree from the March End of Month View?

If you look carefully at the base of each spent bloom there is a tiny developing fruit. Past experience suggests they will swell a little more but never get to the point of maturity before they are either snaffled or drop off. Crab apples? Cherries? Did I mention I know nothing about trees?


Spring blossom 001 Wm


A detail of the blossom from a couple of weeks ago. Does anyone have any ideas yet?


Iris sibirica 003 Wm


Iris sibirica


For this upper section of the Precipitous Bank there’s still a lot more work ahead and new plants to add. But it’s a start and at least the fun part now begins.. watching it develop and fill out with maybe a bit of tweaking to get it just right. As Alan Titchmarsh always says, “Grow you buggers, grow!”


Libertia grandiflora 002 Wm


Libertia grandiflora


Cornus kousa 'Wieting's Select' 011 Wm


Cornus kousa ‘Wieting’s Select’. The promise of things to come.


Onwards and interminably upwards.


Linking with Helen’s End of Month View at The Patient Gardener. Click through to see what other gardeners are up to this month.