Bear With Me

I haven’t posted for a while.


I’ve been busy with non-blogging stuff and intently studying a wasp nest on the east lawn.


Excavation continues and it’s getting bigger.  And bigger.  As you might suppose, mowing operations have been diverted.



I’ve also been distracted by the sheer number of butterflies on the new verbena beds.


A Comma

There is a wide selection of species.


Painted Lady

Including a long distance migrant, the Painted Lady, which I haven’t seen before.

I’ve also been away on a short holiday.  And I’m about to go off again – on a cycling tour of Germany.  Which sounds very tiring.  I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with steely calves … or ones of jelly.



When I return, I’ll do a post about the tropical border.  I’ve been quite pleased with it this year.  (If only because it almost hides that huge satellite dish).

Until normal service is resumed, I’ll raise a bratwurst to you.  Wiedersehen.

Verbena Bonariensis Beds

In April 2012, I added two new beds at the Priory.


Spot the robin

I cut the turf from either side of the path-to-nowhere and planted with a mix of Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ and Verbena bonariensis.


September 2012

And it was OK but not a resounding success.


June 2013

Nonetheless, I stuck with it for another year hoping for a big ‘wow’ improvement.  Fat chance.  Disappointed, I winced a little, shaking my head despondently as I walked past.


September 2013

At the far end, these beds become standing pools in winter and the nepeta sulked.  You can see the plants are smaller towards the box.


April 2014

This year, I decided to Take Action.  As I’ve been keen to experiment with block planting, I ditched the nepeta altogether, smothered the beds in my sweet-smelling, crumbly, chocolatey, sweet-tasting (not really), rub-in-your-face compost and just have verbena.  Very simple but I thought it would work.  It was cheap too; free actually.  Verbena self-seeds wantonly at the Priory and I had far more plants than I could possibly use.


May 2014

With a little trepidation I sat back, supped Earl Grey, flicked through ‘Hello’ magazine and waited for the results.  I was curious.  I hadn’t seen beds filled only with VB.


June 2014

I edged, I weeded and I hoed quite regularly.  These beds are home to oxalis, pearlwort and. encroaching from the lawn, opportunistic yarrow and creeping-bleeding-buttercup.  I thinned some VB and transplanted more to fill any gaps.


July 2014

And for once, the gardening gods smiled indulgently and patted me on the head.  I think the result is pleasing.


At whatever time of day


it catches and holds the eye.


It shimmers in sunlight and waves gently in the breeze


but doesn’t block.


It is, of course, also hugely popular with bees and butterflies.


But what I do need is a far stronger, larger focal point at the end of the path-to-nowhere.


Small box hedging, paving covered in creeping thyme, a handful of potted succulents and a crumbling bird-path filled with desultory sedum isn’t enough.  The path ought to lead the visitor and the eye to something more substantial.  It ought to be a path-to-somewhere.