Bear With Me

I haven’t posted for a while.

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

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

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Peacock

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

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A Comma

There is a wide selection of species.

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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.

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Yesterday

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.

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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.

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September 2012

And it was OK but not a resounding success.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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July 2014

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

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At whatever time of day

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it catches and holds the eye.

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It shimmers in sunlight and waves gently in the breeze

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but doesn’t block.

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

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

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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.