A Walk About The Priory

All that heat and all that rain has allowed the grass to romp away.  It has been growing so quickly that ideally I should’ve been mowing it twice a week.
Some rain
But that simply isn’t possible given my time constraints (and indeed my energy constraints).  It does mean though that when I do mow it takes me far longer than usual.  There are more clippings to collect and empty
into the trailer and then more trips all the way out to the compost bins.  I’ve been so busy trying to keep on top of the mowing, I’ve barely had time to just stop and breathe and look about me.  Little time to walk about the gardens with my camera glued to my eye (not literally).  But over the past couple of weeks, I have managed to collect a few shots.

Badly placed beneath (and locked in a life or death struggle with) a winter flowering jasmine is this Rose Rosa Mundi.  It’s a very old variety (sixteenth century) with a delicious scent.  The fact that it doesn’t need spraying (which I never do anyway) is also hugely in its favour.

The Priory has an old rose tunnel and growing up it are half a dozen or so

of this very pretty and very nice smelling climbing rose/rambler.  Margaret, the farmer, kindly took a cutting of it to the Wych Cross nursery (a fantastic rose specialist in the Ashdown Forest).  But the jury is still out as to which variety it is.  If anyone knows its name, I’d be grateful. It only flowers once but it’s a great show.  And again no need to spray, ie it doesn’t suffer from rust or blackspot.

Along the tunnel, I’ve planted several clematis to augment the rose.  Here is Clematis ‘Wisley’.

and here, above a froth of Alchemila mollis flowers, is Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’.

Lots going on in the kidney beds (Margaret’s fields beyond).

A day lily that survived the-years-of-neglect (variety unknown),

along with another survivor – persicaria,

with a yellow achillea behind

merging in with a real favourite of mine, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

and this Campanula lactiflora which is settling in well, in this its second season.  I think it is ‘Pritchard’s Variety’.

Verbena bonariensis never fails to do what is asked of it.  As long as you ask it to flower, that is.

Elsewhere, I’m really pleased that my Ligularia przewalskii has flowered for the first time, with arum lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) behind.

All these weeks later, the rose pictured in

Priory Picture Post # 1 is still flowering, with yellow Echinacea paradoxa flowering in the background.

Echinacea paradoxa

I grew these from seed last year – worth the wait.

This lily was sold to me as a white one.  So I was very disappointed when it turned out to be not very white at all.  But do you know what?  As I’ve watched it slowly throw up shoots, grow leaves, watched its flower buds swell and develop and then finally and triumphantly burst open in an orgy of orangeness … I still don’t like it.  Nah.  Not my cup of tea at all.  I’ll let it finish its orange business but then it’s off to the great lily pot in the sky with it.  Via the compost heap.
This lily did turn out true.  I grow it in a pot with tulips (shown in ‘Blooming Priory’).  Behind on the wall of the house is the only clematis growing in the garden when I started here.  Looks like Clematis jackmanii.
Planted along the edge of this path is Erigeon karvinskianus, Mexican fleabane.  It only went in last summer but should quickly self seed into more cracks in the paving.  I’ve already dug up some self-sown seedlings and put them elsewhere in the garden.  Behind the fleabane is bergenia (yawn – but looks a lot better if you cut off all the leaves in Spring.  This shows off the flowers better and rids you of all those horrible brown, tatty leaves) and behind that is yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris).
Here is an idea I shamelessly and wantonly stole from a good friend of mine.  A frame of box hedging surrounds a ground cover of heuchera.  In the centre he had planted an olive, whereas I’ve put in a standard Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price.’   Behind, planted in a small raised brick bed is campanula.  Fairly gaudy but sort of works; perhaps more so without the heuchera flowers.
A close up of the heuchera leaf (for Sara)

The heuchera was actually planted more for its intricate veined leaves than for its flower colour.

Lots still happening in the garden then, but sometimes I think maybe there’s just too much happening. Too much going on.  Part of me (a small part admittedly) yearns for that first sharp frost and an end to mowing and staking and weeding and deadheading.  And instead, a start to bonfires, the raking up of leaves, the spreading of mulch and good honest digging, the chopping of logs, toasted crumpets, woolly hats and afternoon black and white films (‘Brief Encounter’ perhaps, or ‘Random Harvest’ again).  I know that’s wishing away Summer but plants often seem just a little too needy.  A little too demanding.  Or is that just me being a grumpy old curmudgeon?

9 thoughts on “A Walk About The Priory

  1. Hi Sara, I did try and hunt down the heuchera variety for you (I have got it written down somewhere) but failed (I've been hedge cutting these past few days so haven't had much time for anything else). I've posted a photo of the leaf in the post above and yes, it is silvery – I hope that helps.

    I was having a bit of a bad time of it (absolutely knackered!) when I posted the above and don't really want to wish away the summer. But oh no I can't agree; woodsmoke and frosty mornings are rather lovely I think and not at all sad but I can understand how you would feel that they were. It is funny how our perceptions are so different isn't it?



  2. I think the priority is looking rather wonderful, so many beautiful blooms (orange lily excepted, indeed!)
    I rather like the pink heuchera flowers against the blue campanula, but then I do like a vivid pink – is that 'Rave On'? It's on my wish list for its beautiful silvery leaves and the hot pink spires.
    Ah I couldn't wish away these summer days though, despite all the jobs piling up in the garden, without enough evenings or weekends to keep up. While I love aspects of autumn and winter, I think I'm a summer girl through and through, and those first frosty mornings and the scent of woodsmoke will be rather sad.


  3. The lawn talk sounds fascinating – please forward your notes!

    Good suggestion with Kiftsgate but the Priory rose is a semi-double and not as vigourously huge. I'm beginning to think it may be 'Sanders White Rambler.' But thanks again.



  4. I went to a large garden the other week for a talk on pests and diseases. The lawn was stunning, pristine I have never seen a lawn like it. Took lots of notes but unlikely my compacted mossy patch will ever reach those standards.

    I suppose you have already eliminated Kiftsgate as your mystery rose?


  5. Hi Jason, well it's good to hear that I'm not the only one! And yeah, as for next year – bring it on! Lots of plans and plants to be spilt and moved and some simplification to do too. Missed growing sweet peas this year – will do so again next spring, I think.

    Hi Andrea, ooh, a nice cup of tea and fruit toast sounds rather nice. Just butter or jam too? Glad to hear that verbena b. performs for you as well. 45C – that's impressive. Yeah, always enjoyed taking photos since getting my first SLR for my 16th birthday. I have boxes and boxes of slides which one day I shall need to transfer to my PC. That'll be a fun job! I now use a Nikon D60, which was pretty much Nikon's entry level digital SLR when I bought it a couple of years ago. Saving up now for a special macro lens but at about £400 (more than the camera was) it'll be a while before I get it.

    Hi GITD, I like that. Dimming down and lighting up. I often feel like I'm breaking down and cracking up too. Chuckle.

    Hi Stacy, thank you. I feel you have given me permission to become a grumpy old so and so (or more of one). I shall assume the role with gusto! And dedication.



  6. Anyone with six acres to mow once (or twice) a week has a right to be a grumpy old curmudgeon. Goodness, that's a lot of work, even with your trusty Hayter. It's looking gorgeous, though–the color and texture combinations are really wonderful.


  7. Gorgeous shots, David. You have so much to superintend, that no-one could accuse you of grumpiness. Here in Melbourne, it is winter, and I too long to be free of the tasks I have around me each day. You want some dimming down and I want some lighting up.


  8. On the otherside of the globe sitting in front of the fire with cup of tea and fruit toast counting down the days to spring and enjoying your(always stunning)photos!I sympathize with you over all that mowing but looks like you have the machinery to to the job.
    Have found Verbena bonariensis a welcome addition in the garden,so hardy surviving our hot summers(45C)and frosts(-8C) and always flowers.Question time,Have you always been a keen photographer and what type of camera do you use? Cheers.


  9. What an embarrassment of riches you have! It all looks lovely (I know what you mean about the orange lily though, not a fan either, or of lillies generally if i'm honest).

    I also sympathise with the workload issue; we too are struggling to keep on top of everything, especially with the need to attend to the cutting garden as well as the rest of the garden. The recent wind and rain has battered the sweet peas and we have been continually out trying to tie them up and stop them falling about all over place as they have outgrown their rather substantial structure.

    A small part of me also looks forward to the onset of autumn, a chance to look back, read up on things and start planning for next year when we do it all again!!!



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