Recently, I’ve planted up three new beds at the Priory. None of them are particularly big and one is really only an extension of a larger border.
The only truly new one, and the last one to be planted up, is called the um, er, the er (thinks furiously) Kitchen Bed (it lies directly outside the kitchen door). It’s triangular in shape with each side being eight or nine feet long. It was formed by some paths we had laid a few months ago (horrendously expensive reclaimed Victorian pavers) and had been left empty for far too long. Using a quick, if expensive, remedy it has now been planted up. I’ve put in a border of box and centre stage, taking a perpetual bow, is an Acer palmatum dissectum.
As a temporary fill-up within the box edging, I’ve planted dozens of Lobelia ‘Crystal Palace’ (buy one get one free – so saved a bit of cash there). I was going to sit down and plan some permanent planting but tell you what, though I’ve never been into summer bedding, I rather like this upright mat forming lobelia. Quite smitten with that blue. I shall think on …
The second newly planted border is at the top of the car park, up against one of Margaret’s fields. It used to host a berberis and weeds; nettles and couch grass and all sorts come through the wire fence from the field (I haven’t worked out how to combat that yet). But late last year, I took out the berberis (and most of the weeds), and planted a dozen or so
of the grass, Miscanthus transmorrisonensis.
They are just beginning to throw out their flower heads. Just to pad out the grasses until they get a little more established, I’ve also put in eight or so Verbena bonariensis. I know, I know already. I use a LOT of this plant. But … it’s readily available, it’s free (it self seeds brazenly), I’ve got a lot of space to fill and I love it. I promise you that as the garden gets more established, I will cut back on the VB. I can do it. Anytime, I want to. I don’t NEED it. Just say no to VB. No probs. Anytime I want. I’ll just quit. Just not yet ….. but soon*.
Along the rocks at the front I’ve planted some Erigeon karvinskianus (try saying that after a pint of sherry), and behind those Dianthus ‘Queen of Henri.’ I had the latter knocking about from when I worked in an alpine nursery. They’re as pretty as pretty can be and their scent is knock out. Probably the best plant scent in the history of the world. Probably.
There is a youngish elder tree growing in this bed (which I didn’t have the heart – or inclination – to take out) and I’m growing Clematis ‘Bill Mackenzie’ up it. I love elder flower and elder berries and I just thought that the whole tree smothered in the nodding yellow flowers of the clematis as well would look amazing. Or rubbish. We’ll see next year when ‘Bill’ reaches the top.
At one end of the Rock Border, is a bulbous bulge extending out into the east lawn. I’ve rather grandly (and pompously) called this the ‘Tropical Bed.’ It isn’t proper, grown up tropical in the way that say, ‘Mark and Gaz’
do tropical. This is more 1970’s tropical. 1970’s Sunday supplement tropical; a few dahlias and a brace of cannas. Did they have cannas in the 70’s?
The colocasia (centre between the cannas) is pretty much indistinguishable from the leaves of the arum lilies on the right. Tsk.
Must have; they had Concorde and space travel. Anyway a banana (Musa basjoo), some cannas, some dahlias, a colocasia, a ginger lily (Hedychium gardnerianum) that didn’t flower and is only now emerging
(though luckily, I had some helichrysums in the long borders that did flower)
and hey, presto – a tropical border. Sort of. Anyway, it’s a start. It’ll be better and more thought out next year. And I suspect – BIGGER.
A Comma (Polygonia c-album)
* It is difficult not to use Verbena bonariensis in quantity, if only because of the butterflies.
A Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)
I rarely walk past without seeing something feeding on (or in this case) near it
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
and that alone makes me happy.
Feed, my beauties, feed.