Sunday, 28 August 2011

What happens when you don't really have a plan?

My garden didn't really start out with a plan.  I know this is not the way things are supposed to be.  I know that the diligent gardener would never start a garden without a plan for amending the soil, and a plan for blending just the right colours, at just the right time of year.  I know that such fastidious gardeners would plan to ensure that the scheme of the garden harmoniously accommodated a variety of forms and textures, all carefully placed to create careful studies in contrast, with each plant given respect to height and spread, to ensure that each has its proper place, and that this place would anticipate the prodigious growth of mid to late summer.  I know all of these things.  And I'm not normally known for excessive spontaneity or bending the rules in other aspects of my life.  I've even been described as rigid (although I prefer to see it as "principled").  But my garden hasn't quite followed suit.  I've always had a soft spot for cottage gardens, with their happy-go-lucky, wayward charm, and this has rather influenced things in my garden.  That, and the fact that when I first dug out the lawn in my front yard, 6 years ago, I couldn't afford to do anything other than plant gradually, and fill the spaces with divisions and self-sown seedlings, slowly adding new and different plants over the last few years.  It's always worked beautifully in the spring, and early summer.  But as the summer wears on, things just start to get a bit out of control.  And now, after half a dozen years, it's become a bit of a jumble.  Add to that the fact that I've been pretty much traveling or too busy to get out in the garden since the beginning of July, and you get a picture of neglect.  A colleague, who happened to drive by my house a few days ago, remarked at "What a pretty jungle there is in front of my house".  Not entirely a compliment.  In the next few weeks, I need to take charge of the situation.  My trainee espalier apples need a proper home before winter, and some space has to be made in the front yard that they can call their own.  An excellent opportunity to do some more extensive re-arranging once most things have their best flowering behind them for the year, and before they get ready to go to bed until the spring.  In the meantime, I've been out there today, battling the wind, and staking things and generally trying to get them to look more orderly.  I know, I know.  Staking is not to be done once the plant has reached full size and has already flopped to the ground in the last storm.....but necessity is the mother of invention, and I did my level best.  The one good thing about having this blog is that having to take pictures of my garden and show them in public doesn't half shame me into getting things sorted out!
Plenty of colour, but too many rudbeckias!

Perovskias definitely in the wrong place.  Too big, too floppy, and too many self-seeded off-spring for their current location at the front of the garden.

And where is the colour in the rest of the garden at the end of August?!?

The charm of all the chaos has definitely worn thin!


And my bush wants trimming.

Not a good time to dig things up and transplant, so the best I can do is try to stake them.

Not ideal, but at least you can see things now, and the daylight can penetrate the jungle!

Boxwoods look better now, after a light trim

I love these platycodons, now that they've emerged from the sea of perovskia

A bit better.

Martha Stewart "Frizzled Coral Lace" gladiolus.  I hated these so much last year when I planted them,  that I ripped the bulbs out and tossed them at the end of the year.  I guess a few were missed, and amazingly they survived the winter to bloom again.  I hate the colour, and will ditch them once they've bloomed.  But it does make me wonder if another, more pleasing variety could survive the winter and come up trumphs.

The lavender hedge looks halfway decent now the plants are in their second season, and they continue to throw out new blooms.  I hope next year will be even better.  There are quite a number of self seedlings springing up too.



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