Raindrops on roses

And on day lilies, salvia, hypericum berries…

This morning I finished the tasks from yesterday that got put off because of the rain – mainly planting the aquilegia and geum, but there was a little bit of deadheading I missed too. There’s a lot of weeding to be done still but I got some of the worst ones; the rest will just have to wait till next weekend. The aquilegia is a McKana hybrid so should produce large flowers and the colours are pretty much pot luck from what I can gather. The geum is a yellow variety, Lady Stratheden, and I’ve put it near the last surviving Mrs Bradshaw.

Taking advantage of it not raining for a while, I also had a wander round with the camera (and used the macro converter a few times too).

In the back garden, the small hydrangea is doing very well this year:

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And in one of the new bits of flower bed, we’ve got a happy fuschia, as well as annuals (clary and rudbeckia) and the larger hydrangea and sambucca that I moved when we extended the bed (the sambucca is just peeping into the bottom right corner).

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More annual rudbeckias, on the opposite side of the path:

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And a wider shot looking up the garden. It barely looks like a new flower bed any more.

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Close-ups time!

The new hardy rudbeckia, a lovely striking burnt orange.

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Hypericum berries after rain…

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Apples – another small crop this year but the tree is still small. Still happy that we get a few!

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Penstemon “Bodnant” has been lovely. “Flamingo” has flowered well too. “Sour Grapes” has yet to flower so I hope it’s ok.

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Blackberries! We will be able to have apple and blackberry crumble.

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And in extreme close-up.

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Verbena bonariensis.

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And yarrow (Achillea) in white and pink. The white has self-seeded.

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Meanwhile at the front…

The pelargoniums are looking good and I’m glad I went with just red and white this year.

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The monarda, which I’ve never grown before, seem to be settling in well.

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Some of the astilbes have suffered despite a promising start, but this one is flowering:

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The day lilies survived being split and have been flowering happily.

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And Salvia “Hot Lips”… well, what can I say?

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What you don’t see on that photo is that it’s fill of honey bees. I tried getting photos but they were shy.

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Lots of hoverflies too, which is always good as they eat aphids.

I also had a go with the macro converter:

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And finally, the rose I promised you at the beginning:

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A photo a week – week 9

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The rain has made a difference, even to how it was a week ago. For a massive contrast you only have to go back two weeks when hardly any of the clary was flowering and it hadn’t yet started spilling over the edges of the beds. Now we’re also getting a few dots of yellow from the rudbeckias.

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Rain stopped play

Not that I’m complaining about the rain – we needed it! But after the overnight downpours I had hoped to have enough time to achieve a few things in the garden, especially as I was tempted by reduced plants at Morrison’s this morning (an aquilegia and a geum, since you ask).

In the end I managed to weed and do a bit of deadheading at the front, and transferred some self-seeded things into pots  – mostly lychnis, plus several alchemilla, one aquilegia, and to my surprise, a lavender. By the time I’d done all that it was raining, so I did a perfunctory bit of weeding and deadheading at the back, and stripped some of the foliage off the tomato plants, and called it a day. The new aquilegia and geum didn’t get in the ground but I’m hoping to manage it tomorrow.

Our tomatoes are a bit of a mystery. Mum bought them as plug plants from a catalogue and ordered three each of Gardener’s Delight and Nimbus. Nimbus is a new variety but the fruit appearing now looks the right size and type so I’m happy Nimbus is what we got. The Gardener’s Delight is another matter entirely, though. It’s meant to be a cherry variety – we’ve grown it before – but last weekend when the fruit started to appear I was surprised to see it developing a distinctly elongated shape. I mentioned it to Mum and she has noticed the same with hers. So instead of Gardener’s Delight we have an unknown variety of plum tomato. Not that I mind, but it would have been nice to know!

A quick photo from yesterday morning – the monarda which I bought as plugs are starting to flower. The purple one is lovely and you can just see the red one peeping through in the bottom left corner:

monarda 21 jul 2017

On the fruit front, the raspberries are just about over, gooseberries are still going strong, and I have picked the first few blackberries, with many more on the bush (if the birds don’t get them). And speaking of birds, the goldfinches continue to visit regularly, and last weekend we heard a distinctive tapping sound and saw two song thrushes industriously tapping snail shells on the patio. We could do with a few more!

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A photo a week – week 8

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And back to ours!

After our day out yesterday I also took some pictures in our garden. There was a red admiral obligingly sunning herself (I think it’s a female, anyway) and the opportunity was too good to miss, and once I had the camera in my hand I sort of kept going. You know how it is.

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The hydrangea is flowering at last.

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And the various dianthus are starting to show some colour.

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We had visitors last Sunday and one of the comments was that there was no yellow – well, we’ve got a little bit now!

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The fuschia has not only survived, but thrived.

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Hypericum, covered in berries.

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The pittosporum seems to be happy and is putting out new leaves.

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And the clary is getting big and blue – I’m so glad I decided to give it a go.

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Other people’s gardens – Compton Verney

We had a day out yesterday and went to Compton Verney in Warwickshire. It had been on our radar for a while as a possible place to visit, ever since we’d seen the brown sign off the Fosse Way when we were going to Charlecote. It’s a Capability Brown garden, and the house is now an art gallery so there are various sculptures in the gardens as well.

If you didn’t know it was by Brown you would probably guess fairly quickly!

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The house is surrounded by natural-looking parkland, where previously there had been formal parterre gardens. Brown even removed the medieval church which stood near the house, to open up the view from the house to the lake!

The Upper Bridge across the lake brings you towards the main approach to the house, and is decorated with some very northern European sphinxes:

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Plus a piece of very handy advice:

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Always a sound move.

As you approach the house there is a sculpture called Untitled: Boulder, which as you can see is accurate.

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There’s also a good view across the lake to The Clearing, but even though we eventually walked past it we were none the wiser as to what they were doing there exactly.

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Behind the house is the chapel which Brown designed to replace the medieval church, and to which he had to move a lot of earlier burials and monuments.

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The West Lawn, once filled with formal gardens before Brown swept all of that away, is now a thriving wildflower meadow, filled with clover and thistles, while nearby there are beehives.

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The path then leads you to the Lower Bridge, via the biggest deck chairs I’ve ever seen!

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(Husband for scale.)

The Lower Bridge also carries the main road which is the modern boundary to the parkland so if you prefer not to walk over it on the road there is a little ferry operated by a little man pulling on a rope! One of the unexpected highlights of the day.

By the Lower Bridge you get a good view up to the Upper Bridge, and they’ve got some astilbes doing slightly better than ours.

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After the bridge (or ferry) there’s a path through the woodland wilderness, all geared towards wildlife, with a bird hide and pond dipping platform, and eventually you come back round to the Clearing and the view across the lake to the house.

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From there we went back toward Upper Bridge as our map told us there was the site of the medieval village, in a field now called Old Town Field. This was the site of the Saxon village of Compton but there’s nothing visible – sometimes you can see hollows where roads and tracks ran, or the raised platforms where houses stood, but not this time. It’s another wildflower meadow alive with bees, and with mown paths leading to a sculpture called Drift, a transient structure which is slowly merging with the field. And a good excuse for me to get a bit arty with the camera.

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On our way out we saw the restored thatched ice house, and the willow tunnels, which reminded me of the spiral garden at the Eden Project:

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The house is worth looking round as well; there are varied art collections covering British portraits, northern European paintings of the 15th to 17th centuries and art in Naples from the 17th to the 19th century, as well as some beautiful Chinese bronzes and 19th-20th century British folk art. Well worth a visit.

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A photo a week – week 7

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