Today, we did well. A satisfying amount of difference has been made (again). We went to the garden centre to see whether there were any seasonal clearances or special offers, and found both.
There was actually a big clearance table right outside the door, which furnished us with a berberis, an aucuba, a lavender, a coprosma and a couple of shrub honeysuckles before we’d even got into the building. Most of them were £3 which for a large established plant is pretty good. We also found a curry plant and a very nice thyme for 50p each, and some half price heathers. Lavenders at two for £10 and assorted shrubs at four for £20 completed the picture. In our four for £20 we got another shrub honeysuckle, a cotoneaster, a hebe and a euonymus.
This is really all about having things that will still be interesting in the winter – or at least still visible. We have a garden full of annuals and herbaceous perennials that will die back or just die altogether in a couple of months’ time, and that will leave us with no interest and no structure. Hence the effort to find more evergreens. I also want some skimmia, but that will have to wait for another shopping trip.
Some of the plants were destined for the front garden, particularly for problem areas suffering from cats or sudden unexplained plant deaths (both lithodora, a small euonynus and one of the grasses). So we needed things that would cope with just about everything. The thyme, curry plant, heathers, one lavender and one shrub honeysuckle all went in at the front along with a lot of lychnis which had been sitting in trays for some time and really needed to go in the ground. The asters and rudbeckia are doing so well at the front, and the ceanothus is now covered in berries – it’s had a few before, but never this many.
At the back, the most radical change today has been the side border by the fence. Most of the phacelia had finished flowering (only about one third of the clump is still going) so after I’d removed and kept as many seedheads as I thought I needed, the rest came out of the ground. J cleared the last third to a half of the border, and we planted it up with a combination of the new shrubs, lychnis, and the gooseberries and raspberry which had been in the bed at the end of the lawn. By the fence they will get more sun – it’s south-facing – so should benefit. I also moved some digitalis to the bed at the end of the lawn as I’d messed up the labels and put coreopsis in there instead. The digitalis will be much happier.
The bed by the greenhouse is looking very cottage garden-y which is gratifying. And everything is still alive with bees. We sat on the patio with cups of tea and watched the bumbles humming around feeding happily. All very pleasant.