Yet another grey, humid summer day in the tree-tops on the hill. The yard immediately outside the cottage demanded my attention, along with the nagging guilt at seeing so many of the plants I’ve lovingly reared from seed, sulking in pots or bags. Something had to be done. Several hours later, the discovery and tedious removal of as much Oxalis bulb as possible, four wheelbarrows full of detritus (crap bedding plants and Geranium and a red rose) and I have something vaguely resembling a planted area of nice things. Yes, I know, I have annuals that aren’t going to amount to anything because they’ve been confined all summer, but I’m a sucker for at least letting things have a go after hanging on for so long. I also know that more than likely, everything will end up being moved elsewhere, but at least for now it has a chance to bulk up and stretch its roots out.


Along the front of the cottage, I have a repeating selection of Verbascum phoeniceum Hybrids (due to flower next year), Digitalis ‘Red Skin’ (but has grown to look more like lutea), Aquilegia chrysantha, Echinacea pallida, Stipa tenuissima ‘Pony Tails’ and Thymus mastichina, plus Didiscus caerulea and Scabiosa ‘Fata Morgana’. I also have a couple of Bupleurum longifolium ‘Bronze Beauty’ and a Euphorbia mellifera.

Slung my pots around the front door, just to make things feel welcoming and also cleared the obscene mess that is a lovely little ‘rockery’ type affair just right of the doorway, which was full of Crocosmia, more pink Geranium, more Oxalis, ancient Aubretia and nettles.. (Urtica dioica, to keep the Latin theme going.) I filled that with what happens to be a bit of an accidental Tibet (with a random bit of New Zealand thrown in). Primula capitata, Lindelofia longiflora and Tricyrtis hirta, with a random Myosotidium hortensa which was orphaned from work, I also left the native ferns; ¬†Aspleniums and Pteridium to hopefully bulk themselves up and add another texture

It has started. I still have a major cull to do on the remaining border that edges the right hand side of the yard and also flanks the precipice to the rest of the garden. I have a mattocks borrowed from work in preparation for the large scale removal of established shrubs. No matter how much I try, I cannot learn to like variegated Euonymus, the lilac flowered, scrappy moth eaten bulk of Hebe speciosa, or the bore-fest that is Ribes sanguineum.. I’m not overly impressed with the Viburnum opulus either, having flowered very briefly back in May, since then has just produced loads of flaccid, verdant growth, forming a boring great green generic blob in the middle of the border. Its only saving grace is the fact it has a slightly nice leaf shape, but nothing that a Hydrangea quercifolia couldn’t do a much better job of replacing.


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