I have been struggling this last week to even get out into the garden, let alone take any photographs. It has been wet. Wet and windy. Very windy. So windy I had to bring indoors the bird feeders after they all blew off their hooks. I’m not happy, the birds aren’t happy either. And my orangery is still letting in the rain. Sigh…
My six this week are from my own garden. Which is very green. The grass is still growing and it has been far too wet to mow, so it is now looking like a little field. In fact I have been contemplating whether to just allow it to be a mini meadow and sow more meadow seeds into it. Already daisies rule the roost, followed by dandelions and clover. My Kilmarnock willow (header) and Corkscrew Hazel trees still have their leaves despite the wind. Probably not for much longer though.
So this week I am going to show you what is going on in the ‘Woodland border’ which is actually best in spring so this will serve as a contrast to that time.
- Heuchera ‘Lime Marmalade’. Heucheras have become the mainstay of my shady areas, along this border and under trees. They come in all sorts of colours and also flower in summer which gives them they name of ‘Coral bells’ as the flowers, although tiny, are little bells. This plant is evergreen so provides colour all year round, unlike Hostas which die off in the winter. Also unlike Hostas, Heucheras do not seem to suffer from S&S damage although I do sometimes see a few nibbles.
- Ferns are primitive, non-flowering plants that mainly reproduce by spores. There are dozens of ferns along this border, growing in the rock wall in little nooks and crannies. Most are the common Hart’s Tongue Fern (Asplenium scolopendrium) which is evergreen. All I do is cut back any blackened leaves in spring. There are a couple more in the border, one I think one is Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) and another is Dryopteris filix-mas, the male fern.
- Bugle Ajuga reptans.
‘It is a blacke herbe and it groweth in shaddowy places and moyst groundes.’– William Turner, 16th century physician and naturalist
A ground cover plant which I have planted along this border in an effort to prevent the self-seeding of Herb Robert and Dove’s foot cranesbill. This plant is an evergreen perennial with spikes of purplish blue flowers growing from dense mats of dark green leaves with purple highlights. As you can see it does get nibbled, but hopefully enough has taken root now that it can spread without being totally destroyed.
- Primula. Yes, I know this is a spring-flowering plant, but in this garden they seem to flower throughout the year. That is if they don’t get eaten! I’d like to buy some of the common English primroses next spring – they might be more resistant to the munching monsters and they also look much more natural. The Primulas in my border were once tulip pot toppers.
- Two new perennial plants. Bought last week in a sale at Heligan gardens. I tried not to be tempted but at 50% off for large plants which tend to survive any munching, I couldn’t resist. First is Veronica longifolia ‘Oxford Blue’ (Speedwell) which is a low-growing, clump-forming herbaceous perennial that produces blue flowers with a white eye, similar to Forget-me-nots throughout spring, summer and autumn months. It will be nice if this can establish itself in this border as I don’t have much colour other than in the spring.
The second purchase was Geum coccineum ‘Koi’. A hardy perennial which has lively orange flowers above downy, softly scalloped, semi-evergreen foliage from early spring to summer. This plant should add some height to the border as well as colour.
- Finally, Ivy. A variegated type which is growing up the fence. It doesn’t seem as vigorous as most ivies and it doesn’t have the distinctive ivy leaf shape. I think it might be Hedera canariensis ‘Variegata’, but that’s purely a guess from looking up photos on Google. Ivies are good winter plants as their flowers provide late nectar to insects.
Have a lovely week and if you fancy visiting a few more gardens then pop over to the Prop and you’ll find tons in the comments – including some lovely spring gardens from the Southern Hemisphere which might cheer you up if you are having to hunker down because of the stormy weather this weekend.
See here for the participant’s guide.