BUSY IN WALES!

Summer weather this year has been a heady mix for plants and trees in our garden in Wales, growth rates have been phenomenal! We hadn’t been for a couple of weeks and as our most recent visits have been full of social gatherings, there’s been little opportunity for garden maintenance. As a result we were faced with some major restorative work towards the end of August – sometimes it’s a little hard to feel enthusiastic about weeding, pruning and significant hedge cutting works – but prevarication gets one nowhere – these jobs just had to be done!

Teamwork was the name of the game and so whilst Chris was carrying out a precarious hedge cutting task, I attempted to bring some control to crocosmia ‘Lucifer’. I usually stake this huge plant in February/March with a criss cross of hoops – this year I completely forgot and it had inevitably flopped in a most inelegant manner. After a bit of a struggle, it’s looking a little better, but is far from perfect as it’s also outgrown its allotted space and is bare in the middle – along with staking next year, there’ll be some clump management required!

Chris has also removed the lonicera nitida (in the middle of the picture) as it had grown far too big for its position – there used to be two basketball sized globes each side of this pathway, one died a few years ago but this one had just grown and grown. Like the yew ball we removed a couple of years ago, this plant was obscuring the view of the river. Both lonicera nitida and yew are great for topiary and hedging, but they just didn’t fit in our informal riverside garden, particularly where they’d been planted.

Inevitably, a large gap resulted – a great chance to take a trip to the local supplier, Farmyard Nurseries for new plants! We chose this lovely rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ – minutes after planting, it was alive with bees. This is a fantastic clump forming herbaceous perennial, growing to approximately 60cm in height with a 50cm spread in a couple of years. I’ve seen it planted in swathes – most recently at Trentham Gardens, so was really pleased to find it locally.

I can’t help loving the thug that is persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’ despite its rampant spreading ability! One great bonus to this plant – weeds do not appear to grow through it, not even the infamous couch grass that is proving impossible to irradiate in areas of the garden. However, this clump will need to be reduced early next year – I just know there’s a lovely pale yellow hemorocallis underneath and it’s also encroaching on rosa ‘The Poet’s Wife’.

Back to pruning and Chris tackled the ivy growing on the front of the house. We left rosa ‘Albertine’, as this June flowering old rambling rose has got a light second flush of flowers – it’s just exquisite!

Like all jobs that are put off, once all is done it’s really very satisfying to sit back with a glass of wine, listen to the song and hum of birds and bees and survey the regained order…. and of course, relax!

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