More than Expected!

We imagined that not much had been done in the garden in the past week. It was a week when we seemed to be away from the garden quite a lot but we still did an amount of work in the little time we spent there. There were two days with the two families of grandchildren which included a lovely evening’s barbeque and a wonderful morning at the strand, all swimming etc; the bathroom needed a repaint; there was a day of rain and a day to visit a good orchid site, a lot of non-gardening time this week!

Nonetheless, when we look back at the end of the week, we realise that there were bursts of activity and an amount of work done. The Head Gardener continued on her rounds of dead-heading and the cutting back of those herbaceous perennials which had flowered earlier in the summer and which, after a cut- back, would give another period of bloom later in the summer or, at least, a burst of new and fresh growth which in itself is appealing and attractive. She also tackled the dieramas, an annual big job. We had fidgeted about for several years with how best to deal with dieramas when they had finished flowering. We had removed the flower spikes on previous years, a fiddly job in itself and not really satisfactory as the older foliage turns to brown and needs to be removed but it is a nuisance to do this through the emerging new foliage. Our solution has been to cut the plants completely to the ground after flowering, a simple and once-off way of dealing with the plants. New growth appears very quickly, the plants suffer no set-back and we are spared the hundreds of seedlings which would otherwise appear in the gravel in which the plants grow.

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Elsewhere our vast meadow (the patch of high grass) was cut to the ground and the grass removed and put on the compost bin this year rather than being saved as hay. In previous years this hay was very useful as bedding for hens and to put on the ground under strawberry plants to keep the fruit off the soil. The roadside bank had become a little overgrown (a complete mess) as I had allowed a number of wildflowers free rein there during the summer. Water Forget-me-not is uncommon around here and a patch in the water of the dyke at the base of the ditch was allowed grow all summer as was a patch of Fool’s Watercress which I like for the smell of the crushed foliage. It was time to rein in their wanton ways and restore order or the primulas planted there might not survive the competition. Saturday was spent thinning two clumps of bamboo, one golden and the other black and this will provide enough bamboo sticks to serve our gardening needs for the coming year while today was given to shredding all that material which had gathered at the compost bins -and then I cut the grass.

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These bamboos have been very well behaved considering they were planted here over twenty years ago when we extended the garden to this area. They do need to be thinned out each year and the sideshoots removed to keep them open, to give them a lighter look. They are a good source of bamboo sticks for the garden.

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My plant of the week is the Bee Bee Tree, Evodia daniellii (previously, Tetradium daniellii). We have it here planted at the top of bed and we call the bed after the tree, The Evodia Bed. It has its common name, The Bee Bee Tree, because it is so valued by bee keepers. It is coming into flower now in late summer when nectar is otherwise scarce so it is a boon to bees and beekeepers. I believe it is an excellent example of how a garden plant can supplement and extent the season of flower for native pollinators. There is much to be said for planting native trees and native wildflowers but non-native species are also very useful both as garden plants and as nectar-rich plants for our bees.

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Another plant looking well at the moment, though it is a shrub which never seems to be out of flower, is Anisodontea capensis ‘El Rayo’. It hails from South Africa and is in the mallow family and puts on a lot of growth within the season, long growths with an upright habit. We cut it back in spring to keep it within bounds but it has still reached to more than two metres by this time of the year. It really is the simplest of plants to propagate, a case of simply cutting a branch at any stage during the growing season and shoving it into the ground where you wish it to grow.

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Cyclamen hederifolium is certainly a proclaimer of autumn and it has just begun to flower. The full display hasn’t come yet, just the first into flower but the first are always appreciated:

I’m sharing this blog with a group of fellow bloggers who contribute to a “Six on Saturday” theme which is hosted by “The Propagator”. To read more contributions go to The Propagator’s entry for today, scroll down to the comments and you will find other bloggers have posted links to their Saturday entries there. Lots to read!

15 thoughts on “More than Expected!

  1. Looks like you had a very busy week! I saw my first ever bee bee tree in a wonderful local garden * last week. Just about to flower. I must go back and check on it. *Sedgwick gardens at Long Hill, Beverly MA.

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  2. Your Cyclamen are well ahead of mine, which I’m quite glad about since they’re a real harbinger of summer ending. You’ve reminded me I need to thin my bamboo, never my favourite job, but yours look lovely which has given me some encouragement.

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    1. These are the very first of the C. hederifolium. Others are a bit behind these. But, yes, the end of summer….what will be next…snowdrops?

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  3. Anisodontea looks lovely and I think there might be room to squeeze one into my garden. I had noticed a few Cyclamen flowers rising up just before we came away. I’m sure they’ll be open when we return in a couple of days. Where did summer go!

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  4. There’s always *something* to do in the garden (and around the house)! I love the idea of using your own bamboo sticks in the garden. I have some in pots, but they have never gotten big enough to cut them like that. If I could just decide where I want them in the yard so that I could plant them out! (I have a fear of them growing all over the place, too). 🙂

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    1. I would love to be able to “steam” the bamboo sticks and form into circles so as to make good plant supports. I’ll have to dwell on how to manage that for a while.

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  5. Thanks for the tip on cutting back the dierama. I’m still persevering with my plants which look nowhere near as flourishing as yours do! You certainly did a lot of work in the garden, as witnessed by the full compost bin! Everything is looking lovely in your garden. The Anisodontea and the Bee Bee tree are both new plants for me.

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    1. This gardening week has started slowly – I’ve painted the kitchen and then had a day out visiting a garden. Tomorrow is to be a day of heavy rain and then…..maybe a bit of gardening.

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