Dear Readers, by the time you read this I will be on holiday (in the sense of ‘not working’ rather than ‘ going off somewhere exciting’) so there is the usual palaver around making sure nothing will blow up in my absence. Being a recovering perfectionist is a hard road to travel – I have to accept that a) I’m not irreplaceable and b) the organisation can get along very well without my presence. However, I do love to leave things in a tidy condition, and so for my blog post today I have spent a whole fifteen minutes in the garden before getting back to the grind.
I wouldn’t even have done this if a huge cardboard box containing 3 water irises hadn’t turned up – they were already potted up and ready to be dropped into the pond, so it seemed like the least I could do for the poor things. Can I just put in a plug here for Puddleplants if you are in the UK and want some pond or bog garden plants? I have been so impressed by the standard of the plants that they provide, and if they aren’t happy with the quality of anything they will let you know and ask if you want a refund or a different plant. Their customer service really is second to none.
Anyway, today’s delivery was of three Iris x robusta ‘Gerald Darby’, and if they thrive they should look like this:
…though at the moment they look like this:
And yes, the water level in the pond is down yet again. We’ve had no rain for weeks. I am growing creeping/dangling plants along the pond edge and may gradually remove some of the stones to get a more natural look, but in the meantime I’m looking to the skies.
Everything seems to be taking off. The water mint is extending its little invasive fingers and will no doubt be planning to take over the pond shortly.
The water figwort plants look extremely happy.
The yellow flag iris are shooting upwards. I love its butter-yellow flowers though it can be a bit of a thug. This one will need dividing for next year.
The leaves of the first water lily have broken the surface, though whether that’s because the leaves have grown up or the water level has gone down I shall leave for you to judge….
The yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris) has just broken the surface of the water. One of the pots slid off the ‘shelf’ around the edge of the pond and has upturned and disappeared into the depths. I shall try to retrieve it soon – my planting guide suggests that it should be under no more than 10 cm of water, and it must be in about 70 cm so that isn’t going to work. The other three are wedged in, so should be safe!
And finally the purple loosestrife is springing forth. Every year it gets so big that it ends up toppling over, and every year I think to myself that I should try to prevent this from happening. Sadly, ‘think’ is all I seem to do, being a bit short of inspiration. Maybe another case of dividing and putting into a heavier pot?
Away from the pond, there has been some cat-on-bird action – I ‘discouraged’ one slinky black and white marauder who was hiding under the bushes but he or she might have been back. Fortunately there are usually so many birds in the garden that someone sounds the alarm. Plus, fortunately, the feathers of woodpigeons are very loosely attached, so all a predator often gets is a mouthful of fluff.
I rather liked these grape hyacinths, but the bees don’t, much preferring the dark blue ones. Still, you live and learn.
The forget-me-nots that my friend J gave me are out…
And so are these wallflowers. I bought them thinking they would be cream and mauve, and instead I have one yellow one and two red ones, which rather mucks up my colour scheme. Never mind. Also, what’s with the leaves going brown around the edges? All advice gratefully received. I’ve been watering them religiously (or rather my husband has).
The ferns are looking good too! I have a couple more that have been in a pot for ages so I’m planning to liberate them this year.
And look, here is my one English bluebell (it’s a darker blue than it looks here, and the flowers do flop endearingly to one side so I’m fairly confident that it is Hyacinthoides non-scripta, as purchased). And yes, there are some stinging nettles next to it which will most likely be coming out when I have something to plant in its place.
And finally, I have planted up some honesty seeds (also given to me by my friend J) and have taken delivery of three woodruff plants (Gallium odorata), all of which will be popped into the shady side of the garden.
And finally, how about this red valerian that’s planted itself next to. the water butt? Whenever I see this plant it makes me think of Dorset and my time with Mum and Dad – the Red valerian there used to self-seed in every crook and cranny, and there were white and pink forms too. I don’t have the heart to pull it up.
And so, it’s back to work to tidy up a few more things. I hope to be having a few more exciting trips over the next few weeks – there are wetlands to visit locally, (Walthamstow and Woodberry), parks to walk in, and all sorts of places to explore. But I hope to be spending lots of time sitting in the garden too. After all, the lilac is almost in flower.