Pictures and Stories 3

This is probably the finally instalment of “Pictures and Stories” for now. I’m almost caught up with garden progress but there is still the “grand reveal” coming sometime in the next few posts. For now, simply read and enjoy catching up with what’s been happening in the garden over the last month:

Ajuga Reptans

Here we have the delightfully diminutive Ajuga Reptans in flower, surrounded by a sea of manure. This plant is growing in the front semi-circular border that I recently mulched somewhat later than I should have. I am growing this as a weed suppressant and once established, it really does help keep the weeds down. Unfortunately, from the picture I can see that one has crept in just on the fringes of the ever-expanding runners of the Ajuga. I shall have to treat that with the weed trowel. The blue flowers contrast well with the dark foliage of the leaves and we also have a variegated variety growing in the same border whose similar flowers contrast well against the bright foliage of its leaves.

Young Rose Border

This is a slightly old shot of the bay window border. All the bare-root roses that I planted in winter have come into leaf and are growing away strongly. I’m hoping for most, if not all, of these young shrub roses to flower this year as I can already see buds forming on several plants. You can also see the variegated Ajuga in the foreground as well as some pansies that were turfed out of the front trugs. The bay window border is a hot border in summer, not only does it get many hours of direct sunlight, but the pale gravel drive reflects a lot of it and the heat absorbed by the brick of the house is released at night, keeping this border warm. The only problem could be water, but I am hoping that this won’t be an issue when the plants are established. From when I initially reclaimed and began digging this border over, I know that the soil level thankfully runs deep.

Patio Wall Plant Combo

This duo of tumbling flowering plants growing in the patio wall makes for a good combination, I think and the bees like the white flowers particularly. This is only at one corner of the patio but it would be good to have this along other parts of the wall too. The patio wall is becoming weedy again and I will have to give it another tidy. The hard work of taking the rampant ivy is now done so I just need to get on top of other weeds that fancy establishing in the cleared spaces. I still don’t have much of a plan of how I want to plant this wall up. I have been wondering about alpines, but the soil stays remarkably wet, particularly so in the winter, which alpines are not going to like. I will have to look for small tumbling plants, I could make it really exotic and think about planting trailing fuchsias and other plants more suited to hanging baskets. Cramming the plug plants into the wall each year will be a bit of a challenge though but the results could be spectacular!

Frosted Camellia Flowers

This picture typifies the Camellia display we had this year. We have several large Camellia shrubs dotted around the house and garden and this year, the weather conspired to produce a frost-snap after a period of warm weather that prompted the Camellia flowers to open. The result was a spoiled display with many open flowers ruined and countless buds dropped. Despite the poor sportsmanship on behalf of the weather, the flowering was still heavy enough to turn the ground underneath the shrubs pink with fallen Camellia flowers; a very romantic image.

Wisteria Japonica and Banksiae Lutea

We finish with this image of future promise: the Wisteria Japonica (Multijuga/Macrobotrys) planted together with a Banksiae Lutea rose, which surprisingly is actually in flower! Both plants flower at the same time and the contrast of the clustered yellow flowers of the rose and the long racemes of the wisteria should make for a jaw-dropping combination. The wisteria was bought towards the end of last year and planted out right at the end of the season. The Banksiae Lutea was a replacement for the one that was left behind at our old garden. The wisteria had dropped all its leaves by the time I had got it in the ground and the Banksiae Lutea was planted only recently – after the last frosts since it is tender in it’s first year and needs protection.

I am happy to say that both plants survived the planting, the winter and are now in full leaf. There are no clear runners yet on either plant, the way the plants were pruned means that I’ll have to wait until mid-summer before I see some strong runners emerging from the base mass of green. It’s these runners I will start training up the wire supports that I conveniently installed last year. I’m somewhat worried that I planted these too close together, but that’s a problem future-me can think about. Right now I’m too busy dreaming of the billowing wisteria and rampant roses.

8 Comments


  1. Ajuga Reptans, or plain oldfashioned “bugle”! I had forgotten all about it as a weed stopper. Thanks for reminding me, Sunil. I saw Banksiae Lutea rose in a friend’s garden last week, it was magnificent, and I am toying with the idea of planting a rambler to go through my hedge. I love Albertine, but had it in a garden once, and it was a thug – too many thorns and did at least 15 feet every year, so that’s a no-no. Anyway, waiting now to see some shots of the bigger parts of the garden.

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  2. Hi Ms Mac, Bugle is great ground cover as once it gets going, it’s good at smothering weedlings. I have high hopes for the Banksiae and Lutea together, but it will be several years before the display is worth stopping for, that’s if they take off. Rosa Albertine is one of the ramblers we don’t have (and probably won’t be allowed to buy), just this morning I was at the top of a three-section ladder tying in the Kiftsgate which I planted at the end of last summer!

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  3. I had forgetten how the flower of Ajuga Reptans is attractive. I have it in a shady spot where it does relatively well but does not flower. I should move some in the sun.

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    1. Hello Alain, you have to get perilously close to the manure to see the flowers in detail as they are unassuming from head-height!

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  4. I have ajuga, too, and it would like mother nature to send some rain. I had rosa banksiae when I lived in South Carolina, where it was called Lady Banks rose. It’s not hardy here but I wish it were. As for your wall here are a few plants to consider: Corydalis if there’s a shady spot and oregano for a sunny spot. I love the white iberis with the little purple flowers. 🙂

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    1. Hello Tammy, Banksiae rose becomes hardy here as it gets established so it spend the first winter in the greenhouse, this coming winter I’ll make a protective cover for it and hopefully by winter 2016/17, it will be hardy. I’ll look up the suggestions for wall plants! I think I found a website that specialised in them, I’ll have to dig it out.

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  5. Your Ajuga looks extremely happy and most attractive. Expansion will certainly be a good thing. And I love that white/blue combination – perfect!

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    1. Hello Jason, the Ajuga is establishing and gradually spreading out, I like how it imperceptibly creeps outward until it’s a large disk of leaves. The blue and white combo is something we inherited, I think the blue is campanula and the white is Iberis or “Candytuft”.

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