Midsummer Musings

It’s mid-summer, with late summer creeping in and the garden has been baked with hot sunshine for the last several weeks. I declare the borders officially out of control, but that’s to be expected at this time of year. I’m continuing work on the borders around Landing Pad towards the back, which is now coming to and end and we’re planning a celebratory trip to the nursery for the various shrubs (and their accompanying Clematis) that will be planted there.  It’s going to be a mixed theme of small trees, shrubs and perennials with perhaps a mass-planting of something like Candelabra Primula or Camassia Leichtlinii (something cheap or easy to do from seed, anyway).

While planting is a little way off yet, I’ve been spending time wondering about the garden, seeing how it’s getting on without my supervision.

The bedding annuals we bought to fill the gaps in the nomadic patio pot collection are doing well. We didn’t opt for pastels and mute colours, but the most gaudy combinations we could find. I think it’s fun finding bursts of colour among the green, especially when over half the pots have now flowered and finished for the year. The annuals will keep the show going until the end of the season – or at least until I can’t keep up with the dead-heading.

We moved the Buddha Head – a cast piece of garden furniture that’s been with us for the best part of a decade. It now sits underneath a lush spray of rescued ferns. Gazing at its serene expression, it doesn’t seem to mind where we put it. It simply is.

The Crocosmia are coming out and that does mark the end of the main flowering display. The garden will continue to flower for the rest of the season, and even continuously into next year if we’re lucky, but the main border perennials have done their thing. We’re short on later flowering perennials such as Rudbeckia, Asters and Heleniums, those are planned for another large border to keep the interest going but for the moment, the slide into Autumn has started, even though it is quite a long time away, there’s always a slight reminder from the flowers that have gone and the ones to come of the progression of the season.

One thing that has taken me by complete surprise is the honeysuckle that was planted against an inherited ornamental cherry and promptly forgotten about as it did its thing up in the tree canopy. I’m used to looking on-level or down to see flowers so it was a shock to look up and suddenly see a cascade of honeysuckle flowers spilling out of the tree. This is the first year its flowers have been noticeable, in previous years they have been absent or certainly patchy. The only trouble is that I do actually need to change where the honeysuckle is planted to be around to the opposite side of the trunk. I’ll think more on that problem when I have to deal with it.

Judicious monitoring and elimination of lily beetle means the lilies have not been munched at all this year, they’re currently flowering and the patio is filled with the scent from several pots of Lilium Regale. We also had pots of Lilium “Stargazer” last year but they have almost all disappeared this year. I’m not sure if it’s because of the soil mix in the pots, or the winter storage (they were kept in their pots in the greenhouse) but we did start off with equal numbers of both Regale and Stargazer and now Stargazer have virtually gone. I’m not sure whether to try a new batch with a new soil mix. Given it is a favourite, I think it’s worth giving it one more chance.

The main flowering show may be over but there’s plenty more to come and so there’s no need to get hung up on the slide to Autumn as there’s enough work to be getting on with in the meantime. The Landing Pad border will be complete before long and then it will be time to move on to the large – and very intimidating – semi-circular border, which will be split into winter-flowering plants on one side and traditional herbaceous perennials on the other.

That’s the plan.


  1. Love Buddha Head under the ferns. He does look serene. I can’t grow lilies because I am allergic to the fragrance. I did plant several lovely phlox to add a bit of color this time of year. But the groundhog ate them all. I guess that is gardening!


    1. Thanks, Lynn, he looks serene even when we pack him away in the shed for winter! I’m glad we don’t have to content with bobcats, groundhogs, possums and bears like you do, your local wildlife is super-sized!


  2. I had a little squeak of delight when I saw your new header pic! Lovely. I see you too have Crocosmia Lucifer. I have several but only Lucifer has flowered well this year…. like your Stargazers I guess – some years are getter than others.


    1. Hello Mrs Mac, the new header pic was actually a mistake, I didn’t mean for it to change but it has gone me thinking that I’ve had the current one for a while and perhaps it’s time for a change as the garden has gone through a lot of development since that picture was taken. The stand of Crocosmia Lucifer look really good but they have flopped over a little (too dry). The display doesn’t last long but it is very good when it’s in flower.


  3. Good work with the Lilies – that must have taken painstaking attention. And what a great surprise from the honeysuckle!


    1. Thanks, Jason, I would love to have large stands of lilies, but we wouldn’t be able to keep on top of the lily beetle so we’re reduced to having them in pots on the patio. The honeysuckle was very good this year. I’m not looking forward to when I have to move it. It will probably have to start all over again!


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