End of Month View: 31 May 2013

Slowly everything is coming into fruition, and the battle between protecting new shoots and the slugs and snails eating all in sight has begun in earnest.   It really is a battle, due to the rain, which brings out the terrestrial gastropod molluscs in force, and the weather warming up bringing out new shoots.   The garden is now scattered in slug pellets, not at all organic I am afraid but I have chosen this method as I really do want some perennials to survive  for the summer months.

Has anybody used Strulch as a an organic mulch?  I saw it advertised on the Telegraph Gardening website.   Apparently it’s made from wheat straw, slugs and snails don’t like the texture and it has an added snail and slug deterrent.  I thought I might try some.  Believe me I have tried, gravel, egg shells and all sorts of other proprietary brands but nothing really works as well as the unattractive tiny blue pellets.

This post “End of Garden View” is a review of the garden at the end of May, a meme hosted by Helen at Patient Gardener and a most useful guide to past years and what is happening at present in other garden bloggers gardens.  In general I tend to fill most of my posts with macros of the flowers and plants in the garden.  This month I am going to show the actual garden, which is really quite small, just packed full of goodies. 

First is the bottom of the garden from the back of the house.   The lilac is fading now so will be pruned shortly.  I took this photo  before pulling up the forget me knots that have gone to seed and the Spanish bluebells.  I only have a few Spanish bluebells, having pulled most up over the years, but I decided to keep some as they do give colour when it is needed.

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I went with my friend and neighbour to a local nursery last week and bought trays of White Cosmos and mixed Antirrhinums (snapdragons), as well as a blue Salvia Mystic Spires to replace the beautiful blue one I had for the last couple of years, sadly with no trace this year.   The nursery is a family owned affair and the plants were such good value, almost half the price of the large garden centre opposite.  I bought lots of things, none of which broke the bank.

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It is very sunny and warm here today so I took the opportunity to plant up the bedding, and this is what the flower bed looks like now.

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 I also found a home for the Salvia.

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I got carried away a few days ago with the ‘Chelsea chop‘ and was merrily cutting back the hardy geraniums, until halfway through one plant, when I realised to my absolute horror that I was chopping down the Astrantia!!   However, as you can see from the photo above, it is producing new leaves very quickly so all is not lost (I hope).

In the first photo you can see the frame to the plastic cover I had over the raised bed in the winter.  I have now removed it and all the chicken wire I had over the seeds.   Rather than grow vegetables this year, I mixed together the remains of last year’s seed packets and scattered them over the bed with the hope that I will have an abundant floral display.   The chicken wire was to stop the cats from using it as a giant litter tray.

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A few years ago I bought a couple of ‘sticks’ labeled Raspberry Malling from Wilkinsons for a £1.  These have gone from strength to strength producing bumper crops.  When looking up further information I found there are various Malling varieties and I have come to the conclusion mine are Malling Admiral.  This year I think they are going to do me proud.  I have kept the greenhouse frame over the bed so that I can run wires to support them, but in general they don’t need training as they have strong stems and grow as a shrub.

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The north facing border is very lush and the Astilbe seems to have taken over completely, so that will need a spot of culling, but not until after the summer, I rather like the pink plumes they produce.

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Turning towards the house, the Sambus Nigra (Elder) is exceptionally tall this year, probably due to the fact it wasn’t pruned when it should have been, but it is giving height to the garden and it’s nice to have a tree.

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Another view of the garden, from the south facing patio.   Here the Choysia has been cut back so that I can get down the side of the house.   The fuchsias are going to be beautiful this year, and the Olive tree is covered with tiny buds.

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The front garden is nothing special, but I do like to keep it tidy with a welcoming aspect.  Last weekend I planted up the hanging basket, which will be in shades of pink, with trailing fuchsia, begonia, diascia and various bits of trailing greenery.  A friend of mine, who is helps me with the heavy duty gardening jobs, would like to trim the low hedge into a neat and tidy form but I quite like it looking wild.  I may, however, trim it a little in the next couple of days.

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I have some lovely orange Day Lilies which I hope will show some signs of flowering, and the purple iris is being stripped by snails and the flowers are stunted.

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The Heuchera and Lysimachia are looking splendid, bringing a lovely display of burgundy to the middle of the front bed, under the window.  When the orange Day Lilies are out it the colour contrast will look great.

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It has been good for me to write this post today, as it had made me sit down and not get carried away doing too much.  I feel so well, it is hard to remember that I have internal stitches that still need to heal.  I would love to get out there to mow the lawn but that will have to wait.

Please pop over to Helen’s blog and follow the links to other gardens to see how they have got on with the vagaries of the weather over the last month.   Happy Gardening in June one and all!

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13 thoughts on “End of Month View: 31 May 2013

  1. Hi Ronnie,

    Your garden is looking lovely! Really wish my Black Elder would get as big 🙂
    Don’t worry about your grass being long; it’s great for wildlife that way!

    My Irises seem to be OK so far… in fact many of my plants haven’t suffered much at the hands of slugs or snails – I think the snow killed off a lot of the pests this winter. I’ve had minimal damage so far, and as most plants are big already, there’s no fresh shoots ripe for eating for them anymore.

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    1. You are so lucky to be relatively slug and snail free. I think mine all hibernated in the stone wall and ivy, the garden is a mass of snails. The elder is clearly really happy where it is growing, I bought it several years ago as a small plant from B&Q!

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  2. Hi Ronnie
    Its looking fab and I suspect a nice escape for you at the moment. I’m in two minds about your little hedge. The instinct is to clip it but that is rather predictable. I remember seeing one clipped into a caterpillar – sort of comic book style looked fab.

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  3. Everything is growing so beautifully!
    I have slugs here, too, that I have declared war on. I am more the ‘go out with a flashlight at night’ kind of warrior – hand to slimey hand combat!
    I am glad you are feeling well, but being careful not to overdo it.
    Have a wonderful week-end!
    Lea
    Lea’s Menagerie

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    1. If I was to collect snails I’d be out here all night long. They live in the ivy and stone walls. You are right I do have to be careful not to over do things, very easily done.

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