|Doin’ The Dirt was a gardening series that ran in my first blog, ‘ A Guy Called Bloke, from 2018 to 2022, when the blog closed. Willow Garden is a series exclusive to the Earthly Comforts blog only.|
|Main Feature and Image above the beautiful dark purple flowers of the Black Knight – Buddleia davidii – Butterfly Bush.|
|I haven’t had any disasters this year in Willow Garden, not with the ornamental growings, unlike some of last year’s vegetable growings. The weather has been ideal for some plants, while others have struggled slightly. The heat had been too hot for them, and it singed and burned their leaves.|
|I know the smooth hydrangeas – Hydrangea arborescens – were not overly impressed! But they still performed pretty well with better blooms in consideration to how they performed last season. |
Smooth’s ideally like a 50 50 balance of sunny spot and partial shade which is awkward here especially as this house is a rental and we inherited the smooths which are in full sun with no shade.
|The herbal mix, as l call it, have all performed exceptionally well. If there is one minor flaw, it would be that everything is a bit close together regarding the spacing between the pots, so all plants tend to interweave and overlap with each other’s foliage.|
All the herbs here are primarily in two main areas, although the comfrey is at the bottom of the garden near some mallows, which were all grown purely as trial experiments.
Once we secure the allotment, the mallows and the comfrey will only be grown down there. However, they have done exceptionally well, although the mallow at the end of the garden experienced some rather harsh sunburn.
Many of our herbs will move out and be resited with the vegetable and fruit growings in the allotment. We have here in the ground rosemary, bay, and lemon balm.
Whilst in containers only, we also have rosemary, bay, lavender, thyme, sage, clary sage, spearmint, peppermint, and horsemint. All the contained herbs will move to the allotment, freeing up some valuable patio space. Herbs down there will serve both as wildlife attractors and companion plantings for regular vegetable growings.
In this summer’s exceptional temperatures, most growing herbs have done well. We use many herbs in our cooking, so it’s just as well.
|The herbal mixture has performed well and thrived in the high temperatures – sage, rosemary, thyme, clary sage, lavender.|
|Last year we had three agapanthus plants in containers which, although they originally came from the Hillyfields garden, were split up and moved to two different locations only for them, ironically ending up in the same garden again!|
However, Suze and l repotted two of the most significant plants into a large container last October. The third smallest plant was sown directly to the ground beneath the Lady Bank’s rosebush at the back of the garden.
Whilst all three survived that move and winter. None bloomed this year, which can sometimes happen if they have been unsettled. I think it is safe to say that our healthy plants were a tad upset at one, being divided up, and moved and transplanted from one pot to another.
Although agies like to be close quartered to each other, it doesn’t mean that they might opt to miss a bloom one year if they are feeling a bit tousled!
In our case, all being moved about – the plants have opted to grow and develop beautifully lush foliage, and good solid rooting l imagine they will shine or bloom again next year.
|Agapanthus [above] full of bountiful green and lush foliage, whilst below encouraging the Cape Gooseberry to fruit up!|
|Below, you can see other plantings and growings that have also developed well despite our heatwaved season.|
The basket willow at the start of the season was a mere twig, whilst now it is flourishing. The begonias have all done very well next to the Fuschia. Although most did start their development in hanging baskets, they had to be replanted into containers.
Our creeping vine-like plants – the clematis and the honeysuckle have just gone wild on the back fencing and through the main ornamental shrubbery areas.
The garden lobelias and Lemmons marigolds have done exceptionally well in their hanging basket; l think it’s because they love the rosemary connection.
Last summer, l purchased together the skimmias and the Indian blanket flowers as saplings and young plants. They didn’t do well then, but the blanket flowers have just started blooming. The skimmias have been a little bit slow in that regard.
They have what is required to receive sun but are kept in the shade and have all their basic needs met, but they might not bloom this year either. I may have to research further as l get confused whether skimmias need a male and female plant side by side for pollination or if that is just for the berries.
The walled roses did pretty well considering the aggressive pruning l gave them last year, although the Lady Banks have developed with more flowerheads than the pink variety.
Another pleasant surprise was to see the beautifully graceful and slender stemmed flower of the Japanese anemones. I saw them only briefly last year, but they are doing well this time.
All in all, when l think back to the decision NOT to grow vegetables or fruit this season and to only work on flowers and the shrubbery, l still think this was a wise choice, and we have done OK here in the Willow garden with that choice.
|So l am delighted with everything. |
This time next year, l feel the garden layout will again be different.
For starters, the worm farms will not be where they are but right at the bottom of the garden, and their space will be occupied with more colour – that’s the plan anyway.
Once we have the allotment secured and being worked in, that too will make an impact on this garden space-wise as well.
|Thanks for Reading – See you next time.|