Friday 27th May 2022

Another week has flown past and the Dry Garden is beginning to bed itself in a little; it looks nice and gravelly – and dry!

We’re even having to water the plants in. Whatever next?

Well, next is the Plant ident., of course. This week most of them are biennials, which can be sown around now for flowers next year.

Plant ident.

Biennials are plants which grow over a two year period. They grow vegetatively during their first year, then fruit and die during the second. In other words, they are flowering plants which take two growing seasons to complete their biological life cycles.

Examples are: Lunaria, Digitalis and Dianthus barbatus – as well as

Hesperis matronalis

Sweet Rocket is, as its name implies, a scented biennial. Its flowers are similar to those of Honesty, attractive to pollinators and can be purple, lilac or white. The scent is strongest in the evening. The flowers look good in a cottage garden setting or in a wildlife garden and are best planted in drifts.

Papaver nudicaule

A biennial, or short-lived perennial, the Icelandic Poppy is best grown in a deep, fertile soil in full sun. They come in a variety of luscious colours and have wonderful crepe-paper-like petals. Regular picking ensures that you will have beautiful cut flowers for indoors and will also encourage the production of more flowers. Should self-seed. Ht 30 cms

Angelica archangelica

Many gardeners grow Angelica for its architectural qualities – it makes quite a statement in the border with its huge umbelliferous flowerheads held on ribbed, pale green/purple stems. The stems were traditionally picked and candied for use in baking, but many domestic gods and goddesses give this a miss nowadays. Grow in moist soil in partial shade. Good for using in a wildlife or prairie-style planting scheme; the flowers are attractive to pollinators and birds love the seeds. Ht 2.0m

Anchusa azurea ‘Loddon Royalist’

Much appreciated for its gorgeous azure blue colour, this Anchusa resembles Comfrey in that both plants have a bristly, hairy texture. (They are in the same family, Boraginaceae.) They have strong stems and don’t need staking (gardener’s bonus), and as they can reach 1.5 m in height, the vivid flowers can easily be seen and enjoyed. Attractive to wildlife and holds an A.G.M.

Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus

This gorgeous perennial grows from corms and comes into flower now, after the Tulips and before the Dahlias get going. Their striking magenta flowers complement Geraniums, Roses and Alliums and they make a strong perpendicular statement in the border. Their common name is Sword Lily, as the leaves are erect and shaped like curving swords. Plant corms in the autumn in light, well drained soil (they like a hot, dry situation) – the corms need to be 10 – 16 cms deep. Ht 1.0 m

Now then, who exactly is paying a visit to this Moss Rose?

Two rather lovely irridescent bugs – Rose Chaffer beetles to be precise. Beautiful creatures, but, oh dear, Roses are one of their favourite foods. The larval grubs, however, are important to the soil as they feed on dead and decaying matter and contribute to the decomposition process. If they become a nuisance, try organic pest controls and encourage birds into the garden and pray that they’ll prey on them.

Jobs for the week

The Dry Garden

Continue planting

Water in

And enjoy!

The Compost Heap

Ensure all that plant material is crammed into the correct bin

Here, our expert is doing the Horticultural Hop

Planting containers

Weaving Teepees

These are to support climbers in pots – like Thunbergia, Rhodochiton, Mina lobata.

Two sets of Friday Groupers are put on teepee duty. No element of competition whatsoever.

Ours is best!

Supporting cut flowers

The magnificent bamboo framework needs to be raised gradually as the plants grow

The supporters support the cutting garden support structure. And then…

they stand back to admire their handiwork

These two look like peas in a pod!

Planting continues

You can never have too many Roses

Sow biennials

Sow them annually!

A busy time in the garden; there is so much to keep up with, as well as planting and planning for the months ahead.

We love it!