Gardening with Nature on the Edge of the Atlantic

Summer Colour

This pink Leptospermum scoparium ‘Martini’ was a new addition to the garden last year. It tends to be delicate and I had no hope that it would survive the cold winter. It is past its best in this photograph, but to my surprise it is thriving. If it is like its relatives in the garden it may have to be moved as they had an extraordinary growth spurt during June.

Each year the bank at the back of the house produces more wild flowers as I leave it to manage itself. It looks its best in full sunshine as the grasses glow in the sunlight and are a nice contrast to the clear blue of Sheep’s-bit.

Clumps of Sheep’s-bit growing out of the rock face by the garage.

The garden continues to surprise in this year of weather extremes. The roses are better than they have ever been, but the hydrangea have defied all expectations and survived the long hot spell without watering. On the other hand, the Buddleia struggled through the winter and a number of plants died. There are just four Buddleia flowers throughout the garden and I am worried that there will be none for the butterflies when they arrive. Even more puzzling the wild Buddleia are in full blossom on the roads near my home and I am at a loss to loss to explain the difference.

The rambling rose Chevy Chase has been a disappointment since I planted it a few years ago. It was just about to receive its notice when it burst into flower during the hot spell. It has won a reprieve and I hope that it does not revert to its previous sullen state.

I have lost the label for this lovely rose and it is amazing that it has survived despite my neglect. It has just been cleared of the plants that had threatened to smother it and has produced some late blossoms. Plants can be very forgiving.

My rosemary plants often appear to flower all year but they do take a rest from time to time. Their seed heads are intriguing and as attractive as the flower and I might try to dry some to see if they retain their interest.

For some reason the flowers on the sage plant seem more dramatic this year. They too survived the winter with just a couple of dead branches on one or two plants. In fact my small herb garden has expanded to include some of the drive with no ill effects.

I am always interested to see if I will have any new wild flowers in the garden. These Ox-eye Daisy leucanthemum vulgare made their way from the nearby lanes to the place where I park my car. Maybe not the safest spot but they have survived so far. I love to theorise how new wildflowers arrive in the garden although I usually assume that the birds play a big part.

Another newcomer to the garden this Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius ‘Silver Jubilee’ took a bit of battering during the winter but I rather like its new shape. It started as a deep pink and is gradually fading to a cream colour. I hope to add a few relatives in the near future although I am fast running out of space.

I would have dozens of American Dogwood if I had the space. Tough and beautiful with long lasting flowers they need almost no attention. Their natural shape is very graceful and they also know how to pose for a photograph. This one is now about twelve feet high which means it rises over the hedgerow and is exposed to the south east winds. It does not seem to care. The flowers usually take on a pink tinge as they mature but the rain has spoiled the effect and I prefer to keep the image of the pure white flower in my mind.

One of the most impressive results of the warm spell in June was the amount of growth in a very short space of time. This Lavatera or Mallow has doubled in size and is covered in blossoms.

This evergreen Lavatera Maritima does not have as many flowers as its relative but it is a striking flower. It also survived the winter in spite of my expectations.

During the hot spell I was unable to work in the middle of the day. It allowed me to retreat to the copse and indulge in one of my favourite pastimes in childhood: lying under a tree and watching the leaves sway against the sky. This Maple is very happy in the shelter of the copse and has suddenly produced a number of seedlings. I hope to place a few in other parts of the garden if they survive.

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