Pretty in pink – May 2017

This is the third spring we’ve been here and There’s been lots of pink in the garden this year, mostly courtesy of foxgloves which have moved down from behind the rickety fence Mr Bumbleandme made last year to the bank behind the cottage.

I have endulged my obsession with old roses and purchased several since the beginning of the year. I’ve tried to purchase ones that may have been around when the cottage was built, in order to try and maintain a historical sense in the garden as well as the cottage itself. I expect a humble cottage like ours was unlikely to have such roses, but at least they are in keeping with the age of the cottage, and they help to give character to the cottage garden (and keep me happy in my obsession!). Although these are still to flower, some I purchased last year have flung open their blooms and are filling the air with a glorious scent.

Madam Alfred Carriere, a vigorous climber.
Here she is in all her glory.
The Generous Gardener, another vigorous climber.
This blousy beauty is William Lobb. I have to confess I am somewhat in love.
 

Elsewhere, many of the generaniums I planted last year that seemed to struggle with their surroundings, have settled in well and begun to flower. I’ve noticed that it takes plants a while to settle in here, but once they have, they seem to enjoy themselves. The white hesperis from last year, self seeded and looked stunning flowing down a steep bank until the rain flattened it all. The scent was beautiful. I may give it a ‘Chelsea chop’ early on next year to see if I can reduce its height. Astrantia like it here and I’ve got a ruby red variety that came with us when we moved here and I purchased some Astrantia ‘shaggy’ (white) last year which has settled in nicely. I also have several Thalictrum which really enjoy this environment.  
Erigeron is quickly becoming a thug on the bank, along with a pink Geranium macrorrhizum, taken as cuttings from my mothers garden. I’ve also become a fan of Alchemilla mollis for its thuggish ground covering qualities, and am trying to establish it in many of the borders. Being a thug is good in this case, as they have to battle with the weeds, meaning I dont have to! 
My concentration in the garden is now turning to ground cover, as I’m loosing the battle with the weeds and I need some help.  Being in the countryside brings its issues, weeds! If you turn your back for a second, they’ve colonised an area and are marching towards a full on invasion of the entire garden.  Quite frankly it’s exhausting, so I figure if I can cover the ground, the weed seeds will have nowhere to grow, and I can relax in my garden and enjoy it…….. that’s the plan anyway!! 
After a recent visit to a rather splendid NGS open garden nearby, who are subjected to trickier conditions than us but have managed to create a most beautiful garden, full of atmosphere,  I’ve now got a list (and a few freebie plants from the owners!) of ground cover plants and am currently recruiting my army.  The weeds had better watch out next year! 

This is quite a shady bed.
The foxgloves and Erigeron making a good combination on the steep bank behind the house. This is a challenging site, as its dry and gets very hot here in the summer.
The mock orange is flowering filling the air will perfume.
I’m not sure what this geranium is called, but it loves it here and self seeds everywhere. The orlaya grandiflora are grown from seed in the autumn.

A view from the top of the bank behind the cottage. You can see the hesperis tumbling down the other, problem bank (but that’s another blog!).

I do love aquilegia

This is a very pretty unknown aquilegia.
A view of the cottage from the field, with the veggie patch and duck enclosure in the foreground.
 

All in all, I think, after just three years, I’m slowly making a garden…………

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