What’s Been Growing On? The Honeysuckle Garden: May 2017

Hello again. I’ve been cramming in bits of gardening this past week (mostly potting on might I add because my greenhouse has become ker-ay-zee) and I’ve finally begun hardening off plants in preparation for planting out. It’s so great to finally get to this stage and I’m now well into frost-free territory so all is safe to plant out.

Today’s post is just an update to show you how things are coming along in The Honeysuckle Garden. I last put up an update in February 2017, which you can read about here.

I am delighted with how this area of the garden has developed. I love the variety of planting and the way in which my ideas are coming to life.

This is how this area of the garden looked in June 2016 not long after we moved in:

june-2016-11
End of June 2016

Then in October 2016:

oct-2016-5
October 2017

Then to February 2017 when I posted my blog update on this area of the garden:

feb-2017-7
February 2017. After.

Fast forward to now in May 2017 and it looks like this:

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And a side by side comparison:

june-2016-11
End of June 2016
wp-image-1043551375
May 2017

What super growth since February! Note takers among you will notice the brick path that Mr. Meadow diligently put in for us about two months ago. It just needs finishing off with mortar brushing into the joints. But I can happily say there’s NO MORE GRASS TO CUT! (At least, no more grass in the majority of the garden). Not to mention, our cats aren’t bringing in anywhere near half as much muddy paw prints into the house! Hurrah. Anyway, I digress…

Things that are growing beautifully at the moment include:

The creeping evergreen that is softening the pathway:

This gorgeous poppy in the left hand border has never looked so lush and it finally has  some promising flower heads. This will be the first time I have seen it flower:

The dicentra spectablis (aka bleeding heart) is growing well:

I’ve never seen this plant look this good!

The hydrangea next to it is also looking so bushy and lush. In previous years in our old garden, my poorly plant was feasted on by slugs but in this garden, it is doing wonderfully:

Just look at all those flower heads developing. I must say everything seems very happy here with us. I’m so glad I took the time to dig everything up and bring it with us in pots! It’s really helped our plants mature which gives our garden a head start too plant wise.

Next to the hydrangea I put in a new plant purchase we picked up in Autumn last year on discount. A dwarf acer:

I am very pleased with the foliage and colour combination between the magenta flowers of the dicentra spectablis and the burgundy foliage and contrasting leaves of the acer, combined with the pieris ‘forest flame’ next to it. The new leaves of the pieris earlier on this month were bright red, which looked really spectacular:

Behind these plants you can see self seeded fox gloves that seeded themselves from other fox gloves I have in the garden. I firstly spotted these babies whilst out weeding this area of the garden in Autumn/Winter 2016 before I put the bark mulch down, so I carefully dug of them up to space them out so they each had enough room to grow. Pretty nifty eh? They’ve established themselves well and being perennial, will look after themselves and continue self seeding thenselves wherever they choose a good spot in the garden.

The hypericum at the back of the border also self seeded itself and I just thought hey, why not!

At the back on the border on the right giving evergreen structure is the magenta rhododendron. This beauty is just beginning to come into flower:

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Moving now up towards the raised brick platform that Mr Meadow built in October 2016, the astilbes that I planted together when I was working on that area of the garden in February 2017 are all doing great. They are all coming up beautifully and I can’t wait to see their feathery plumes! I really love the textural appearance of astilbes. I like to leave the plumes on right through into Autumn and Winter to continue giving the garden some architectural interest. On a side note, the soil up in this area is rather soggy, but fortunately the astilbes are loving it up here more for that reason. The majority of these astilbes are what we picked up at The Tatton Park Flower Show in 2016:

This is how the astilbe looked in flower last year:

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I have two heuceras (one being evergreen for structure) planted among the astilbes which you can see at the front there. I’m hoping for some flowers off them this year.

I divided up this evergreen creeper and spotted it around this bed to help repress the weeds, retain moisture, add interest and to also develop the burgundy/maroon/purple colour way that seems to be developing in this area:

The grasses that I told you about in my last update in The Honey Suckle when I divided them are doing well too:

The photo above is the view looking down the garden from where I intend to put a small seating area such as a bench or set of chairs. These burgundy grasses you see are evergreen and are creating that softly walled effect I have mentioned in the past that I wanted to create without it feeling boxed in. These grasses also love moist ground so the environment seems excellent for them and they are growing well.

I am loving the combination of the grasses with the crocosmia (photo above, far left). I have other pots of crocosmia in pots around the garden and I plan to  add those into that area too, to create a vast drift of crocosmia!

Nestled in among the astilbes is one of my garden standbys I treasure for its long flowering period. My hardy fuchsia ‘sarah delta’:

As always, it is responding well to its annual hard prune to keep it compact and bushy. This is what it looks like in bloom:

Next to that area I planted a beautiful magnolia ‘susan’ which flowered earlier on this month:

This plant gives great height to this area of the garden and is excellent for an early flowering display. I am considering growing a climber to ramble through it. Does anyone have any suggestions for something gentle that won’t bully my magnolia?

Moving along, the ceanothus is flowering at the moment and growing along healthily. I planted it close to the fence to encourage it to train itself up vertically for year round foliage on the fence for structural interest:

The bare root hazels I planted in Winter are all coming into leaf now. It will be great once they start growing taller and then they will give use some privacy in this area as well as being great for wildlife due to it being a native hedge:

Earlier on this month, the dwarf pear tree also blossomed to beautiful effect. I’m hoping for some lovely pears from it again this year:

The rose that we inherited that I mentioned in this post is doing well. I dug it up and moved it into a sunnier spot (poor thing was literally straining for the light) and then I pruned it back with some heady courage to see how it responded. It responded well and so I pruned it harder. Heh:

But ah! You say, those are aphids I see. Yes. Drat it. It’s not the first time it’s happened either (but not with this plant). I’ve taken to spraying them off with water, but that’s not really tackling the issue is it? Any ideas why this is happening? It must be under some stress, but I’m not sure why or from what… Hmm.

Anyway, the eringium that I told you about me dividing along with the nepeta (cat mint) are both doing well:

In the border near to one of the honeysuckle trellises, the liatris I planted last year is emerging again strongly. I added extra liatris that Mr Meadow got us as part of a bulb bundle:

I also filled in this area with some bare root holly hocks I started off earlier on this year in the greenhouse which you can see above. This border still has plenty of space left for plants I am currently growing on in the greenhouse, so it’s a work in progress.

Anyhoo, the phlox and verbena we also purchased from The Tatton Park Flower Show last year are also doing excellently (see photos below). The phlox have emerged strongly and the verbena is growing back well after having been chopped back which I mentioned in this post.

Anyway, that’s all for today. I’m happy that I can really see a difference in how the garden is looking. What a difference 10 months makes!

Until next time, happy gardening!

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Written by Bethany Wright at The English Meadow

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