In the summer of 2017 I was contacted by A and M and asked to design a new planting scheme for their back garden.
Although the lawn was in very good condition, and even had a mowing strip, most of the rest of the planting left quite a bit to be desired.
Some of the shrubs had been pruned in a supermarket carpark style and the weeds had been left to their own devices for quite some time. There were also a couple of dead and dying trees to take out.
We had a huge clear out of most of the shrubs, a tree surgeon took care of the dead and dying trees, grinding out the stumps where necessary, and then followed the mother of all weeding sessions. Finally the garden was ready for planting.
The colour palette was based partly on some of the plants already in the garden, mostly blue and purple. The rest of the scheme was a cheeky combination of white, orange and dusky pink.
There wasn’t much to see in the first autumn but by March, despite the Beast from the East, and the Mini-beast, the bulbs were making a brave appearance.
The first of the perennials to get going was Geum Totally Tangerine, so good it flowered twice. This was followed by Papver Patty’s Plum, almost good enough to eat.
Despite the scorching sunshine and relentlessly high temperatures, and thanks to a lot of watering the rest of the perennials flowered through June and July.
The weeding was relentless. That’s what happens when weeds are left unattended and then you fertilize the soil and water the germinated seedlings.
Some plants, including the delicate Echinacea pallida, suffered at the paws of a youg dog. And some were trampled to death, yes really, by pigeons scavenging underneath the bird feeder.
The planting has performed really well, despite the extreme weather of 2018. Now in September, it’s still looking good.
We’re looking at doing a bit of editing. Some parts of the garden are shadier than I thought, and some drier, even though there’s an irrigation sytstem. And some of the plants savaged by the puppy need to be replaced.
But this is all part and parcel of gardening. Nothing stays the same, some things do better and some things do worse than you expect.
I’ll leave most of the perennials standing through the winter and cut them all back in February. That will be a good time to move some of the grasses from the shade to the sun.
Fingers crossed there won’t be quite as many weeds in 2019, and hopefully the weather will be a bit more benign….