Cottage Gardening – October Garden

The coming of Fall is bittersweet. I hate to see my garden dying, but some flowers are at their most beautiful. Here are a few pictures I took yesterday.

Bee-Friendly Dahlia

Bee-Friendly Dahlia

White Dahlia And Hosta

White Dahlia And Hosta

The Last of the Roma Tomatoes

The Last of the Roma Tomatoes

Goodbye Until Next Year

Goodbye Until Next Year

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 15, 2013

Foxglove, Hosta, and Clematis are the stars of my garden in May!

002

007

009

010

005

  • Clematis (asurreygarden.wordpress.com)

Best Of Summer

It’s hard to believe that the summer is over!  But I’m glad I have so many pictures to enjoy this winter.  And they will help me plan for next year!!

Covering Old Ground

Not that anyone has asked me, but I thought I would weigh in on my personal choices of ground cover/underplanting.

I am a traditionalist.  I like four plants for covering those awkward spaces under roses, hydrangea and other flowering shrubs.

My number one choice is Nepeta, specifically Walkers’ Low.  I love this plant. It is hearty, beautiful, fragrant and voluminous.  Its only downside is that if you have cats, they like to nap right in the middle of them. It’s also known as catmint.

Nepeta Walkers Low and Pink Roses

My second choice is hosta.  There are so many smaller cultivars these days, and they are  mostly all fabulous.

Hosta Underplanting

My third choice is stachys, or lambs ears.  They add texture and a beautiful grey color that blends with everything.

Lambs Ears Underplanting

My fourth choice is lavender.  It’s a bit hard to get started, but once it gets going, it is just about perfect.

Lavender and Boxwood

And they are all great bee plants!

Last Of The Hosta Blossoms

Sadly, my hostas are almost finished blooming. The garden saved the best for last though.

This cultivar’s bloom looks like a beautiful lily. It looks like it has a few more blossoms to enjoy!

Flowers For The Bees

The nectar flow is strong right now, but we worry about August, September and October. We want our ladies to go into winter with a big store of food to carry them through the winter.

My dahlias and everlasting peas will bloom until fall, but my roses and hostas will be done by then.  Thank goodness for my neighbor who’s a wonderful gardener!

She grows the most gorgeous hibiscus which the bees just love! While not a staple of the English cottage garden, they are beautiful just the same!

They are just now coming into bloom and will continue as long as the weather is warm, which, around here, can last until October.

Here are some pictures, along with a few from my garden as well:

Things To Do In The Cottage Garden In July

July can be a fun and productive month in the cottage garden.

Not only are your borders burgeoning, but there are ample opportunities to enhance your plantings with seeds and garden center bargains.

First, the not so fun tasks:

If your garden is like mine, everything needs deadheading, particularly the roses, hydrangeas, geraniums, sweet peas and hostas. Regular trimming will keep them looking tidy and will encourage reblooming.

July is the perfect time to compost those trimmings and to use that compost to mulch and feed your borders. Commercial bark mulch leaches nitrogen from your soil.  Using composted organic matter to mulch your plants actually improves the quality of your soil.

If you use layers and layers of bark mulch every year, you will soon be trying to grow your plants in nothing but bark mulch. It doesn’t work. And people often think there’s something wrong with the plants.

If you must use bark mulch, try mixing it with compost, or add the compost first and top with a light layer of bark mulch.

Rainfall in July can be spotty in many areas, while the heat and humidity can soar.  Make sure you keep your garden properly hydrated with periodic long soakings rather than daily sprinkles.

Now the fun part:

Planting seeds every few weeks for quick growing, colorful flowers such as sunflowers and nasturtiums will provide new interest in the garden throughout the rest of the summer.  Also, now is the time to scout garden centers for end of season bargains.

And start planning your fall garden/plantings.  Fall is the best time to plant some of the most popular plants such as peonies and alliums.

And be sure to take some time to slow down and enjoy the results of all your hard work!

What’s In Bloom On June 11

My dahlias are getting ready to bloom!

Stachys “Cotton Candy”

Favorite English Garden Bee Plants – Hosta

Even though they originated in Japan, Hostas are a mainstay of the English cottage garden. They are also attractive to bees of all kinds.

Honey bees can’t fit inside a Hosta bloom, so they poke a hole in the flower to suck out the nectar.  They have adapted to this exotic.

I love Hostas, and have many varieties. My favorites are the giants!