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.
Foxglove, Hosta, and Clematis are the stars of my garden in May!
- Clematis (asurreygarden.wordpress.com)
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.
My second choice is hosta. There are so many smaller cultivars these days, and they are mostly all fabulous.
My third choice is stachys, or lambs ears. They add texture and a beautiful grey color that blends with everything.
My fourth choice is lavender. It’s a bit hard to get started, but once it gets going, it is just about perfect.
And they are all great bee plants!
- Catmint the cat’s meow (sfgate.com)
- Stachys byzantina (findmeacure.com)
- Three Out of Four Cats Agree: Nepeta Cataria Rocks! (gardeningnirvana.wordpress.com)
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!
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:
- The Bees, the Flowers and Me (essenceofwild.co.uk)
This is for Ogee at Gardens for Goldens!
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!
- Watering Tips Help Your Garden Beat the Heat (minigardener.wordpress.com)
- The Transforming Power of Permaculture…Here it is! (permaculturecottage.wordpress.com)
- Dry Lawn Conditions Prompt Safety Tips From Firefighters (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- Cottage and Gardens: Wind and Heat, In and Out of Bloom (heartseasecottage.typepad.com)
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!