The month of August seems to have flown by with not much gardening getting done, due to the heat. The small amount of rain that we have had, has made no difference at all to the overall look of the garden, it just looks very dry in places. One border that is quite happy is the bog garden, so obviously our underground stream still has enough moisture in it to keep my plants happy. The other area is the Bee and Butterfly border up the drive. The plants here look happy and the flowers are bringing in the bees and butterflies as I hoped. Even so, there are certain areas that need improving and I think I will use this End of Month Review to monitor the changes here over the next few months. To start with, this is the view from the gateway.
I am very pleased with the planting just inside the gateway, the Agapanthus and Rudbeckia go so well together, the bees enjoying both of them and the butterflies enjoy the rudbeckia.
Next to them, flowering at the same time is this Kniphofia, but once again, the name slips my mind! The bees love it and I have seen wasps crawling up the tubes, but it wasn’t planted for them! These stems have finished now and been cut down, but 3 more are now emerging, the stems form good verticals amongst the other plants.
Next comes a pot of lilies, Lily Longiflorum, which are not reliably hardy, so the pot comes onto the front porch for the winter. These flowers are enjoyed by all sorts of flying insects and by me, I just love the perfume!
Throughout the border, Verbena bonariensis seeds itself around and is a really good plant for both bees and butterflies.
Next comes an area which is in need of improvement. The montbretia has put itself here, that can certainly go, along with the Alchemilla mollis and behind are some michelmas daisies that have seeded here too. I think this area would be a lot better if I repeated the previous plants that are further down the border. I already have some Rudbeckia and Agapanthus that I can bring from elsewhere, the lilies could be divided as they are pot bound by now, which just leaves some more Kniphofia to buy, not necessarily the same variety, but I do like the one I have.
Next comes a large clump of Penstemon Garnet. I have already taken a few cuttings so that eventually we might have 5 groups along the border. Penstemons provide nice tubes for the bees to crawl into.
Next in the border is a pink Buddleia which the butterflies and bees love. There are also blue and purple buddleias in this border, but the pink one is the one that everything seems to prefer, this has a Tortoiseshell butterfly visiting at the moment.
By the Buddleia is a large clump of wild michaelmas daisies, they have put themselves here and I have left them for a while as the bees and hoverflies love them, each day they are literally covered with them. I think though, that maybe I will move them to the back of the border next spring as they are obviously so good for the wildlife and repeat the agapanthus, rudbeckia, kniphofia and lily combination. It will be more interesting for me to look at anyway!
At the back of the border is Eupatorium purpureum, last year with all the rain we had, it was huge, at least 8 or 9 ft tall and the flowers were about 10 inches across. This year it is between 5 and 6 ft and the flowers are much smaller. The flowers aren’t quite out yet, still in bud, but last year this was the plant everything preferred to all else, it was a feeding frenzie! Hopefully it will be the same in a short while.
Behind the eupatorium, I found these crocosmia, goodness knows how they got there. Maybe they were with the eupatorium when my friend gave it to me. Anyway, they would look much better at the front of the border with some more agapanthus, kniphofia and lilies, don’t you think?
Another plant that self seeds through the border, although only a few are allowed to stay, are the evening primroses. Bees enjoy visiting, but then in late autumn and winter the seeds are loved by Goldfinches and I love watching them digging the seeds out.
The border is quite deep all the way down, maybe 10ft, and all that I have been describing is in the front half of the border. The back half is totally different, planted for winter and spring interest. At least now I have decided where I think I can improve the front half for next summer and will see how it looks next month, will I have done anything? Maybe not, because I think that all plants that flower now, shouldn’t be split or moved until the following spring, that is my excuse and I’m sticking to it!
Thanks must go to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting the End of Month Review, do pay a visit to see interesting gardens from round the world.