July 2020 archive

The Flower House Studio Garden 2020 -June

Here we are in June, another wonderful month for gardeners and a time to enjoy all your hard work. Yes there are always jobs to be done but so much to admire too. It will depend on where you are in the country as to what needs to be done as in colder areas spring flowering shrubs have probably just faded and require pruning. Whereas here I only have the philadelphus which has just come into flower and of course smells wonderful.

This reminds me of why we choose certain plants and shrubs, scent is an important element in a garden and can come from many sources. As well as the philadelphus we have lavender which is great to brush past, although we are still awaiting the replacement plants for the bed by the path. Herbs tall and ground level provide a variety of powerful scents, dill, fennel, rosemary, sage, thyme, mint and oregano are the main ones we grow. I recently planted a mini herb garden outside the kitchen for ease of picking! I need to remove half of the skimmia’s behind but will wait until autumn to do that as I want to put them in the front garden which requires clearing.

All the roses we have are scented, the honeysuckle which has nearly finished but we have the sweet peas and jasmine to look forward. And how could I nearly forget the lovely Daphne planted at the top of the steps up to the garden from which I get a lovely whiff every time I pass.

I am also interested in texture and form so love a seed head as much as a flower, just look at this clematis and of course the nigella pods are fantastic too.

The weather has turned quite chilly but we have had some desperately needed rain. Whenever it rains the garden takes on more vigour and vibrance. The sweet peas seem to have doubled in height and there is even a flower but I think I need to pinched them out to get them more bushy, a job for tomorrow! You can see the amaryanthus are coming along nicely too.

I have one solitary white peony, the first time it has flowered. My daughter bought it for Mother’s Day some years ago, I am not even sure of the variety but it could be Shirley Temple. Hopefully it will continue to produce more blooms each year.

The new plants for boarder by the path and round the deck seating area have now arrived and are in! The lavenders look a bit sparse at the moment but by next year should have bulked up and the hardy geraniums should flower right through the summer as long as I dead head them! It was very good timing as we had rain just after planting and are due more over the next couple of days which will help to get them settled in.

We do not have ‘rooms’ in our garden or secret areas as such because as mentioned in the initial blog about the development of the garden we did not want to obscure the view of the river and pasture. However I did initially design the boarders in colour themes but this has got a bit muddled over the years with self seeders and filling in but I quite like that as it means the garden is evolving naturally and organically. And of course now we have one continuous boarder rather than 4 separate ones. But I did begin with spring pastels going into stronger spring, summer blues and pinks.

The idea was then to have a more vibrant bed with lime green geulda rose in spring and oranges, yellows, bright pinks in summer.

The last bed, before we put in the cutting flower bed, has cool colours and plants to reflect our proximity to the coast. It has mainly whites, greens, greys with a touch of yellow from the ground cover sedums and blue from the salvia’s and agapanthus. The cardoon and ‘Miss Wilmotts Ghost’ thistle provide texture.

And I like this shady boarder with the dappled light coming through highlighting the white foxgloves under the willow.

We also have seating areas and I cannot believe it has taken me 6 years to discover what a sheltered sun trap the deck in front of the studio is!

The other part of the deck is a good spot for an aperitif on a warm evening overlooking the river. As I said earlier you need to be able to enjoy the garden!

And then there is the mooring from where hubby fishes.

And Winnie meets friends!

On to jobs, I have pinched out some dahlia’s and put them in a pot hoping for new plants, the salvia cuttings I took previously look pretty healthy. There is nothing like creating new stock for free!

I am constantly dead heading, the geraniums and roses in particular at the moment.

Rain again which is great as we planted some more lupins yesterday and it has given me the opportunity to take a photo of the droplets on the alchemilla mollis I referred to in last months post.

And how nice is this to see bees on the veronica!

The cut flower bed is doing well with the cosmos beginning to flower and the larkspur and amaranthus gaining height by the day.

It is now the 15th June and British Flowers Week. This event was founded by New Covent Garden Market in 2013, ‘it is an annual, national celebration of the wealth and variety of British cut flowers, plants and foliage’. It involves promoting British flowers with numerous events and last year we went to see Simon Lycett’s installation at The Royal Opera House created with the help of members of  Flower From The Farm which is a co-operative of British cut flower growers. It really was stunning with all British flowers and foam free.

Like so many events it is going to be virtual this year with lots of on line talks and demo’s which I have been dipping into. So far I have listened to interviews by Simon Lycett with Shane Connolly, Rebel, Rebel and watched You Tube demo’s by Jam Jar Flowers and Tattie Rose. I also entered into the spirit and posted a photo of my flowers for their ‘windows’ feature with the garden as a backdrop.

Well that was this year’s British Flowers Week and I think with the current situation British Flowers are really coming into their own as many growers are having to find outlets for all the flowers they would usually have used for weddings. We have come a long way since we first opened our florist shop in 2006, I so wanted to use and sell local and British grown flowers. It was not until a few years later and even then there was only one guy who grew sweet peas and a newly established grower that I was able to do this on a small scale. I could not even buy from Covent Garden as they only sold whole boxes which for a small village florist just was not practical. Whereas now the the whole market is on board with British grown hence the event. Obviously I was so ahead of my time – haha!

Back to the garden and it is nearing the end of June. We have had strong winds and some rain so have had to check for damage and put in some additional staking. But things are looking good. The lupins and delphiniums are nearly over, I will cut both down, the delph should certainly give a second flush later in the season.

And the salvia’s are splendid, I cannot believe it has taken me so many years to appreciate what a great plant this is. There are many types but I prefer the shrubby herbaceous perennials.

Other things which are doing well at the moment are the acanthus, they have such a wonderful textured flower, shame about the leaves which tend to suffer from mildew.

The courgettes with its lovely vibrant flower and we have one raspberry, I cannot wait for them to ripen, we had loads last year.

This post would not be complete without another shot of the cut flower bed, how it has grown in just 2 weeks!

The burgundy amaranthus are looking great and work so well in summer and autumn bunches.

Can you believe we are half way through the year already. June ended with rain which is always good for the garden as long as it is not too heavy. It will give the plants greater vigour and I am looking forward to next month when we should see many more of the boarder perennials in flower.

Here is this months vase with all pickings from the garden – the last of the lupins, roses, scabious, cosmos, lavender, feverfew, alchemilla mollis, salvia, spirea, rosemary, nigella seed heads and a few stems of grass