The Garden in High Summer

Although the days are quietly beginning to shorten, and this summer has seen a mixture of very warm temperatures followed by what is in comparison some cool and damp conditions, the garden and its plants are looking pretty good.

The Stream garden (below), is currently awash with tall flowering plants such as lythrum, veronicastrum and filipendula which is a pleasure to walk through. It is always fascinating to see just how quickly some of these taller perennials will grow given a little moisture and some sunshine.

The Gravel garden (below), was a little slow to get going this spring due to the cold temperatures but it appears to be making up for lost time now with wild carrot, gaura, verbascum, nepeta and stipa amongst the many plants that are making this a veritable sea of flower. Butterflies and bees are loving it!

Not to be overlooked are the Mill End borders (below), where some of the latest plantings such as Panicum Sea Mist, Sesleria Summer Skies, Salvia Purple Rain, and Filipendula rubra Venusta offer much by way of flower, shape and form. The small red cylinder like flowers are produced by Sanguisorba Ruby Red. A recent Knoll Gardens introduction that is very compact and enthusiastically produces masses of rich red flowers.

The soil in the Entrance border (below), consists mostly of clay which is the only part of the garden where this heavier soils appears. The garden is otherwise largely a poor thin sandy soil. Deschampsia is a native grass that will cope with such a thin sandy soil but do seem happier when growing on a heavier soil perhaps with more moisture and so are very happy in this area. Deschampsia Mill End and Deschampsia Goldgehange are the two selections planted here and offer cloud like masses of flower through which perennials such as crocosmia and the drying stems of veronicastrum can appear to float.

A little further along are the Bark Circle borders which are for the most part in differing levels of shade. This is the province of shade tolerant grasses such as hakonechloa which can cope with the dry rootzone conditions under trees that so many other plants find very difficult to do. Hakonechloa All Gold (below), is a most beautiful selection that will not like hot sun and so is very happy in the dappled shade.

Hakonechloa Samurai (below), is a more recent selection that has green and white striped foliage that can be most bright and clear in the spring. It is happy in sun or shade and seems most content here.

With a rather more open aspect the Long Walk (above), offers flowers of many different shapes and colours. Veronicastrum, persicaria and sedum are backed by grasses such as Miscanthus giganteus, Panicum Northwind and the much shorter Pennisetum Piglet.

The Lower Lawn offers an open space between the more floriferous areas of the garden with Sesleria Greenlee Hybrid making attractive mounds of green foliage at the edge of the Decennium border. It should start flowering in the next few weeks,

The newly replanted Dragon Garden (above), is starting to establish with the plants putting on some impressive growth and are already looking significantly different compared to when they were first planted in April (below).

Cortaderia richardii (above), was one of the plants to remain from the old planting and has rewarded us with its elegant and airy flower plumes that are towering over the new plants.

Right by our roadside entrance (below), Sesleria Summer Skies has been planted in a narrow border that has a poor thin soil, faces south, is surrounded by impermeable heat reflecting surfaces, and is seldom if ever watered. Not ideal conditions for many plants, yet Summer Skies is performing beautifully with virtually no attention and just an annual cut back each spring.