Armada’s Gardening Moments
The wonderfully diverse weather that we enjoy in the south of England is a real blessing to gardeners, hardly ever too cold, reasonable rainfall and our fair share of sun. However, it can make choosing the right time to take leave from the office a little problematic.
We decided to spend the first two weeks in June, catching up with the chores in the garden and spending time resting, reading and reflecting.
The weather for our first week was perfect for rolling up the sleeves and getting on with the ‘Chelsea chop’ while being surrounded by the first flush of roses this year (We are huge fans of David Austin roses).
By the end of the day, with the old bones creaking a little, it was very rewarding to soak in a warm bath with a large glass of chardonnay and plan the priorities for tomorrow’s schedule.
As the week came to an end someone turned the thermostat up and the south west of England went into shorts and ice cream mode. The heatwave lasted all week. There was nothing for it but to cease the horticultural endeavours and kick back in the shade.
It was good to stop and look around at the results of our previous week’s efforts. The borders looked blooming radiant. The alliums, Purple Sensation, were living up to their name, Nepeta was overflowing the edges and the blue Salvias and Geranium Rozannes were putting on growth as you watched them.
Recently Gardeners World viewers voted for the Golden Jubilee Plant of their choice. Not surprisingly, Geranium Rozanne came second behind everyone favourite, the rose.
Like summers of our childhood, day after day was spent with mug or glass in hand, soaking up the peace and quiet, which was only broken by the distant sound of silage making and the soporific sound of bees collecting their nectar.
For hours on end we watched our apian colleagues pollinating our plants for us and hopefully flying off to do the same for our farming neighbours.
With the serious decline of bee populations, you may want to do your bit to reverse the trend. When you are next in your local garden centre or nursery, remember that bees are particularly fond of plants that have blue flowers.
Geranium Bill Wallis and Verbena Bonariensis are both great favourites of bees and they have the added benefit of seeding prolifically throughout the garden, filling in the gaps for you. Your wallet will love you putting these plants in the trolly.
In our garden it is definitely the Nepetas that our friends make a bee line for. Plant a few of these and watch them grow dramatically. At the end of the season you can split the plant several times, increasing the chance for your plot to be the local bee heaven.
Depending on your soil and climate, one of the best attractors for bees and eye appeals has to be the Lavender. Choose a long-stemmed variety and plant it en masse, either in blocks or as an edging plant for paths or borders.
If you are not a user of Pinterest, open an account, it’s free, and tap into an encyclopedia of pictures and ideas for your garden. You could start by clicking on Armada’s Pinterest board, ‘Gorgeous Gardens’.