If they had come mid June they would have been amazed..but I have decided to grow my garden for myself and not put myself through this again. However it did get me doing various jobs around the garden which I may have delayed....
However I am growing to like annuals a little more, and will add more next year. I love propagating, and last year picked a few nastursium seeds from some plant growing over a wall somewhere, no I did not lean over the wall to collect them! They were rattling round the car, then the conservatory, but all six germinated! They are in the bed just beyond the first arch over which grows the best of red climbing roses: Etoile de Hollande. Sadly it was between flushes on the judging day with only about five blooms out. This corner bed just by the dustbins used to have a very productive Victoria Plum Tree until last Autumn when sadly it had to removed due to disease. Under the tree I have several clumps of double snowdrops, pink primroses and later a white geranium, and some lily of the valley which is gradually being cleared out. All attracted numerous bees. I think this will become the 'yellow and orange' corner of the garden.
In the corner is Leycesteria formosa 'Golden Lanterns, which I had growing in a pot from a small thing for a couple of years. In pride of place is the Sunflower plant given to me by Izzi, my little grand daughter. It is doing fairly well with some watering and feeding.
I am already trying to decide what to dig out and get rid of. I have quite a few duplicates, some tall perennials such as the peonies which only perform for a couple of weeks, and maybe two clumps are enough!
The second arch by the shed has two roses: Super Excelsa which always manages to flower when all the other roses are having their rest. I'm not sure if it performed as a 'reapeat flower' as it is claimed to be, last year, but we shall see. On the other side is Claire Austin, and I am not overjoyed by this one. It flowers only at the end of the stems, but maybe again as it matures it will improve. Alongside Clematis Comtesse de Bouchard has been established for about four years, and is doing very well. In the corner behind the bench, a clump of poenies, a variegated Pittosporum Garnettii, some Alchemilla Mollis, Astilbe Chinensis Pumila which will look at its best in a couple of week's time. In amongst the stones, I have various low growing thymes, violets, and the yellow flowering Lysimachia nummularia, both yellow and green leaved varieties, cyclamen and other rock plants. O f course I love my succulents and have sempervivums dotted all around, both in pots and in the ground.
I have a bamboo behind the gazebo, and am gradually turning this area into a fernery. I love all the complicated leaves, and cannot resist buying plants when I see an interesting one.
I keep so many shrubs in pots...too many really, its almost as if I wished for a much bigger garden! The Clematis Viticella Purpurea Plena Elegans is growing over the Rhammus Alaternus Argenteovariegata right by the conservatory.
Some of the earlier flowering perennials such as geraniums, Phuopsis Stylosa, centaureas etc had been cut back, and hopefully will be flowering again soon. Some of the Astrantias had really finished and the three or four different Phloxes were about three weeks off flowering. The Sanguidorba Officinalis Pink Tanna made quite a stir with the judges as it had about fifty hover flies in attendance.
In addition to the plants I love the insects, well most of them, that come into the garden, feed, lay their eggs, etc. All these visited the garden the day before the judges..good enough for them!
Three of my favourite small shrubs still in pots are on the corner of the patio: Japanese Umbrella Pine Sciadopitys Verticillata, Fothergilla Gardenii Blue Mist, and Lophomyrtus ralphii 'Black Pearl', with its deep bronze textured leaves. And as a nod to 'in bloom', I added a pot of Coreopsis which was waiting to be planted into the growing 'yellow border'.
Yes I think a few annuals sown early in the Year will bring a little added boost of colour.