Saturday, July 24, 2010

The annual Eeeek! moment

I am having an Eeeek! moment. And what I am eeking about most of all are my plants, of course. I have decided there are far too many dark-leaved varieties in my garden, far too many yellow-leaved varieties and far too many pointy leaves full stop. (This is what happens when one assiduously collects dark-leaved, yellow-leaved and pointy varieties.)
My kitchen is still being revamped. I am desperately trying to catch up with the laundry having been without a washing machine for a week. I have given up trying to think of healthy meals that a, don't need cooking or b, can go in the microwave and started ordering pizza instead. Everything to do with the kitchen seems to start off as a simple task and turn into a two-day nightmare. (Thank goodness my builders are patient and conscientious.)
Yet the thing that is worrying me most of all is whether I have too many red bananas in the garden. (Answer: yes, I do.)
It is something like six weeks until I open my garden for charity, under the National Gardens Scheme. So I told myself that this is not the time - no, no, definitely not - to start ripping things up and starting again.
Then I found myself in the garden this morning ... ripping things up. I thought I'd share it with you. What the hell - those of you who secretly get a little bit fed up with seeing beautiful blooms and perfect plots might get a kick out of seeing a bit of chaos.

So what have we here? Well, the first task was to resite the variegated canna that you can see alongside the bird table. That's it in its new place. Second task was to get rid of the two old logs that were either side of the frog pond (which you can't see because it's quite overgrown, which is how the frogs like it). I'd put them there ages ago when I redid this bit of the garden and planted them with periwinkle - Vinca minor 'Illumination'. But I'd got fed up with the logs - they made the area feel a bit claustrophobic. And they were rotting. So they came out.
See that dark-leaved fuchsia sitting on the grass in the foreground? It's' Thalia', not hardy but quite exotic with its orange-red flowers. You can buy them in garden centres, but they tend to be more expensive for some reason than the normal bedding fuchsias.
I have four that cost me absolutely nothing, because my neighbour Ruth rescued them from the tip the other day while she was dumping some garden rubbish.

Once you start one bit, there's a sort of domino effect round the garden. Where the red banana now is, at the centre back of the photograph, I'd had a dwarf bamboo in a pot - Pleioblastus auricomus. It was getting fed up with being in a container, and I thought it was just the thing to go by the frog pond. It's evergreen, like all bamboos, but I treat it like a herbaceous perennial and chop it back each spring to stop it looking scruffy and to ensure bright new growth.
The broad-leaved thing beside the banana is a Paulownia tomentosa. I'm going to have to move it - it doesn't like it there at all. Why did I plant it there? It seemed like a good idea at the time ...

There are some bright spots in the middle of the chaos. This pelargonium is one of the Angel varieties, I think, and was given to me by Patientgardener.

And this zantedeschia was a present from VP. It's still in a pot, but managed to survive the winter and come back bigger and even better this year.

I bought these lily bulbs at Sissinghurst when I took Gail and Frances. They'd already started to sprout when I bought them - Sissinghurst were selling them off at three packets for the price of two - and when I planted them up, they looked very sorry for themselves. But they've come good and seem to be reasonably impervious to lily beetle (apparently, Asiatic lilies don't suffer as much from this pest). Trouble is, I was in such a hurry to plant them, I forgot to take a note of the name. They look like 'Latvia' but I seem to remember them being called something else. Whatever they're called, they are a gorgeous reminder of a lovely day with two lovely people.

I haven't dared touch this border, because it's just coming into flower. In my head I call it the firework border, because the shapes of the yuccas and the agapanthus (and a cordyline, which you can't see in this picture) seem to explode like starbursts, while the yellow crocosmias are like the trails of stars falling through the sky. I think the crocosmias are 'Warburton Gold'.