The June Newsletter: A Personal Take

In this awful time, we also have been very pleased to have a garden.  We have been removing and moving shrubs, some planted by the previous owner, some simply not successful and some planted in haste and regretted.

So, Caroline, where do the labels go?  Some I find in the compost bins along, occasionally, with trowels or secateurs, and some under the mulch at the other end of the border.  I usually blame the blackbirds but a few years ago we tried tying the labels to the plants but most of them disappeared too!  

We love baptisias too, but have failed to grow them successfully in our past and present gardens.  Both gardens had very different soils and conditions, so I can’t offer any helpful advice, I’m afraid.  Papaver rupifragum is giving us much pleasure as well, it can be a surprise where it chooses to go.

It was lovely to see the photos of the visit to East Lambrook Manor, especially with our friends doing what they do best – admiring and buying plants!

The visit to Kew Gardens was obviously a success, but the one photo which resonated with me was Strongylodon macrobotrys.  This bought back memories of a visit to a large and overgrown greenhouse in Madeira, where the flowering jade vine was rampaging through other vines.

‘Three of the Best’ – yes, Roy, I agree totally.  We struggle to grow climbing clematis in our very dry, free draining and poor soil, but the herbaceous types love it.  ‘Cassandra’ was our first and favourite; so much so, in fact, that we bought another and put it in a slightly sunnier position.  We don’t have C. x durandii but C. mandschurica has come into its own this year and fulfilled all of its eight foot.  I might try cuttings, wish me luck.  We have another which we have just moved, as it was in too shady a position.  Of course the label has run away, but from memory it is something like ‘Blue Ball Hill’.

I loved your photos, Marion, but sadly thalictrums do not thrive in our soil.  However, we love them so we persevere.  I have made a note to get Verbena macdougalii, as I like V. hastata.

Sally’s feelings on dahlias mirror my own.  Now they have been freed from their sticks and upturned pots we can have some fun with them.  Putting them in unexpected places, to brighten a border or catch the eye and bring out other similar colours – great.  It is many years since we visited Great Dixter but I haven’t forgotten the use of colour and unexpected combinations.  We owe Christopher Lloyd a debt of gratitude for allowing us to garden as individuals.

Looking forward to seeing all our HPS friends soon.

Sue Sheppard    

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