Tuesday 1 October 2013

Exciting planting

Mon 22nd July
Weather: Hottest day of the summer so far, apparently up to 34°C!
Me and Ellen finished clearing the space behind the Lupinus arboreus in the Peacock Garden, including taking out weeds and digging it over. Then we planted in Cosmos bipinnatus 'Dazzler' - a tall dark carmine pink one and watered them in well. Meanwhile setting the sprinkler on the Aster latiflorus var. horizontalis hedges.

At the back of the Peacock Garden near where we planted out the Cosmos. (Left to right) Lilium lancifolium, Phlox sp. Eryngium sp. Behind these are bright pink tufts of Persicaria orientalis and Verbascum sp.
Tues 23rd July
Weather: Thunderstorm - first rain in weeks, heavy showers but it didn't last long.

We cleared one side of the kitchen driveway, weeding and taking out dead/ brown bits. We collected some Leucanthemum vulgare & Papaver dubium subsp. lecoquii 'Albiflorum' (Beth's poppy) seeds.  Then we cut back the dead stalks of these, and of Euphorbia sp. & Geranium sp. We saved the offcuts of Leucanthemum vulgare & Geranium sp. that still had seed heads, and took them down to the farm complex to strew in cracks and barrens spaces there.

Weds 24th July
Weather: 24°C, mainly sunny. Nice and cool in the morning, especially moments when it was overcast.

Fergus was away today and he left us to do a juicy bit of planting by ourselves in a sizeable bed on the kitchen driveway that we had just cleared. This is really exhilarating because he usually likes to inspect the different stages of how we place out the plants and how they look after they have been planted, as he wants to keep a tight unity over the garden. So it's a quite a honour to just be left with a task like this, naturalistic planting can be quite hard and it's a great challenge. He did indicate what he thought we should plant out there - Amaranthus caudatus (Love Lies Bleeding) and Tagetes patula, but it was pretty much free reign of what we did with it.

Ellen feeling triumphant!

So with excitement and intrepidation I worked with Ellen & Yuka to place out plants, getting experienced opinion of gardeners like Graham who has been there for a few years. Ellen had a great eye (she is from a graphic design background, is currently training in garden design and is this years Ann Wright garden design scholar at Dixter), and we worked together well intuitively. We had done a good stint together already planting out the Cosmos on Monday, she has also been giving me amazing assistance with my Hemerocallis project. Yuka valiantly accepted our choices and contributed her commitment to ambitiously get it planted out before the end of the day (it took us the day just to get all the plants and to position them).

Planting in the kitchen drive - below Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) 'Valentine'  of
Tagetes patula & Amaranthus caudatus. One of the important things to consider
in planting is where the main vantage points are and how it looks specifically from those
views. Then you can work out best how to place out colour and shapes, how it jumps
at the eye etc. 

Close up of Amaranthus caudatus - these were really great to work with, as they
so striking you don't need much to make an impact. 

Thurs 25th July
Weather: It was cooler today - up to 24°C. More overcast moments & cool winds, the optimum weather to work in.

Our planting was rated by Fergus! In fact he paid us a high compliment (not given lightly), that we had planted it out better than he would have done?! As you can imagine we were over the moon. So with gusto we went round 'finishing' the area off, weeding, staking all the sunflowers, tagetes and amaranthus and tickled the soil of the whole bed to a satisfying finish.

I also gave a tour to the volunteers & workers of Dean City Farm.

Fri 26th July
Weather 23/24°C. Sunny with intervals of relieving clouds and breezes.

After out epic plant challenge, we were each individually given our own small patch to plant up by ourselves. Mine was a sliver of bedding in one of the Peacock Garden beds, which I planted up with a yellow Helenium Sonnenwunder & Aster × frikartii ‘Mönch’. It is customary for us to place out the plants in the positions we want them before planting, and its usually a tight border space with lots of other plants going on, so one usually has to manoeuvre between what is being planted and what is already there. Sometimes the space is really tight, so one has to remove the plants mark (with canes) where they are to go and reposition them back in as we plant them. When you're dealing with different sized plants you also have to strategically think about how they are facing and are placed in relationship to each other and how big they are going to get. For example to make sure tall or bushier ones don't end up obscuring small, thinner ones. The general goal is to get them sitting there looking as comfortable as possible. The heleniums were hard to work with as they had gotten too big for their pot and were very brittle and had a tendency of toppling over as you position them.

What the Helenium & Aster planting looked like a few weeks later. 


  1. Lovely! What type of eryngium did you use with Lilium Lancifolium (top picture) ?

  2. I think it was Eryngium tripartitum


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