I left my garden for two weeks this month and look what happened! Before we left I think my garden was probably at its best; apart from the odd aphid problem it was as good as it could be. Everything was staked, weeded and blooming its little heart out.
When we came back last week my heart sank. The whole garden looked a bit like a jungle. The poppies, blue geraniums and the blue lupin had finished flowering and there wasn’t a lot of other colour to replace them. The garden was looking rather a mess. Now that wouldn’t generally be such a problem, but we are having a lot of visitors in August and I really wanted them to enjoy the garden – OK OK, to be honest, I wanted to show off my garden!!!
There was nothing for it but to set to work tidying it up. Firstly I removed the blue lupin – the one that had the serious pea aphid problem. Before I had left I had removed quite a lot of it, but decided against removing it all in case the aphids just found another lupin to attack while we were away. It wasn’t too bad actually, but I was getting rather fed up with my thrice daily aphid squashing sessions. The infested foliage was placed in our brown bin to be collected next week. Clever things these pea aphids – many of them found their way right out of the bin and onto the lid, so instead of squashing them on the lupin I now had regular visits to the bin! Think I have got them all now, though.
Having removed the old poppy foliage, weeded and trimmed the edges the garden was looking a lot better, albeit with quite a few gaps.
However there do seem to be more problems this year than I have had before.
My bearded irises all seem to have iris leaf spot. I introduced a few more last year, both from a garden centre and a plant sale and I can only assume one of them introduced this to the garden. I still had a few flowers though so it can’t affect them too much.
I also have a lot of powdery mildew; on the honeysuckle, the scabious and the penstemon…..strange as you usually get that if the conditions are too dry and they certainly haven’t been that. Again the plants seem to be coping OK and you can just cut off the foliage later in the year and hope it doesn’t return.
The roses have both greenfly and blackspot; I usually try to get in just one spraying before the bees are about, but didn’t manage this year. One yellow rose I put in last year seems to be losing the colour from its older leaves. I haven’t seen this problem before.
I suspected some sort of mineral deficiency in the soil, but on closer inspection the bad leaves have yet another type of aphid on their underside which must be literally sucking the colour out.
You know what that means – muggins here is going to have to wash every leaf of that climbing rose. Thank goodness it hasn’t climbed very high yet. Can anyone identify these little pests?
As well as new aphids I also saw another strange insect in the garden. It looks like a cross between a bee and a housefly. Any ideas?
I had such plans for a lovely scented romantic bench in the middle of the long border and instead all we have is a rather bare honeysuckle covered in powdery mildew, a clematis that looks OK but no flowers and lots of weeds – sorry I mean Wild Flowers. Oh well maybe next year…….
This very bare honeysuckle has made its way a good 6 ft behind the fence and decided that it would much rather grow where the plum tree is!!! I think not.
But enough of the bad stuff, there is still plenty of good things going on in the garden.
The delphiniums (the ones that didn’t get eaten by the slugs) are absolutely fantastic.
My little plum tree is getting rather large as are the plums – can’t wait.
The wild foxgloves are looking beautiful especially in the early morning light.
Our pink unnamed rose is at its peak and looks lovely with the self-seeded foxgloves.
The bedding plants are beginning to grow to fill in the gaps and there are some real treasures in the rockery.
Please click on the gallery to see the photos
The thyme, especially, is looking great.
I am hoping that this is just a little lull in the long border – it is having a rest after all that Spring exuberance this year before the next flowers come out. If not well, I can always show my visitors this blog!!!
Thanks Helen for hosting this End of Month View – it is a great way to keep track of what happens when in your garden. Why not head over to her blog to see what is happening in other gardens this month.
Next Garden Update: Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day: July