Tag Archive | Hebe

Patience rewarded

I love butterflies. Delicate and colourful they flit around the garden, swooping between the trees, dipping and rising as their light bodies are caught on the breeze. They often settle on our red-brick wall, enjoying the warm sunshine as they open and close their wings.

This year I wanted to grow lots of butterfly friendly plants and flowers and, having created a butterfly garden with a variety of dwarf and standard buddleias, ice-plants, hebes and echinaceas I had to be patient and wait for the butterflies to appear.

It took a while but my patience was rewarded with the arrival of a few different varieties in the end.

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Butterflies and bees

I had a change of direction today. I moved from building homes for frogs and toads, insects and hedgehogs to focus on butterflies and bees.

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First of all though I went to collect two bags of these gorgeous pine cones for my bug hotel which were donated by a lovely gentleman from the next village. I even got a tour of his garden while I was there; log piles, ponds and bird nesting boxes attached to the trees showed that he is also interested in wildlife gardening. The piece de la resistance for me however was a pretty light lilac Hebe which was covered in bees and the first butterflies I have seen this year, two tortoiseshells. I didn’t have my camera with me so this is a picture from the internet; I couldn’t resist the glorious colours.

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My diversion, although very welcome, meant that I had to get a wiggle on if I was to make the Garden Centre in good time but I did it.

I had a list of suitable plants which will  encourage bees and butterflies into my garden and it didn’t take me long to select my favourites; Coreopsis ” Tickseed” (birds and bees), Coreopsis “Zagreb” (birds and butterflies), Sedum “Brilliant”, (butterflies), Achillea “Summer fruits lemon” (wildlife), Buddleja “Empire Blue” (Butterflies) and finally, I found the very same variety of Hebe that was so successful in attracting bees and butterflies, “Sparkling Sapphires.” It even has a lovely name.

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Back home, car unloaded it was time to get to work again. My idea was to create a luscious bee and butterfly garden with the Belfast sink making a mini-pond in the middle. I have ordered my pond plants to arrive on Wednesday so I ended up planting around an empty sink. I can’t wait to see what the finished garden will look like with the pond up and running but I will have to be patient.

In the meantime on with the planting and so the bee and butterfly grove was born.

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This is only one small area of the larger wildlife garden which is coming together nicely now. I am hoping that it will flow through from one wildlife themed garden to the next and so far, it’s looking good. Next on the list (after planting up my two new ponds), an arch for honeysuckle to climb up between the butterfly grove and the new pond area.

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For now, I will have to make do with a glass of vino and a rest on the railway sleeper bench enjoying the fruits of my labours so far.

Just like Tessa!

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Garden progress

014After last week’s Sunny Sunday at the garden centre, the weather today has been very kind to me and, although there is a strong breeze, it is a warm one and when the sun peeks through the scudding clouds it is perfect for planting.

I have a small garden, but having stripped the borders last year, it’s amazing how many plants you need to start again without them looking sad and isolated. There is nothing worse than eking out a few plants over a large area and I prefer to focus on a small area first and make sure it is planted effectively. I still leave plenty of room in between for future growth but I’m convinced that plants are much happier when they have a leafy neighbour close by to whisper to.

I like to plan my garden so that it contains a high number of evergreen shrubs which not only look good in the winter but also provide a great backdrop in the spring and summer for the more colourful perennials and bedding plants. There are lots of shrubs which make great canvasses and I love adding the splashes of bold colour to complete the picture. I love bright colours and funky shapes and my garden will undoubtedly reflect these preferences.

I also love their names. I have bought many a plant because of its name and I have never been disappointed. My garden is full of “”William’s” which is my son’s name and include the gorgeous fragrant red rose Royal William, the dark purple/cream Aquilegia William Guinness and of course, Sweet Williams. I’ve even found an very unusual Dahlia-Willie Willie!

Dahlia Willie Willie

Dahlia Willie Willie

Some of my latest additions are pictured below and there will be many more to follow. The garden is taking shape again and I just need to find some more poppies to replace those I have lost. It’s a little early yet, especially after all the cold weather we’ve had but it won’t be long now.

Spring has sprung at last!

Twisted Willow Dark Snake

Twisted Willow Dark Snake

Hebe Green Globe

Hebe Green Globe

Contorted Hazel

Contorted Hazel

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Hebe Pink Elephant

My new garden….coming soon!

001 - CopyI love my garden, and it has given me great pleasure in the past but last year it was looking a bit tatty and so I decided to ring the changes. I dug out all my plants from the back garden and put them into the front border where they proved to be a huge success. I replanted them just at the right time when the ground was still wet and we had several days of lovely warm sunshine for them to bask and settle in. It was lovely to see them all blossom during the summer and we could enjoy the gorgeous flowers greeting us every time we came home.

As an experiment, and to give the clay soil a bit of a breakdown, we then planted the borders with vegetables. Runner beans, courgettes, herbs and potatoes. They were lovely but it just wasn’t the same as looking out over my  beautiful  shrubs and flowers and so this year I am going back to the drawing board.

BeFunky_002I have started to buy selected shrubs and perennials to plant over the next few weeks when we get a prolonged spell of temperatures above freezing ( I hope!). It’s so exciting but I am determined to wait until I have enough plants before I start to plan the  borders and and decide where each one will sit best.

Strangely enough, although I love new and different varieties of traditional plants, I still have my favourites; Californian Lilac (Ceanothus), Hebe’s, azaleas, foxgloves and aquilegias. They are all waiting patiently on the patio ready to move into their their new home. Today I am off to a garden centre for a long look round and in hope that I will be able to add to my collection. Hubby is leaving me to browse for a couple of hours whilst I pick and choose, change my mind, sigh and deliberate over colours, blooms, frost-hardiness and price, so I am up, ready and raring to go.

BeFunky_0014Of course, poppies are top of my shopping list. The first hairy fronds are usually peeping through the soil by now but I can’t see any sign of my favourite beautiful orange poppy plant that this blog is named after and so I must face up to the fact that the very harsh winter has taken its toll and I have lost my beloved poppy plant. All is not lost however as I will be able to replace it and hopefully the new version will do just as well, if not better, than the original.

It will take several weeks to get organised but it is a work-in-progress and that’s the amazing thing about gardens. They literally grow in front of your eyes.

How satisfying is that.

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