End of Month Review July 2023

July 2022 was hot and dry with record temperatures and very little rain. I wrote at the time that the garden was not very happy.  July 2023 has seen more than the amount of rain than it should and below average temperatures.  The garden is growing very fast and it seems to rain often at weekends so I am struggling to keep on top of all the weeding.  

From a distance though it looks ok.  On the days when the sun shines you can hear the grass and weeds growing and, in fairness, everything else is doing well too.
In the Pond Border the perennial Persicaria I planted a few years ago is having its best year.  It actually is doing what I hoped it would do.  There are spires of red flowers repeated down the border and they make good focal points.
I have some of the annual Persicaria orientalis, probably my very favourite annual to grow, playing nicely with the Verbena bampton.  I would like to tell you this was totally planned.....but......
Not doing quite so well this year have been the hollyhocks.  This one is a beauty, but most of them did not make it through the hard winter.  This is a real shame and I will need to plant more next year.
The Coal Bunker Border is doing quite well.  Rose Alan Titchmarsh, who usually I describe as not a good rose in rain, is actually coping rather well this year.  I am not seeing the blooms ball as much as usual.  Maybe constant moisture is ok, but a mix of dry and then rain sets it off?  The cosmos in this border is starting to flower and has more height and looks more healthy than they did last year.
The Courtyard is looking ok, but you can see how wet the concrete is and the encroaching moss.  I have had to move a couple of the aspidistras indoors to let them dry out a bit as they have been constantly soggy.  I have already written this year that the rainy Spring did not make them happy and I really do not want to lose any more of them.  I have not thrown any out yet, I still have some remains of hope hanging on.  Two are definitely still ok, my Asahi is throwing up new leaves, but I really need to protect it I think.
and it is Brugmansia time.  I think this one is in its second year and I was relieved I managed to get it through the winter unscathed.  The flowers scent the Courtyard with the smell of vanilla custard.
The hydrangeas in the Accidental Shrubbery are loving the rain.  I have not had to water them at all this year which is quite a change from recent years.
The Carol Klein Acer has turned into a tree when I wasn't looking.  It is now a good 8 foot tall I think.  I looked back to ten years ago and you can see how much it has grown.  
Similarly you can see how the Edgeworthia has grown, but also that it is getting quite overgrown around it.  The Pleached Hornbeams have not been trimmed yet this year as I wait until I am certain any birds will have fledged from any nests, but with all this rain and as the plants have grown upwards and matured, I am starting to think I really need to think about thinning.
The Exotic Boder is also enjoying the rain, though the two larger tree ferns have shorter fronds than last year.  I have fed them and I am topping them up with water but I am a little concerned.  Newby, the one I think is dead, is still dead.
The white standard-grown wisteria is about to flower again.  This is usual for this wisteria.  I often get two or three flowerings.
and I am really pleased this Bottle Brush shrub has made it through the winter.  It took a bit of a hit and died back alarmingly, yet has pulled through ok.
The early Autumn cyclamen are flowering early as usual.
The Amicia zygomeris is not as tall as I would like, but seems to be healthy enough.  It doesn't exactly thrive in my garden but likewise it hasn't died either.... yet...
The Butterfly border is doing well, the self sown verbascums have added height and more butterflies.
The large Prairie Border is, however, a disaster.  Couch grass has taken over and I need to restart it.  I am thinking I will mow it and cover it with black plastic so that I can restart next year.  I am quite cross with myself as I have let this happen.  I should do better.
The Smell me and Dye Garden is doing well thankfully.  The Waltzing Mathilda dahlias are now flowering.
and the sprinkled marigold and meadow seeds in the top corner are just a delight.
There is some veg planted in this part of the garden still and the courgettes have started to be ready for picking.
and Rose American Pillar, the rose I have been hankering after recently and bought even more recently, is waiting to be planted out.
and as a demonstration of how much things are growing this year, look at the new growth on my beloved ginkgo, its really doing well this year.  It is still in a container and I am now having that 'should I plant it back into the garden' moment.  I want to but I don't want to set it back again - choices choices.
The pond looks worse in the photo than I think it really is.  Yes it is rather overgrown and more blanket-weedy than I would like, but there is water in it that can be seen and not because I have topped it up.  There has been enough rain to not need that.  

I wonder what August will bring....

Take care and be kind

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  1. Great review of your July garden. Even with the days of drought and the many days of rain recently, all looks good to me. I am happy for you. We gardeners think of our gardens as our children and want to know they are going to survive. Loved all the. photos today.


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