Saturday, 31 October 2015

EOMV – London in October sunshine

This year seems to have flown away faster than any year – I know I keep saying time flies and that’s apparently part and parcel of getting older, but my goodness, someone must have given anabolic steroids or something similar to whatever keeps track of the seasons for us this year as I can’t ever remember it going this quickly before. I suppose some of it has to do with me moving house and everything that came with it before, during and after moving, but even so....even so! Only consolation I suppose is that I can hope the winter will pass just as quickly. I’ll be fine as long as I can find time to plant my almost 600 potted plants from my previous garden - and....erhm....a few hundred new bulbs that somehow managed to turn up despite that I had promised myself not to buy anything until I had planted everything I already had. Funny how that could happen. But hey, even though winter starts in 4 weeks, the first hellebore will start to flower in 2 months’ time in my garden, and it’s only 3-4 months till my garden will be filled with snowdrops, crocuses, Iris reticularis and other spring flowers. I know many people use the astronomical calendar to determine seasons, but for the London climate, the meteorological seasons fits better in terms of when spring and summer starts so I use it. This week we have had more of a whiff of summer again than late autumn, with temperatures up to 19-20 degrees C even though it’s rather cold at night with 10-12 degrees C.

There are leaves everywhere in my garden and in my previous garden I didn’t have any deciduous trees so I am not used to having this amount of leaves around.

But the leaves are still mostly on the trees so there are lots to come down yet. I might just leave them for now – if I can manage the look of them everywhere on the ground, my garden is my second living room, I don’t like to have it untidy and if you are a frequent visitor you will never have seen my garden with lots of dead leaves lying around, not my previous garden anyway. This garden is different though, here I possibly just have to let things slip a bit. I have swept up some leaves already, but I won’t be going around doing that every day.

I have been concentrating on this end of the garden since last time, here is my raised bed, isn’t it great? It is made completely out of recycled plastic so will last for years to come and for those these things are important to – it is also British made. This is actually 2 beds stacked on top of each other and originally I had intended to have them next to each other with a small path between, but after having tried out how they stacked up I decided I wanted a tall one. This height is so comfortable for me, with a height of 50cm for the two squares it is perfect height to sit next to on my stool. The bed measures 1 m2 and filled it takes 460 litres of soil. You can even get a plastic canopy to fit the bed to protect the plants in early spring and a mesh cloche to protect for example fruits and berries from being eaten by birds.

From the seating area the raised bed blends in nicely and I would love to have another one next to it. The soil I have filled this one with is all the soil from removing the lawn and some used compost I had. There is still room for some more soil and as soon as I start planting I will get plenty of spare soil – so much extra that I won’t know what to do with it. Every time I dig a hole for a plant I will end up with some extra soil. I think it could be good to have another raised bed to tip the extra soil in :-)

Do you remember from my previous post the fence colour I was thinking about using for my fence and shed? Well, I am still thinking about it, but I have got as far as buying a tester pot and painting a few spare boards that was in the shed. I also took off a panel behind the shed to have one piece with the brown fence paint already on as those I found in the shed were untreated. It turns out that 2 coats of this paint look exactly the same on untreated wood as on the piece with brown painted wood. Phew! I could not see me stripping shed and fences down before painting, and I would certainly not have been sanding it so I guess all I need now is to buy some paint, have lots of patience, time and good weather....there’s a lot to paint!

The colour is called ‘Summer Damson’ and I think it looks great together with green and most flowers in my garden, it even looks good next to the wall in my garden, although possibly not so good against the 3 rows of red bricks at the bottom of the wall. Those red bricks will mostly be covered by plants, and if they end up sticking out like a sore thumb I can always paint the red ones. The wall has a purple/pink tint here and there, and the fence colour actually emphasises this rather nicely – this is no Photoshop colour correction, the wall looks like this, more or less depending on the light.

The view from the back gate is getting better after I have slimmed down and pruned those two ceanothus’, since then I have tried to get rid of some of the roots in the ground from the bushes I cut down earlier in the summer. I have been hoping that some of the roots would be nice looking and possible to use for decoration but so far everything I have dug up has been looking rather grim.

Imagine how relieved I was when I got this one cleaned up and realised it actually looks exactly like I was looking for! This is a root from a buddleia – who would have thought they could look like this underground? But before you start digging up your buddleias, this one is possibly 15 years old or more so if you have a young one it might not look anything like this. I hope to find a couple of more and they are all going to end up in the shade garden as part of an idea I am working on.

And here is the shade garden, you can hardly see the ground for leaves at the moment, but once it’s all gone it will be easier to maintain. I am going to start planting soon, and I have been chewing over what to plant in the square in the middle here, the paving slabs here are cemented so I can’t move them unless I break them – I will have to work with this layout. So I have an 80cm square in the middle of this area where I would like to plant something and it would be nice if some of you could come with suggestions. It will be important to me that this square has all year interest and flowers all year round. It needs to work long term so nothing that grows out of the space in just a few years. And it needs to be low growing so I can walk on either side. It’s rather shady in spring and summer, much more sun in winter and early spring before the leaves are back. Suggestions are appreciated!

In terms of leaves on the ground, I guess the majority of it is yet to come as the cherry tree has barely started to turn. When this tree starts to drop I am sure at least half of the leaves will end up in my garden even though the tree is growing just outside my garden. I have decided to start making leaf mould and I have already filled one bag. I was never able to do that in my previous garden, there were not enough deciduous plants there and no deciduous trees, and I didn’t really have any space to store bags of leaves for 1-2 years either. But here in this garden it will work just fine.

Let me show you some flowers too, on my last post some of you were surprised I have primrose in flower at this time, in my garden that’s perfectly normal and I have that every autumn. Primula vulgaris starts to flower in September and goes on until June or so, slowing down a bit if we get really cold weather and then picks it up again as soon as it gets milder. If we have a cool summer they will flower non-stop without taking a break. The longest I have had cream coloured Primula vulgaris in flower with no break was for 34 months.

Alstroemeria 'Dandy Candy' is still flowering.

And as for long flowering, take a look at the rose I inherited. The leaves are riddled with blackspot and most have fallen off, and yet it is flowering. LOTS.

Rosa Wildeve is still flowering too, I think it is pretty happy having been planted in the ground last month.

One plant that is still in a container is Penstemon Pensham 'Amelia Jayne', and this one is a rather large thing to plant, standing in a 30L pot. That’s going to be a BIG hole to dig.

And I know I keep banging on about my winter flowering camellia, but it is just gorgeous! Camellia japonica 'Takanini' will go on producing new flowers until May or early June next year.

My only chrysanthemum has a much shorter flowering period, I got it as a birthday present 5 or 6 years ago and it was in flower when I got it. Since then it has only once flowered in time for my birthday on the 9th October, the rest of the years it has started later – like this year, in last week of October.

Chrysanthemums are short flowered compared to camellias, but I like this flush of flowers late in the autumn when other plants are bedding down for the winter.

Tricyrtis 'Empress' is continuing to impress with its flowers, I can’t get enough of these amazingly intricate creations.

And here are the last two sweet peppers from my garden, safely harvested and now tucked up in my fridge - although they won’t last long there, they will probably be gone by the end of the week :-)

I have a video from my garden for you again, you can either view it here or you can go to my YouTube Channel, Helene U. Taylor and watch this video and all the other videos I have made from my garden over the years. I filmed the video today in glorious sunshine and 19 degrees C, we have had nice and sunny weather for quite some time with only a few days of rain here and there. The warm weather today is not a record, Halloween last year was a record for London with 23.6 degrees C. But 19 is not bad for the last day of October :-)





The music was Poème by Secret Garden.


Final two pictures are of my cat who is 14 years old next week. He is a great companion and follows me around everywhere.

Whenever I am in the garden he likes to lie on a throw on the garden bench and just observe and keep track of what’s happening, or as you saw in the movie, his new favourite spot – my rubbish bins in the front garden. On top of them he can lie and bake in the sun and see everyone coming and going including all the cats in the area.

I am linking today’s post to Helen at The Patient Gardener’s Weblog.
Until next time, take care.

36 comments:

  1. Very, very nice Helene and I love the music choice on your video! Larry

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    1. Thanks Larry, glad you liked the video. I made my first garden video in March 2011 and I am so glad I did that as I didn’t know back then that I was going to move house! Since February last year I have made a movie every month except for two and I will try to continue as they are a great record of how the garden develops. But I am not moving house – and garden ever again :-)

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  2. Helene, I laughed a little at your comments about leaves on the ground. You would go crazy here, as we are almost buried in leaves from late October till late winter. It would be nice if all the leaves fell within a month, but no such luck. We get one one pile raked just in time to see another pile fall. There is one big oak see that for some reason holds onto it old leaves until new leaves start coming out in the spring! I have learned to love leaves in all their stages.I can't change the circumstance, so I change my attitude!

    Regarding that square in your shade garden. Perhaps where you are there are shade-lovers that bloom all year. Here there is no such thing. I would recommend finding something with outstanding evergreen foliage (which may be some other color than green or even variegated), and if it has fragrant blooms, that would be fabulous.

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    1. I think I am changing my attitude to leaves too, I don’t mind so much when they are yellow and red and looking great – it’s when they turn brown and a bit slimy and slippery and with me walking around in the beds I feel it’s better to get them scooped up. But I will leave them for now and wait until more have come down.

      I have been trying to research some evergreen groundcover plants, but so far only found things spreading too much or not being that interesting. I will do some more research. Failing that I will just have to plant up that bed 2 or 3 times a year, that’s of course possible, it’s quite small so won’t take that long.

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  3. I'm always so inspired by your creativity, Helene. That 'Summer Damson' color seems like it will work well against the brick wall. Good thing you don't have to strip the old paint. And the idea of using the old roots as decoration--excellent. I can't wait to see what you do with it. Your garden, as always, looks beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Beth, the fence colour is a bold one, even for me but I am really liking it and I have seen a photo online of a shed painted in that colour looking stunning. The roots are for an idea I am just playing with at the moment, I need a few more but the keyword is ‘stumpery’ so that should give you an idea – although on a very modest scale:-)

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  4. Dear Helene, I love the photos of your roses in this post. The one that came with the garden is sooo... beautiful. I would loved to know what the name of the variety is. As you said yourself, your 'Wildeve' seem to enjoy being planted in the ground. I also like the very dark velvety red variety that you have growing in the square bed close to a pink rose (is that 'Wildeve'?) very much.
    No worries raving about your dark red camellia. She is totally worth it ;-). I think you lucked out and found a wonderful camellia variety.
    I was quite surprised to read that you bought so many bulbs, even though you have already quite a few plants in pots to plant into the ground. I have also a plant pot ghetto, but it is much smaller than yours and somehow it takes me forever to get the plants planted. Anyway, I bought some bulbs, too, this year: Paperwhites and another white flowering variety that I can't come up with the name right now, but altogether not more than twenty bulbs. I haven't been able to plant them yet, but I hope to get to it in two weeks.
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina, I would love to know the name of my inherited rose too! It is definitely not a modern rose as it is not very resistant to blackspot, in fact it is riddled with blackspot – but so beautiful and so worth keeping and treating. Next year I will cut it down and spray it regularly.
      The dark red rose is ‘Rob Roy’, a fabulous rose I have had for more than 10 years, it has grown in that container all its life and would probably have been much bigger and better had it been in the ground. At this time of year every flower stays up to 3 weeks before the petals fall to the ground! And I counted 4 open flowers and 12 buds yesterday, not bad for this time of year. I made a cutting of it last year and it is a nice and healthy little plant by now.
      The bulbs I bought were mainly the types I didn’t take with me from my old garden: alliums, hyacinths, some tulips and irises. I just could not dig up and lift all the bulbs I had in my old garden – even finding all of them would have been too difficult. This week I am going to try to get some plants and bulbs in the ground, the crocuses and snowdrops are already sprouting so I have to speed up a bit now.
      Have a good week in the garden :-)

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  5. Så vakre primula du har! Jeg misunnner deg din flotte Camellia. Jeg skulle gjerne hatt ditt engelske klima ☺Mine Camellia er tatt inn for vinteren, og håper de vil komme med noen blomster til neste år. Ha en fin søndag!

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    1. Tusen takk Marit, ja jeg har mange primulaer som jeg ikke har vist frem ennå , tror jeg har 45-50 stykker – de som har overlevd vine weevil angrepene denne sommeren! Jeg setter pris på klimaet her, særlig når jeg ser bilder fra Norge på denne tiden av året. Jeg bodde i Kirkenes fra jeg var 8 til jeg var 16 år gammel og har en del bekjente fortsatt fra den tiden. Der oppe er det snø nå. Og før jeg flyttet til London bodde jeg 9 år på Gol, ikke akkurat Syden klima der heller om vinteren, selv om det er varmt der om sommeren. Her i London er det sjeldent frost og snø, og hvis vi har det varer det gjerne bare noen timer av gangen.
      Ha en fin uke!

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  6. Well I must say your garden is stunning in fall even without the plants planted....your cat seems so contended in the new garden. With our extreme seasons I do follow the astronomical calendar. I liked how you stacked the new raised beds to make that perfect height. Are you planting veggies there? The scenes in your garden in the golden light are perfect and all those amazing blooms still going. Fabulous. I leave all the leaves on beds as they are great compost, and weed suppressant not to mention a spot for our insects to overwinter.

    Now as to the fence....I love purple and I think it will really make a statement in your garden especially seeing the purple bricks in the wall....a most unusual color for bricks and one I would love....can't wait to see the garden growing after you plant it all. I wish I had a more extended season here....no bulbs this year for me as I still need to plan some redesigns and move bulbs. I love visiting your garden Helene and look forward to your inspiration as the planting starts.

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    1. My new raised beds are for strawberries, I have ordered three types: early, mid and late season so hopefully I will have strawberries for 5 months a year. And if I buy another of these beds I will have room for enough strawberry plants to fill my freezer too so I can eat strawberries in the winter too and not have to buy any as I eat strawberries and raspberries every day and rely on buying frozen now. I have also bought 2 raspberry plants and they are in pots for the moment, waiting for me to sort out the bed where they are going.

      I agree that the brick colour is rather unusual, it’s kind of yellowy with some pink shades here and there but this effect is also dependent on the light – whether the sun is shining on the wall or not. And from a more distance the mottled effect is kind of lost a bit, as you can see from the photo with the tall cherry tree. Although compared to the red bricks on the bottom, the wall is definitely not red, more pink/purplish – yes, an unusual colour and I love it! Can’t wait to get the paint on the fence and shed :-)

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  7. Your late fall garden is looking great and so is your cat. Happy November!

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    1. Thanks Dorothy, Happy November to you too!

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  8. Black spot is such a nuisance. We have a couple of shrub roses on the plot that are perfect other than that they get blackspot every year. They start off with lovely healthy green leaves and everything looks promising and then the dreaded blackspot strikes.

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    1. Yes, some of mine are not very disease resistant either, normally I spray those of mine that need it, but with moving house and all I have had to do, spraying roses hasn’t been prioritised enough this year.

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  9. I share your views about the passage of time, it is screaming past me at the moment! Like you, I am hoping that means that the winter will fly by as quickly as the summer did.

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    1. Let’s hope we get a nice, mild winter so I can get lots done in the garden – I hope to have all my plants in the ground by end of April. Very ambitious!!

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  10. Hej Helene!
    Så mycket fint, fastnade särskilt för din fina camelia och en underbar färg på penstemonen. Gillar också färgen du valt till skjulet. Din odlingslåda är praktisk, mina av trä måste målas emellanåt för att se fina ut.
    Ha en fin vecka i din vackra trädgård.
    Marika

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    1. Takk Maribel, jeg tror jeg har bestemt meg for den fargen for skjul og gjerder, liker den mer og mer ettersom tiden går. Neste måned skal jeg bestille en raised bed til, jeg har allerede fylt den helt opp!
      Ha en fin dag.

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  11. Since the baby came along I have lost all track of time this year - he is such a distraction. I know exactly what you mean Helene.
    Your garden is still looking fab and I love the urn in the fourth picture down.
    I have been racking my brains to suggest something for your spot there in the middle of the paving and about all I could come up with was something evergreen but possibly with some sort of white variegation to the foliage to brighten the area up. As for specific plants I am at a loss to suggest something as it's all about personal taste.
    Hope your good weather continues to allow you outdoors and on with all the hard work. Have a good one what ever the weather :)

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    1. Thanks Angie, I am still pondering about what to put in the middle of the paving…yes I want something evergreen, but with flowers that last for a long time. I will sit down and do some research when I have time…if I get time! In the mean time I might just plant it up temporarily for the winter.
      It’s really grotty weather here today but we have been spoilt lately with warm and nice autumn sunshine. I hope to be back in the garden tomorrow. Hope you have a better day :-)

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  12. another gem Helene. Paint colour for fence and shed, very personal thing as our tastes differ. I must say I like the bluey green of our fence only thing, it doesn't make the plants stand out like you mention. Plenty leaves going about here also, I am continually clearing them up, neighbours think I am a bit OCD.

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    1. Yes, there are so many lovely fence colours to choose from, but I tend to think that the fence should be a backdrop for the plants and not a feature in itself, at least if you are filling the garden to the rafters as I do. And with a dark colour it makes the plants stand out better in all kind of lights. The plum colour however is a rather daring choice I might live to regret – time will tell!
      As for leaves – leave them or sweep them – Apart from it looking much better, for me the main reason to sweep them up is that I have quite deep borders and need to be able to walk around in the beds. Wet, slippery leaves on top of bark mulch makes for an unsafe environment, especially walking around with a crutch, sometimes two. I just have to get the leaves off before they start to decompose too much.

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  13. I like your new raised bed Helene, says she with a several rows of black recycled plastic raised beds in her garden... That height is such a good idea, I find it reduces stress on the lower back considerably. The compost will go down though, as I discovered, even though I put a couple of tonnes in them to start with. So even with a second raised bed you will still have plenty of room to throw in more soil as you dig holes for new plants.

    Suggestions for your shade garden... Maybe something like Sarcococca, which has wonderful winter fragrance and lovely shiney leaves all year around. It can be cut like box, so you can easily keep it low enough. The other suggestions would be to add in some evergreen ferns which don't mind being in the open in winter and shaded in summer.

    I love your cat. I think he might be trying to outshine the plants ;)

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    1. Hi Julieanne, yes I just had a look at your raised beds again, I can see you have chosen a different type than me and had a look at their website. They are a bit more expensive, and lower, unless you put 3 on top of each other. Mine are 50cm high with two, which for me is perfect height. I am aware of that the soil will sink so that’s why it is good to get the raised beds sorted now so they the next few months to get sorted until I will start planting. I have already decided to buy another bed this month.
      I have several types of sarcococcas with me from my old garden, I think I was looking for something lower growing for that square – I will do some more research.

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  14. Even with much of it still in pots, your garden is remarkable, Helene. I love the fence color you've chosen and the taller raised bed is a great idea as long as you have the soil to fill it. As for the shady garden space, I hesitate to offer suggestions as our climates are so different but, were the space mine, I'd lean toward a combination of ferns and hellebores. As to the cat, I wish he could give my cat some counsel - she has a tendency to wander off so I have to keep a sharp eye on her when I let her out.

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    1. Thanks Kris, I have already filled the raised bed to the rim – I have to buy another bed soon so I have somewhere to put the excess soil in as I have finally started to plant. I think I have decided on that fence colour now, I still have those pieces of wood up with the test paint and I like it more and more.
      After I moved, my cat tends to just keep in the garden and only goes outside to the front when I am there. He is free to go in and out as he wants to as I have a cat flap with a sensor that lets only him in – reading his microchip, but even so, he just stays in the garden. Might be because he is so old, 14 years this week :-)

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  15. I agree about this year going so quickly, Helene! I do think part of it is growing older, but also the busier you are, the more quickly time flies, and you certainly have had a busy year. I'm glad to hear you are making leaf mold with all your leaves. Raking/sweeping leaves is a time-consuming chore, but all those leaves are such wonderful fertilizer for the garden. I usually rake lots of mine up right into the garden each fall to add some protective mulch as well. What a handsome kitty!

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    1. In my old garden I had nowhere to store bags of leaf mould but here I have a great hiding space behind the shed – I will show it on a post one day, back there I can store quite a lot of bags out of sight. And another thing, here there is enough leaves to make as much leaf mould as I could possibly want!! Where I lived before I didn’t have that.

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  16. Hi, Helene!
    It's November, how fast the warm season runs. Your garden is still colorful as autumnal garden, with lots of yellow leaves. last weekend I raked leaves as well and now there are 6 piles prepared for compost bins. Your cat enjoys the warm weather, you showed in the video that he likes the compost bin lid to lay down on.
    I loved your video and music!

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, I am glad you enjoyed the video, my cat likes to li eon my recycling bin in the front garden and look at all the cars and people walking past :-) It is his birthday this week, he is 14 years old!

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  17. This time your video was so lovely with the beautiful music and your adorable beauty of a cat that I almost missed the garden, haha. When I see your pictures and video your garden looks already surprisingly nice, and that end of October. I know the plants are mostly still in pots, but nevertheless...... I imagine next year when all is planted, your garden will be more beautiful than ever, you are such a good gardener.

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    1. I thought I would feature my cat a bit more prominently in the video this time as he has birthday this week, but also as he is getting older and I don’t know how long he will live – a sad fact of having pets is that they don’t live forever. I am glad I have so many photos and videos of him though so when that day comes I have lots of happy memories of him.

      My garden is progressing, slowly but steady, I have now started to plant and last Tuesday I planted 7 daylilies, 1 rose and around 200 spring bulbs around them, mainly crocuses and snowdrops which are so easy to plant compared to for example daffodils.

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  18. The Saxifraga stolonifera would be great for part of that shady centre bed. They bloom for two, maybe even three months, then the leaves colour up beautifully for the autumn. And of course it is low growing. I love the paint colour, it goes perfectly with that wall!

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    1. I do have the Saxifraga stolonifera in mind Jessica, I just thought it would outgrow that 80cm square in just a few months and I would forever be digging up saxifrage offspring…..but I have already thought of it, would look lovely there and just the height I have in mind. Sadly the vine weevils like saxifrage too, before I managed to kill them off (for the second time) they had ruined two of the four plants. It looks like the other two are fine so I am going to split them as they are already 3 times the size as when you sent them to me!

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