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He’s outdone himself this year!

Uncle B is the gardener (my mother used to say I have a purple thumb – every plant I touch dies). This year’s back flower border is especially superb. Everything the right height, all in bloom at once, lovely harmonious colors.

No, of course I’m not going to ask you to judge by that manky black-and-white snippet. Here it is in color.

Picture shows about half of it and doesn’t do it any kind of justice, though. So much so, he went out and bought hisself a wide-angle lens to capture it the lot Sadly, by the time it came, things were going over a bit.


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: August 23, 2021, 8:30 pm

Brilliant, Uncle B., simply brilliant!

Question: The shrubbery at the left with the leaf pairs that look like bat? butterfly? wings, is that some kind of ilex (akin to holly)? It is strikingly handsome.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 23, 2021, 9:05 pm

Thanks, Uncle Al. It’s a Mahonia. Very useful because it’s tough as old boots, evergreen, flowers in winter and they are very sweetly scented!

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: August 23, 2021, 10:16 pm

Aha! So it IS an ilex. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a mahonia I couldn’t place it precisely but knew it looked familiar.

The flowers in your garden are quite beautiful and are the first things I saw in the color photo. But living here in subtropical Florida I’ve also come to appreciate those plants that are colorful and with interesting morphology independent of blooms. Your mahonia is a first rate example but wouldn’t grow well here. Suitable for my climate, I’ve got lots of bromeliads which come in all colors in the leaves and bracts, and then occasionally flower as a bonus. Did you know that “Spanish Moss” is a flowering plant? It’s a bromeliad yclept Tillandsia usneoides.

I’ve also got some interesting cycads. I especially like cycads because they were the first Earth organisms to reproduce sexually.

Comment from Cantharkmycry
Time: August 23, 2021, 11:43 pm

Lovely, indeed–and a LOT of work, which is also impressive. I’m the type of gardener who has grand ideas, and absolutely no carry-through, so people who execute their designs flawlessly leave me awe-struck. Wowee-zowee, Uncle Badger!

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 24, 2021, 10:37 am

Thank you, Can’tHark…. I have to be honest, this isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a proper design. My ‘style’ if I can be so pretentious, is somewhere between the traditional English cottage garden with a dash of Gertrude Jekyll’s watercolour effect and Vita’s Sissinghurst thrown in. I don’t do graph paper sketches, I don’t meticulously plan the colours. I just have a vague sense of what will work with what and the heights I have in mind. Certain colours I try to avoid and that’s about it. The real deciding factor this year has been using whatever I’ve been able to find, as lockdown etc has meant a lot of the plants I’d have liked, I just haven’t been able to get my paws on.

As for work, I am the laziest gardener you’ll ever find! In fact part of the reason I decided to create this border (it’s more or less new this year) was to move more toward perennials to relieve the strain on my ancient back.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: August 24, 2021, 11:35 am

That is truly enchanting….. really a lovely and inviting garden

Comment from Anonymous
Time: August 24, 2021, 7:26 pm

It looks as if it just growed there–with no help at tall.
I know that’s a lie, but I love that appearance.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 24, 2021, 9:37 pm

Thank you, Anon – that’s just the effect I was after 🙂

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: August 25, 2021, 6:14 pm

Eye-pleasing, to be sure. I can’t imagine what colors you were avoiding. I love the (other-world) balls on stalks. It must be a lovely path to walk.

Comment from lauraw
Time: August 26, 2021, 4:15 am

Bishop of Llandaff dahlias in the back part there. Lovely. I’ve only ever grown “Bishop’s Children” here as seed stock. They don’t all get that blackish foliage, but close.

Comment from BJM
Time: August 27, 2021, 2:07 am

Kudoes!!! just lovely the way it effortlessly jumbles & tumbles together. I adore Gravetye Manor in Sussex, like yours, the borders are a bit wild and free.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 27, 2021, 8:55 am

Well spotted, LauraW! These actually are Bishops’ Children, grown from seed. I think I first saw Bishop of LLandaff at Sissinghurst and though I really like it, and grew it, the colour is just a shade or two too orange for my taste. His grace’s offspring, however, throw up some stunning colours and I have a few that I’ve been using as tubers for succeeding years and use in place of the old boy. They range from real, deep reds to luxurious purple/reds and I think they’re stunning. My only problem with the seed raised ones is that in the first year you don’t know what you are getting and I dislike the sulphury yellows that seem to pop up rather too often.

And thanks, BJM. We’ve never visited Gravetye Manor but we’ll have to now!

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