End of May round up

You can compare with last year.

Weather

The average temperature was 12.3C with a minimum of 0.1C and maximum of 27.3C. So no frost days, and there were days that were very warm for the time of year.

Another very dry month with only 8mm of rain all month. Surprisingly that was spread over 10 separate days. For comparison, last year there was 55mm of rain. There was even less rain last month.

The month started out with the tulips and daffodils being the main points of interest and they were all finished by the end of the month.

The forget-me-not's are great at providing some early colour but there were far too many this year and I started removing them much earlier than usual.

The Ligularia 'Zepter' that I moved from the back to the front to replace the L. przewalskii that died over the winter suffered throughout the month with the heat and lack of water. To make matters worse there was a very windy couple of days and the way that the wind whips around the side of the house caused a lot of wind scorch of the leaves.

Aquilegia

There were quite a few Aquilegia this year. Mostly they were a very dark purple, almost black. A few blue ones and one red one.

This was an interesting one. It resembles a cultivar called A. 'William Guinness'. I'd always suspected that the dark ones were seeded from that cultivar but there has never been one with the white edges to the flowers until now.

Photo 7710

Melittis

This is its first season for this Melittis melissophyllum 'Royal Velvet Distinction'. I put it at the front to fill a gap in flowering in this area. Hope it survives the wet over the winter.

Photo 7719

Geranium

This was a plant that was already in the garden so I don't know the variety or anything. It is always early to flower and has interesting flowers that change from light to dark (or the other way around!) providing an interesting multicoloured effect.

Photo 7720

Surprising survivors

The winter was mild enough that there were a few unexpected survivors from last year. This Gazania was one of them.

Photo 7729

I also had an 'annual' Lobelia survive over the winter with flowers too.

Veronica

This is Veronica austriaca 'Venice blue' which flowers early with a mass of bright blue flowers.

Photo 7730

Geum 'Totally tangerine'

This plant varies year to year, this year there are a mass of flowers.

Photo 7731

Astrantia 'Moulin Rouge'

I don't like Astrantias that much as the flowers are often not very colourful once they have opened for a while. This one is an exception and is nice read.

Photo 7733

Nepeta faassenii 'Purrsian Blue'

Looking better in real life than in this picture. Lots of blue flowers that are very popular with the bees. So far the cats haven't destroyed it.

Photo 7734

Other flowering

Some other things in flower this month. * Tulips * Daffodils * Lewisia cotyledon Elise * Tiarella 'Emerald Elle' * The Epimediums. * Verbascum phoenicium * Polenomium yezonense 'Bressingham Purple' * Orchid * Geum * Clematis * Lupins * Foxgloves * Violas

Back border rework

This year I planned to do something with the back border. There are parts that are not easy to get to and it is in general a mess.

The general idea is to put a path through the area to divide it. This will reduce the amount of planting space, but some of the lawn will be added to the border so the actual area will probably be about the same.

I removed and put into pots or temporarily elsewhere the few plants that were already in the area.

As everything is so dry it is very hard going. The spade is mostly useless and I'm doing most of the digging with the mattock. In this area there is not much top soil before you get to the solid yellow clay layer.

What I do is dig down as far as possible and then chipping away at the base clay layer as much as I can bear.

I chopped up all the lumps and sieved the result into a couple of tubs which I saved until the end.

Then I put the turf at the bottom and started filling from there. Clay from the bottom was also chopped up as much as possible an mixed into the rest of the soil.

More chopping of the lumps, a layer of compost, then the saved fine soil. Finally I covered with a thin layer of bark. I would have used wood chips but I have none and I do have bark that needs to be used somewhere.

This was part way through and you can see the lovely gray colour and texture.

Photo 7741

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