May 15, 2008

Dixter delights....

Alot has been going on here at Great Dixter, with the gardens and the experiences. The weather has really warmed up now, to the point of the sun shortening our pants and pushing the plants along.

The meadows are looking like a kaleidoscope of color and moving with each little breeze that comes by. The bees are buzzing here and there and making the most of the open flowers, stealing the pollen to make their sweet nectar, not that i mind.

At night you can hear the bullfrogs with their throaty battle cries yelling out to one another in hopes of finding a mate, "the one".

Each day there are little bits of information that you learn from someone or something you do. When relying on some plants to self-sow in the garden (usually from the year before) the little seedlings need little competition for light to grow. So when you plant your bulbs, keep in mind the size or thickness of the foliage to let the light hit the soil in the garden bed to help those self-sowers along. Narcissus foliage is thin and strappy, while a tulip can be wide and thicker and this can have an effect of those self-sown seedlings if they will take off or not.

The garden beds are really starting to take off and there are some combinations that demand attention from anyone walking by. In the peacock garden there is Iris 'Berlin Tiger' that contrasts nicely with the dark blue-purple Columbine, Aquilegia 'Blue Barlow'.
Here in the long border we have Allium 'Purple Sensation', Campanula patula, Camassia leichtlinii, and Iris 'Saphire Blue'.
The peacock garden is pulsing with purple orbs of the alliums and the citrus colors of Meconopsis cambrica, otherwise known as the Welsh Poppy.
The front meadows are dominated by the blue hue of Camassia quamash with a few Narcissus poeticus, the last daffodils to come, in bloom.
The back meadows with a Craetagus ' Himalayan Scarlet' blooming red while the ground is ablaze in yellow of Ranunculus auricomis. The meadows are in a constant state of flux, from large changes of plants in bloom to subtle ones of plants dropping the seeds that have swelled up inside them such as Narcissus pseudonarcissus.

Some of the colors and textures that are grouped together in pots in this weeks display.

Allium 'Puprle Sensation' and Miscanthus sinensis 'Cosmopolitan' in the barn garden. Meadow near the vegetable garden with a euphorbia adding a splash of color.
Some of the electric color combos that are happening in the barn garden.Here are the pea stakes (that is what the technique is called) that are used for staking here. They are smaller side branches of Hornbeam that have been cut from the coppiced woodland and are pushed into the ground at the base of the plants so they can stand up on their own. You can use any type of branch for this staking method but remember not to use anything that can root into the bed, such as any type of willow. This is what they look like when you first put them in the garden bed..

Now that the peas are taking off and growing at such a pace, you hardly notice the pea sticks. The vigorous climbers almost begin to take the shape of a shrub.
Here the technique seen more clearly in the vegetable garden.

There are loads of birds stopping by and passing through the English countryside. The swallows are back, flitting about here and there high above the garden and building nests in some of the old barns here.

The dawn chorus here is really loud with the birds. What happens is right as the sun is coming up the birds go wild and start a raucous morning concert, with their songs slowly fading away as the morning pushes on. The birds start here at 4:30 a.m. and continue for about an hour. They only pick up again to really sing as a group at around 10 in the evening. This is what you hear when you wake at this time.