Early June gardening woes

I fell out with my garden last year. It was too cold, and then it was too hot and the ground baked hard. A tough gig when you have clay soil. Some parts of the garden did not get touched at all. This year I am regretting the laxness and trying hard to catch up. We’re in early June and I haven’t yet sown any veg, such is my state of advanced behindness.

Bindweed is everywhere and has pushed its way further down one of the main borders. Bindweed can penetrate the thickest, nastiest clay. I’ve had to lift a number of plants already to try and extricate the fat creamy, snappy bindweed roots. Elsewhere Ground Elder laps at the borders.

But another garden foe is wreaking malicious damage. Every year is different. This spring we had the warmth and then a few nasty frosts in April which took the first growth of a number of shrubs and woodlanders.

I was so proud of my Disporum longistylum ‘Night Heron’, it had put out a lusty big shoot, it was going to be a great show – wiped out overnight, lusty shoot, limp, dead. So I’ve been hoping for new shoots just to keep it ticking over this year, nothing much seemed to be happening, and then I looked more closely, lots of little severed stumps at ground level, slugs and snails had been having a whale of a time.

And now as I clear back the jungle of weeds elsewhere in the garden, the story is the same. So many snails and slugs. There are the usual hefty garden snails and tiger striped beige slugs, there are also some pretty coloured small snails as well as the stripeys – but it all adds up to lace-like hostas and knocked-back new growth. Is it because we lost our local thrush? The gentle tap-tapping of snail on rock is no longer heard. No-one else seems to be eating them.

So I must console myself, this year is not going to be a great hosta year.

Nice to see you again!

Iris Patina

Last year Irises Patina, Provencal and Nassak didn’t flower. Some gave up with the heat and the buds shrivelled. Overnight snails toppled all 6 flower stems of Iris Patina. The year before, the late frost killed all the buds on these irises. So this year I am grateful, I’ve seen them flower for the first time in 2 years.

Epiphyllum Lassie

Marvellous Epis

I am enjoying my Epiphyllums at the moment. London Glamour (main pic), flowered last year. London Youth (I think) and Lassie have flowered for the first time this year. London Glamour must have a dash of Epiphyllum oxypetalum, Queen of the Night. she has a light scent reminiscent of the queen, and opened in the evening, although unlike the queen the flowers last longer than a few hours. All bought a few years ago from The Cactus Shop.

While they budded up in the conservatory they are now suspended in the branches of an old apple tree. A bit of a surprise in an English summer garden, (hopefully they’ll not be too put off by today’s rain and wind).

Epiphyllum London Youth
Epiphyllum London Youth (I think), slightly earlier flowering.