Herbaceous borders in May

Full Steam Ahead for Greenhouse Borders

Rather unsurprisingly, the current weather conditions have led to incredibly fast growth in the garden. Apart from those plants that have ceased to be, all are up and achieving new heights everyday. On the down side, so are the weeds…

By no means an accurate scientific comparison, but photographs taken last year, seem to indicate that the borders are at least 3 weeks ahead of their usual growth rate. For yours truly, as the ever impatient gardener, it is just delightful to see the herbaceous Greenhouse borders coming along so swiftly. Though, one wonders what is in store for the rest of the season.

As always, progress does come with the odd drama. The cold winter and dry spring have taken their toll. Our ancient Rosemary’s, have all perished and so have many of the lavenders, particularly the more mature ones. The (Angustifolia Elizabeth) Lavender hedge in the Rose Walk, has suffered terribly and many will need to be replaced. In addition, numerous established plants have unfortunately lost their mature (wood) growth, where new growth has started again at ground level. This is certainly the case for our Phlomis Italica and Hydrangea Aspera Villosa. Naturally, delighted they have recovered, although disappointed to have lost their mature height, so crucial for the structure of the borders.

The Alliums are lovely, though admittedly not doing as well as last year. There seem to be fewer, and generally speaking the flowers and stems seem weaker. Quite a few have come up blind, that is, with no flowering stem. According to one of the Allium experts at the Chelsea Flower Show last year, leaving the Allium to set seed, can result in their not flowering the next year. For most gardeners that would present a problem, as Allium seed heads, add much charm to herbaceous borders.

Herbaceous borders in May
May Greenhouse Borders

Thankfully, it is not all doom and gloom though. Some plants have just lavished the conditions and consequently done terribly well. All Thalictrums, Eupatoriums, Phlox, Bistortas, for example are thriving and just beaming, many already crowning with a mass of flowers.

Risking unpopularity, what we really need and crave, is rain and much of it!  Forecast seem to indicate that the clouds will be dropping off their precious cargo this evening and the coming weekend, but so far, all promises have been thwarted.

Pessimistically speaking, if disillusion is to be upon us again and solace is required, at least Monty is back on tonight. It may just be personal silliness, but I did find it terribly amusing in the last Gardener’s World episode, that even, the mighty – always seemingly in control; Monty Don, is also able to forget where he put the spade, he used just a couple of minutes prior. Good to know that it isn’t just me….