The International Steam Pages

How does Your Garden Grow? (Early June 2013)

This page is part of a series of monthly garden blogs and other items from 2013. Click here for the index.

Summer 2013 was a reluctant season, by early June the front of the house was an almost unrelenting mass of green with the bulbs over and the hanging baskets only just put out now the threat of frost had passed.

There was colour in the garden but maybe not in the usual places. Down by the road, the front bed had purple aubretia, a white azalea and the first of the potentilla, very satisfying as a year earlier this space had been filled with a mixture of rocks and tarmac and topped with stone chippings...

Alongside the steps up to the house, one or two or the bargain basement hebes were in flower, while the more sensitive ones were licking their wounds from the cold easterlies we had in early Spring.

In June, the sun rises very early and sufficiently north to light the north side of our hedge. Not much gets Yuehong out of bed at 06.00 these days, but her garden does. Just in front of her is a small leaved azalea which already had more flowers in it than it carried in 2012.

When we arrived, our pond was muddy and choked with plants and the pump was broken, it took us a year to discover we actually had three fish in it - when two died it was the first time we had seen them but the third somehow survived until the pump was replaced and the plants tamed. This year I painted the fence and, more importantly, completely cleaned the filter tank. Suddenly we had crystal clear water to see our tadpoles with a lonely fish. So we added 10 more (red comet) and they showed their gratitude for their liberation from the garden centre at Huntley by retreating into the 'long grass'. No doubt it keeps them safe from marauding cats and at least they need no feeding seemingly thriving on a diet of algae. Maybe when the tadpoles have left as tiny frogs we shall see more of them...

One of our 2012 investments was a set of clematis acquired from a variety of sources which had been planted among some of the roses. These are sensitive creatures, we lost a couple and we are still on a steep learning curve with them. However, when they work they produce some splendid blooms. The first two were in the climbing rose sun trap, the white one is up by the summer house:

June was now half over and we were busy digging flower beds to accommodate Yuehong's seedlings which had spilled out of our tiny greenhouse having occupied every window sill in the house previously.

Click here for the next installment.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson