Flowers in the Dry Garden

I thought I would take you on a walk today.

No, not my round the mountain cherry scoffing walk.

But into my Dry Garden.

This is the photo I always take. Away from the house, looking towards the forest. Usually around 8am on my way out for a walk.

But it’s the long weekend for the builders and all the cars are out of the way. So I can actually show you plants without a car glinting in the background.

What am I saying? I just spotted a car at the end of the garden up at the parking area. Sheesh. Teach me photoshop, please.

We have had a mild winter and a wet spring. And that means everything seems to have doubled in size.

That’s better. I took this early this morning. On the left the achillea nobilis. White, flowering madly and poised to take over the whole garden.

I won’t consider this plant in my garden again. Now, I don’t mind an invasive plant in this drought inflicted garden. But the noblis has such a short flowering season. And as many of you know, white flowers die messily. They go dirty and grotty and you just want them to go. Add to that a rather pungent cat pee smell with a distinctive sharp aroma I fail to describe…

Far better are the marvellous Achillea coarctata. Let me see if I have a shot of them.

Here in the front. Yellow flowering and discreet and they just go on and on. And don’t want to swallow up all the rest of their neighbours.

I actually found my September 2017 order to Pepiniere Filippi with the plant list.

Ballota hirsuta x 3
euphorbia rigida x 4
Artemesia carcassonne x 3
Bupleurum fruticans x 3
Achillea coarctata x 10
Achillea nobilis x 10
Achillea umbellata x 10
Erodium trifolium x 10
Centaurea Bella x 15
Satureja montana x 10
Thymus hirsutus x 15
Hysoppus officianalis x 5
viburnum tinus x 3
Vitex agnus-castus ‘Latifolia’ x 1
Ampelodesmus mauritanius x 1
Sedum coral carpet x 3
Salvia Verbenaca x 10

Of all the plants here, the euphorbia rigida are by far my favourite plant.

Architectural, statuesque, dramatic. And to my great surprise. A pink hue for weeks and weeks after the bracts are going over.

You can see them in the very bottom of the shot. But I have been snapping them weekly since Lockdown.

They are supposed to self-seed like mad. But not for me. So I am trying to layer them to get new plants. Hence the rocks. It’s not as if I am going to lift and divide.

But so far no joy. Which is a shame as I should like more than the half dozen I have managed to plant in this very long narrow garden area.

Another good one for me is the stachys cretica. Which wasn’t even on my initial list.

I like Stachys. The do form a nice pale fluffy carpet. But these ones do even more. They flower brilliantly.

Ooh I just found another euphorbia rigida shot. With allium purple sensations in the background. Hurrah.

The ballota hirsuta are doing their thing. Marvellously round and throwing up nice straight spikes. Even in the shade of the giant fig in front. (Sorry Christine. Showing off.)

I’m still unconvinced about the very pale grey artemesia right beside it.

And yes I suspect I planted them too closely together. Still, it means I can raid the ballota plants for my flower arranging and not have to trek all the way down to the orchard where I have dozens of the beasts.

The Artemesia need pruning hard as they grow in a lax and erratic fashion. And for some very odd reason I found them covered in black fly this year.

I’m plotting to crowd the colour out with my new irises thanks to my neighbour Agnes further round the mountain. We are doing iris swapsies. And that reminds me, I need to lift a dozen more for her now they have finished flowering.

And yes, I tied ribbons round the ones I need to lift.

This garden doesn’t get watered (hence the blunt and dull name). But with newly transplanted irises dotted thoughout, I find I’m plodding here a lot more than is usual.

I ought to do a better close up shot of this part of the garden. It is chock full of lovely drought tolerant plants. Except you will see the kniphofias have gone over already, despite the damp Spring.

A stern reminder that it’s all very well to have phlomis and rosemary and salvia and lavender, but red hot pokers? From the edges of fast running rivers in Southern Africa? Well, yes. A mis-step. But they were a gift. And I did want a bit of zingy colour all the down the end of the path.

Maybe I ought to bring my hose this far down next week. Give them a bit of a helping hand.