Summer shrubs

Quick, quick before the power cuts out. Storms are forecast again, and I want to make sure I write something before everything needs to be unplugged.

I was looking at the posts here and realise that I am only showing you the potager. The easy pickings.

There is an enormous garden out there and I keep forgetting to point the camera in that direction.

So herewith a bit of an amble around the droughty garden.

Lavenders are doing their marvellous bit.

You can’t go past without brushing through a thicket of butterflies and bees. The lavender Hidcotes are going over. (I took this snap a few weeks ago.) It’s a shame as I love their most vibrant of blues.

But the Grosso lavenders are marvellous and will go and go for a month more.

The lavenders I succeeded in striking from cuttings are now looking like proper plants. They sulked for a year first.

Down in front of the house that has been a building site since January, I have been delighted by how well the nepeta are doing. I suppose these are the Six Hills Giant variety. I have been shoving them about in the past few years as they put on such bulk they cause traffic jams on the paths.

After I lost quite a few lavenders on this inhospitable bank under the olive. So I have been cramming in the Nepetas and the hyssops to fill in the gaps. And they are flowering beautifully. At last.

Just further to the right of this display is the wisteria that manages to stay well contained.

It will throw flowers all summer. Possibly as the result of being under the direct line of the guttering on the main roof. Good shrub. It used to clothe the entire front of the house. But somehow a very hard prune a few years back seems to have done the trick. Don’t ask me why. Wisterias are a complete mystery to me. They die so dramatically and in the space of a week. And then you spend the rest of your life dealing with suckers from what should be a dead trunk.

Lets just admire the once mighty white wisteria around the other side of the house for a touch of nostalgia.

If you asked my younger gardening self whether I would fling myself at yellow flowers I would rear up in horror. Yellow? Moi?

But in a drought-stricken garden I have found one shrub and one perennial crop to be one of my favourites.

Bupleurum fruiticosum. (Let me check. Close. Bupleurum fruticosum) Shrubby hare’s ear… Really? I know I have’t been close to a hare for a while now, but hare’s ears have nothing to do with the shape of this lovely shrub.

I started it off in the hedge underneath an oak tree up at the top of the property. It is now the size of a water buffalo in girth. I have to hack my way through it just to get past. I’ve given up trying to mow the path underneath.

And as it is something that thrives and thrives without water, I planted it (properly, in full sun) in the Dry Garden.

You might be able to glimpse them on the right standing tall before the walnut tree.

It is a plant that does so well upright that you can easily make it a fantastic hedging plant.

Much smaller in stature is my now favourite achillea, Achillea coarctata.

Here it is on the steep bank above the courtyard.

A little colony of buttony yellow. And get this. I planted just three or four little babies up here. Offshoots from the original planting in the Dry Garden. Shoved them in one autumn and forgot all about them.

They are imprisoned by the rock in front. So I don’t have to have anxieties about it spreading. It is more than welcome to spread up the bank above that line of iris.

And if you are looking for a bit of zing in your bouquets. These bulpleurums and achillea last FOREVER in a vase. Darn good plants.