Everything is starting to come alive now in our new borders. There have been some casualties though: one of the Anemone 'Wild Swan' just flopped and died. Not sure why as the others are fine and it had enough water.
The Astrantias, aside from one being extremely popular with snails and slugs, seem to really like it there. Sun in the morning, shade in the afternoon. It's still fairly sandy and free draining but with the manure I've added maybe it's retaining enough water to keep them healthy. I've yet to see any hoverflies on them though which is odd as I thought they liked them. The Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' (wallflowers) just sit there and flower all the time and seem pretty popular with passing bees. The back row isn't perfect: the 3 Acanthus mollis are really popular with snails. They sit in there all day and at night ravage the leaves. The manure I put on the bed was also a little fresh and the leaves are scorched too. But one has sent up 2 flower spikes which is exciting. I added 5 Verbena bonariensis in the back row too and they seem perfectly happy there. Foxgloves, cosmos, bugle are happy too.
And only one of my 2 remaining Anemone 'Wild Swan' is flowering. It's still early in the season though...
The more shaded border has worked quite well too although of the geraniums, the 'Rozanne' seems happier than the 'Johnson's Blue' in this particular spot. The 'Johnson's Blue' is sending out really long, thin stems which makes me think that it's not quite sunny enough for it there:
The 'Rozanne' flowers are bigger too. The Meconopsis cambrica (welsh poppy) is budding up so there should be lots of yellow on its way! My Aster divaricatus is very popular with slugs, so it's been held back quite a bit. I've put recycled wool around it now which seems to deter the slugs pretty well, so one day, it may flower and bring some white to the border!
The Helipterum 'Pierrot' paper daisies are lush and quite popular with hoverflies and bees. The flowers don't seem to fade either and they've been out for a few weeks: they only open if it's sunny though.
My 'meadow' is a bit poor but at least there are ox-eye daisies and some long grass for insects to hang out in. And they do! Little grasshopperes especially like it at the moment.
One of the most exciting things about gardening is letting 'weeds' grow rather than pulling out everything that's in the wrong place. So this feverfew got to live and is lovely.
The 'Benjamin Britton' rose I bought last year has lovely fragrant blooms and lots of them, but I'm still very much a beginner when it comes to the organic way of looking after plants. Aside from mulching it with manure, feeding with chicken pellets and tidying away fallen leaves, I haven't really tackled the problem of rust and blackspot. I'm sorry, rose, I'm letting you down. Everything you're meant to do is more preventative: grow resistant cultivars, put it in the right spot in good soil and follow good hygiene. But once that's failed, I'm not sure what you do! I need to do some research, I think.
I've had a few strawberries from our patio plants. And so have the birds.
I have phase 2 of my RHS exams next week - I passed phase 1 in February and if I pass phase 2, I'll have my RHS Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture. Exciting!