The Green Gym Beckons!

Hi all you gardeners! I spent a couple of hours out in my green gym yesterday, with the intention of weeding one of the flower beds. However the ground is so dry just now, that turned into a dig, as the ground is too hard to yield the roots. Back-breaking but very satisfying! (and calorie-killing, too!) That's given me the urge to continue, and to move plants around/extend the flower beds and plan some summer planting.

Ok, who can think of some scented, hard-working perennials that will flower all summer? Varying heights. I like Pentstemon; so colourful but not scented, and not a particularly long flowering season? I also like Phlox. Need to delve into my gardening books for ideas I think, before a raid on the local garden centre gets under way!

Enjoy your green gyms, folks!

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9 Replies

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  • Your week has been like mine battlethebulge 😊 I've been digging and seiving every bucketful to get rid of weeds and unwanted rampant perennials. I have almost removed a massive 10'round island bed and re-allocated the soil. I'm looking for easy to grow-in-situ colourful annuals for all the bare soil before weeds take hold. I'm thinking nasturtiums, cosmos, sweet peas, candy turfs, phlox, and California poppies, but please suggest any others, I already have loads of calendula, borage, aquilegia, perennial geraniums, and foxgloves.

    For reliable colour and easy to grow I love perennial geraniums (cranesbill) and also evergreen shrubs such as box and hebe.

    Happy gardening 😊

  • Sounds glorious, Anna61 . I'm lookingb forward to seeing a picture!

  • Wow, you've been even busier than me I think, and more conscientious, I haven't sieved my soil!

    I love cranesbill too, and if you go to a proper nursery (rather than a garden centre) you can usually find a few different colours. They're great little plants as they're fairly tolerant of most conditions. Are you thinking of the dwarf sweet peas, or will you grow the standard type, up some poles? They're quite labour intensive aren't they, with the frequent tying up and pinching out. Last year I had a lovely show - until I went on holiday. My neighbour said he'd look after them for me but they looked rather woe-begone when I got home so I think they got minimal attention! Oooh, cosmos, lovely, but I find the slugs like them too.... You are going to have a wonderfully colourful display Anna! (If you can keep those slugs at bay!)

    I have some self-setting nigella coming up from last year, they're so pretty in a flower arrangement with their delicate foliage. Apart from those, I will have a blank canvas on which to work once the wallflowers are taken out.

    I think the wonderful thing about gardens is the joy they bring to all who see them - not just the gardener. It's a most wonderful form of sharing.

  • Keep an eye on the advertisments particularly Hayloft Plants. I've just ordered ten Penstemons for £12 odd, inc postage. They often have offers. I expect the plants will be small but I intend to pot them on to get bigger before I plant them out. My Hellebores ( orientalis ) have been terrific this year. They're going over now but still have handsome leaves and produce a lot of seedings. For a terrific scent, try Heliotrope ( Cherry Pie) . I have one called Chatsworth. It is not reliably hardy, I take cuttings every year which are easy, then they overwinter in my conservatory. AS long as you keep deadheading they'll flower for ages.

  • Thanks Sonja, I've grown Cherry Pie before, but don't remember them being scented. I'm wondering whether it's a new, or different strain than the one I used to grow, as that was a perennial and very vigorous in terms of spreading and self-setting! I haven't seen any in the local garden centres. Thanks also for the trade name you suggested for Pentstemons. I assumed they'd probably be small as to buy them in a nursery/garden centre you'd be paying up to £7 or £8 each!

    I tend to go down to the back of the nurseries and pick up some of their 'end of season' stock. which is usually going cheap! OK, so you don't get any flowers until the following year, but a cheap way of filling up the flower beds for someone on a tight budget, as long as you don't mind waiting for some action....

    Another dry, sunny day here in North Somerset, so I will have to get the hose out I think and freshen up the flower beds.

  • Hello again, A pity we're so far apart, I'm in Berkshire, as I could give you a Heliotrope Chatsworth. If you Google it and go onto the RHS web site, there is a photograph of it, mine are exactly the same and you must have forgotten, the perfume is stunning. The RHS call it a shrub and I have found it very good tempered as I had one in a fairly small diameter pot, quite deep though, beside my front door and it flowered and scented the area all summer. I took cuttings, threw away the mother plant, and then the cuttings sulked during the winter. Now though, they are busting themselves. I have a small and ugly conservatory tacked onto the back of my bungalow, ideal for overwintering plants though, and a covered area outside that. My plants ( inc a lot of pelargoniums and fuchsias too ) had been outside with slight protection for @ 3 weeks then I had to bring them all in again as it got so cold, the heliotrope is in flower now and I can smell it as soon as I go in to the conservatory. I find the best places to get good plants, apart from nurseries, is to go to Yellow Book gardens or other plant sales. In the past I often went to Marjorie Fish's garden. She's long dead, the garden was in South Petherton I think and is still open, sorry I've forgotten what it is called. Good hunting. I too have been watering, we had a very small shower this morning and I'm so unused to hearing rain on the roof I wondered what it was. I also like scrabbling around among the plants at the back of nurseries. I was in a local garden centre the other week and saw a label ' Manager's Choice ' in other words dead manky, tomato plants, eight for £1 I bought them of course and they're fine now.

  • We've had some rain here in God's own county, battlethebulge , but sun is shining today. Just waiting for it to dry out before I go and tackle the lawn. I've been doing the housework up till now - if the garden is the green gym, what do you call that? Hoping it's as good at tackling the calories!

  • Try nemesia, the vanilla scented one. It seems to stay in flower for ages.

  • Thanks Grannynise, Nemesia is certainly a lovely colourful, industrious plant and it will often survive the winter in a mild climate. (As far as I know they're annuals?) Or like Nigella, will self-set from the seeds.

    For colour I like antirrhinum, but they smell awful! Like tractor grease. Another great favourite, for scent if not for flowering period is Dianthus. Lots of different varieties, if you're lucky some have a second burst of flowers early autumn. Depends if you like the scent of cloves!

    So much choice - so little space!

    It's a beautiful morning this morning, I shall go and sit out and enjoy the sunshine after my first walk of the day. Have a lovely day in your Green Gyms everyone!

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