Our final Busy Beez Gardening Club session was brought forward a day as heavy rain is forecast for our usual Tuesday, and we are eager to get these lovely beauties into the ground before we break for the Summer Holidays. However, before we can plant we must clear the ground.
The bed, which overlooks the courtyard was full of weeds, particularly thistles. Fortunately we have a light sandy soil, which makes weeding easier. The whole area was then forked over, and some good quality top soil added. An over grown hebe with a huge clump of dandelions was dug up, trimmed, separated from the weed and replanted, as was a leggy evergreen, possibly a 'Birds Nest Spruce'.
Time for the new plants. First up a trio of sugar-candy-pink Hydrangeas. Also known as Hortensia, these mopheads come in colours ranging from white, red, pink, purple or even blue if your soil is acid enough. They begin flowering in the late Spring and Summer, and continue right through to the Autumn, often with changing colours in the blooms. The dried flower heads will be kept on the plant over the winter months to help protect the emerging young buds from frosts, and provide a little interest in the border over the quieter seasons.
Next are two Gaura's, or Bee Blossoms. This variety is called 'Tutti Frutti' with shocking pink flowers. These plants should spread readily creating a thick carpet from their rhyzomes underground, and filling in bare spaces to help prevent weeds setting in.
And finally to the elegant white fragrant blooms of Phlox Carolina 'Miss Lingard'. With it's shiny foliage and pure white flowers, this perennial is often called the 'Wedding Phlox' and is a magnet to butterflies.
Once bedded into their new homes, the plants were given a thorough watering by our Busy Beez, and a thick layer of bark mulch added to help keep the moisture in and the weeds out.
A quick inspection of the Enviromental Garden before we break reveals a massive shrub alive with the buzzing and fluttering of a great many insects. Commonly known as The Butterfly Bush, this huge Buddleia is awash with panicles of purple flowers each visted by bees and butterflies, of course.
The size of this plant is perfect for our large Enviromental Garden, but in the Spring we shall cut this magnificent monster by two thirds. It might seem quite a dramatic prune, but it will pay us back with even more blooms next Summer while encouraging a strong healthy framework. In smaller gardens, the same can be achieved from a smaller plant and kept to a managable size by cutting the shrub back to around 60cm from ground level each Spring.
Nestled among the tall white Asters, this vibrant rambling Rose winds it's way through the boundary of the Enviromental Garden. Once the clusters of intense pink blossoms have passed, the Rose will carry on it's show well into the Autumn with hips.
During the holidays, the gardens will continue to be cared for and the Busy Beez Gardening Blog will be updated from time to time, so be sure to stop by and see how things are progressing.