20/08/2014

The Keepers and the Weepers

The work in overhauling the garden has been continuing, and I'm incredibly happy with how everything looks now. I've been very ruthless and many spots are now plantless, but I think it will be worth it come next year.


Plenty of plants have been given the heave ho, including an extraordinary amount of Sedums and Hardy Geraniums. I think these were plants that I realised I could propagate very easily, and over the years I got just a little carried away with them. No tiny garden needs 15 of the same Sedums, especially ones that were flopping all over the place! As for the Hardy Geraniums, well, as much as I love them, I had one variety that was in about 5 different places, gets huge leaves during the summer and swamps everything else in its path, the flowers are beautiful though so I've kept one, but, after an awful lot of back breaking digging, got rid of the others.  I swear if a clump any larger than my fist came up I let out an almighty cheer, the roots were tough and I have a feeling I didn't get to them all so I'll have to keep a watch on the areas to ensure they don't come back. I do have plenty of smaller growing Hardy Geraniums dotted around which are a bit more manageable.

I've kept a few of the Sedums at the back where they look their best, and for now, I'm leaving one in front of the shed and this one along the border.


They'll be going as soon as I have something to replace them with though. Next year, I'll be giving the remaining Sedums the Chelsea Chop again, but I'll reduce them by half this time, as cutting down by a third didn't work. Another good reason to clear out many of these plants was the enormous amount of snails and slugs they were hiding. Nearly every leaf had one or the other on it, and plenty down at the base of the plant too. I have definitely seen an overall reduction of them in the garden now there aren't as many places for them to hide!


The woodland area and front of shed border have had a tidy up, but most of the work has taken place at the far end of the garden which had started to resemble a mini jungle. Plants were crowding each other out, there were straggly Crocosmias all over and things weren't looking that great. These are the befores.




And the afters. Much better I think. 








I've moved a lot of plants from other parts of the garden, and added in some new ones, including the gorgeous Shasta Daisies, Echinacea Pow Wow, Cherry Brandy Rudbeckias and Chrysanthemums, these are the definite keepers, they have added so much colour to the borders and I can't wait to see how they look next year when they've had a chance to grow. There are lots of other Spring flowering plants dotted in, and some spaces ready for bulbs and plants I'm growing on.





And, you may or may not have noticed that the blog has had a bit of a name change. I'm now Blooms 'n' Spades rather than Spoons 'n' Spades! It's something I've been meaning to do for a while to reflect the fact I no longer grow food for eating. I like it, hope you do too :-) .

50 comments:

  1. I noticed the name change and then wondered if it had been changed way back and I just hadn't noticed at the time, I'm not known for being the most observant person. The garden will look beautiful next year after it's tidy up, not that it didn't this year, but it will take on a whole new look.

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    1. Lol, well I'd say you were observant then Jo.

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  2. It's so satisfying to give the garden a good overhaul. Looking good.. :)

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    1. It must take you a lot longer than me Jessica with so much land. I'm envious, but my back probably isn't ;-) .

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  3. What a lovely garden you have. Like you, I, too, am in the process of renovating parts of my garden. It is a challenge but very rewarding. Good luck with your project.

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    1. Thanks Dorothy, good luck with your renovations too!

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  4. I have a couple of beds that aren't quite working the way I envisioned them, so in the fall/winter/early spring, I'm going to give them an overhaul too. I have quite a few large swaths of Autumn Joy Sedum, new this year in my front garden. I got them from a friend who was thinning her own, so they were free, great to fill in, but we'll see if I keep them after a few years. It's prime real estate, but I may eventually put some other more interesting full sun plants in there.

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    1. Oh, I'll be interested to see what you think of them Alison. I was rather smitten at the start, but now, well, not so much. They are great for the butterflies though.

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  5. Your garden is so amazing ! I am delighted with your flower arrangements ! I like all your flowers and color combinations !
    Greetings, Ela :)

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  6. I wish I could have caught some of the sedums you were tossing-- I have been thinking of getting some! But that's the way of plants. I certainly understand how those perennial geraniums can be pushy and I rip them out at the edges often. Too hot here to start the big Fall Moving but I have plans and your successes inspire. Fall may be the best gardening time-- so fun to set things right then go inside and wait for spring. It makes the cocoa and fires and holidays even better.

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    1. Oh, lol, those Sedums. I have given many away over the years and I couldn't think of anyone who didn't already have half a dozen from me ;-) . You are right about Fall/Autumn gardening, warming up inside after is wonderful.

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  7. I love your garden, it is so pretty.
    Most definitely an improvement.....sure you will be more than pleased next year.
    It is amazing how things change simply be removing plants.
    I cut back some shrubs that border a path today.....I was amazed by the amount of light in that area now.

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    1. Thank you Cheryl. I'm excited to see how it's going to look next year now!

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  8. Good work! I agree with you that a gardener does have to be ruthless. I do love hardy geraniums, but it sounds like you have plenty still.

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  9. You've been busy, Paula! I'm not so good at pulling and discarding plants--even the ones I should thin out. I guess it's my naturalist tendencies. I know it's better for the garden sometimes, though, and yours looks so much better after all your careful thinning. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. I know, it's hard to get rid of plants isn't it Beth, especially when you've raised them yourself. Sometimes, they just have to go though!

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  10. Hi Paula, thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! Now I wanted to come over and see what you are up to. Obviously a lot :-). I salute you for ruthlessly taking out plants that don't work for you. In my opinion making changes to a garden is good. I find the after photo with the echinacea and the chrysanthemum especially impressive. I also love the shasta daisies. So cheerful! Wishing you a nice rest of the summer! Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Hello Christina and thanks for returning the visit. It's always good to find new gardening friends :-) .

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  11. You've made a good work, Paula! I love to re-place plants too and am planning new spots for bulbs as well.
    Lovely picture of Chrysanthemums!

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  12. We're going through a similar process.

    Is the rudbeckia Cherry Brandy a perennial?

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    1. Hi Sue. Yes it is a perennial, but I've heard mixed reviews on how hardy it is. I'm chancing my luck with them as they are so lovely. Fingers crossed we have a nice mild winter again.

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  13. Just what my garden needs - a good old sort out - you have to be ruthless sometimes - as yours is looking so good now you have spurred me on to get cracking.

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    1. It's been hard work, but I am really pleased with how it's looking now Elaine. I'll crack the whip for you now ;-) .

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  14. Paula, you are an inspiration! This is just what I need to do, but so far I haven't been able to make myself ruthless enough to get rid of some plants even though they're not adding much to the garden. Your "after" shots really show what a difference this can make--lovely views! We don't have snails here usually, so I must admit your little guy looks quite cute to me, though I'm sure you don't think so:)

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    1. Lol, well, they may look cute, but they can devour a plant in a night Rose! Hope you are able to find that ruthless streak with your plants, it's hard, but worth it in the end :-) .

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  15. A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures. I like the new blog name. Flighty xx

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  16. Gosh, you are brave ! It is the only way to do it though, to be ruthless, and cull anything not earning its keep. Everything has so much more definition once you can bring yourself to do it. I just find it so hard !!

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    1. Yes, it wasn't easy but does look much better.

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  17. I love your daisies! This flower is always stunning in every part of garden. A simple and elegant flower. I have a dream make a praire garden that full of daisies and other wild flowers on it, ...what a shame, it needs wide land and I don't have it... :(

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    1. Prairie gardens are lovely Endah, I don't have that much land either so the daisies will be limited here.

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  18. I have a section of my garden that needs the same treatment, I just have to wait til we're a bit closer to fall to start moving everything. Your garden is just beautiful! I love the coneflowers and grasses together. It's like a mini-prairie.

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    1. It seems like we're all ready to do an overhaul in our gardens somewhere. Glad you like the changes.

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  19. Good for you for being ruthless. It looks great! I could use some of your determination to straighten up my garden. It's too ful with too many things... Love the Cherry brandy rudbeckia! I had a couple last year, but they succumbed to the cold winter we had. I miss them...

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    1. Well, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a mild winter again and hoping the Rudbeckia will be okay. They're so pretty I wouldn't like to lose them.

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  20. Your after shots really show the improvements, what a transformation. I still haven't got over the fact you moved all your plants in the blazing sun and they all survived. I have crocosmia, it is trying to take over the garden and really does spread everywhere. The daisies are gorgeous as are all your new additions. Looking forward to seeing how it all grows.xxx

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    1. Yes, I can't wait until next year now either when the changes will really start to have an effect.

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  21. Well, you have been busy here! Can't wait to see how your work will look like next year. It's just that some plants like to take over, but glad you telling them who is in charge :) Your blog's new name sounds great!

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    1. Lol, well I try to take charge but like you say, the plants have different ideas.

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  22. We do have to be ruthless in the garden now and then, but sedums are wonderful for this time of the year and butterflies love them.

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    1. They are a butterfly magnet, but I definitely went overboard on them. It's much better now that they are at the back of the garden only.

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  23. I like the new name! And I also like your "afters"! You have put in a lot of work, and it shows. Every garden needs editing and adjustments. My list of to-do projects is waiting cooler weather, and the list keeps growing the longer I wait.

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    1. Thanks Deb. I know just what you mean about the to do list, it never ends does it!

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  24. Great to catch up with you again Paula. I like the new name. You have certainly been busy and all your hard work will pay dividends. I have a similar scenario to tackle with regards to hardy geraniums! Have only been saying the same thing for the last five years or so .... maybe this will be the year of action.

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    1. Hello Anna :-) . I'll wish you luck with the Hardy Geraniums, I knew they spread of course, but, well, I never realised their roots went quite that far! It's been hard work getting rid of a lot of mine.

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  25. I enjoyed your post as I am about to overhaul my main border but I am hesitant because of the great deal of work it entails. However it should be worth it as you have found doing yours.

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    1. Thanks Alain. It is a lot of work,but there's a nice sense of achievement when you've finished the job :-) .

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