I'm carrying on clearing, but unsure what to do. My only option seems to be to plant absolutely everything in wire baskets. (Although I was quite interested in selling the house yesterday afternoon: gardening on a steep slope and then sleeping at the top of a sixteenth century spiral staircase in a largely unrenovated house is not easy - add the RTs into the equation and, when something goes wrong, the unmentionable is mentioned.)
Other bad stuff? I am still way behind - to the extent that my beautiful cleaned-up iris border needs weeding and I haven't the time to do it. Also - I have about 100 seed-grown plants that have to go into the ground this spring (in wire baskets?) and the ground is not cleared. They'll have to be overwintered in the house yet again. I discovered in 2011 and 2012 that you can't plant herbaceous perennials in autumn here.
It's good to repeat plants - they pull a border together. At the moment in the Rose Walk (after only one year) the plants that are working are plants that are easy to increase. Taking over from the tulips are Hesperis matronalis, self-sown chervil and chives (I have some Allium 'Purple Sensation' coming along, but couldn't afford to buy too many last autumn). I'm currently bordering the Rose Walk with box (the other side is a yew hedge), but the chives that I planted in the first season to make a temporary border are so charming when they are flowering that I'm not quite sure what I should do next year.
Dame's Violet (Hesperis) is a native European that has been grown for centuries in gardens. It flowers at about 1m high, although the rosettes before flowering are nice and low and neat. Preferring moist, shady positions (it obviously enjoys our heavy soil here), I see that in North America it is classed as an invasive weed. I don't think I'd mind being taken over, but maybe I'll eat my words in future!
Mrs Grigson says of it in her herbal: 'In the language of the flowers the Rocket has been taken to represent deceit, since it gives out a lovely perfume in the evening, but in the daytime has none'. She calls it 'rocket' because it is in the brassica family and is sometimes known as Dame's Rocket ('violet' presumably came from the colour of its flowers). Also known as vesper-flower and purple rocket. She goes on: 'In former days doctors combined with poets in attributing marvellous virtues to this plant. It is regarded principally as antiscorbutic.' No, I have absolutely no idea what this means; I shall look it up tomorrow. However, I do know that when I went down to take pictures of the border this morning I was totally in agreement with the poets who thought the Dame's Violet so virtuous. She certainly healed my RT wounds of yesterday.
Unfortunately I did discover last autumn that the RTs had started eating Dame's Violet in the nursery bed where I was growing it on for the Rose Walk; it was always destined to flower now, just before the roses, geraniums, nepetas and gypsophilas. You can probably tell that I'm a 70s girl and wore purple maxi skirts etc...
warmth that walls give out. They've started flowering - I almost wished I had planted the pink-flowered type because they are so pretty.
I remember an old boss of mine in Suffolk say that when the beans were flowering in the fields, they made people 'frisky'. I always told him that I wouldn't know ... What I am sure of is that they are my favourite early June veg and can't be beat with fresh trout or salmon. Try a little mint or winter savoury chopped over the top - and steam them, for goodness sake!