I had been to David and Deirdre Tomlinson's garden called Merlin's Hollow in May and June, but I had never visited the garden in summer.
What would the garden be like at its peak I wondered?
If nothing else, my first two visits to Merlin's Hollow had taught me that there was still had lots to learn from these two very experienced gardeners.
On each of my previous two visits to the garden it rained. No, scratch that. On my second visit, it not only poured, there was the accompanying dramatics of thunder and lightening.
Could the third time possibly be the charm?
Well, as you will see from my picture of this Clematis, I only narrowly escaped the morning's rain.
The sun even obliged and put in an appearance for a couple of the shots!
For those of you who may have missed the previous blog posts on Merlin's Hollow, the garden was designed by David, a landscape architect, to be a series of 4 themed gardens or "rooms" surrounded by a tall cedar hedge.
At the entrance to each of the 4 gardens is an arched garden gate.
There is a Perennial Flower Garden on the lower left, a Fragrant Garden (with a thyme lawn) on the top left, a Rock and Water Garden (with a stream and pond) on the top right, and a Winter Garden (that is a formal knot garden) in the lower right corner.
To the front of their house, David created a Winter Garden. This formal knot garden has clipped boxwood hedges, and because it is evergreen, the knot garden looks great all through the year.
In spring, the centre sections of the boxwood knots were filled with spring bulbs. In July, bright red annual poppies were blooming.
In the narrow flower border that surround the knot garden, were these magnificent Bear's Breeches, Acanthus mollis. (Bear's Breeches are happy in a variety of soils and moisture conditions. Full sun/part shade Height: 90-150 cm Spread: 75-90 cm)
Note: Nothing in the garden is labeled, and so if I make a mistake in my identifications, please feel free to correct my mistake.
Also in the Knot Garden was this plant: Spotted Bellflower, Campanula punctata (Carefully consider before planting Campanula punctata. From everything I have read, this plant can be a bit invasive.)
To the left of the Knot Garden is the Perennial Garden. Here it was in May.
Now, here it is in June.
A second view in June.
Finally, here it is in July.
Let's take a look around at some of the July standouts in this part of the garden. We will begin with a quick look at a couple of the taller perennials.
At the back of this grouping is Giant Fleece Flower, Persicaria polymorpha, with its creamy white flower plumes. Full sun/part shade. Average to moist growing conditions in a variety of soil types. Height: 90-120 cm Spread: 80-90 cm.
The mauve flowers in the foreground are Prairie Mallow, Sidalcea Full sun. Height: 60-90 cm Spread: 30-45 cm
Dark Mullein, Verbascum nigrum which is a tall, deciduous biennial or short lived perennial that tolerates drought and prefers loamy, well-draned soil. Full sun. Height: 90 cm Spread 60 cm
Culver's Root, Veronicastrum virginicum 'Album' will grow in a variety of soils, likes full sun and average to moist growing conditions. Height 120-180 cm Spread 75-90 cm
Now, we'll move on to plants for the front or middle of a border. Here we have Balloon Flower, Platycodon grandiflorus which likes full sun and will grow in normal, sandy and clay soils. It prefers average or moist soil. Height: 45-60 cm Spread: 35-45 cm
White Masterwort, Astrantia blooms for a good part of the summer. Full sun or part shade. Astrantia is happy in a variety of soil types. Average to moist growing conditions. Height: 55-65 cm Spread: 45-60 cm
Whirling Butterflies, Gaura lindheimeri is a North American wildflower. Full sun to part shade
Height: 90-120 cm Spread: 60-90 cm
By far, my favourite July blooms were found on the different varieties of clematis that were scattered throughout the garden. Seeing this clematis was a nice reminder that not all varieties of clematis reach for the skies. Some varieties grow to a much more modest height, like this pretty one above.
I thought it was interesting that David and Deirdre were using a standard tomato cage for support and had placed the clematis in the middle of their flowerbed.
Here is another one of these bell-shaped clematis, this time on an arbor.
I am sorry that I don't have identifications for any of these clematis. If you like them as much as I do, you can always look for different bell-shaped varieties at your local nursery this spring.
(In Canada, you can get a number of different bell-shaped varieties through Gardenimports. Locally, Lost Horizons Nursery also has a nice selection. If you know of any other great sources for clematis, please let us all know.)
There are still 2 more garden rooms to see, but I'll save them for a second post.