Thursday, March 2

New for 2017 - part 8 (bird bath bed)

I have mentioned before the small bed that house one of our bird baths. Being right outside one of our windows it is important that it performs well and in spring it duly obliges when a mass of spring bulbs burst into flower.

For some reason the bulbs on this bed are behind this year.

This was the bed today on 2 March.


A digression - you may wish to miss out this section
I've been trying to determine why this may be happening It seems that growth in bulb plants is mainly controlled by temperature. 

The articles that I have browsed - browsed as the articles that I have found are a bit heavy going to actually read in depth - used phrases such as ' are controlled by seasonal thermoperiodicity' when describing conditions that affect bulb growth and flowering. 

The simplest translation of this is that plant growth and development responds to the rhythm of changes in temperature at different times of the year. I'm guessing then that any unseasonal temperature that disrupts the rhythm whether this is a cool summer or mild winter can affect bulb growth so maybe this could explain the late development of our mini daffodil bulbs. 

If you know better then please put me right!
End of digression

Anyway back to the bird bath bed. As well as being planted up with bulbs I have planted some ferns around the bird bath. The rationale behind this was that all the splashing birds create a fairly damp environment which ferns should enjoy.
I also tried planting ajuga. The ferns thrived and the ajuga ended up being victim to mildrew.

Ironically, the odd plant or two that I don't want in this bed has sneaked in from the surrounding area.
This self sown hellebore will be relocated!

Ideally I'd like a splash of colour - not just the splash of water - amongst the ferns but so far finding the perfect plant has been fairly elusive.

This year I am trying a couple of new flower varieties - new to me'

The first is mimulus Magic Mixed. The seed company claims that these will do well in shady or sunny borders. This bed is shady for parts of the day and does get some sun in the afternoon. I also understand that it likes dampness.



I've tried mimulus in this bed previously and I wasn't impressed by the performance but the plants were not exactly prize specimens so I though that I would give them another chance.

I didn't however want to place all my trust on the mimulus and so bought a packet of nasturtium seeds as a back up plan.
Nasturtiums seem to manage to self seed on the plot so they should tolerate conditions in this bed. I didn't want nasturtiums rampaging over everything as they are prone to doing and so have chosen a variety that it is claimed will be dwarf and compact.

In the fortunate chance that both lots of seed produce good plants I am sure I will cope - somehow!

14 comments:

  1. That Hellebore obviously knows where it would like to be!

    I agree with your digression ~ nearby there is a very large plot planted with nothing but daffodils, and it seems to be in flower for about three months. However, several years lately, it is in full flower for just over a month and amazingly spectacular. On investigation {aka being nosey} I discovered that there are several types of bulbs planted, each with a different flowering period to give that prolonged flowering season. However, the temperatures in recent years have been out of season and out of whack, and this has affected when the daffodils flower and they are all out together, hence the spectacular disply. I'm hoping this makes sense now!

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    1. I suppose we all - including bulbs like some sort of routinl. Deborah.

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  2. Lucky birds to get such a nice spot for their bathing. Your digression makes sense to me. It explains why some years my garlic bulbs come up by the end of January, and other years, such as this year, some have only just come up.

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    1. Being close to the house we are lucky too, Gwenfar as we can watch the birds enjoying their bath. By the way good to 'meet' you.

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  3. I like the look and the thinking behind the ferns around the bird bath. How about perennial geraniums for a splash of colour?

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    1. We have perennial geraniums elsewhere, Brian and I'm not sure they would be happy here. It may be us but they don't seem to keep flowering during summer and spread rather a lot.

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  4. What a wonderful idea, to plant up ferns under the bird bath. I'm really intrigued by the idea of having different beds for different purposes and would love to incorporate that into my garden someday.

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    1. We have a few different areas, Margaret as is shown here this page of our website/

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  5. I'm sure my bulbs are late this year too, Sue, Iris Reticulata is only just breaking bud now and is usually much earlier, as I recall.
    You have some lovely ferns under your bird bath, and I guess they will also give a bit of cover too.

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  6. you certainly can see the difference between the bulb growth, funnily enough mine are ahead this year. You certainly will have a vibrant splash of colour amongst those ferns this year!xxx

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    1. I hope so. Dina. You must have the microclimate they approve of.

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  7. "Green is a colour too" springs to mind. That clump of ferns is magnificent! But we do need to get as much out of our ornamentals too. How about a couple of foxgloves in there? Bee friendly (like the Nastutiums). Our first daffodil has just opened here.

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    1. I do like greenery, Mal but would like something to set it off. The bed is small and at eye level from the window so foxgloves unless they were mini varieties would be a bit big and block the view. I will look into mini ones for next year though.

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