Lavender, rosemary and thyme

Yesterday we planted up two ornamental beds around the recently cleaned fossil bench. The soil was surprisingly good for planting – not too wet, crumbly and loamy. Six of us worked hard to remove grass and tenacious weeds. We’ve planted pollinator-friendly shrubs that should work well: verbena bonariensis, a variety of lavenders (Lavendula ‘Munstead’, Lavendula ‘Hidcote’ and some good old bog-standard English Lavender), some rosemary, creeping thyme and two varieties of marjoram. A very satisfying afternoon on Brighton Greenway. The plants are tough but they’ll need to be respected. They are all fragrant, apart from the verbena – which is just independent-minded and will self-seed once it’s happy. Sit on the bench, admire the silver greens, lime and bottle greens, and gradually purple and pink flowers should be coming through.

The perennial wildflower meadow meanwhile looks – well, a little bare. However, fingers crossed, the seedlings are working away, putting down roots to establish themselves against the grass and nettles. This is a longer term project: results will be clear next year rather than this. Seeds are quite extraordinary at adapting to different conditions: this year has been warm and wet, then cold and dry – all a bit topsy turvy. Some will come up, others may stay dormant for another year. But there is already evidence of wildflowers growing: I’ve spotted cowslips, with red campion and ox-eye daisy coming into flower. Meanwhile, below a bluebell among the invasive heliotrope and the lovely patch of daisies up near the New England Road bridge.

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