I’ve been gardening for years, with success (and some failures), I am very much of the ‘shove it in and let it sink or swim’ school of gardening. Most things seem to manage without direct intervention. But . . .

These are allium aflatunense in the front border in 2021 (5 bulbs planted autumn 2020).

8 June 2021

And here they are on 25 June 2022 – or should I say are not here. All the nursery websites say flowering time is May/June. Allowing for my garden usually being two weeks behind those at a lower altitude (and further south), there should at least be leaves/shoots showing by now. I am baffled (and no, no-one has moved the label).

I wondered had they been eaten, or perhaps had rotted due to the wet weather March/April. But no . . . This is what I dug up – and not a ‘live’ growing tip on any of them. So I’ve put them in a pot to see what happens; I’m not expecting miracles!

Astilbe used to grow really well in the border, but over the last four years or so – as we’ve experienced less summer rain and very hot temperatures, they have been suffering. Even a full watering can of water each doesn’t help and I’d need to do that everyday to see any benefit.

So with a space cleared of the allium bulbs, I enlarged it by removing two astilbe plants and plunging them straight into a bucket of water. When (if) I see signs of regeneration, I’ll give them a chop, separate them into smaller clumps in pots, and stand them in the Shady Border (which I hope to revamp and refurbish next year). I plan to work my way along the border removing astilbe, clumps of iris, the remaining two bright pink peonies (which again performed poorly this year), and as much Japanese anemone suckers as I can get my trowel under. I have achillea and solidago seedlings in the Potting Shed to replace them.

Rudbeckia Hirta

These needed to go into their growing position (a little late according to the instructions), but I had nowhere to put them (until the alliums and astilbes had been cleared).

Monty Don planted out rudbeckias on Friday’s Gardener’s World, though maybe not a dwarfing variety. Hopefully they won’t mind being planted closer together than the recommended 12 inches. I watered the hole before I planted each one, then watered around them when I’d finished. They should make a nice focal point – and a welcome change of colour from the pinks and purples of spring and early summer.