I spent the morning cutting back plants in the sunken garden.
Most of these were the pink skullcap, Scutellaria suffrutescens, and the purple skullcap, Scutellaria wrightii. Both are a must for the rock garden. Once you buy them you never have to buy again. Both seed readily, especially the purple one and the pink one puts down roots along the stem. The original one I planted under the bayonet yucca has moved 6 ' over the last 10 years.
I prefer them to have that nice rounded shape so cutting back in late winter and again mid summer ensures a good showing in the fall. The purple one comes in all different shades now that it has crossed with the pink. Sometimes solid purple sometimes with a white throat. They really are one of my favorite flowers because they behave themselves so well.
In early December I cut back all the alyssum and cut down to the ground all the sedum. The reward is a tight mat of sedum. A rose campion has seeded on the left just beside the path. Not an ideal place but I am not planning to disturb it.
I am disappointed to find that I am not the only one doing pruning in the garden. My pretty blue amsonia has been nibbled long with several bulb shoots, down to the ground. I suspect a cotton rat as I noticed one of the tubes on the drip irrigation system has been chewed through.
Now it's time to go and put on the kettle. Not for a cup of tea, though. To deal with these larkspur. I haven't quite got round to trying the water from the potatoes. On Gardener's Question Time they said it was good for getting rid of moss on paving.
And for those who think I have no weeds, here is a nice selection. California poppies, larkspur, feather grass, blanket flowers. The septic field would be a better place for them but that isn't where they want to grow.
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