So Monty Don recently said ‘Gardening is easy. Stick it in the ground the right way up and most plants will grow perfectly well.’ Which is essentially true but every now and then strange things happen:
I think I know why my rhoddy looks like this. It’s possible that the tree was planted soon after the house was built, which would make it about 100 years old. I think it had been left to its own devices and being on a north facing border it had reached forward for some sun. I think the previous owner then cut it back hard at the bottom to regain some of the lawn. My evidence: when we moved in I discovered a large pile of wood stashed behind the foliage. Since then the bottom of the tree has regenerated and this year has put out some fabulously healthy flowers and more luscious green leaves. But the top of the tree struggles on with yellowing leaves and smaller and much later flowers. My guess is the bottom is sapping the energy of the top. So do I radically cut back the top, probably reducing the height by half – which feels like vandalism, but if it needs to be done….or do I lightly prune the top every year until the tree balances itself out again? It has plenty of water and although north facing it does get early morning and late afternoon sun so I think the conditions are okay. Any thoughts?
This beautiful iris came free, picked up from the allotment sharing bench. I think it is ‘White City’ and last year they were all the palest blue colour fading to white. This year there is an interloper. Now since it was a large clump divided from an even larger clump maybe the purple iris has been there all along and has only just flowered. Or has it been cross pollinated? Either way I am enjoying them both.
Is my Sneezeweed trying to tell me something? I bought some last year with the aim of adding some late colour to the borders but it has been in flower since May. Label says ‘Flowering period: late summer’. My, the year is going fast!
Back to some normal happenings. These stunning Siberian irises came as several divisions from a friend’s collection. This is their second year in the garden and they have multiplied amazingly, definitely a case of growing perfectly well.
The equally successful Astrantia ‘Claret’. I did try to grow some from seed but that didn’t happen so I happily bought some 9cm pots which have bulked up well in their second year. The roses in bud behind are ‘Blush Noisette’ – so close to popping but not for this week!
I must give a shout out to the growers at the Finchley Horticultural Society who also seem to have the knack of making gardening easy. I decided to diversify my tomato growing this year. Instead of 15 plants of one variety grown from seed I have six plants of three varieties bought at last week’s plant sale. I’ve missed the roller coast ride of raising them from seed but I’m going to enjoy the variety: Marmonde, Golden Crown and Alicante. I was also tempted by some chilli plants and a couple of Romano peppers. I’ve taken the plunge this year and planted them direct into the soil instead of in grow bags. Let’s see what the greenhouse soil has got in it! I have grown my own basil which I’ll be planting around the tomatoes.
There’s an extra gardening day again in the UK. Will it be hot and sunny, hot and thundery or a wash out? Let’s hope we can all find a way to enjoy the weekend whatever. More gardening stories can be found at The Propagator’s blog. The contributors also seem to be growing very easily.