Six On Saturday: Pop, pop, pop!

As usual just as the garden got going I headed off to Suffolk for a week. I emptied out the greenhouse and soaked everything as best I could. But the week turned out cooler than forecast and on my return I could breathe a sigh of relief and give a smile of delight. The warmer temperatures that followed the rain had done its work. The garden had popped.

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These lillies were in bud as I left.  They’ve definitely popped and now flood this corner of the garden with their beautiful scent.  They’ve been growing in this pot for many years now, when I remember they get fed but otherwise they are left to their own devices.  Thankfully no sign of lilly beetle yet.

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The lavender is sparkling in the sunshine today.  Last year I needed to replace a French lavender that didn’t over winter.  I picked up a  ‘Hidcote’ but then changed my mind and bought a ‘Munstead’ and I am enjoying the softer colour.

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The knautia macedonica have burst forth and are humming with bees.  They are just at the stage when I can cope with dead heading them – cutting out the first flowering middle stem is easy but a week on and I will be lost in a sea of new blooms and seed heads.

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The hydrangeas that suffered so much last year have fought back and look rather stately against the backdrop of the sage mound.  I think they will suffer today if temperatures reach predicted heights.

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Penstemon ‘Plum Jerkum’ has joined the gang, a lovely deep colour.

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These are the trays of annuals that I have left to plant out.  That’s my gardening job for the weekend but I will save it for tomorrow when the heat is less intense.  I have cleome, zinnia, a few nicotiana and other assorted bits and pieces.  They are going to fill the gaps where the agastache and pennisetum villosum didn’t over winter.  I also have dead heading of roses and picking of sweet peas to do – sounds like a perfect summer.

Mr P , host of this meme, shares his six wonders and the comments section gives the links to other posts from around the world.  Worth a look when it all gets too much in the sun!

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Six On Saturday: The height of summer

It looks like last week’s prediction of beautiful weather after the summer solstice is coming good.  Of course it will be extreme, that is only to be expected these days! Greenhouse windows wide open and pots regularly watered.  Here’s hoping the garden stands up to the next onslaught.  The pests are increasing their attacks – sawfly on the gooseberries, slightly less than last year, slugs and snails everywhere, box moth caterpillar munching the box and whitefly in the greenhouse.  I am using encarsia wasps to combat them. But there is much to enjoy at this time of year.

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This is a side view of the long border.  It is now approaching its mad, chaotic crescendo.  Geraniums, knautia, roses, penstemons, astrantia and salvias all pushing and shoving to make an appearance centre stage.  I love this disorderly behaviour but every now and then creep in to put in a little essential staking.

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The sun was shining the wrong way when I took this photo but I hope you can get the sense of the lovely combination of salvia nemorosa and astrantia major. They are are dream together.

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This is penstemon ‘Firebird’.  I like the penstemons for taking on the baton of flowering from the alliums.

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In the greenhouse the first tomatoes have appeared.  But pride of place goes to the lettuce. Growing lettuce outside has always been hit and miss for me so this year I tried a few in the greenhouse.  I now have an awful lot of lettuce to eat, I am hoping the hot temperatures are not going to ruin it.

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My salvia ‘Amistad’ did not survive the winter or so I thought. But just days after buying three new plants I spotted shoots on two of the old ones.  I dug those up and moved them to a nursery bed where they are making slow but steady progress.  I might have some flowers by August.  In the meantime the new ones romped away and are looking dramatically sultry.  As I planted the new ones I snapped a stem but encouraged by everyone’s advice that salvia ‘Amistad’ cuttings are easy peasy I planted it up.  It took almost immediately so now I feel awash with these wonderful salvias.

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This fuschia is another small success.  It came with the garden and I spent the first few years saving it from the clutches of bindweed and couch grass. Once freed I gave it a judicious prune and this year it is flowering well and in much better shape.  Its a var. unk. to me but maybe someone can identify it.  I love the strong colours.

If you’d like to see some more Six On Saturday posts from other sixers then go along to The Propagator’s blog.  There is much that will inform and amuse!

 

 

Six On Saturday: Flattened

It was a week of hunkering down.  The water butts filled up impressively.  I then emptied them by filling up all the watering cans and then watering the greenhouse.  It was mad, crazy, wet.  I was happy from Monday to Wednesday, a little peeved by Thursday and downright fed up on Friday.  But the garden did need it.  I reviewed the damage: slugs and snails feasting on the lupins and flattened roses but most other things just soaked up the magic water.

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The flattened and rain soaked ‘Scepter’d Isle’.  The petals just fell off them as I deadheaded them.  The alchemilla mollis underneath was cut and joined the forlorn rosa ‘Darcy Bussell’ in a vase.  I was reminded of some beautifully crafted staking of roses at Waterperry gardens and again made a note to do better next year!

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The collection of small plants I bought at the Finchley Horticulutral Society plant sale were short enought to withstand the rain, and positively thrived on it.  These are alchemilla mollis alpina, tellima grandiflora or fringe cups,  geranium ballerina and erinus alpinus, also delightfully known as fairy foxgloves.

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I was pleased to see a mistreated geranium had forgiven me.  ‘Ann Folkard’ was planted five years ago in the old house, moved around several times there, came to the new house and has been moved around several times again.  I hope it’s  in the right place now, I’m going let it stay for a while and see how it fairs.

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Just before the deluge arrived the ailing choysia left.  I now have that most desirable of garden commodities – open space.  I wish I had worked out the plan of what to do next first but the urge to remove the choysia was too strong.  Normally I would fill the space with annuals but I don’t think they will do well in this north facing border.  On the other hand it is at the western end and I do have two or three trays of annuals looking for a home.

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The much awaited melica altissima ‘Alba’ arrived.  The final piece in the shady north border planting.  Now it all has to knit together, the weeds are doing that rather better than the plants at the moment.  The climbing  hydrangea is making good progress but the first flowers on the geranium sanguineums were dashed to the ground by the rain.

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The small and dainty dianthus deltoides stood up to the rain.  They are about 18cms high and edge the border very well.

A little bit warmth would do very nicely now but dark clouds are looming again.  The weeds are growing upwards and the slugs are growing fat.  It is summer solstice next week so I am optimistically  expecting a change in the weather!  I think rain will be the word of the week for other SOSers.  Take a look at The Propagator’s blog to see how everyone faired.

Six On Saturday: Dad’s Delphiniums

To avoid charges of misleading posts, this is not a delphinium themed post but Dad’s delphiniums do get pride of place this week.  It is always good to have plants in the garden that hold memories of people and places and it seems particularly appropriate to share his delphiniums in this week of D-day memories.  Dad followed up the first D-day landings on Sword beach as a member of a tank regiment and went on to the battle for Caen.

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The delphiniums came from a division of the delphiniums that grew in the parental garden.  They came to the old house and settled in their for twenty odd years.  I divided them up when we moved and brought a clump with me.  They have always reached a good height but this year they have excelled themselves, I am estimating at least two metres.  I took this photo on Thursday as I was more than a little concerned for them suffering in the wet and windy weather that was forecast.  So far, they are still standing proud.

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I also have good memories attached to this geranium which came from Aunty Jen’s garden.  It also moved gardens when we came here and it’s settled in well.  I have a distant memory that it is ‘Johnson’s Blue’.

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I do love a geranium and this one is ‘Brookside’. It’s a big sprawly one and beautifully grows around the roses, in this case ‘Wisley’.  I wish I could be cheesy and say I have fond memories of the Wisley gardens but I’ve never been there.

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The sweet peas are flowering.  They were sown in February and have grown very chunky and strong.  This variety is ‘April in Paris’ and I can say I have enjoyed many good times there.  This is a beautifully scented variety with long stems.

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I also enjoyed a good day out Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire a couple of years ago and this cistus was bought there.  It’s  ‘Alan Fradd’ and is laden with flowers at the moment.

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The rainy weather of the last few days has been a wonderful relief for the garden. The water butts are filling up again and I imagine the slugs and snails are partying like mad.  A few weeks ago I spotted this beautiful pot thrown out in a skip.  I called at the house and asked if I could liberate it.  I was amazed that anyone would want to throw it away but when I flexed the muscles to lift it from the skip I realised why.  It is plastic!  It fooled me but I was still happy to take it and give a new hosta a home.  I’ve wrapped copper tape around the pot and mulched the top with a layer of slate chips that were lurking at the back of the shed.  I’ve placed it on the wooden top of a raised bed.  What more can I do?  I’m pleased that I made a small contribution to plastic recycling and I now have another garden memory.

Mr P has a truly beautiful rose (I’m so envious) on show in his Six on Saturday and all the links to other sixes will appear in his comments section through the day.  If it’s raining where you are put your feet up and have a good read.

 

Six On Saturday: Roses, geraniums and more

The soft scent of the roses greeted me as I walked down the path to collect this week’s photos.  Yes, summer is arriving and it is time to enjoy what is on offer.  I still have work to do and ridiculously, given the dry weather, I have new plants to find homes for. Here’s this week’s collection.

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The climbing rose ‘Blush Noisette’ is covering the wall with small blooms and buds.  This is a three year old plant and it is just about reaching its predicted spread of four feet.  It is billed as having a a rich musky clove scent, which is not so apparent,  but it does flower generously.

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Geranium psilostomen is just opening up, I bought this two years ago from the Finchley Horticultural Society (FHS) plant sale and the following year bought three more.  They are fabulous for a statement geranium, tall and covered in masses of magenta flowers with black centres.  They grow to 1.2m and are pretty much self supporting although I do stake one side of this to keep it up off the path.

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Antirrhinum majus ‘White Giant’ F1.  I am so proud of these because I grew them from the tiniest of seeds last year.  They flowered well last summer and have over wintered and flowered even more vigorously this year.  They are annuals so I seem to have been very lucky to have them come through again.  I don’t think they are self seeders.  I have no idea how this has worked but I am thoroughly enjoying them.

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This week I made a start on one of the most terrifying jobs in the garden. Cutting back the flower stems of euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii.  They are just beginning to produce seed and are dominating the border so it’s time to cut them down and give everything else some extra space.  The foliage left after the flower shoots are gone continues provide some useful structure.  The white sap drips everywhere and can cause skin irritation so I tackle this job very carefully.  One down, three more to go.

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All is not as it should be in the north facing border.  I am still trying to track down the melica plants – I think I may be on to something but I have to wait patiently for another week before I know for sure!  In the meantime the 25 geranium sanguineum ‘Album’ are just beginning to flower and there are interlopers.  At least one so far but judging by the leaf I think there may three more.  I do like the new geranium but it cannot stay here in the clearly designated ‘white plants for deep shade’ space.  Well, not for long.

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Last weekend I was helping out at the FHS plant sale.  I came back with a good haul of plants, some small and delicate for the half-thought out alpine corner and some more statuesque.  These two tall ones are veronica, pink and salvia microphylla var. microphylla or blackcurrant sage.  I must have a corner for them somewhere.

My fellow sixers will be sharing their gardens and all the links are collected together on The Prop’s blog.  Mr P does a sterling job of running the show for which we are all most appreciative.  Look no further for inspiration and helpful advice.  That’s enough sucking up, time to enjoy the garden.