Six On Saturday: Clinging on to Summer

Last week had a very autumnal feel. Cooler temperatures, windy and wet but I did have the time to spend in the garden and it was not a pretty sight. The sweet peas have mildew, the knautia gone to seed and everything looks a little bedraggled. My first of the six for this week is a sorry sight but it gets better.

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The apples are ripening but one tree in particular has a bad case of brown rot. I must have lost at least half the crop so far and apparently there is nothing to be done about it.  I pick up all the windfalls and remove any of the affected apples from the tree and throw them away.  So far the other apple trees do not seem to be affected and some of the younger trees are now producing a good crop which will compensate for the lower yields on this tree.

Two

I am still adding to the August garden to keep the colour going.  My local garden centre tempted me back in with a timely money off voucher which made the helenium ‘Short and Sassy’ more attractively priced.  After that I headed for a local nursery that offers plants at a much more reasonable price and paired the helenium with perovskia ‘Blue Steel’.  This is a smaller, more compact variety, chosen for my thin border.  I managed to get these planted out into  a very dry garden before the rain set in.

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The bees were flocking to the helenium and perovskia before they were even in the ground.  This echinops has a similar pulling power.  For this reason alone it has remained in the garden but it is in danger of going in the great rethink that is on the horizon.  Some things need moving around and some may have to go.  Such is gardening.

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I inherited a large collection of water butts from the previous owner and they have been invaluable in helping to keep the garden watered but there is the eternal problem of mosquitoes and after suffering a number of bites (also not a pretty sight) I decided I would try adding olive oil.  This is the most popular suggestion that comes up on an internet search, the second most popular is keeping goldfish in the water butt. It’s interesting how the same ideas come up in different places. I am trying it out in one water butt.  Will I be able to live with oily watering cans?  Has any one else tried it?

Five

The coneflowers took a bashing from the wind and the rain, more staking required if that is going to be the pattern for summer. They have been in the garden for two years now and are clumping up well.  They are a good bridge from the end of summer into autumn.

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I have some  new agapanthuses this year: ‘Navy Blue’.  In their first year in the garden they have managed to produce one stem per plant, more patience required before the full affect can be enjoyed.  I have to be good at remembering to feed them up before they flower. They are giving me a summer feeling for a little longer.

For more end of summer flowers call in at The Propagator’s garden.  Our host of the SOS meme shares the links to other SOSs in the comments section.

 

 

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Six On Saturday: A supermarket rescue and other joys

August is the month for destruction at the supermarket flower section. Rows of sad, wilting plants reduced in price, past their best but holding out the glimmer of hope for a rescue. For a pound I was tempted and brought one home. It was submerged in water and left in a shady place to rehydrate. Thankfully it did and here it is.

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Leucanthemum ‘Broadway Lights’. I would have taken more but the others really did look past all hope.

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August brings the arrival of the late summer flowers.  This year this includes some late sown plants, the first of which is this cleome.  I have about a dozen of these dotted round in the gaps that also seem to appear at this time of year.  Some I pinched out to achieve a bushier plant with more flower heads, this one was left to grow straight up.

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My zinnias, that have been promising to deliver for weeks, have finally made it into flower.  More much appreciated magenta pink, although it looks more red here.

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This year I dug up several bits of the rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ to give to friends and to plant elsewhere in the garden.  The main plant has responded with even more vigour and makes a striking focal point for the late summer border.

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I have been waiting for sometime for the supposedly thuggish anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ to live up to its reputation and spread itself widely over the shady end of the garden.  It’s in year three and finally looks as though it is about to make an effort.  Perhaps this year the weather has been a little kinder.

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Rose of the week is ‘Scepter’d Isle, every time it flowered this year the rains fell and its lovely flowers were ruined.  Finally it can show off its elegant form, but briefly I fear as the wind and rain of today is giving it a good thrashing.

The winds are picking up here, all the pots that stand on a wall have been moved down to the ground and the fig tree is swaying wildly in the winds.  I wonder what will be left standing for next week’s six.  Seems like the perfect day to catch with some SOS reading.  All the links can be found on The Propagator’s blog and reading his contribution is a good place to start.  Wishing you and all your gardens a safe weekend.

 

 

Six On Saturday: Too much of good thing?

I do like magenta pink. But truth be told I think I have too much of it in the garden. Lupins, geraniums, roses, phlox, salvias and more. A re-think is needed. The August garden is a bit patchy but the joy of Six On Saturday is that I get to show you the close up and can gleefully edit out the scruffy surroundings. Here are three magenta joys and a few others to break up the glare!

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R. Gertrude Jekyll.  I hesitate to show the magenta pink flowers as the colour can look even more garish in a photo.  The colour doesn’t look too bad today, the rose is surrounded by astrantia major and Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’.  The salvia is a looking a bit scruffy now but the astrantia soliders on.

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R. Madame Isaac Pereire.  An old rose new to the garden this year, and supplied by occasional sixer Thomas Stone.  It’s a repeat flowering old rose and is doing very well in its first year.  Thomas recommend it for its ability to soak up the sun in a south facing border.  I agree.

Three

This is one of my grown from seed annuals – Malope trifida ‘Vulcan’.  If only you could see the chaos surrounding it.  This is meant to be a combination of the orange calendula ‘Indian Prince’ and the cosmos ‘Double Click Cranberries’.  All sown a bit late, so only just getting going, all flopping and falling everywhere – really should sow earlier, should sort out some gentle staking, should water more, in fact, should do better! But with selective vision they all look wonderful.

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Also in the should do better camp are my nasturtiums in a sink.  These are not they.  The sink based nasturtiums have given up, gone to seed most likely for lack of water.  These are in raised bed, in partial shade and have managed to survive on the rain water that comes their way.  They also have more room to trail and all in all this is a much more successful planting space for them.

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My other dahlia grown in a pot.  I’ve paid these a little more attention, feeding them with seaweed extract more or less once a week.  This is dahlia ‘Furka’ one of the cactus group.  Which sounds as though I might know what I’m talking about, but no.  I am still trying to decide if there is a place for dahlias in this garden, having just spotted some rather lovely bright red ones at Ulting Wick garden in Essex.  I have a plan to visit for their next open day especially to see them.  But then again, is it more of the same colour palette?

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My agapanthus are in full flower now.  These are the evergreen variety that I have to fleece up every winter.  They are tall, with large flower heads and I grow them in pots.  There are currently five pots of them dotted over the patio and they look especially good in the early evening light when the colour seems to intensify.  They work very well with my verging on magenta pink pelagoniums.

More delightful colours can be found on Mr P’s site.  There you will also find the links to the other SOSers that post from around the world.  I’m off to do some thinking, weeding and watering.  Enjoy your garden this weekend.

Six On Saturday: Flowers – new and old

Well what a week that was. The two day heat wave has passed and rain has arrived. As I write this post I realise that after three years restocking the garden it is time to reflect on the progress made.   This week’s six features some very new flowers, some settling in and some so well established that they need taking in hand.  All delivered with a splash of rain.

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Hemerocallis ‘Gentle Shepherd’.  I recently opined that I really wanted H. Floro Pleno but when I went shopping for some anemones (another story) I fell for this. A little bedraggled by the rain but on a sunny day it is truly wonderful.  I bought two and should have bought more.

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I had a flurry into dahlias last year but decided they are not my thing, except these white ones which are Blanc y Verde if I remember rightly.  I grow them in pots along the thin border.  I don’t lift them, just covering them with mulch over winter.

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The hosta Francee, planted in a pot about a month ago, has flowered and I am impressed.  I was quite happy to enjoy the leaves but the delicate flowers are a great bonus.

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It’s a lemon flower and I am very excited by this.  Having nearly killed the lemon tree two winters ago – beast from the east etc – the poor thing limped along last year.  This year there is plenty of new foliage and finally a few flowers.  I don’t suppose they will get to be lemons before it goes back in the greenhouse.  I shall enjoy the flower and the wonderful scent.

Five

Verbena bonariensis.  By contrast to the lemon tree the vb is very happy in the garden.  I brought a few pots of it from the last garden and in three years here it has spread itself into every nook and cranny.   I need to keep this plant under control.  It has been brilliant for adding colour and height to a new garden and I do let it self seed into pots of agapanthus but now I am being ruthless.

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Rose of the week is  a climber, James Galway.  It looks perfectly lovely here and I am sure that once it becomes established I will really enjoy it.  At the moment it is only half way up the trellis.  More growth please!  Perhaps the rain will help it along.

More garden sharing posts are to be found on The Propagator’s site.  Our industrious host shares the links to posts from around the world.  Always worth a look.

 

Six On Saturday: Turn around time

Weekends and weeks have been busy and the garden has received only fleeting attention.  The forecast of heavy rain for Friday saw me up early to sprinkle rose feed around so that the rain would do the watering in job.  I managed one afternoon of ruthless cutting back and hardly made a dent in the job.  I need to clear the borders to allow the later performing flowers to have their space.  It’s easy to feel that there is a mountain to climb but even in that one afternoon there was so much loveliness to enjoy.

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I planted an awful lot of allium sphaerocephalon last year but I don’t quite have the affect I wanted #neverhappy! But of course I am happy – they are full of bees and are keeping the colour in the garden going.  I have no idea how the name is pronounced so I may be using the common name of round headed garlic.  Much simpler.

Two

The geranium’ Brookside’ are the biggest culprit for taking up space, stunning when they climb over the early roses but once the flowers go they have to be cut back.  They are well established and cutting them back is a major job.  My compost heap is heaping up.  Each year I dither about getting a shredder but as the garden has been restocked and matured it is obvious to me that this is my next purchase.

Three

I had to get my priorities right today.  The deluge of rain has filled the water butts again but with the forecast of more to come I needed to pump the contents of one butt down to the end of the garden to fill the large water tank.  I think it holds about 800 litres and is my go to for keeping the veg plot watered.  While that was filling up I took the rest of my photos, serendipitiously benefited from the combination of sun and raindrops. This osteospermum is a workhorse in a sunny corner and deserves a mention.

Four

I have given up trying to protect the soft fruits from the birds.  I have had a few good pickings of gooseberries, blackcurrants and whitecurrants and I have taken off the netting to share the rest with nature. The whitecurrants look beautiful on the branch but remind me of fish eggs once in the colandar.

Five

I managed to get the last tray of annuals in the ground this morning.  I sowed cosmos late so there is not a flower to be seen but the nicotiana also sown late have come in to flower and the combination of heat and rain will no doubt do them both some good.

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The rose of the week is Jaqueline du Pre.  I really enjoy this one for its difference.  It was flattened by the overnight rain but by crawling around on the grass and propping it up on some other branches I managed to get a half decent photo.  I spotted an interesting salvia this week – Salvia × sylvestris ‘Schneehügel’ –  a white variety. I am going to add this in around the rose.  Just can’t stop myself.

I know someone else who can’t be stopped, yes Mr P.  Go visit and see what’s happening there and around the world.  Seems like the rain can’t be stopped either, its just started again.  My empty water butt will be filling up nicely.  Happy days.

 

Six on Saturday: Flowers are hiding a multitude of sins

Continuing on from the theme of last week: losing the plot, all is still chaos in the garden. It’s been a busy week. The house is encased in scaffolding. Painters and roofers are everywhere. Good for them that it hasn’t rained, not so good for me.  There is watering to be done and weeds to be pulled.   It is time to cut back the hardy geraniums and delphiniums, which, once done, will definitely bring the garden back into some sense of order.  But then who wants order in the garden? Let the flowers rule!

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I call these shasta daisies, but I have a distant memory that they have been renamed. Or maybe it is just that they have a formal classification name as well. Of course I didn’t get round to giving them a little bit of support so they have happily sprawled over the path. That path is getting hard to find these days. These have been in the garden, grown from seed, for three years now. Doing well I think.

Two

Suddenly the day lillies have burst forth.  I have ‘Golden Chimes’.  I can’t quite remember why  I chose these.  I really have a hankering for ‘Flore Pleno’.  But these will do – for now.  Day lillies are a sign, for me,  that the season is moving on.

Three

Sidalcea also indicate a change over is taking place.  This is ‘Stark’s Hybrid’.  This came to the garden last year and is beginning to clump up.  It should be very good next year.  It is in the mallow family and is not too dissimilar to hollyhocks but quite a bit shorter.

Four

Speaking of which, the hollyhocks this year are not quite at the giddy heights of last year but there is still time.  They seeded everywhere and I have realised that you need to be quick to pull out any unwanted ones. They develop very long roots that put up quite struggle.

Five

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ was a feature of SOS posts last year and after spotting it in a garden in France I was convinced that I had to have it here.  This is the first summer of flowering and it is not an established clump.  It does look beautiful swaying in a breeze, very summery.  I have high hopes of this making a bigger impact next year.

Six

There always has to be a rose at this time of year and this week it is ‘Darcey Bussell’.  Beautiful scent, fabulous colour and full of flower.  What more can you ask for?

For more summer highlights visit Mr P’s garden and you will find yourself meandering down garden paths from around the world.  Highly recommended.

 

Six On Saturday: Losing the plot

Aargh! It has happened. As is usual at this time of the year nature has got the better me.  Lilly beetles have been sneaking around doing their thing as evidenced by the grubs that are hatching. Black fly are colonising the clematis and little black beetles are feasting through the dahlias and sweet peas. The water butts would be empty again, if I had managed to keep on top of the watering. There is a serious amount of deadheading to be done. The only option is to sit back and enjoy the chaos that is the garden.

One

Some might say that I have literally lost the veg plot to the self seeded calendulas and I might agree with them.  In amongst all that orange there are dwarf french beans, potatoes, onions and last time I looked carrots and parsnips.  I have persuaded myself that at least the black fly are being kept away.  The lettuce has bolted, the rocket went to seed long ago but on the upside the first of the beans are ready for picking, new potatoes have been dug and gooseberries picked.  I will have to take those calendulas in hand though.

Two

Over in the flower garden there is a mad abundance of plants all crying out for a good soak.  I will get round to them all eventually.  This is penstemon ‘Apple Blossom’ grown from a cutting taken a year or so ago.  It seems to me that penstemons are very generous in taking from cuttings, which is encouraging for a novice in this area.

Three

Some of the roses are in that post June lull but ‘Natasha Richardson’ seems to flower non-stop through the summer.  Of course I have dead heading to do and I think it is time to give all the roses a second feed.

Four

The clematis is now in full flow and as I mentioned some stems have been colonised by black fly.  There seems to  be an excess of aphids this year.  The ants are doing their best but the soapy water spray may have to be put into action soon.

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This is scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Black Cat’.  Grown as a hardy annual from seed.  It overwintered and is flowering with avengeance this year.  More deadheading but also more flowers for the house.  A winner.

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I also sowed seeds of foxglove lutea two years ago.  I had good germination and gave some away to friends.  Yesterday one of the beneficiaries of my benevolence came to visit and showed me this photo of these perennial foxgloves in their second year.  I was gutted!  I had pulled all mine up as the delicate flowers didn’t seem so wonderful last year.  I can see now that leaving them to establish would have been thing to do.  Live and learn, live and learn.  She is now going to share some back to me.

For more sharing of good things in the garden take a trip over to The Propagator’s blog.  Summer fecundity everywhere!

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.

Two

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.

Three

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.

Four

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.

Five

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

Six

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!

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!

Two

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.

Three

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.

Four

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.

Five

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.