Six On Saturday: Summer’s lease is running down

This week has been a treat. Particularly so here as decorating has been the top priority and having the doors open to the sunny garden has lifted the spirits. Having neglected the garden over the last few weeks there were a few lovely surprises. Here’s this week’s six.

One

The autumn crocuses have pushed through the geranium phaeum foliage and for a few brief days were untouched by the slugs.  A neighbour has reported seeing a hedgehog in the garden and wondered what to do.  I immediately offered outdoor dining for the dear creature at my place.  I live in hope.

Two

It is the turn of the blue delphiniums to re-flower.  Slightly paler in colour, I think, than the first flowering but very welcome.

Three

The gaura is past its best but it has to be featured this week because it looked so lovely against the pennisetum villosum this morning.  

Four

This scabious was a new plant purchase last year but has only made it into the garden proper this year,  It is scabiosa caucasica ‘Miss Willmott’, bought on a visit to Beth Chatto garden in Essex.  This should flower on through October.

Five

Dhalia ‘Blanc y Verde’ from a Sarah Raven combination.  I grow them in pots and they used be accompanied by dahlia  ‘Furka’ but these have a been a no show this year.  I have to give this dahlia a pat on the back.  They have tolerated my erratic watering with amazing good grace.  As I notice their wilted leaves I drench them with a can full of water and a dose of Tomorite or Maxicrop and thankfully they re-hydrate.  

Six

Sorry to go about the cosmos again but really they have been stunning this year.  This crowd is ‘Dazzler’.  There are about three plants here that are pumping out the flowers week after week.  I am well and truly dazzled. 

I am sure The Propagator will have much to dazzle us with and of course there are the links to the other SOS posts to enjoy.  A beautiful weekend lies ahead here so let’s enjoy it while it lasts.  

Six On Saturday: Apples, plums, flowers and bees

It’s been harvest time this week. So without further ado I give you this week’s six.

One

All the apples from all the trees are picked in one go and are taken to an juicing farm.  This year’s crop seemed to be less than last year and when the juice was collected it was proved to be so.  Thirty five bottles against fifty one last year.  There has been some significant pruning undertaken for one of the trees to get it back into shape and this was where we noticed less apples.  Perhaps next year it will be back to bearing a higher crop.  

Two

As we had the apple picker out we decided to go for the plum tree too.  All the plums were gathered in and the fruit was halved and stoned before freezing.  I have never had much success with plum jam so the plan is make endless plum and frangipane tarts. 

Three

Cutting back the perennials promptly does pay dividends, the delphiniums have rewarded me with a second flowering.  

Four

Helenium ‘Short and Sassy’ is a good height for the front of the border and flowers well.  I have dead heading to catch up with which will keep it going. 

Five

The rain and occasional sun seem to be powering the garden on.  Last week’s flattened cosmos were hauled upright and staked to within an inch of their lives.  This revealed them to be nearly five feet high.  Impressive going when I think back to those tiny seedlings that appeared in spring. 

Six

Finally the bee, on a separate planting of cosmos.  The bees seem to be on a resurgence in the garden.  They float from these cosmos plants across the path to the agastache in great numbers.  Always fascinating to watch.

But I have much to do.  The hollyhocks are ready to be cut down and the roses need another round of deadheading.  I also have plans to move plants and the bulbs have started to arrive.  The ideas for next year are gently bubbling away.  

Mr P sets a good example as always, managing to file a SOS post whilst on holiday.  He has spotted nerines which sadly reminds me of the bagful of bulbs that I bought last year which I fear will come to nothing.  I have a few leaves poking up from some I put in a container but those in the ground seem to have failed. Hey ho! 

Six On Saturday: Storms

Ellen, Francis and next to arrive Gerda: I write this blog for you. Ellen and Francis have deluged the garden with rain, blown down my neighbour’s fence panel – again, flattened the ageing sweet pea wigwam and pushed everything else this way and that. It feels more like November rather than the last days of summer. When will Gerda arrive? Let’s hope there’s a break for a while as this week’s brief respites have not coincided with my gardening time. I need to do some end of summer sorting out.  Here’s six from a battered garden.

One

Low growing enough to be safe from the winds, these black and white dianthus grew from seed sent by Fred in France.   They are only now beginning to flower in some profusion so I hope there are a few more warm days to come to keep them going. Thanks Fred.

Two

I am not a great grower of dahlias but I do have one or two.  This one was a rogue in a batch of other dahlias that have since been passed on to a better home. I kept this one because it is simpler and smaller.  The dinner plate dahlias are not for me.  

Three

I cannot quite remember which variety of cosmos this is, it could be ‘Sensation Mixed’. It’s just come into flower and has been trampled by the fallen sweet pea wigwam. There is some sorting out to be done but I think the cosmos can be salvaged.

Four 

The coneflowers have twirled themselves around in the wind, just about remaining standing. They deserve a sunnier spot and I hope to oblige in this autumn’s re-think.

Five

Now as you know gardeners are not known for complaining: the weather is always reliable, everything grows well, pest damage is limited  and all is generally well in the world but occasionally things don’t deliver and the odd sigh can be heard among the shrubberies.  So it is with the autumn raspberries,  Lovely to see them fruiting but the volume looks to be well down on last year.  Mustn’t grumble though, it’s good to have them.  

Six

My main lavender plant finished flowering some weeks ago, but in a different corner this one keeps on going.  A little bit of summer remains.  

There’s a rather beautiful dahlia in the Prop’s six for the week.  Am I tempted?  Somewhat! I hope you find time to take a look.  All the links to other sixes are posted there throughout the day.   I’m hoping for calmer weather and then a few jobs can be done.  The alchemilla mollis is going over and I have some green manure seeds to be sown.  

Six On Saturday: Last days of Summer

If the garden was happy last week, it should be ecstatic this week. It has been sunshine and showers all the way, rounded off by gusting winds. It felt like Autumn.   My minimal staking of the cosmos was revealed for what is was but pinching the dahlias out after three leaves has given me sturdier plants. Here’s six from the garden this week.

One

That Autumnal feel is enhanced by the sight of ripening apples.  The windfalls have been coming thick and fast and I think picking those that remain will be on the to do list in the next week.  All the apples go off to be juiced and I am pleased to hear that the juicing farm is open for business as usual.  

Two 

I am pleased to have fruit on the lemon tree again.  It was in near-death mode after the cold spell of February 2018 – the famous ‘Beast from the East’ episode.  However I doubt this fruit is going to fill out and ripen before it is consigned to the unheated greenhouse for overwintering.  So sad.  On the upside the lemon flowers are so fragrant. 

Three

I am growing the wonderful Japanese Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ in a shady border.  They are glowing at the moment.  Long may they last and I give them permission to spread as much as they like. 

Four

This is salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ which overwintered.  Unfortunately the other two didn’t make it so it is not such a full planting scheme.  I did supplement this one with some plug plants of ‘Mystic Spires’ but they have not performed as well.   My research tells me that ‘Indigo Spires’ can reach four to five feet while ‘Mystic Spires’ peaks at three feet.  Here ‘Mystic’ has managed about eight inches.  Disappointing, but it’s not in the sunniest spot. I’ll be searching out ‘Indigo Spires’ for next year. 

Five

Achillea ‘Summer Wine’.  Poor thing, I’ve moved it around the garden, had it a pot overwinter and eventually planted it out.  It’s a bit thin on the ground this year but I’m optimistic that this will settle in this sunny corner. 

Six

Lastly, a hardworking pelagonium.  Overwintered in the greenhouse, and dragged out for another year of flowers.  I am very fond of this one.  It never fails – touch wood. 

I was making the most of the odd dry hour to get a few things done.  The fruited canes of the loganberries have been cut down and the new canes tied together.  Such tidiness is very satisfying.  The blackberries will have to be tackled soon.  The last of the new potatoes were dug up, revealing just how dry the ground was.  It was a wet week but this garden really needed a good soaking.  To take a look at how everyone else has been managing stop by at The Propagator.  I see I have an ally in feeling that Autumn is sneaking in.  

Six On Saturday: A happy garden

Contrary to the forlorn look of the garden this morning I am sure it is much happier. Some plants are weighed down by the rain that finally arrived. Verbena, cosmos and guara drop their heads but deep down their roots are sucking up some much needed moisture. Yes the rain came. Overnight thunderstorms on Thursday and then on and off showers since. My six for the week were snapped before the rain.

One

My favourite combination in the garden at the moment.  Echinacea ‘White Swan’ and pennisetum villosum.  The beautiful fluffy heads of the pennisetum are one of today’s droopers but I’m sure they’ll pick up.

Two

Day lilies.  These are in half sun, half shade so I may get another week of display from them.  They are ‘Golden Chimes’.  Planted in 2017 and I divided them last year, spreading their cheerfulness around the garden.  

Three

I have a running-riot clump of Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ in the garden which was also divided last year.  I planted a few small pieces in some semi-shade hoping the growth would be slower.  They have taken to the new spot with as much enthusiasm as the original planting.  I can see I will have to be ruthless.

Four

One of my inherited plants is a group of white phlox.  I’d left my well established clumps behind when we moved house so I was very happy to see these come through in the first summer here.  These are in the shade of an apple tree and are one of the plants that I have faithfully watered, at the first sign of wilting, in the dry spell. 

Five

These are my everyday agapanthus.  For unknown reasons this clump has flowered very well this year while about 4 feet away there languishes a clump of agapanthus foliage with not a sniff of a flower.  That clump will be dug up and divided, fed and given one more chance.

Six



There is one thing in the garden that does seem to have enjoyed the high temperatures.  The figs have ripened and the first to be picked were greedily eaten.  I just stopped  myself in time and took a photo of this one.  The best are high in the tree and as usual the birds get to those first.  

The cooler temperatures will persuade me out into the garden again.  Even the early morning deadheading proved too onerous in the heat.  Now rain battered rose petals decorate the garden so there is extra snipping to be done.  Enjoy your gardening time  and for a break, stop by at The Prop’s place to see what goes on in the SOS world. 

Six On Saturday: Hot stuff

All I can think about is the heat. I have been wondered what plants cope with this new British climate. Hot dry summers and wet winters. Answers on a postcard, please. This is the fifth summer in this garden and it is time for an edit. When is it not time for an edit? Recent carnage has included the decimation of the gooseberry bushes. Eleven taken out and now eight remain. Excuse me if the maths is wrong :). This makes room for some redcurrants and I shall sneak a bit off the end to extend one of the borders. That’s a trailer for a six to come. For the moment here’s this week’s six.

One

Zinnias.  Last year they seemed to come through late.  This year they are bang on time.  They are fast becoming my favourite annual to sow.  I lost a couple to the voracious slugs but those that made it through are putting on a good display.  These are the Sarah Raven ‘Deep Zinnia’ collection. 

Two

Kniphofia.  Or Red hot pokers if you prefer.  I never thought I would grow these but I have been won over.  I picked up a bag full of divisions at last year’s visit to Ulting Wick garden in Essex.  They cost £5, money well spent.  Sorry, I don’t know the variety.  They have just started flowering but I read that once settled in they can flower from March to November.  If they achieve that I will be very happy. 

Three

Agastache ‘Blackadder’.  Much loved by the bees.  I am trying these again.  The previous plants did not overwinter.  The RHS classes them as Fully Hardy (borderline) so I have my fingers crossed. 

Four

I am also giving achilleas a go this year.  This one is already a disappointment!  I bought it as ‘Terracotta’.  Descriptions variously suggested soft orange, browny orange and of course terracotta flowers.  But not yellow.  I have since tracked down one description which suggest flowers may age to yellow.  This plant seems to have skipped the soft orange stage.  Unless it changes its ways this is probably not a keeper.  

Five

I almost missed showing the large flower head of the evergreen agapanthus.  They are just beginning to go over here.  They are a marker of high summer in this garden.

Six

The front garden hydrangea is going through its annual identity crisis.  What colour will it be this year.  I prefer this bluish colour but other flowers are pink, purple and faded variations in between.  

Jobs to do include cutting some of the lavenders back.  One clump has definitely finished flowering.  There is watering to be done and the cosmos need dead heading.  The roses are in full flow again so more dead heading.  I think I can manage that in the heat but the best part is walking round the garden in the evening and taking in the scents.  Lovely.

I hope all is lovely in your garden.  To catch up with the news from other SOSers please stop by  The Prop’s garden update, where all the links are posted.  

 

Six On Saturday: Returning to the fold

I have climbed back up the slippery slope to not posting and made it to the top. I’d like to say that I have spent the last few weeks dining out, drinking in pubs and jetting off to sunnier climes, but no. The best I have done to kick start the economy is have a hair cut and make two visits to the garden centre. Compost and twine now purchased, garden blogging can re-commence.  Here are six things from the garden for your delectation.

One

Growing from seed is definitely a case of winning some, losing some. Here is a slow winner.  This is echinacea pallida.  I sowed seeds three years ago, probably a half tray full and managed to get three to 9cms pot sized plants.  They were planted out last year and this year I have the first flowers.  Very dainty.   I like them and would like more.  It could be a slow process. 

Two

Also grown from seed and happily in the garden for a few years now the ‘Black Cat’ scabious is back and looking velvety dark again.  I need a few more of these too, as a few a moved to a new location resented the intrusion and are no more. 

Three

Hollyhocks, from collected seed and now liberally spreading themselves around.  These I have to keep an eye on as they do get everywhere.  

Four

This year’s annual sowings have started to flower and first out of the blocks is cosmos ‘Dazzler’.  Always reliable but I am never happy with where I have planted them out.  

Five

The magenta phlox have taken up the baton for the second half of summer.  I always have a sinking feeling after the peak of the garden in June but the phlox opening up signals that the next wave has arrived.

Six

More mid summer magenta from the penstemons, this is ‘Plum Jerkum’.

That’s the six. I have been busy cutting back the June extravaganza of ‘Brookside’ geraniums and the delphiniums.  The g. psilostomen is trying to convince me that it has another few days of flowers to give but really it is past its best and has to be cut back too.  Nice to be back with The Prop, who has some beauties in his six of the week, all very colourful.  Much to be enjoyed. 

Six On Saturday: Good things being delivered

It was the perfect week to be on holiday with nothing to do as it was too hot to do anything. The dead heading was left but there was no avoiding the need to water in the greenhouse. Tomatoes, melons, strawberries, lettuce and basil are all motoring along. Outside the green beans are being picked along with raspberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants.  Here’s the view of the garden this week.

One

I have to share this view of the allotment end of the garden although it’s not to my credit.  I had a few calendula plants in the garden a couple of years ago and if they are not ruthlessly controlled they run riot! Beautifully so, but I need to fight back.  I’m enjoying the splash of colour for the moment but an afternoon spent pulling them out is on the agenda and next year I will be hoeing them off, immediately, no ground given.  Honestly. 

Two

It is now four years since the move to this house and the garden borders are transformed.  Each year a new corner or two comes under scrutiny.  This year it was the passion flower draped arch and trellis.  I could see that a honeysuckle also entwined its way around the uprights but it never flowered.  One side of the passion flower has been taken down and the honeysuckle probably got a bit of a cut back in the process.  Perhaps this is why it has flowered for the first time.  It’s a great addition.

Three

The scented leaf pellies are back in their summer pots and are decorating the patio.  The peat free compost does dry out quickly on the surface so daily watering was necessary.  This one is ‘Prince of Orange’.

Four

The cheerful Shasta daisies seem to be twice as high this year.  They were started from seed about four years ago.  They grow up into the wild blackberries that are another corner of the garden awaiting some attention.  It looks like there will be a good crop there too. 

Five

Most of the delphiniums are going to seed now and need to be cut back but this one came through a little later.  It was a pot luck buy at a plant sale, just marked delphinium.  I’ve had it for three years now but it always only puts up one spike.  Is that a thing for certain types of delphinium ?  

Six 

To finish I offer this combination of blackcurrant sage and a penstemon  – could it be ‘Apple Blossom’?  The  sage looked a little sad after the winter but it responded well to a cut back and is now threading its way around the penstemon. 

Cooler temperatures for next week will see me back in the garden catching up on the dead heading.  The roses need to be fed to help them produce the next wave of flowers and I think I’ll have a nose around the late crop new potatoes.  If nosing around gardens is your thing then go immediately to Mr P’s he has the most divine photo of the rose ‘Generous Gardener’, it’s a must see! 

Six On Saturday: Pinky, greeny, white flowers

Around time of year I’m usually on my way to Suffolk with a stop off at the Beth Chatto gardens. The gardens are open now but the trip to Suffolk is off. Which is a shame because a week on the Suffolk coast next week might be a blessed relief. Temperatures here are forecast to make 30 degrees. At least the garden has had a very good soak and the water butts are almost replenished. Here’s this week’s six.

One

I’m opening with this is mallow, or malva moschata.  I didn’t realise just how pretty it was until I took the close up.  Beautiful and it is a regular self seeder that fills a corner of the garden quite happily doing its thing with very little attention.

Two

The hydrangeas which were gasping for a drop of the good stuff are very happy now.  This one is hydrangea macrophylla ‘Blushing Bride’.  Being one of the Endless Summer ranges apparently it can flower on new and old wood. Something I did not know before today.  

Three

The lilies that are in a pot by one of the pergola legs opened up last weekend. Just in time to provide some scented evening distractions.

Four

From Cornwall to France the Yuccas have been flowering and here I offer a flowering cordyline.  Which by coincidence came all the way from Cornwall some twenty years ago.   It has lived in a pot for all those years, with a belated move to a larger pot about three years ago.  It has never flowered before and I don’t know if it will again but here it is for now. 

Five

This clear white geranium is sanguineum ‘Album’ used in the northern corner of the garden and is finally in flower.  

Six

And just around the corner is this inherited geranium.  White with beautiful pink veining. It was quite a large clump so I divided it up and dotted it around the garden on the shadier side and it has done well in all locations.  I wonder if it could be ‘Kashmiri White’.  

I’m going to be making the most of this cool weekend to get some gardening jobs done.  The last stragglers of the annuals to be planted out.  There are tomatoes to be looked over – those side shoots are sprouting fast and the second sowing of french beans to be put in the ground.  Enjoy your gardening jobs and look in at  The Prop’s Place for his six  (I have fallen for sidalcea ‘Rosaly’) and all the links to other good gardening blogs.

Six On Saturday: Roses

The ‘moderate’ breezes of the last few days have scattered rose petals across the garden. There is dead heading to be done and a little extra support to be put in here and there but the fragrance of a good scented rose more than makes up for that. This week is all about the roses in my garden.

One

I am fortunate to have a walled boundary for about half the length of the narrow border and two ‘Blush Noisette’ climbing roses are beginning to cover a good part of it.  The flowers come in clusters and it is not my favourite to dead head.  The pink flowers fade away to a vintage white but there are always new clusters coming through.  

Two

The long border is in shade for parts of the day and so I chose ‘Wisley’ for it’s ability to survive on four to five hours of sun a day.  It is really in its stride this year.   When the growing notes say ‘elegantly arching stems’ be prepared to put supports in place.  It was one of the first roses to be planted about four years ago and is comfortable at its expected height of four to five foot. 

Three

The ‘Wisley’ roses flank either side of two ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ roses.  The middle of the long border has a sunnier aspect and the punchy pink of Gertie is a great centre point.  Gertie also smells divine.  It grows to a more compact shape than ‘Wisley’ coming in at a height of three foot.  I love it with the lime green of the euphorbias and the white alliums. 

Four

Down along the hedge border I planted three ‘Darcy Bussell’.  This is a truly sumpious red and also beautifully scented.  These roses are strong enough in colour to shine through the morning shade.  Later in the year salvia ‘Amistad’ will provide a dark purple backdrop.  

Five

Just a little along from Darcy grows ‘Jacqueline du Pré’.  I’m pushing my luck a bit here as the planting guidance recommends full sun and this end of the border is in shade until early afternoon.  Last year I was beginning to take pity on Jaqueline and was considering trying to move her but this year she has flowered well.

Six

 

Going back to the narrow border the centre space has been given to ‘Scepter’d Isle’. I do enjoy the shape of the flowers on this rose.  This is another rose that I use supports for, mainly to keep it from spilling out onto the path.  It does have good strong stems and is now at around four foot high.  

These roses were the among the first plants to be added to the garden in the winter of 2016. They’ve come along way and I’m so pleased to be enjoying them now.  Challenging times ahead for us gardeners though – drying winds, more sunshine and no rain forecast for my part of the country.  I’ve got to keep on my toes to keep the roses happy.  

Mr P has a colourful six this week and if that is not enough there will be plenty more gardens to take a tour round if you take a browse among the links.  Happy gardening.