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.

One

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.

Three

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.

Four

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.

Six

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: 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!

One

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.

Two

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.

Four

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.

Five

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?

Six

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: There’s a new wave coming

Every now and then a song gets stuck in my head and this week it is Kids in America by Kim Wilde. Kim’s a bit of gardener too btw, so it seems very appropriate.   If you don’t know the song I recommend you look at Kim’s performance of it on the train!

So as Kim says ‘there’s a new wave coming, I warn you’ and this week I am feeling more positive about the garden.  It actually rained last night for about 30 minutes and although there may be a few pests and diseases around the garden is shaping up for mid and late summer.  And here are the highlights:

One

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My first uplifting delight was spotting a flower on the Tithonias.  They were grown from seed and the packet indicates a final height of eight feet.  I’d say they are about four feet now and are full of promise. They should see me through into autumn.

Two

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Somewhere along the way last year I picked up a recommendation for the Penstemon Sour Grapes and I would love to say thank you to whoever it was that put this plant onto my wish list.  I do thank you but I can’t remember who it was!  I planted it in amongst the Agastache Black Adder featured last week and, if I may say so, I think it works very well.

Three

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I am also bowled over, as I am every year, by the evergreen agapanthus that I grow in containers.  They did look a sorry sight at the end of winter.  But those brown leaves were removed, a granular fertiliser added to the pots and now patience has been rewarded.  They are truly a wow in the garden for the second half of summer.

The second half of the summer is also the time when the veg patch starts producing.  Of course my lack of watering and the absence of rain has had an impact.  My courgettes are tiny – hard to believe I know. The new potatoes, first batch lifted this week, were also on the small side.  But they were truly delicious as was the first outdoor cucumber.  In the greenhouse the melons and tomatoes are rather like this Six – long and rambling!

Four

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Last year the melon I grew suffered from red spider mite, thank you to Fred, a French gardener  for diagnosing this for me, and only one flower made it into a fruit.  This year I have been overwhelmed.   I tried to follow the RHS advice: ‘When fruit are gooseberry size, select the best four on each stem and remove all other flowers, fruit and leaves.  Stop the side shoots two or three leaves beyond these fruits, pinch out the main growing tips and remove new growths as they appear.’ But a week away from the greenhouse and I cannot tell a side shoot from a main growing tip and who knows which is new growth!  I am just cutting back to points where fruit has formed.  The variety is Pepito F1.  So far no mites!

Five

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The whole greenhouse experience is new to me.  Last year I grew a few cherry tomatoes under the glass and they were quite well behaved.  This year the three varieties I chose, Alicante, Golden Crown and Marmande, have gone crazy.  Side shoots doubling in size by the day, leaf growth in abundance and finally a few tomatoes!  It doesn’t look like the marmande is producing well but we shall see.  These are alicante, they are not ready for picking yet but not long now.

Six

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I thoroughly recommend Thomas Stone’s blogs in general and especially anything he posts on roses such as this one on moss roses.   I must extend my rose collection but for the moment mine are all repeat flowering english roses.  They do keep coming.  I gave them all a rose feed a few weeks ago, watered it in and the flowers are coming through once more.  This is Natasha Richardson.  I’ve shown it before and I include it again because it I was pleased that it too is a part of the new wave.

I always recommend this meme and the host The Propagator  as a great way to see what is going on in gardens around the world.  The people who post under #SixOnSaturday are all great sharers of their the knowledge and experience and I want to thank everyone for helping me grow my own knowledge.  Last week I posted a picture of my under the weather apple tree.  I looks like it has fireblight and I thank Tony Tomeo for sharing his knowledge.  Loving you all!!

 

 

Six on Saturday

It’s a white out in my garden.  There are footprints from the wildlife and frozen flora abounds.  I was going to give you a peek into next week’s project: new paths.  The path project is a big one and ‘the professionals’ are coming in to do it.  Work is scheduled to start on Monday and fortunately temperatures are set to rise.   As the paths are covered with snow I’m going to show you some pictures of the garden last summer.  There will be the odd glimpse of the path along the way, but more importantly there is some beautiful colour from plants that were sown from seed last year and from the frozen perennials that now lie under the snow.

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This is how the border started out. The roses, irises and euphorbia are in.  The canes mark the spots for delphiniums, salvias and astrantias to be planted.  It is the path on the right that is being relaid.

Two

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The borders were filled in with annuals, here are calendula and ammi.  The wonderful delphiniums were brought from the old garden.  More perennials were added through the year.  Some grown from seed, some from 9cm pots.

Three

IMG_1154This is the top end of the border. Sweet pea, cosmos purity and nicotiana lime green were sown from seed.  The lambs ears in the foreground looked bedraggled in last week’s six.  Will they survive after the freezing weather of this week?  This path is staying. It’s not very attractive and if I had a magic wand it would be transformed into a lovely brick cottage garden path.   I have also planted alchemella mollis and geranium brookside, both of which tumble onto the path edges.

Four

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This is another view of the path that will be relaid.  It is very patchy and uneven in places. The agapanthus and verbena thrive against the sunny wall.  The rose in the centre is Scepter’d Isle and a pink hollyhock climbs skyward in the distance.

Five

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The height of summer. I am sowing calendula seeds again. The bright orange was such a highlight.  They are scheduled for sowing in April.  I will sow in modules again.

Six

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The clematis in flower and with some of those fascinating seed heads. It’s now one of the frozen flora. It was already putting on new growth and had been cut back to about 50cms. Here’s hoping those new shoots are made of strong stuff.

It’s a bit of a bending of the rules this week, but did you really want 6 shades of white?  I am curious to see what other sixers will post.  I encourage you to take a look at The Propagator’s blog and see what materialises. I am hoping all UK sixers are warm, dry and safe this weekend.  Over to you in the sunnier climes!

Six on Saturday

Oh Lordy. Late again.  But here are my six

One

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Jobs to be done.  My evergreen aganpanthuses were divided and repotted in spring.  They responded brilliantly, sending up multiple spires that burst into fireworks of blue in August.  This one in a long tom didn’t get treated so well and recently popped its pot in revenge.  I am going to repot this week.  Honest.  I promise.

Two

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The greenhouse. Dark and gloomy.  The last tomatoes have gone to the compost heap. Now the greenhouse needs a wash down, the moss scraped out of the frames and a bit of a weed.  I need to make room for Continue reading