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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
There is no doubt about it. This has been a tough year. But there are always some cheering sights among the wilting, stressed and sometimes dead plants. The tithonias have reached five foot and the flowers are coming thick and fast. All grown from tiny seeds. Here are some others:
Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Black Cat’. These have such lovely velvet petals. The deep wine colour is fab too.
Antirrhinum majus ‘White Giant’. Not quite so giant as I imagined but these were really teeny tiny seeds to start with so I am glad they have got this far. I thought I would be planting them in the middle of the border to give some tall white spikes but when the time came it was obvious that they wouldn’t be able to fight their way through geranium ‘Brookside’ so they were planted along the edges of the path.
Echinops Globe Thistle. An experiment in having something different in the border. Much loved by blackfly but in truth, so far, not much loved by me. I will see how they go, perhaps I’ll like them more when they turn bluer. I think I got my plants mixed up and really meant to sow eryngium!
Sweet peas: Midnight Blue, by far and away the most successful of my sweet peas. The very lovely Gwendoline, Black Knight and Anniversary are in a shadier spot and are not happy! Only two of the Anniversary seeds germinated. I’ll try them again next year but I will have to find a better site for them.
Not from any seed that I sowed but doing a great job of extending the border colour are these echinacea purpurea. They work well with the self seeded verbena behind and they might be good self seeders themselves. Apparently they don’t like drought but so far so good.
Lastly a dahlia mystery. I bought six dahlia tubers at the same from the same place. All labelled Thomas Edison. They are beginning to open up and I realise I have two varieties. Now I think about there was one pot that seemed less vigorous than the others. The colour is much darker than comes across here. How interesting!
Still not a drop of rain here, to see how other gardens are fairing take a trip to The Propagator for all the links to many, many lovely #SixOnSaturday posts. Happy gardening.