We had a lovely day at the Malvern Autumn Show yesterday. There were lots of nurseries with plenty of plants to tempt but I was very restrained in my purchases (even I have to admit that the garden is rather full). I also had an email this week to say that my bulb order has been despatched so I need to start making planting plans. The problem, as usual, is that the large pots are still full of summer plants and are still looking too good to empty. It’s a good problem to have though. Another problem I had this week was deciding what to put in my Six. I had an idea to focus on foliage but the tender climbers are putting on a show at last, the Dahlias are still looking great and the glasshouse residents have finally put on a display. In the end I have gone with the foliage.
I’ve mentioned before that I am drawn to plants with large leaves, I like the way the leaves move in the slightest breeze. It took me quite a long time to work out why I’m not very keen on Ceanothus – on the whole the leaves are too small making the plants seem very static. As the Non-Gardener would say – she’s weird. New to the garden this year is Ensete maurelii ‘African Breeze’. It makes me so happy every time that I walk past it. It’s another plant that broke my rule of no new non-hardy plants and I’m going to have to find room for it in the house over winter. I haven’t mentioned this to the N-G yet.
The Ensete stands in front of the shed with a pot of Eucomis bicolor and Colocasia ‘Coco’. The latest Colocasia leaf to open is 28″ long. When there is a breeze the leaves sway from side to side – mesmerising. It took a long time for the round tuber to come into growth but it was definitely worth the wait.
I’ve grown a few varieties of Zantedeschia for several years. The cooler, cloudier weather this year means that they haven’t flowered so well but they still earn a place on the patio because of their leaves.
While nowhere near as large as the above leaves Solenostemon leaves add a lot of colour for months and some varieties eventually get to quite a size.
Some Oxalis can be a real nuisance and I wasn’t sure about buying this one to use in a pot with a Begonia but I’m glad I did, so far anyway. It has flowered for months on end, dead-heads itself and trails really well. The leaves aren’t huge but are very delicate and are a lovely colour.
I had several contenders for number six and it’s been hard choosing one but I’ve gone with Nandina domestica ‘Obsessed’. The long leaves are made up of several leaflets. They are glossy green and the new growth is a fiery red. This colour seems to have persisted for the whole summer this year.
The Amelanchier is dropping leaves rapidly giving the lawn a very autumnal look. It’s always early to lose it’s leaves and, despite what many books say about its wonderful autumn colour, they seem to go straight from green to brown here. Rather disappointing. The garden is looking very colourful at the moment with several Michaelmas Daisies still to add to the show. Here’s a quick look around for this weeks Six. Sorry, the photos were taken in yesterday evenings sun so not the best.
I’ve been waiting for the annual climbers to start flowering and there are signs that it’s finally happening. I just hope that the weather holds long enough for them to put on a bit of a show. One I’ve really been looking forward to is Cobaea scandens and on Wednesday a flower finally made an appearance.
I also grew a Cobaea plant in the glasshouse this year in the hope that it would flower earlier. It did – one whole day earlier! At least it’s easier to see. Last year I had the first flowers in my Six on the 15th of August
Still in the glasshouse – the Achimenes are also making a belated appearance. Here’s the first two
The Hylotelephiums are in full flower now and get absolutely covered with bees. Sadly they had all gone to bed by the time I took these pictures.
A sure sign of autumn, Cyclamen hederifolium popping up everywhere. It’s taken many years for them to seed around and I give a helping hand as well.
Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ can be relied upon to give a great show every year, whatever the weather. It’s taller than ever this year and is above the Beech hedge. It’s made a very large clump over the last three years and is on my list for dividing in the spring.
A Clematis to finish with. Clematis tangutica ‘Bill McKenzie’ started flowering at the end of April/beginning of May and hasn’t stopped since. The silvery seed heads will persist well into winter
It’s been a very mixed week weather-wise and some very welcome rain finally arrived on Thursday calling an end to the (very) temporary heatwave. The borders are beginning to thin out a bit as I cut down some of the summer perennials that have finished flowering. There’s still a lot going on though and the Michaelmas Daisies are finally beginning to get going. The Morning Glories have still to show some colour though. I’ve a mix of pests, disease and beautiful flowers this week.
Let’s start with a disease that I’ve not found in the garden before – Heuchera Rust. I first found this a couple of weeks ago on a couple of Heuchera planted near the Amelanchier. I cut all of the leaves off and the regrowth is clean so far. However, this week I have found it on a Heuchera on the patio. According to the RHS website this disease is a problem in wet, humid summers which certainly describes this year. I’ve quite a few Heucheras as they add such colour to the front of the borders so this could be quite a problem in the future.
I planted this tub up last autumn and planned to put the Heucheras and Fern in the borders in the spring. Obviously, I never got around to it. I’ve cut the affected plant back and the Heuchera on the left seems unaffected so far 🤞.
Moving on to a ‘pest’ next. While sat drinking my tea I looked down at Fuchsia ‘Lechlade Gordon’ and was worried about the size of the vine weevils that were eating it!
A closer inspection revealed the actual culprit.
I don’t think that this is a pest, just an oddity. When cutting the grass I noticed these flies (?) on just one flowering stalk of Molinia cerulea ‘Dauerstrahl’. There were none anywhere else on the plant.
It was very still after the rain and the grasses in particular were full of raindrops.
The Roses are having a second flush, although looking a little rain battered.
The Michaelmas Daisies give lots of flower power at this time of year. ‘Monch’ is always the first to flower here and by now the others are usually following suit. The lack of sunshine has slowed them down but good things can only be held back for so long.
The main job for today is dead-heading. It’s a job I really enjoy as it gives a chance to spend time looking at the plants close up. Thanks for reading and have a good weekend, whatever you are doing. There’s loads of inspiration at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/
It’s been a dreary week again weather-wise but the sun finally came out yesterday and it looks like there might be a bit more over the weekend. It’s also been quite a while since we had any rain here and a few plants were beginning to look very parched this week so I’ve been watering a few specific things such as the newer Hydrangeas and the Dahlias. Hopefully, some sunshine will help the Michaelmas Daisies come into flower and maybe I’ll finally have some flowers on the Morning Glories. In the meantime, hereare six things that are in flower –
I grew Alstroemeria ‘Dana’ in a border last year where it flowered fairly well but the SnS constantly grazed on it. I decided to try it in a different part of the garden so dug it up in the autumn, potted it up and overwintered it in the glasshouse. I won’t bore you with the reasons but it never got into the ground. Maybe next year…..
The succulents struggled with all of the earlier rain but these last few dry weeks have given them a boost. Echiveria imbricata is looking particularly good.
The plants in the glasshouse are very slow to flower, I’m not sure some of them will make it. Last week I removed some of the shading to let more light to them and I’ve given them all a good talking to. I grew Maurandya wislizensis ‘Red Dragon’ from seed in the spring and the first flowers are now appearing. The seed packet says it grows to 45cm but it’s at least twice this already. It apparently produces a tuber which overwinters.
Also in the glasshouse is Ipomoea repans. I overwintered cuttings of this and now have several plants. This time last year it was a mass of flowers.
Another Ipomoea that started in the glasshouse but that is now growing outside is I. niamniamensis or the Parrot Plant.
I really like umbellifer flower heads and in June sowed some Daucus carota (wild carrot) seeds. This is a biennial or short lived perennial plant but most of the resulting plants are flowering already so I’m not sure if they will come back again next year. As the plants haven’t been growing for long they haven’t reached much of a size. Shame as the flowers are pretty but small.
Summer seems to have come to an end without really happening and the gardening is changing season quite quickly. The outdoor tomatoes are ripening, it’s just a shame that there aren’t very many of them. On the plus side, there’s no blight. I’ve spent a lot of time dead heading and cutting back this week and yesterday I managed to get the beech and the mixed hedges cut back. Order is temporarily restored.
Last week I showed some of the borders in the back garden so I thought I’d start with the front garden this week. This bed has been filled with left over plants over the years and very much looks after itself. The Gingko was bought as a seedling and grew in a pot for a few years. I planted it out last year and it grew well. This year though it has hardly put on any growth.
The Roses haven’t had much of a second flush but ‘White Swan’ is having a go
Stipa gigantea is one of my favourite grasses and has such a long season of interest. The dried seed heads look beautiful in the evening sunshine, having a rich, golden glow. In front of it is a self-sown Fennel. I grew Bronze Fennel in this bed for many years but it died out a few years ago, too much winter wet I think. It has a reputation for prolific seeding but I haven’t found this to be the case. This must be a reverted seedling though.
Returning to the back garden, the side wall of the garage has a Solanum jasminoides ‘Glasnevin’ growing against it. This is another case of a much too big plant being grown in a much too small garden (nothing new there). I cut it to the ground every spring and prune it regularly through the summer so it doesn’t flower as much as it could but it has still put on a great show.
I bought Agastache ‘Crazy Fortune’ a couple of years ago for the main border. It wasn’t increasing in size so I decided to move it slightly forward last autumn, taking some rather late cuttings at the same time. Only one cutting made it through the winter; however, it’s not variegated! It has made a substantial plant though and attracts a lot of wildlife.
Sadly, the original plant is still rather weedy. I’ll give it another year as the foliage really lightens the plant.
The Dahlia bed continues to exceed my expectations and here are a few more of the varieties growing in it. Did I mention that Waterlily types are a favourite…..
A Jersey Tiger Moth came in for a visit yesterday. When its wings opened the under wings are a beautiful orange.
The stronger autumn colours are appearing in the main border, giving it a new lease of life. This is my favourite group at the moment.
In the above background you can see a couple of triffid-like Cosmos
As usual, I grew several different varieties of Cosmos this year and most are flowering well but some are now over five feet tall without a bud in sight. I can’t remember the details and must go back and read it again but in Sarah Raven’s new book she gives an explanation for this behaviour. If memory serves me correctly (it doesn’t always) it’s to do with where some varieties originate (Africa?) and a lack of summer heat.
The Bank Holiday weekend weather looks fine, if a little lacking in sunshine (here anyway) but we won’t be going far, if anywhere. That means I’ll have plenty of time for gardening, quilting and looking into other people’s gardens courtesy of our host at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/
I’m late! I took some photos between the rain showers yesterday but held off writing my Six in the hope of getting some better ones this morning. No such luck as it hasn’t stopped raining yet and the plants are all hanging their heads, if not bodies, under the weight the water. I thought I’d show some areas of the garden rather than just specific plants (areas sounds rather grand; it’s a small garden but not all visible at the same time).
The ‘back’ garden is a small triangle that gets a lot of sun (when it shines). Most years it’s a challenging bed as the clay soil, despite years of added homemade compost, dries and cracks open. The last two wet winters and all of this years rain has resulted in a lot more growth and the re-appearance of a perennial Sweetpea thought lost. I’m drawn to taller plants but they haven’t all stood up to the rain well.
The Verbascums are having a third, albeit shorter in height, flower, the Aster bowed down in the rain while I was away. The Lythrum in the background is in a small froggy pond. It was getting way too tall so I cut it back and it has produced lots of shorter flower heads. I don’t think that it’s very attractive like this so will have a rethink of the pond plants in the autumn. The bees, on the other hand, don’t mind what length the flower stalks are.
If you were here and looked to the fence at the back of the above picture and then along to the right you would see
There are large clumps of Snowdrops under the Hackonechloa (usually more upright, the rain…….). To the left is a large Lamprocapnos spectabile that has just gone over so I’ve cut it back to some green growth.
On the right of the above picture is the wood store and then the Birch border. This is north facing and over the years the tree has dried it out. I’ve been growing some ferns in here for several years (mostly Dryopteris as they will take drier conditions once established) but the previous few very dry summers have been a challenge. This is one border that has really appreciated the wetter weather this year and the ferns have come on well.
The hardy, name unknown, trailing Fuchsia had very little Gall Mite last year so I left it (I removed virtually all my other Fuchsias as the mite was such a problem) and it has been clean and beautiful so far 🤞. The fern wall behind the border was added last year and continues to do well though some Athyriums are challenging to keep damp enough.
The trellis on the right above is on one side of an arch through to the glasshouse area. On the left in this area is a bed that I emptied out last autumn as the unwanted plants from over the fence were making inroads. I replanted in the spring and it has, for the most part, grown back well. Covering the fence and adding some height is problematic but there is a plan in my head (I can hear the Non-Gardener groaning already) for the autumn.
The tall purple flower is Lobelia ‘Hadspen’s Purple’, unusually untouched by the SnS
On the opposite side of the gravel path above is the side wall of the garage and the shed, still in need of a smarten up – one day! I know that spaces set off the surrounding plants but spaces are also made for filling so the area in front of the shed seemed perfect for some pots. Tricky getting in the shed but it’s usually only me doing so so that’s fine.
As I mentioned, the glasshouse is in this area. It’s filled with overwintering plants from November to March, then far too many seedlings, cuttings, corms and bulbs. Once they are all shoe-horned into the garden I usually grow tomatoes and peppers plus a few ornamentals. This spring I decided to grow the tomatoes outdoors (we don’t eat that many anyway) and to have an ‘flowery’ glasshouse instead. The tomatoes haven’t done brilliantly but at least they haven’t had blight, yet anyway. The plants inside have grown well but it just hasn’t been sunny enough for flowers! I love walking into my little jungle each morning though and am hoping for a late warm spell to colour it up.
The first pot on the left contains Rhodochiton atrosanguineus and Thunbergia alata ‘African Sunset’. They have flowered fairly well and are making their way across the roof shading.
Having been away for a week I really noticed a difference in the garden on my return, there’s been a real seasonal shift. There was a lot of rain during the week and it’s beaten down a few things that obviously weren’t supported well enough. It’s also been quite damp since our return so I’ve not been able to get much done in the garden but Saturdays come around like clockwork so it’s time for another Six.
I’ve tried to grow Dahlias for years. It all starts so well, starting the tubers into growth in the glasshouse, potting on, pinching out and then planting lovely strong plants out into the borders. Then it usually goes downhill as the Dahlias battle with the slugs, aphids and the other plants. Last year was particularly bad and I nearly got rid of all of the tubers but I put them up in the loft, just in case I changed my mind. Over the winter I decided to make a bed, purely for the Dahlias but didn’t want to give up an existing bed so some (more) grass had to go.
As the plants grew I added plenty of canes to the border for staking. Some friends saved their Prosecco corks for me to save me poking my eyes out!
It took the slugs and snails a while to make their way to the new bed and so the plants were able to make good growth. The summers rainfall has helped as well and I am very happy with the bed. I grew some shorter Dahlias from seed to put around the edge of the bed but, although they germinated well, they failed to thrive – I think due to the cold spell in May/June so I used some Cosmos and Calendula instead.
As this was a bit of an experiment I didn’t buy any more Dahlias this year so, to fill the space, there are more than one of some varieties (the urge to propagate is impossible to ignore) but there is still quite a variety of colours and forms. Here are some of them.
In case you’re not a Dahlia fan I’ll save the others for next week and move on to something else.
There’s a mower width strip of grass between the Dahlia bed and the long border (I haven’t been able to mow it yet). I wish it was more but this is a small garden.
There’s a new, non-plant addition to this border. In the 17/18 hundreds the town I live in used to be a village with coal mines and a glassworks. Although my garden isn’t on the site of the works it is quite near to it and, over the years, I have dug up quite a lot of green glass pieces (sadly, nothing complete that would be worth some money). I’m guessing that it’s the spoil from the bottom of the kiln. A few months ago I finally decided what to do with my collection and made a glass “totem pole”, returning the glass to the garden.
The first Michaelmas Daisy to flower here is always Aster frikartii ‘Monch’. It’s stems always seem a bit weak and this years rain has bent them down somewhat but, with a bit of dead heading, it will be in flower for many weeks. The Cleome have finally started to flower. I must find the seed packet as I thought they were white!
I’ve shown quite a few climbers recently and here are some more.
This is supposed to be a dwarf variety of hop. I used to grow a Golden Hop but dug it out as it got too tall. To be honest, ‘Golden Tassels’ is not much shorter and suckers like mad so I’m a bit disappointed.
And now for something completely different, a fern. This Hard or Deer Fern has the most beautiful fronds. It’s growing rather slowly but I think that that’s the competition from an Epimedium and a Pulmonaria. It’s one of those plants that never has an off day.
There’s drizzle forecast for this morning but it is holding off for now so I’m off outside to try to catch up after my time away. Have a great weekend, whatever you’re doing and make some time to visit the other Sixers courtesy of our esteemed host at
A garden visit had been planned for the week before last week but, on the day, the weather was awful and plans were abandoned. Last Tuesday the weather and the Non-Gardener’s schedule coincided to create the perfect opportunity for the visit and we set off for Bourton House Garden in the Cotswolds. I visited this garden longer ago than I care to remember and was bowled over by the beautiful borders and I wasn’t disappointed this time either. There were quite a few people around the garden so photographs weren’t easy.
When the sun was on it it positively glowed.
The hedge is trimmed to mirror the top of rows of trellis in this part of the garden.
Following on from last weeks climbers here are a couple more that are looking good in the garden this week
Two for one. I’ve not seen the perennial Sweet Pea above ground for several years in this hot, dry part of the garden but the winter and spring rain has obviously revived it. In my mind it was white though……… This is a lovely colour, I’ll admit, but I don’t think it goes with the Eccremocarpus scaber particularly well.
That’s it for another Six. Short and sweet as we’re away visiting family. It’s the first time I’ve been away from the garden since COVID struck. There’s been a lot of rain though so the plants should be fine.
Storm Evert has passed without too much damage here but it did bring a lot of rain and some strong winds. The garden hasn’t suffered too much damage but I put the large leaved Colocasia and Ensete in the glasshouse until this morning as the garden doesn’t offer a lot of shelter from a north-westerly.
I thought I’d focus on some climbers this week so here we go –
Last week I showed the confused flowers of Clematis viticella ‘Alba Luxuriens’. This week it has got into the swing of flowering and the flowers are becoming a clearer white. The Pyracantha that supports it is no longer visible.
‘Margot Koster’ is one of my longest flowering Clematis and has been flowering for several weeks already. It’s on one side of an arch by the glasshouse. The Honeysuckle that it grows through flowered earlier but was badly infested with greenfly so didn’t look great. The Sparrows, Blue Tits and Ladybirds have done a great job and the Honeysuckle is having another go.
On the other side of the arch is Clematis ‘Justa’. This is a compact variety that grows to about five foot. It is somewhat overshadowed by a large clump of Persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon’ that I encourage to ‘climb’ up some trellis so ‘Justa’ doesn’t reach her full potential I’m sure.
Thelongest flowering Clematis that I have is C. tangutica ‘Bill Mackenzie’. It started back in May and will continue through to September, maybe even on and off into October. Along with the flowers it becomes covered with beautiful silky seedheads. I cut it back to about 12″ in February/March and it steadily makes it way up and along the trellis panels hiding the compost bins very well.
Time to leave the Clematis. A new climber in the garden this spring, this Sollya has taken a while to settle in but is slowly getting into it’s stride. The flowers are a beautiful blue. It’s in a fairly sheltered west-facing spot so I’m hopeful that it will survive the winter.
The view of the patio area from inside shows a variegated Jasmine climbing up the back wall. This isn’t as vigorous as the green-leaved variety but still manages to cover the back wall every year despite being cut down to 12″ in early spring. It was very windy when I took this photo so it’s a bit out of focus. Sorry.
The Pergola in the picture has been planted up for three years. It has a Honeysuckle growing up the back support, a Cobaea scandens and Thunbergia elata (annuals in a large pot) up the front left side and Trachelospermum jasminoides up the right hand side (along with an Ipomoea ‘H Blue and I. lobata. Too many Ipomoeas? Probably, but I grew them and they have to go somewhere! As a bonus, C. ‘Etoile Violette’ is climbing up the Birch tree.
Climbers add a whole new dimension to a small garden and I am always looking for new places to grow them.
With more rain forecast for the weekend and the 1st of August tomorrow, was that summer???
What a difference 24 hours makes. At the moment it’s literally 10 degrees cooler than this time yesterday. Here in North Somerset we had quite a lot of rain last night which, combined with a gusty wind, gave the plants a bit of a battering. Most (I’d love to say all) of them are supported though so the bowed heads and split centres will, hopefully, come back up. I started taking pictures for todays Six in the sun yesterday and finished them in the rain this morning.
I mentioned last week my love of large leaved plants so first up is a new addition to the garden last autumn. After a slow start because of the cold and wet Ensete murielae ‘African Breeze’ is living up to expectations. It’s another plant that will become too big for my garden but that’s nothing new.
I have several varieties of Eucomis that have all provided regular meals for the SnS this year. Several flower spikes of E. bicolor have been eaten through as they emerged so there isn’t such a good show this year. I keep them in pots down by the shed and glasshouse as the flowers have a smell rather like rotten meat. Definitely not one for the back door step! I guess this smell is to attract flies. The stems have gone wandering more so than usual this year and I haven’t found a good way to support them.
I’ll get around to painting the shed one day. The individual flowers don’t really get noticed but are very interesting
The front garden is very much left to get on with it. Like the rest of the garden, it’s mostly herbaceous plants and some self seeding annuals. After reading Sarah Raven’s new book I recently added some Salvias as companion plants to the Roses but when I looked yesterday they are being swamped by the neighbouring plants. I will have to get my machete out later and regain a bit of control. The front door is north facing and had a Clematis either side, one of which grows up through a Pyracantha. C. viticella ‘Alba luxurians is a very enthusiastic plant, so much so that a few years back I removed as much of the root as I could as it was much too large for the space available. There must have been enough left in the ground for it to have another go at world domination and I’ve been very happy to see it appear each spring. I may have to repeat the exercise again though. When the flowers first appear the sepals can’t quite make up their mind if they want to be a flower or a leaf. As more flowers appear the white becomes more dominant. There’s a Pyracantha in there somewhere.
On the other side of the porch for over 20 years was C. alpina ‘Francis Rivis’ but, sadly, it didn’t make it through last winter. A new planting opportunity for the autumn.
At the base of the Clematis is Corydalis lutea. This plant borders on invasive and every spring I pull out hundreds of tiny seedlings from the surrounding gravel but at this time of year I can forgive it everything.
I’ve tried to grow other Corydalis but don’t seem to have the conditions (skill?) to keep them from one year to another.
Only the tough survive in the front border and the next two are definitely tough!
This spreads by underground runners and needs a firm hand to keep it in its place.
This Rudbeckia seems to revel in the heat and laughs at the cracks in the ground all around it. It has reached over seven feet tall this year and last nights rain hasn’t made it flop over. It’s somewhat out of scale I suppose but the bees and hoverflies love it, the SnS ignore it and the seedheads persist well into winter. What’s not to like?
The rain seems to be holding off for now so I’m going to take the opportunity to do some repotting in the glasshouse in the cooler conditions. It’s almost been out of bounds in there this week with the temperature getting up well into the 40’s every day.