No doubt about it, autumn is here. After this summer’s weather I didn’t think that there would be very good autumn colour (based on what I’m not sure) but some of the trees around here are colouring up really well so, hopefully, I’m wrong. There was a useful amount of rain yesterday but I’d managed to take some photos of the garden a while before it got too heavy.
Things are starting to slow down in the garden. I’ve taken some cuttings, some of which have rooted and been moved on, I’ve finally put the plants that are large enough in the ground so I decided for this weeks Six to stand and stare – to take in the overall picture and to appreciate the colour and texture that is still looking good. Here are six areas of the garden (it’s also the whole garden!) and one plant from each.
There’s a sleeper step up to the top of the garden where I have some Hostas in pots. The colder nights mean that their leaves have started to turn a lovely buttery yellow colour.
If you were to then turn around this would be the view. Just out of shot is the fern wall behind the Birch tree.
On the right, against the back of the garage are two more ladders for the succulents.
Walk through the arch and you’re in the glasshouse area.
On the right is the shed and side wall of the garage. I grow Ricinus every year but it’s been too dry for them this year and only one has amounted to anything. It’s made up for the others though as it’s taller than the garage.
Through the arch (with the Honeysuckle growing on it) by the glasshouse and you come to the main border and Dahlia bed. Here’s the right-hand side area
The narrow border on the right has a mixed hedge and then the drive. It’s a very dry spot and I’ve struggled to establish plants here. Over the last couple of years I’ve changed the planting to mainly Hylotelephiums and grasses.
And here’s the left-hand side.
The tall Michaelmas Daisy is Symphiotrichon novae-angliae ‘St Michael’s’
Finally, round to the front garden.
The climbing Roses are still putting out a few flowers
It’s been good to stand and stare and it’s made me appreciate how well the garden has done despite this years challenging conditions. There are gaps where plants have been lost but they don’t show when looking from a distance and will provide new planting opportunities.
The photo at the very top is Dahlia ‘Edge of Joy’. It’s a weak plant and I feel it’s on the wrong side of joy and am a bit disappointed.
It’s autumn and usually the perfect time for planting out. I’ve a few plants that have been kept in pots as the ground in the main border has been too dry to plant them out. I’d planned to do this job this week as there was some rain forecast but it didn’t arrive, sadly. I tried to plant a couple of them but the ground there is still very dry so they remain in their pots. At least I can keep them watered that way.
In a different area of the garden the summer conditions caused Athyrium nipponicum ‘Pictum’ to retreat below ground – it did the same last summer. However, the rain that we had last week was enough to restart it into growth. The new fronds have grown at an amazing rate.
This unnamed Honeysuckle grows over an arch by the glasshouse. It’s an early flowering variety but this year, yet again, the greenfly arrived at the same time and completely disfigured the flowers. It then lost most of its leaves in the heat but, like the fern, it’s making a late comeback.
The ‘jungle’ plants in front of the shed have needed a lot of watering but have really enjoyed the heat.
In the main border the Michaelmas Daisies are adding a lot of colour. This weeks star is Symphyotrichum novi-belgii ‘Flamingo’. This plant has taken a few years to establish itself but has now made a reasonable sized clump.
I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to water the Dahlia bed any more but did so the other day as they were beginning to suffer. The following day they looked so much better. This week I’ve chosen D. ‘Night Butterfly’. It’s a collarette variety and much loved by the bees.
I started with a fern and I’m going to finish with one. I used to work in a garden that had a large collection of ferns and one that fascinated me was Woodwardia orientalis. I’ve always felt/knew that it was too big for my garden but last year I succumbed and planted it in the fern bed. It’s definitely going to get too big but I’ll get lots of pleasure from it until then. A new frond unfurled a few days ago and is a beautiful bronze colour.
The first of my bulbs arrived this week but I’ve nowhere to plant them yet – I’m not complaining, just saying. I find that it’s an exciting and sad time of year in the garden – exciting planning bulb planting, areas to revamp and plants to lift and divide but sad as the summer plants go over and herbaceous plants start to look very tired.
The overnight temperature has been averaging 12 – 14C for the last couple of weeks but on Thursday night it went down to 8.2C and last night was a low of 5.4C. Brrrrr. It’s interesting to see how some of the plants are rallying after the heat and drought. A Hydrangea whose leaves were completely crisped now has new leaves shooting, but would they have been next years leaves? Time will tell.
The high glasshouse temperatures have, not surprisingly, had a detrimental effect on a lot of the plants in there. The Thunbergia and Ipomoea lobata that are growing across the roof have defoliated but are now showing some signs of re-shooting though with the cool overnight temperatures I don’t think that they’ll come to much. The pots of Achimenes are later flowering but adding some bright colour.
Michaelmas Daisies are slowly opening and adding a very different feel to the borders. ‘Monch’ has been flowering for several weeks and has been joined by the shorter, larger flowered violet-blue Aster amellus ‘King George’
Solenostemons add colour to pots although some do better than others. Cuttings of ‘Lord Falmouth’ overwinter well and make good sized plants.
The front garden very much looks after itself. It’s planted with mostly perennial plants, a lot of which self seed around. The Stipa gigantea is many years old and looked lovely in the morning sunshine yesterday (photo at top).
Many of the Clematis are covered with crispy brown leaves but C. tangutica ‘Bill MacKenzie’ hasn’t paused in its flowering. It started in May and is now covered with silky seedheads alongside the new flowers.
Dahlia of the week this week is ‘Tartan’. Well, I bought it this year as a young plant labelled as such but it doesn’t match on-line pictures. Whatever it’s name I’m very pleased with it.
The richer colours are definitely coming to the fore in the garden now alongside the grasses. I’ve been taking Salvia, Penstemon and Solenostemon cuttings this week and I finally ordered my Tulip bulbs. That’s a few things off of the to-do list.
The rain arrived! One short, thundery downpour on Monday evening threatened to flatten a lot of the plants but since then we have had more moderate rain every day and the garden has responded well. I’ve been working on a new quilt this week so there’s been very little gardening done but the plants have had a good chance to recover and I’ll be out there this weekend trying to restore some order. I must also take Salvia and Penstemon cuttings asap. I took a quick trip around the estate this morning (it doesn’t take long!) and here are six things that caught my eye.
Straight out the back door is Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’. I keep this to a small clump that comes up in front of the foliage of Clematis ‘Aljonushka’ (there seem to be several spellings of this but this was the one on the label) after it has finished flowering. However, with this years unusual conditions the Clematis is having a second flowering.
Slightly to the left of the above photo are the Hostas in pots. The dry conditions mean that they have been mostly unaffected by SnS. Solenostemon ‘Campfire’ was on the patio but when it got very hot I moved it up to this shady area and there it has remained, looking very good with the Hostas.
On to a sunnier, very dry spot in the garden where Alstroemeria ‘Summer Breeze’ and Salvia ‘Nachtvlinder’ have responded well to the rain.
One of my first jobs today is to deadhead the Dahlias but they are looking good. Here’s todays favourite.
The colour in the main border is changing as the Michaelmas Daisies get into their stride. I’m going to save them for another week as Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ has been flowering for weeks and deserves to make an appearance here. I divided this plant in the spring as it had outgrown its space but the drought doesn’t seem to have affected it at all. It gets covered with bees and hoverflies and doesn’t require staking, despite being over six foot tall.
There’s a narrow, west-facing border in front of a mixed hedge that I’ve struggled with for years. It gets very dry and anything tall ( my usual preference in a plant) grows away from the hedge. I decided to try a mix of Hylotelephiums (nearly wrote Sedums then) and mid-height grasses a few years ago. It’s been slow but encouraging progress though some of the grasses have really struggled this year (same old story). Here’s a pairing that has definitely worked.
It’s not forecast to rain today but the sky in the pictures suggests a different story. I’m off to do some deadheading now so will return later to catch up with other Sixers at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/
Thanks for reading and wishing you a good weekend.
When the heatwave broke we had several hours of rain and over the next few days the plants showed signs of recovery. Sadly, bar a bit of drizzle, we haven’t had any rain since and some plants in the main border are once again wilting.
Last years I sowed seeds of Maurandya ‘Red Dragon’. The plants did well and by the autumn had made small tubers that I overwintered and re-planted in the spring. I’m growing a couple of them in the glasshouse, although they weren’t very keen on the glasshouse heatwave temperatures of near 50C. They’ve started flowering again and are a favourite with the bees. The photo at the top shows a recent visitor and this is the flower he was in.
Last year I planted Rosa ‘Blush Noisette’ on one of the Clematis obelisks in the main border. Despite me not watering this border the rose has done reasonably well this year and is having a second flush of flowers.
In front of the herbaceous Clematis in the above photo is Hylotelephium telephium ‘Purple Emperor’. The red leaves and flowers look good against the yellow Helenium but the bees don’t seem to be so bothered with this variety.
The first of the Hesperanthus has started to flower but the plants are shorter and the flowers are smaller.
Heuchera ‘Peach Flambé’ to the left was planted several years ago and had made a large plant but it couldn’t cope with the heat and drought. An autumn planting opportunity.
Some plants seem to have been unaffected by the conditions and, when looking for this weeks Six, I realised how good Sollya heterophylla had looked all through the heat. It’s only a couple of years old, is planted in a south facing border and hasn’t been watered at all this year. A real star.
At the moment there’s thundery showers forecast here for tomorrow. Fingers are crossed but I shan’t be holding my breath.
The cooler weather means that a bit more can be done in the garden and it’s reassuring to see that a lot of the plants are rallying after the extreme heat and drought. We’ve had quite a bit of drizzly rain and a couple of longer showers but the ground is still like a dustbowl in most places. The last few nights have been cooler and there’s been morning dew to help the grass green up.
The glasshouse is next to the lawn and many years ago, to try to protect it from stray footballs etc, I planted a mixed Euonymous hedge along the lawn side. I’d previously taken cuttings from my dad’s garden for a hedge elsewhere in the garden. The hedge worked and no glass was ever broken. Over the years it’s got taller and woodier and, although I give it an annual prune and the hedge is on the north side of the glasshouse, I’ve slowly realised how much it decreases the light level in there and on Monday I cut it down. I’m not going to be able to remove the roots as there’s an Amelanchier (although, as I’ve shown in a previous post, it’s not as healthy as it was) and a Pieris in the same area. Maybe it’s time to redo the whole area………..
Colocasia ‘Coco’ came through the winter and has grown quite well in it’s second year. It produced a rather under-whelming flowering stem several weeks ago and then I read that a lot of people remove these so that the plant keeps producing leaves. I belatedly removed the flower and have been rewarded with……two more flowers!
The Japanese Anemone foliage isn’t looking great but the flowers are. This is ‘Hadspen Abundance’.
To the right is one of my favourite early autumn plant groups.
I don’t stake Crocosmia but the heat/drought have made Emily splay out. ‘Monch’ has been flowering for several weeks and the poor Rudbeckia is about half its usual height. The hop has positively thrived in the heat/drought. The daisy in front of the Crocosmia is an Erigeron (I think) that has been flowering since the beginning of June.
For many years I’ve grown the annual Rudbeckia ‘Rustic Dwarf’ from seed with mixed results. Last year I decided to grow the perennial R. triloba ‘Prairie Glow’ as a possible replacement and, although it looked a little weedy to start with, I’m really pleased with it.
The Dahlias are beginning to gather steam and will no doubt make several appearances here over the coming weeks but one of my all time favourites is D. ‘Creme de Cassis’. The contrast between the dark and light petal reverse and upper is beautiful.
I’m looking forward to a day in the garden today – deadheading is the first job and I’ve vine weevil nematodes to apply to the pots. I’ll be back to look at the other Sixes later https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/
There was welcome rain on Tuesday as the heatwave broke. Since then there’s been a few light showers but not enough to really get down into the ground. The plants all look very grateful for the rain that did fall though and the water butts are all at a healthy level again. Driving around everywhere here suddenly has an autumnal look about it though I think the colour in the trees is more about leaves dying rather than turning colour. I cut and edged the tiny lawn for the first time in three weeks yesterday and it’s looking greener already. I must stop dithering and order some bulbs this week, but my Tulip want list is much too long to justify, even to myself. While I procrastinate further here are six things I’ve picked from the garden this week.
On our way home from a recent cat-sitting spell in Dorset we stopped at the Desert To Jungle nursery near Taunton. (Jim mentioned this nursery in his Six last week but I haven’t a clue how to add a link. Sorry). What a place!! It was exceptionally hot and so time spent in the many poly tunnels was very limited (the Non-Gardener sensibly stayed outside in shade) but I was in paradise. I definitely need a much bigger garden and, keeping that thought in mind, my purchases were limited to three ferns to fill gaps in the Fern Wall. One of the above mentioned poly tunnels had Cannas and Hedychiums in (there were many more outside as well) and the perfume from the Hedychiums was (almost) overpowering. I’d split my H. gardnerianum in the spring and planted a couple of clumps in the borders, did the same with a couple more in our daughter’s new garden and had one little pot without a home. When I looked closer a flower spike was beginning to appear on this one so I put it in the glasshouse and it rapidly elongated and opened. Walking into the glasshouse first thing the scent was incredible. I intended to photograph it on Thursday but forgot to do so before I went to the Festival of Quilts for the day. By Friday morning it was already going over but still deserves a place.
The Fern Wall faces north but catches the very early morning and late evening sun across the front. The increasing heat was causing some scorching and so the ferns were moved to the north facing, never see the sun, front of the house. Tuesdays heavy rain meant that they spent the night standing in water and then we moved them back in place on Wednesday. With the worst scorched leaves removed they seem to have come through the heatwave well.
The Hydrangea below the ferns looked half dead a few days ago but has made a remarkable comeback unlike this one in a different part of the garden.
There are little plump buds behind the dead leaves so I’m sure that it will survive but I can’t decide whether to leave the shrivelled flowerheads on until next spring or cut them off. What would you do? In contrast, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ look fairly unscathed despite the soil being like dust.
Due to going away dates and timing I was a lot later than normal sowing my spring seeds. After they germinated the weather was cold and overcast (remember those days?) and they were very slow to grow. The half hardy climbers seemed particularly affected and I wasn’t sure if they’d make enough growth to flower. However, the first Ipomoea lobata flowers opened this week.
With Cyclamen hederifolium appearing at the front of the borders, Japanese Anemones opening and Aster frickartii ‘Monch’ in full bloom the garden has definitely entered a new phase. ‘Monch’ was badly beaten by Tuesdays rain so I’m giving it until next week to make an appearance here but another Aster is making an understated show in a border. I planted A. macrophyllus ‘Twilight’ to contrast with the brighter and sturdier Lobelia ‘Hadspen Purple’. I’m pleased overall but the Lobelia has, not surprisingly, suffered in the drought. You have to be an optimist to be a gardener and I’m sure that next year this pair will look glorious.
Finally, into the glasshouse. The half hardy climbers haven’t fared well in the excessive heat (up to 48 degrees some days) and so will remain unshown for now. I’ve also grow Achimenes in there for a couple of years and this year decided to add Kohleria ‘Silver Feather’ to them as a contrast. The large velvety leaves have a metallic look to them and, as the flower buds started developing a few weeks ago, the anticipation has been growing.
The first flowers opened on Wednesday and they are very striking indeed. It’s just a shame that they are so small and that they are rather concealed by the large leaves.
Last Saturday it got to 34 degrees here whereas it’s only 19 at the moment (late Saturday morning). We just need some consistent rain to properly end the drought and all will be good in the garden. Despite the recent weather (most of this years weather has been strange to be honest) and a bit of moaning the garden gives me so much pleasure (I might even sit down in it one day 🤣). The other Sixers can be found at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ so don’t forget to head over there.
Have a good weekend, whatever the weather and thanks for reading.
There’s not a lot can be said about the weather here – it’s hot and very, very dry – 34C yesterday and forecast to be a little warmer today. Yesterday, despite shading on both long and one short side, four roof vents, five side vents and an open door the glasshouse peaked at 48.2C . Even with watering it’s a miracle anything is still alive in there. However, being a fairly optimistic person here are six things from the garden this week that, with the exception of one of them, look fairly alive and well.
The Dahlias are all together in a bed and I gave each plant a whole can of water earlier this week. The flowers are going over quicker than usual but there’s a lot of bee activity. A new one to me this year is D. ‘Night Butterfly’, a collarette variety.
As well as the ferns on the Fern Wall there are several in the bed below it. Athyrium niponicum pictum is always the first to give up and retreat back underground when the going gets too hot and dry. Once we’ve had some rain I’m sure that it will spring back into life again.
On the subject of the Fern Wall, the plants suffered in the short heatwave last month and were relocated to the front of the house for a couple of days. In a pre-emptive move we moved them back there again on Wednesday and they are looking very happy.
Another heat casualty, Geranium ‘Blue Sunrise’, was planted out many weeks ago and had settled in well. The latest heat has proved too much for it though and the top growth has completely crisped this week. I’ve cut it back, given it a can of water and the ‘you have one of two choices’ talk. Interestingly, at the same time I planted a spare Oxalis vulcanicola grown from a cutting next to the Geranium and it is looking very healthy. I’ve grown this Oxalis for a couple of years, overwintering cuttings in the glasshouse, and, unlike other Oxalis varieties, it doesn’t seem to set any seed so gives lots of pleasure and no problems 🤞.
After disappearing for several years a perennial Sweet Pea reappeared a couple of years ago and has gone from strength to strength. It’s a lovely softish pink colour but a few weeks ago a cluster of white flowers appeared. Maybe it’s a seedling?
I’m having to do a lot of supplementary watering of the patio pots (they’re on a solar dripper system connected to water butts) and some pots are faring better than others. This trough is in a semi-shaded position and I’m very pleased with the combination. All plants were overwintered as cuttings.
The Geranium is a darker red that it looks here.
So that’s my six for this week but I’m going to sneak an extra in, maybe the Prop won’t notice or is in a generous mood. I used to grow many varieties of Fuchsias but ditched virtually all of them because of Gall Mite infestation. I’m hoping a couple of years off will help the situation. I now only have one unknown hardy variety and F. ‘Lechlade Gorgon’ that seem to be resistant 🤞🤞🤞. While watering this morning I saw the enormous caterpillars of the Elephant Hawk Moth had found ‘Lechlade Gorgon’. There’s three of them on the plant so I don’t think there will be a lot left by the time they move on. Sadly, I’ve never seen the moth.
I’m looking forward to being able to do some proper daytime gardening in the coming week, it’s even been a bit warm to quilt! Enjoy the rest of the weekend and thanks to The Prop for hosting at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/
August started with some mizzly rain that brought a load of dust down with it but wasn’t enough to do anything for the plants. The Non-Gardener enjoys a bit of sailing but it’s always the wrong tide time or else the wind direction or speed is wrong. Gardening is very similar with not enough or too much rain, too hot, too cold or too windy. I’m definitely complaining about the lack of rain and the windy days at the moment. It’s not all doom and gloom though and there’s only one disaster in this weeks Six.
Let’s start on a positive note. The patio pots are connected to a solar-powered watering system that feeds from a water butt. Even though it’s only drip watering this regular application (plus an occasional top-up) means that they are coping with the conditions quite well. These pots by the back door are in full sun for a large part of the day.
I finally got around to tying in some of the new shoots of R. ‘Gertrude Jekyll’. Over the next two days Gertrude then had some visitors and now looks like this.
While taking the above picture I noticed several of these flies?? on the stems of the Rose. It’s not a great picture as it was rather windy (weather complaint again). Does anyone know what they are?
I always covet Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ but I really haven’t the space for it – that fact doesn’t always stop me acquiring plants – so have admired from a distance. At a Rare Plant Fair last autumn I came across H. paniculata ‘Bobo’, a cross between ‘Limelight’ and ‘Little Lime’. It’s supposed to have a maximum height of three feet (0.9 metres) as opposed to five feet (1.5m) and a maximum width of four feet (1.2m) against six feet (1.8m). I tucked the pot in a sheltered corner with a plan to plant it out by the arbour in the spring. Unfortunately, the spot where I wanted to dig a hole contained a long-forgotten large lump of concrete from a previous structure so ‘Bobo’ is remaining in a pot. I need a garden centre visit to buy a ceramic pot for it.
Let’s get the disaster over and done with. For the second year I have grown half hardy climbers in the glasshouse and moved the tomatoes outside. The tomatoes were reasonable last year and the plants have been growing and flowering well so far this year. However, in a very short period of time the foliage has taken on the appearance of lace curtains. As I usually start to remove the leaves at this time of year to help the fruit to ripen I wasn’t overly worried. With family staying I had a week ‘off’ of gardening (apart from watering) and have been catching up this week. As I started to remove some of the holey leaves I found that the tomatoes were full of caterpillars
I wheedled one out (above) and used Google Lens to try to identify it. Google told me it was a Bright-Line Brown Eye Moth caterpillar and that they like a range of wild and cultivated herbaceous and woody plants and tomatoes! After removing the affected fruit off of five plants I reckon I’ll be lucky to end up with a couple of dozen very expensive tomatoes. The joys of growing your own!
Agapanthus are looking so good at the moment. I only have one, small flowered, deciduous one (at the moment) in a pot. Last year it set a new record with 11 flower heads but this year it has 14.
Lastly, a quick peek in the glasshouse and the Achimenes are starting to flower.
We’ve had family visiting from Belfast for the last week so, apart from some watering, I’ve not done any gardening – far too busy having fun. When I went out into the garden yesterday evening to look for six things to show this week Joseph and Orla decided that they would choose for me.
So I present Joseph and Orla’s Six on Saturday.
Orla’s first choice. The bulbs were ordered as Lilium ‘Apricot Star’ but they clearly aren’t. They are very pretty nonetheless.
Joseph liked the Dahlias and narrowed his choice down to these two
Orla’s looking forward to some bananas! (I did explain).
Final choice for Orla.
Maybe I’ll have to get other people to choose my Six for me again, it’s certainly quicker. Have a great weekend, we’re hoping to get to the Creating Spaces sculpture exhibition at The Garden, Miserden in Gloucestershire later today.