There’s too much going on, I’ve taken photos of at least a dozen things and what makes the cut is pretty much random. I think maybe I’ll do another blog on fillers, the plants that get added as the season progresses to plug gaps. That way I can perhaps whittle this lot down to six.
For all the things performing well, overall the garden is beginning to look just a little tired, the months of dry weather taking its toll. I can see myself having to replace some things with plants better able to withstand warmer and dryer summers.
Let’s start with a crowd pleaser of a white daisy. Shasta daisy, Leucanthemum x superbum. The original hybrid combines four parent plants from three continents. There are loads of forms available now so I dare say it’s even more complicated. Most years this one flops badly but the dry weather has restricted its height this season and it’s standing up unaided.
Last week I included a picture of the group of potted plants at the front of the house. This is one of them, taken from above. It was only planted this spring so I’m very pleased at how well it’s done. It’s all Sempervivums but I don’t remember how many I started with. A couple flowered but I’ve removed the flower stems as it looks much better without them. It’s hard to judge the scale; the pot is 19ins across.
We don’t usually do displays of pots at the back of the house because it impedes the washing line but we have our local garden club paying us a visit in a weeks time so I rounded up various potted things all of which had a bit of red/purple about them.
Plectranthus argentatus on the left, P. ‘Nico’ on the right. Between them the ubiquitous Salvia ‘Amistad’, a couple of Eucomis, an Aeonium and the peerless Solanum quitoensis or Naranjilla, which is sporting its first open flower under that spiny leaf.
Roscoea x beesiana ‘Monique’. Roscoea hybrids such as this, with a yellow flowered parent (cautleyoides) and a purple flowered parent (auriculata), might be expected to display an intermediate colour but what in fact happens is that the colour genes for each parent are expressed in a random cell by cell fashion across the flower. In the case of ‘Monique’, the cautleyoides gene isn’t expressed at all and what you get is some flecking of purple on a white ground.
Two years ago I collected seed from some of the five Roscoeas I have around the garden and raised 70 seedlings, 50 of which I planted out in someone else’s garden earlier this week. They are beginning to flower, predominantly brick red so far, with one fine purple. I’m trying to find a spot for the other 20 here.
When the new neighbours moved in they declared their intention to dig everything out of the front garden and grass it down for the children to play in. It hasn’t happened, but it made me decide that I did want this short standard Hydrangea paniculata after all. I’d left it because we had two already and didn’t really have room for it. I dug it when it was already in leaf; tried to take a ball of soil with it and watered it carefully until it settled in to its new home. Now look at it. I am so glad I took it.
It started out as a pathetic thing with just one stem about 3 feet high; the top few inches of which I chopped off, then pruned the resulting shoots back to a few inches each year since.
Fuchsia of the week. Fuchsia arborescens. It seems to me that Fuchsias that just a few years ago we were selling as strictly not hardy are now thriving as outdoor plants. We have F. colensoi rampaging across one area of the garden and F. boliviana in fine fettle in another. This year we planted out F. procumbens, which hasn’t survived a winter outdoors for us before, but which I suspect will be fine. F. arborescens, also a species, would be much easier if it could stay in the garden over winter, it gets too big to easily accommodate inside but needs a year or two to start flowering freely, so starting new plants each year doesn’t work. As you can see, our plant has more non-flowering shoots than flowering ones.
That’s my six used up. Of the things that I left out, the one I am feeling the greatest pressure to bring in at number seven is Cyclamen. I’ve had one or two flowers out for a couple of weeks now, ridiculously early, but it prompted me to go looking for seed pods today. August is the time to sow fresh cyclamen seed, it germinates much better when fresh and all the species ripen their seed at roughly the same time, notwithstanding the wide variation in flowering time. I found some capsules already spilling seed and many more not far behind. They will self sow but should be more reliable if I collect and sow them in trays. I’ve been collecting seed of various things around the garden; once I have something that I like and is doing well, it’s a great way to build up numbers, for myself and to give away. Not a few are much better if sown as soon as possible, so sending things to the Hardy Plant Society or whoever will likely end in disappointment for the recipients.
I collected seed of a Geranium I have under the name incanum a couple of weeks back and they’re popping up like cress, the first of this season’s harvest. I think it’s G. harveyii and I should have bought the Geranium book at Rosemoor when I was there last weekend. Back there again mid August for their flower show, I’ll get it then.
Loads more weekly garden snapshots can be found over at The Propagator’s blog.