Six on Saturday – 26/6/2021

We opened, we survived, we open again tomorrow. I did a short blog about the experience, which was a good one. We have nine more openings, taking us to 22nd August, so we have to keep primping and preening until then. We both found the whole thing very tiring and were desperate to get to bed. Getting old, it has nothing to recommend it.

Having steered the garden to what will likely be as good as it gets, finding six things is only a problem because of how many get left out. There are worse problems, here we go.

One.
The front garden. I did six views of the back garden last saturday but the front didn’t get a look in. Here it is in all its clashing glory. In theory the red sweet williams only barely overlapped the orange Alstroemeria; who am I to complain that one is flowering later than expected and the other started earlier.

Two.
That omission out the way, on to some of the things that were looking good out the back. I added some Allium christophii to the two or three I already had. It’s a location that clearly suits them so I’m happy to have more. I will try to collect seed so that I can control where else they appear.

Three.
Hydrangea serrata ‘Cap Sizun‘ managed to be far enough on to show its potential on Wednesday but it improves by the day. Nothing is ever seen in isolation though and I was rather pleased with this combination of Hydrangea and Hak macs.

Four.
Rodgersia ‘Chocolate Wing’. I don’t think there’s much doubt that this would be happier if it had a good deal more moisture. I’ve had it for several years and I think this is the first time it’s flowered. Worth the wait and enough to encourage me to treat it better in hope of even more in future.

Five.
Geranium incanum and Potentilla. I’m not at all sure of the Geranium’s name and I thought the Potentilla that I collected seeds from had intense scarlet flowers whereas all its seedlings look like this. You don’t always need a solid mass of flowers on tidy well behaved plants.

Six.
On Wednesday morning a couple of buds on this Iris ensata were just beginning to unfurl. Perfect timing, thought I. Wrong, they stayed stubbornly shut until thursday morning. I don’t know the variety.

I’m off to the garden centre in a while. Just for compost you understand. Obviously we will look at the plants while we’re there, but no purchases are planned. I wonder how that will play out. SoS host The Propagator posted much earlier, it’s where the links are, it’s where you need to go.

34 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 26/6/2021

  1. The Geranium and Potentilla combination is one to have in mind each enhances the other. You and Mrs S are heroes for opening like this, and as you say to have worked very hard to achieve such a display. Congratulations.

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    1. I’m liking the intertwined, mixed together look more and distinct patches of things less, maybe I’m drawn to a more natural look like everyone else. The traditional herbaceous border with a group of five of this, seven of that doesn’t seem right any more. It’s very tricky finding things that play together nicely though.

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  2. It’s true that the Rodgersia “Chocolate Wing” is really attractive by its darker colour and in addition you are lucky to have a pretty flower this year. You say several years of waiting :How many?

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    1. I think it’s been about five years to flower. I have ‘Bronze Peacock’ in the same bed, planted last year and flowering now, but not such a good flower. I shall water both of them more in future.

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      1. If I water things in the ground, it’s usually with feed in it, but I don’t water them very often and I don’t feed them otherwise. Perhaps I should, they might make more growth in spring when there’s still plenty of moisture around, though they would then need more water later. Bit of Yara Mila Complex next year perhaps.

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  3. The Hak macs with that pretty blue hydrangea makes a lovely photo. And your front garden is equally floriferous (I was hoping to get a sneaky look at the rusty old car, but no such luck).

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  4. It was interesting to read about your NGS opening and I’m glad it went well. It’s something I would be tempted to do but the other half would hate it. The hydrangea and hak mac combination is great.

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    1. I had reservations about opening to be sure. Mainly I wanted to still be gardening for myself and not for other people. It doesn’t work to try to produce what you think other people will like, a garden should reflect the personality of its owner.

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  5. That is some major sweet William! and it is so uniform. We grow a small bit of it, in mixed colors, but I would never expect it to perform like that. It is a diminutive bedding plants that never spreads to cover beds. Instead, it just mixes with other annuals.

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    1. The Hak macs vary greatly in vigour; I find ‘Albostriata’ the most vigorous, along with ‘Samurai’. ‘All Gold’ is surprisingly vigorous, given how bright it is, though it’s relatively floppy. ‘Aureola’ is a bit slower and ‘Stripe it Rich’ much slower. Being a slow grower becomes an advantage eventually.

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      1. I think mine are aureola though almost all bought from open garden plant sales so mostly not named. They’ll get there in the end. Plenty of other faster fill in plants until they do.

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      2. Having been doing open garden sales this afternoon can I say that it’s a poor excuse for plants not having names, IMHO. ‘Aureola’ is much the commonest Hak mac so it’s likely to be that.

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  6. I love all your planting combinations but that red sweet william is something else. It’s surely a good hint to all your future garden visitors what joys may await in the garden behind!

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  7. Your garden is just fabulous, and I love the colours. Hydrangeas and alstroemerias are looking incredible, but really, the whole garden is worth the effort you’ve put into earlier this year. I’ve never had a Dutch iris which bloomed so see yours makes more determined to get them going. Thanks for this lovely post.

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    1. Thanks Martha. An afternoon of heavy rain has left it looking slightly bedraggled but it will recover. The Iris isn’t a Dutch Iris, it’s Iris ensata, the Japanese water iris; it grows from rhizomes rather than the corms that Dutch iris have, and wants wet ground rather than well drained. The flowers are broadly similar.

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  8. Hi Jim, I could see myself listing your six back to you with ‘oohs and aaahs’ for all of them! But I’ll leave it at just two: the Allium christophii is just lovely. I’ve mostly gone for the purple sensation, but I would definitely consider adding this variety. And those red sweet Williams are fabulous and showy. Beautiful ‘front garden’!

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    1. The Sweet Williams are just starting to go over, creating the dilemma of what next? Trying to keep them going another year hasn’t worked well for me. Purple Sensation were far from sensational for me this year, I may try once more but probably not.

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      1. Ah yes, what next is a good question. I have a new bed all made and am unsure what to fill it with (as my list is too long and I want to make sure I get it right!). 🙂

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      2. All my beds are a mix of shrubs, herbaceous, bulbs, annuals and whatever, so it has usually been a matter of placing the main elements then planting around them. Now that all of it is planted I just tinker. I don’t think I’ve done a planting plan of a bed in my life.

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  9. How many more openings? You went NGS open day in a big way! Much respect to you. I think the sweet william and the alstroemeria work rather well together even if by chance. I have some rodgersias in wet soil and they are really slow to get going. I must be in year 4 and they have yet to be impressive. ‘Chocolate Wing’ is a great colour. I have just come back from a week in Suffolk and a stop off at the Beth Chatto gardens where I tried to buy some hak macs – entirely due to seeing them on your pages and of course I could only remember them as hak macs – they knew what I meant though. Unfortunately it was a very slow start to the season for them and theirs were not yet big enough to sell on – despite my begging! Good luck not purchasing any plants on your compost buying trip.

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    1. Ten openings in total, so eight to go. It was mostly because we didn’t want a lot of people all at once. It’s a smallish garden, our partner garden is smaller still, and neither have much open space. I thought it was lack of moisture that had slowed my Rodgersia, perhaps they’re just slow in any conditions. I have grown Hak macs as a nursery plant, they are very slow, especially if you have limited propagation material and split them into small pieces. We bought an Alstroemeria and a Berberis, could have been worse.

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