Six on Saturday – 6/8/2022

Our last garden opening is next weekend, so we have been making an effort to keep things alive and at least most of it presentable. Once that’s out of the way, unless we get substantial rain, it’s decline will be rapid. The money we’ve taken on plant sales might just about cover the extra on the water bill.

We’re not used to long spells of dry weather and neither in the main are the plants we grow, so things suffer. The odd plant is having a better than average year, most are emphatically not. It is hard not to get somewhat disheartened sometimes. Still, whingeing won’t help so it’s on with the motley, out with the camera and see what’s looking good.

One.
Fred sent me seed of Abutilon. Pink was the total of the description so I didn’t really know what to expect. I sowed them on 18th April and now have 15 young plants in 9cm pots, some of which are beginning to flower. I don’t have a clue what I would do with 15 of them at full size so I’m hoping for duplicates; so far they’re all different and all good. Thank you Fred, and how hardy is it please?

Two.
On a visit to one of our local plant emporiums I saw a plant of Kohleria ‘Sunshine’. It was love at first sight, there was never the remotest chance of me coming home without it. It has doubled in size and flowered relentlessly; I have not had cause to regret my decision and even if it dies now, I have had excellent value for money from it. It was a Dibley’s plant, said emporium buys bits and pieces from them, mainly Begonias. Talking of which, I bought a Begonia at the same time, which will get a mention in the blog I’m writing about Begonias and hopefully will get finished in time for Christmas. Of course these things are house plants so probably technically don’t qualify as garden things but I ain’t bovvered.

Three.
Magnificent, malodorous Eucomis montana.

Four.
Crocosmia ‘Carmin Brilliant’. You don’t need very many Crocosmias for them to all start looking the same. We spent years trying, not entirely successfully, to rid ourselves of the widely naturalized common Montbretia and this, which I bought, is not very different or significantly better.

Five.
Butterflies. Knowing that cold wet weather doesn’t suit butterflies one is lured into thinking that warm dry weather will bring them out in swarms. Nope, the fact that farmland in this country is now all but completely devoid of wildflowers means they have a hard time whatever the weather. Who’d have thought it eh? My tally so far is Gatekeeper, Cabbage White, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and Peacock, with just one sighting of the last three. That is dire.

Six.
Buddleia ‘Dartmoor’ is a form with branched flower panicles, giving it the potential to produce a much enhanced show. I planted it in the dry poor soil of the bank at the top of the garden and it has grown splendidly. Part of it upright and mostly hidden behind a Camellia, part has flopped out to the left where it is behind a different Camellia and the rest has arched over the neighbours fence so I hope he is enjoying it. When I cut it down this winter I shall shove a few bits in to the left of where it is now. Provide a bit more food for the absent butterflies.

Another week gone. August is perhaps the pinnacle of the growing cycle and as the month progresses the sense of sliding into autumn becomes unavoidable, no matter how much is still flowering. To myself I’m saying enjoy what you can, as much as you can, while you can. The drought has infected our MC, the propagator, and I suspect there’ll be gloom aplenty at the other end of the links. Optimism too.

25 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 6/8/2022

  1. That’s a shame that your weather is so dry right now.

    I feel sorry for the butterflies, too. We have three large butterfly bushes in our back garden. They have been covered with butterflies, making the bushes alive with shimmering movement.

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  2. We’ll done! You did well with the abutilons! Let them grow and pinch them out from time to time. I leave mine outside from March to November. A pruning before overwintering them and if they give leaves and tall stems with winter, another hard pruning in spring

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  3. Ah, so that is where the Peacock butterflies are! Love the abutilons, I have one variegated one which rarely flowers. I have kept it indoors over winter and outdoors over winter, it doesn’t seem to make any difference.

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  4. It’s such a pity re declining butterfly numbers, we do what we can but with hardly any habitats left for them it’s not looking too hopeful. Your Eucomis look nice and bushy, mine are more spindly, do they get bushier with age?

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    1. We’ve been happy enough with the open garden numbers, it really isn’t a garden where you’d want dozens of people at once. We had a few repeat visitors and a few that came on the recommendation of earlier visitors, both good signs.

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  5. You mentioned the A word, and with all the lack of rain, with scorched and browned leaves, it is going to come early. What an excellent close up of the butterfly.

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    1. In ’76, when the rain eventually came in October, a lot of things started into growth again, notably lawns. Most of the butterflies were taken with a telephoto and cropped, which is perhaps something I should have kept to myself.

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  6. You know how gardens get shabbier through winter in your region? Well, they do the same to some degree through summer in our region. Without significant watering, some plants desiccate in the arid warmth, but recover when the rainy weather resumes during autumn. Some plants do it because they prefer more moisture than they get from the weather here. Some native species do it also, just because it is how they survive the long and dry summers. I suspect that many of the plants that are languishing in the warmth there will eventually recover.

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    1. I’m sure most things will recover and come back as normal next year. The dry spell, over three years, that we had back in 1976 and the adjacent years, set off a bunch of tree diseases, sooty bark on Sycamore (Acer), Anthracnose on Planes, Beech coccus. They disappeared after a year or two and haven’t been a problem since but they killed a lot of trees at the time. Our native flora didn’t evolve to withstand severe drought.

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      1. This can not be the first time this has happened. Even if the last time it happened was a few thousand years ago, it was not long ago in regard to the development of the ecosystems. When our region burns, people are saddened for all the trees. Realistically though, the redwoods know how to survive fire, and the other trees rely on fire for regeneration. It is a natural component of the ecosystem. I just dislike it because I live here! Fire suppression during modern history is what makes the fires so much more devastating now. There is so much fuel, and the fires burn so hot, that old redwoods can succumb.

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      2. I take precisely no comfort whatever from the idea that there have been hot summers in the past and things have survived and recovered. Where we are with atmospheric CO2 is causing the world to heat up rapidly and we would need to reduce the level pretty dramatically to reverse that. Since we are actually increasing it, I see no basis for optimism.

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  7. I read your comment about the rain in 76 not coming until October and my heart sank. Here we have another week of high temperatures to come. What a relief it will be for you to complete your last open day – I think! Wishing well with that and with keep the garden going as we move to Autumn.

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