Sunday, 15 July 2012

My July flowers

I have been trying to take photos for the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day the last couple of days, but it hasn’t been easy – dodging the showers! I so wanted to show you how much my garden has progressed since last month and it would have been nice to show everything off in glorious sunshine, but alas, the rays of sunshine have been few and far between the last month. Well, not just the last month, the last three months to be honest!

But I have managed to take my photos, some of them even in pouring rain, well, what don’t I do for my beloved readers! I was outside yesterday with an umbrella to protect my camera, wishing I had at least one more arm so I could hold the umbrella and the camera properly without getting too wet! My garden is still later than any year I have gardened at this house, without much sunshine there is no way it’s going to catch up but everything is getting there, eventually. So, despite being middle of July I still have only Lilium reagale of my oriental lilies in flower, the rest are in buds. And the crocosmias have just barely opened, many weeks later than last year, same with the hydrangeas – probably 4 weeks later than last year. But I have lots to show you, my garden is lush and green from all the rain and there are colours wherever you turn, here is a selection for you.

My astilbes are flowering, they were moved last year when I redesigned the garden and now got a much more prominent place which they rightly deserve.

I love this plum-pink coloured Astilbe chinensis 'Vision in Pink' ....

....but the purple astilbe is great too, although it didn’t have any fancy name on the label, just ‘Astilbe!

And just behind the astilbes is one of the groups of Lilium regale in full flower.

These highly fragrant trumpet lilies fill my garden with the most exquisite scent.

They even look gorgeous in pouring rain!

Here is my dahlia corner. I have 5 dahlias, 3 called ‘Sunshine’ and 2 called ‘Striped Vulcan’ The latter hasn’t flowered yet, still even waiting for buds on the one at the front!

Roses! Can’t get enough of them. This is ‘Crimson cascade’.

And this is ‘Peace'....

....and another ‘Peace’, a bit more opened.

And this is a pot rose I bought in a supermarket some years ago.
After it was finished flowering I planted it out and it has been
outside ever since. Look how tall it is!

The roses last for a long time, much longer than many of my garden roses.

It produces masses of lovely pink flowers. Pot roses are great outdoors!

This is one of my three hydrangeas, and this one had to get a rather unseasonal trim last autumn because it had grown so big that the heavy branches were bending down to the ground and started to produce new shoots in all sorts of strange directions. Pruning hydrangeas in September is not advisable if you want flowers the next year, so I did it with some reluctance, but it had to be done even if I was going to lose one year’s flowering. And it hasn’t flowered as prolifically as previous years, but because of the cold weather we have had it actually isn’t in full flower yet!

Here is a photo of the same hydrangea last year in late June, look how many flowers I had! But over the summer all the branches started drooping and I cut it down to a third in size. Surprisingly it is now back to almost the same size, just not as many flowers. I hope the stems will be stronger so I don’t have to keep cutting it down every other year, that would be a shame. What this lovely hydrangea hasn’t got in terms of numbers of flowers it has instead made up for in the SIZE of the flowers this year. You can’t really see that on the photo above from yesterday so I just had to take a photo of one of the flowers up close....

.....look at the flower next to my hand!! I have quite large hands, but the size of this flower is gigantic!

And here is the second hydrangea, the same type as the first one, Hydrangea macrophylla which produces flowers dependant of the pH in the soil. This one is placed in my woodland corner and gets a different soil condition than the first one, so therefore the colour is also different.

The flowers are delicately pink/purple.

And this is my third hydrangea, Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'. Despite lots of staking all the rain has weighed down the heavy flower stalks and it is now a bit of a mess.

The flowers are beautiful though, going from pale green to completely white when fully opened.

And my Dregea sinensis has finally started flowering! I have written about the dregea many times before here on my blog, especially on the pruning challenges it gives me every winter. It is a lovely plant though, with a strong, sweet scent which is most noticeable in the evening after a sunny day – not many evenings like that lately I must say, but the dregea is going to flower well into September so I can always hope for a shift in the weather eventually!

The flowers on the dregea are tiny, but with masses of them they cover the inside and the outside of the arch.

My Acanthus spinosus has started to flower. This year I have 11 flower spikes! Never had that many before. I guess the rain has been doing some good here too....

Acanthus spinosus is also called Bear's breeches and is often viewed as a weed, I quite like this architectural plant with these tall spikes that flower for weeks.

And here is a teaser for you for later, my summer flowering hellebore!

Yes, I know....my hellebores flower in February too, just as everywhere else, but one of my hellebores is a bit special.....it flowers for a second time, in July!! Ever heard about that before? I wrote a post about it last summer, you can SEE THE POST HERE This year’s summer hellebores are just emerging, here is the first flower and there are more to come so I can see a separate post about this topic coming up a bit later this year too :-) And just in case you were thinking that this photo might just be one I had saved from February; here is the tiny bud next to my astilbe, which definitely doesn’t flower in February!

So that was a selection of my flowering plants in the middle of July in my tiny London garden. I have more summer plants to come, thanks to the cold weather we have had, and my autumn plants are just coming into buds. Why don’t you head over to Carol’s at May Dreams Gardens and see what other people around the world have flowering in their gardens right now, on this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day! Until next time, take care.

50 comments:

  1. Magnificent Helene! Those Astilbes and Liliums are just beautiful. Love your Dahlia corner. Those dark leaves and bright blooms are just wonderful. The Roses and Hydrangeas are gorgeous. I particularly love the white Hydrangea.

    What caught my eye the most this visit though, was the stunning Dragea flowers. They really are quite lovely!! It was a joy to pop in today and take a stroll around your garden.

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    1. Thank you Bernie, you are always welcome in my garden :-)

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  2. Hi Helene.... Your blooms are exquisite! I absolutely love the acanthus... I've never tried it here as I don't believe it is hardy enough for us.
    Reharding your comment about staking your lilies, that's the beauty of most orienpets... they don't need staking!! I did stake Silk Road so as to spread the stems apart some, but it would not have been necessary. I assume that you are referring to the red lily beetle and thankfully they have not appeared in this part of the midwest yet.... I hope they never do, or at least not before I give up gardening! I hope to purchase many additional lilies this year as well... I'm thinking of ordering from HW Hyde in your own England... I've heard good reports... are you familiar with their product? Larry

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    1. Acanthus is quite a tough plant, but it depends how cold your winters are. I have never ordered from HW Hyde, but I know of their good reputation and they send worldwide. They also include a Phytosanitary Certificate for sending outside EU, which applies to you.

      You are so lucky not to have got the red lily beetle yet! I say yet, because it will probably spread everywhere eventually, it hasn’t really got any predators in the northern hemisphere, except for stamping feet! That’s how I kill mine, I pick them off and stamp on them, only way to get rid of them. So I literarily patrol my lilies to keep the population to a minimum. I certainly will look into getting some orienpets next year, my Asian lilies don’t need staking, but they have no scent, I love the scent of lilies :-)

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  3. Love that hot pink astilbe next to the burgundy Japanese maple!

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    1. Yes, and my Acer palmatum 'Garnet' has that lovely colour all the time, it is an absolute star in my garden :-)

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  4. Helene-your gardens are so beautiful and inviting! Your hydrangea and roses are exquisite and everything is so full and lush. I especially love the photo of the arch and winding path...just lures you in. Lovely...lovely...lovely!

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    1. Thank you, that winding path was the result of some hard work last autumn, when I got rid of the rest of the grass. Best thing I have ever done in the garden, now I have room for even more plants!

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  5. Your garden is glorious. I also love lilies, though they are a little difficult in my dry climate. I really enjoyed your bloom day post, thank you for sharing your beautiful garden.

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    1. Thank you, and welcome back anytime!

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  6. Your garden is looking so good Helene despite the gloomy weather. I can't believe how impressive that acanthus is - I tried growing it up here in Scotland but it couldn't cope with our cold winters. The scent must be incredible in that enclosed space with your lilies and it's great to see the dregea in flower!

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    1. Yes, the lilies are smelling fantastic, even both my neighbours are commenting on it, they can smell them too! My acanthus is 8 years old and have coped with all sorts of winters, but after the 2 really cold winters we have had now it looks better than ever. It has a good layer of bark mulch though, perhaps that makes a difference?

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  7. Such a beautiful little piece of Earth you have there! And the winding path is great, makes the garden larger and gives surprises :)

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    1. Yes, the overview photo I usually take doesn't relly give the garden credit, as you can't see the bottom of the garden, but that's also the point of having a winding path and separate areas - a bit of surprise here and there :-)

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  8. Hello Helen
    Your beloved readers appreciate your efforts to photograph in the rain holding an umbrella!! What exquisite blooms you have in your garden right now. My favourites? The astilbe chinensis, the pot roses, the huge hydrangea (!) and your wonderful Dregea sinensis. I've always loved the arch in your garden - such a excellent focal point. And I know you're tired of the rain but your garden has a lushness that's definitely lacking in our dried-out North American gardens. Thanks for posting!

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    1. Thanks Astrid, I never get tired talking about my Dregea, it's such a lovely and unusual plant, at least here where I live. As for photographing in the rain...I hope I won't have to do a lot more of that this summer, hope it will stop soon, both I and my garden have had enough now!

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  9. Your garden is so beautiful! I don't have enough moisture for hydrangea and had to pull mine. Lucky you for having such gorgeous ones. :o) I love the vine on your arbor. I've never heard of it before. I like how you have to look up to see the flowers, as if they're hiding.

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    1. I wish the rain was a bit more evenly distributed this year, it really isn't fair that we get all of it and you none! As for the Dregea, it has just as many flowers on the outside but I was trying to protect my camera (and me) from beeing drenched while taking the photo, that's why I am standing under the arch, protected from the rain!!

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  10. Beautiful! Thanks for going out in the rain for us. Love the Astilbe, wish I had enough water to spare for them but they really do need quite a bit. Also, amazing Hydrangea.

    Happy bloom day!

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    1. Thank you, yes the Astilbes are doing wery well this year, thanks to all the free water from above. The owner of the garden is not so happy with the free water though...

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  11. My goodness Helene your garden is so lush and full of colorful blooms...mine is browning and in need of some cooler wet weather for a brief change...although the veg beds are thriving. I cannot get over the roses and hydrangeas...stunning

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    1. I'll be happy to share some rain with you, anytime, just tell me where to send it - I have much more than I need!

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  12. Beautiful garden, Helene! Love the roses, hydrangeas, and especially bear's breeches and the lilies. Please send rain to Illinois!

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    1. I'd loved to, I am sick of it - I need some sunshine!

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  13. Helene, I love the hydrangeas. I can't believe how large the blooms are on the one that you pruned. I like the layout of your garden and how you use borders. Thanks for the inspiration. Gravel seems to get all over the place in my garden.

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    1. Thanks for you kind comments, yes the gravel used to be all over the place here too, so I decided to take control and containe it! Looks so much neater and tidy ;-)

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  14. That is so interesting how your flowers are blooming so late, while ours bloomed so early this year. The effect that weather can have! Your blooms are stunning though, especially the lily and the dregea. I can't seem to get enough pictures of your dregea, it is so exquisite. I love reading your posts about it!

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    1. Yes, the weather, the weather...been a strange spring and summer, I haven't really got the feeling that summer has started yet! I am so happy you share my love for the Dregea, I love unusual plants that none of my neighbours have ;-)

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  15. Helene: Your Astilbes, Lilies, and Roses are spectacular! And your Hydrangeas are oh, so much happier than mine are. Wouldn't it be nice if we could both moderate our temps a bit? I'll send you a little sunshine if you'll send me some rain. ;-)

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    1. Beth, I'd be more than happy to share my rain, in fact, you can have a whole month worth of it! And I do need some sunshine soon, the winter is going to feel very long if we don't get any summer at all...

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  16. Hi Helene, I love the layout of your garden, especially the arch covered in dregea. Lilium regale are called Christmas lilies in New Zealand because they flower in December. It wouldn't be Christmas without their scent! Your garden is beautiful even in the rain - but fingers crossed it clears up for you soon.

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    1. Hi, lilies in your garden for Christmas, that must be lovely! I have roses, and Christmas rose, which is hellebores, but expecting lilies to grow in England at Christmas would require even more strange weather than we have had lately!

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  17. aloha,

    wow, what a beautiful collection, i loved that you moved the astilbes and the combination with the lillies, i can amost smell them here in Hawaii, or was that the plumeria?

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    1. Thank you, and I am growing some pink lilies which are shorter than the Lilium regale and they are going to go in behind the astilbes and in front of the regales, filling in the gap. Next year I will be permanently sitting at the bottom of my garden just taking in the scent :-)

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  18. Hi Helene

    Thanks for your comments on my blog. I'm fascinated by that Dregea and particularly by the amount of flower it's displaying. I've seriously considered growing it here in Plymouth (if I can find any room) but have always been put off by its reluctance to produce a lot of flower down here. You must be in a far better microclimate than we southwest gardeners.

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    1. I can't really give you any advice on how to get lots of flowers as I don't do anything to get them! I spray against greenfly and blackfly when that's a problem, not a problem every year, and they get a splash of water when the rest of the plants are watered but that's it. No fertiliser or any fancy products, just a mulch of bark. I prune it heavily though, and I mean heavily! To keep the two plants contained on the arch I prune off perhaps 70% every February, perhaps that promotes the mass flowering as it flowers on new shoots. A very rewarding plant :-)

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  19. Helene, Even if it's not much fun to be out in your garden in all the rain, it looks beautiful -- not just lush, but such wonderful colors. I especially love the hydrangeas and Astilbe 'Visions in Pink.'
    I had to laugh about you trying to get pictures in the rain -- not only needing a third hand (I've often wondered why humans have never evolved a third arm) but also trying to get some sunshine for better photos. Meanwhile, across the pond, I was hoping for some overcast so my flowers wouldn't look so washed out in the strong sun! -Jean

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    1. Hi Jean, I wish we could share the rain and the sun a bit more evenly this year! But things might be going in the right direction for us over here, at least for a few days. Imagine a whole week-end without rain, we haven't had that for ever so long, but we might get that this week, just in time for last minute preparations for the Olympics :-)

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  20. Living in an area where rain is often on the scene, I appreciate that you ignore it and go out and photograph it anyway. The juggling act of umbrella, camera, tripod and setting up the shot is always an adventure! And it makes the garden look fresh and alive! Gorgeous garden!

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    1. Thank you, and thanks for appreciating my juggling act, I hope it will be a while till next time :-)

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  21. Beautiful and so lush! Everything looks so healthy and happy.
    We can grow Bear's breeches here in the Spring, so I'm definitely trying some.

    Dregea is a new one for me and I love it.
    Happy GBBD!
    David/:0)

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    1. Thanks David, Acanthus is a very rewarding plant that requires very little apart from enough water, definitley something to try :-)

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  22. Your garden is wonderfully lush...and I can practically smell those Lilies from here ;-)

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    1. Thanks, yes I do have a special relationship with my lilies, even though they flower for a short time compared to many other plants in my garden I would not be without them :-)

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  23. Your garden looks lush and beautiful. The pink roses are so pretty, and the hydrangeas are gorgeous. Enjoy your garden; I just did!

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    1. Glad you did, my garden is tiny but I have managed to cram a lot of different plants in it. Hope to see you back next season, there is always something in flower here, even mid-winter :-)

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  24. I love your garden, thanks for sharing. I'm a great fan of dahlias but unfortunately mine almost always get nobbled by slugs or snails

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    1. The slugs have been absolutely enormous this year! But they are easier to spot too then, they go in the compost bin in my garden! I use slug pellets all year round, but because of all the rain the pellets dissolve very quickly so the slugs have had a better life than normal :-)

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  25. Oh my! That is one of the most beautiful blooming gardens I’ve ever seen! I love how your flowers bloom so healthy and bright. It just shows how much TLC they receive from you. Your roses are so magnificent. Just looking at their pictures makes me feel better. =)

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