Saturday, 15 September 2012

September in my garden

What a strange month September has been so far. It started with a careful promise of better weather, then a week of Indian summer and now we have a definite autumnal feel with chilly evenings. I am still not doing much work in my garden after my hip dislocation a month ago and it really shows. I keep up with the watering, that’s it really. My new garden helper hasn’t been back yet after her first visit, she was meant to come again this week but had to cancel and now I don’t know when next visit will be. I have a very long list of garden chores ready for next time she comes :-)

On a distance my garden doesn’t look too bad, at least it is fairly green in most places, but look a bit closer and there are pruning and dead heading jobs wherever you turn. Some of my plants have taken an early die-down due to lack of water and other plants should have had a chop to encourage new growth. But all in all, my garden has survived pretty well on just water and light the last 5 weeks!

And look what I found today, a Geranium 'Scarlet' just starting to flower, in mid September! I had given up this geranium, thought it wasn’t going to produce any flowers, after all I bought it as an annual last year - but I have had ‘annual’ geraniums surviving for years before so I had hopes for it in the spring. As the crocosmia behind it grew bigger and bigger without the geranium making any attempt to put on much growth I didn’t bother staking the crocosmia too hard. The geranium has been pretty much buried under the leaves until I saw some red flowers today. I think the geranium deserve to be freed from all those dead and dying crocosmia leaves so I can see those pretty flowers :-)

And here is another late bloomer, or early bloomer – or confused plant, not sure what to call it to be honest! It is my rhododendron ‘Dopey’ who has decided to produce two flowers, in September! That has never happened before and although this flower is a bit wrinkly and deformed it most definitely is a proper, new flower. The rest of the plant has lots of new buds formed already, ready for next spring, as it should have at this time of year – but it doesn’t seem like any of the other are ready to open. A bit confused then maybe…

Here is a plant that isn’t confused about flowering time. The plant wrapped around this dead conifer is a passion flower, Passiflora caerulea. I got this plant as a seedling I dug up from a friend’s garden and it was about 70 cm long then, back in October last year. I grew it in a pot outside over the winter and planted it in front of this tree in May. Since then it has grown incredibly fast and my hope is that this passion flower will eventually cover the whole tree stump and cascade down from all the branches. Well, that’s the plan anyway! Passiflora caerulea produce orange fruit which apparently is edible but doesn’t taste much. I don’t intend to try the fruit if I get any, I keep to the supermarket ones for my dessert, wish I could grow those in my garden but with the UK climate that would not be possible. This passionflower has been so productive it has even managed to shoot out some baby plants more than one foot from the mother plant, I’m afraid you can’t see that from this photo but they are there, to the right of the tree, in between the Lily of the Valley plants. I intend to carefully lift up those baby plants and pot them on, don’t really want a whole bed full of passionflower but it could be great to have some in reserve should something happen to the mother plant.

Here is the first flower to open, isn’t it beautiful?

Passiflora caerulea

There are a few more buds on this branch, but none on the other, not too bad for the first year though.

Here is another nice surprise, my Physalis Franchettii, Chinese Lantern has finally flowered and produced lanterns, after three years in the making! I had almost given up these two plants and they were seconds away from ending in my compost bin last autumn. I decided to give them one more year, glad I did! I can see they should have had some staking, the last month they have flopped completely and are now horizontal lanterns and a bit of a mess. Lesson learned to next year....I still keep them in a pot as I have read they are pretty invasive, but maybe I will give them a permanent home in a large planter next year since they actually turned out to be quite nice, just a bit slow to take off.

My sedums have finally started flowering, here is one of two groups I have, Sedum Xenox to the left and Sedum erythrosticum 'Frosty Morn' to the right. Sedum Xenox is a bit slower to come into flowering and will need another week or two to look its best. The bees love these sedums and when the rest of the garden is winding down for the autumn, the sedums are providing food for the insects around.

Sedum erythrosticum 'Frosty Morn' in flower.

My begonias are still going strong and will continue until we get frost, so will the miniature rose to the right.

This red Gerbera has produced flowers almost continuously since I got it 4 years ago, all year round.

My pretty ballerina, Fuchsia 'Bella Rosella' isn’t easy to take pictures of when on crutches....I had to just place the camera on the ground, put it on auto focus, press the button and hope for the best – which turned out like this. I normally pinch off the spent flowers before they set fruit but as you can see from this photo, pinching hasn’t been on the agenda for a while! The dark red fruit looks nice though.

This is a bud from the miniature rose, still producing flowers.

And my rose ‘Freedom’ is still going strong too.

This is one of my new David Austin roses, 'Scepter'd Isle', with a fantastic scent, absolutely my favourite of the three I bought back in February.

And the final photo is of my cat, who loves to lie in my rubbish tray when I am out in the garden, regardless of whether there are leaves and flower heads in it or not :-)

That was some of the plants in flower in my London garden this mid September Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, why don’t you head over to Carol’s blog at May Dream’s Garden and see what gardeners around the world have in their garden right now. Until next time, take care.

30 comments:

  1. You have wonderful blooms for September and the passionflower is outstanding. I also love your Chinese Lantern and Sedum. Your cat seems to be enjoying your gardens as well-great photo!!!

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    1. Hi Lee, thanks for your kind comments. My cat is with me in my garden all the time and makes sure to steal a cuddle whenever I sit down for a minute :-)

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  2. Hello Helene
    Sorry to hear that your helper hasn't come back (when you still need her so much!). Hopefully she'll come soon. But I am very happy to see that you can get out to take photos! And what wonderful photos they are!! I especially enjoyed your passionflower and your "late" bloomers. Take care and continue healing...

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    1. Thanks Astrid, my passionflower has been a nice surprise, didn’t expect my cutting to flower this year already!

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  3. You have indeed had some surprises. Your passion flower is gorgeous. Mine is still a young plant and so I have not had any blooms yet. I hope you heal quickly and your helper comes back to give you some assistance. Happy GBBD!

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    1. And happy GBBD to you! I hope she will come sometime this week, but I am keeping up with the watering in the mean time. I think it matters whether you raise a passionflower from a small cutting or take a long shoot grown from layering – which the plant had done by itself by being overgrown and having branches to the ground. One of those shoots were perfect for me to tease out last year and it turned out to flower already this year.

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  4. What lovely surprises! That Scarlet Geranium certainly doesn't go unnoticed, and 'Dopey' is just lovely. Your Passiflora bloom is stunning. They have the most amazing form. You've still got lots of lovely blooms, but I know the mounting number of gardening jobs must be annoying you. Hopefully your helper will come soon. Don't be tempted to do too much yourself.

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    1. Hi Bernie, I am trying, I am trying...it is so tempting just to go and pick up all those leaves on the ground! And all the deadheading, and all the...OK, I am able to do some things, but I have decided to do no more walking around in the flowerbeds for now at least. But yes, it is hard to just look at everything, have needed to develop a special kind of tunnel vision!

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  5. You have a lovely garden to enjoy while you recover. It looks very lush and varied. Particularly liked the Passion Flower. Happy GBBD.

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    1. Hi Pat, thanks for your kind words and well-wishes, glad you liked the passionflower :-)

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  6. Your comment about seeing your gardens from a distance, and that they're looking good when seen that way, struck me that this can often be the case for the fall garden prior to foliage changes and the loose freedom of cascading leaves. I wonder why I would ever obsess over details the way one does earlier in the season... after all, this is part of the natural rhythm of living in a climate with seasons. I certainly don't get upset when the ground is covered with fallen petals from the magnolias... I think of that as a beautiful part of the bloom cycle. So too the colorful fallen leaves of autumn trees... I will have to stop stressing over every little thing which I don't have time to deal with anyway at this time of the year. You have helped me realize that my philosophy of gardening has a few areas that could use a bit of reconsideration and this may well be the best topic for my next post! Thanks for the great post and the inspiration to reconsider my way of looking at the gardens this time of year! Larry

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    1. Hi Larry, I must admit I used to obsess over details at all seasons in the past...but in later years I have had to ease off a bit on my own high standards, both indoors and in my garden. A certain degree of tunnel vision helps, and not having deadlines helps too – I go out and do what I feel like that day, when I have had enough I go inside – and perhaps I go out again later in the day. That’s why I could never have an allotment I would need to travel to, I would not be able to get to it as often as I would like to and I would feel I needed to do a lot of work whenever I was there to justify the travel.
      Glad I could be of inspiration for a future post, looking forward to reading it! Take care.

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  7. I love the passion flower, should look quite stunning if it covers the tree!! I wish you a speedy recovery!

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    1. Hi Christine, yes the passionflower has turned out to be a fast grower, and apparently it can be 10m tall! Should be enough to cover the tree stump...

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  8. September in your garden has many treasures yet! I also have some plants, for ex. salvia, which is just starting to bloom! Love your passionflower. Wonderful images of the mild, warm time of the year.

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    1. Thanks Tatyana, I hope I get lots more passionflowers next year!

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  9. Your garden looks great in all seasons because it's got such nice structure! That passion flower is stunning, and I really like those soft little sedums too. Wish I had some roses still blooming!

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    1. Thanks, yes, I never thought the passionflower would flower the first year, so that was a nice surprise. My roses flower all year round except when I cut them down in the spring, even at Christmas, although a bit sparingly.

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  10. Awwww, your cat is so pretty! I'd say your garden looks incredible--I would never know if was neglected at all. It looks soooo much better than mine! Those Passion Flowers are amazing--I always admire them in other people's gardens. Happy GBBD!

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    1. Thanks Beth, and my cat says thanks too :-)

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  11. So pretty. Love the passionflowers, and 'Frosty Morn.' Your roses are all beautiful. Happy Bloom Day!

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  12. Love your passion flower, very nice. And your Rhododendron Dopey is obviously living up to its name, not knowing when to flower. Take care.

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    1. Dopey is an old favourite of mine, 7 years old now, and has never been 'season confused' before - but with the kind of spring and summer we have had here in UK I can't really blame him for being confused I suppose!

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  13. Hi Helene, I actually had the cheek to try the passion flower in our garden, no success as you can imagine but surprisingly I have seen one here in a very sheltered wall garden. When my daughter lived in London I was always surprised to see Geraniums or Pelergoniums still alive in the gardens at Christmas. Hope your helper turns up soon although your garden is still looking good.

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    1. Alistair, I am amazed by what kind of plants that survive the winter in my garden despite being 'tender', 'annuals' or even 'tropical'. Sometimes it's best just to have a go, certainly when the plant is for free :-)

      I suppose my 'geranium' is actually a pelargonium, since it is an annual, although it survives the winter here - even though it was labelled geranium. Yeah, I know that one is confusing, I won't go into the botanical differences between geraniums and pelargoniums, but there are differences, even if the names often are used mixed up. I tend to call my plants according to the plant label :-)

      I haven't heard from my garden helper yet, think I need to give her a call and ask if she is coming back.

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  14. I love the Austin... will have to smell that one when I get the chance. S. 'Frosty Morn' is a favorite here too. How fun to be able to grow a passionflower outside... oh to be just a bit warmer!
    I hope you are feeling better soon!

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    1. Hi Julie, thanks for your well-wishes, I am getting better every week. The best bit about the passionflower is that it is evergreen, so once it has covered the tree stump it will be green all year round :-)

      I dug up the two baby passionflowers today, severed them from the mother plant and put them in pots, so I hope they will survive the brutal treatment. I have no idea what to do with them as I have no space for another two monsters like these, but it will be great to have them in reserve should anything happen over winter with the mother plant.

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  15. Incredible photo of the cat. It was almost as if I could reach right in and pet him. :o) I can't believe you have a gerbera daisy that blooms all year! Lucky you! I also love my Sceptre d'isle. Your garden looks wonderful!!

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    1. The gerbera was a cheap pot from Ikea that got a new home in a planter, amazingly it just takes a short break between each flowering period and then goes on to produce another one or two flowers each time. It is green all year round and I have had it for about 4 years. And my cat is very photogenic, almost as he knows that he needs to pose every time I put my camera to my face – clever cat :-)

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