Thursday, 15 August 2013

My August garden

It has been an absolutely wonderful summer here in London, best I can remember for a long time - although the weather has cooled down a lot the last couple of weeks and we no longer beat heat records. It is already middle of August and it’s time to join the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and show you all what’s flowering in my garden. I have a lot to show you, as usual, so grab a cup of what you fancy, feet up, and let me guide you through my tiny paradise.

My garden is more green than anything else, August is the time of the year when my garden takes a pause – the summer flowers are finished and the winter plants have not yet emerged. But if you have visited my garden before you know that first impression can be a bit deceptive, there are much more here than what you see on a distance! A closer inspection will reveal a lot more colours, let me show you :-)

First of all, let me show you what a really good summer for us humans has meant for the plants in my garden. OK, I know, not a pretty sight, but this is the result of the spider mite infestation I had for weeks on end. My gorgeous dahlias ‘Sunshine’ were reduced to this. I have cut them down and hope they might come up again since we are only in August, we’ll see...

It wasn’t just the dahlias that were affected, most of the herbaceous plants and some of the shrubs were affected too, especially if they were in the sun most of the day. These pots started out as wonderful fuchsias – and did actually produce some flowers, until the leaves got too affected and stunted the growth of the plants too. I have nipped off the leaves of all the affected fuchsias and hydrangeas and dahlias, hopefully some of them will recover and as you can see, there are tiny leaves coming out so fingers crossed!

But let’s move to something more positive! Although slightly affected by the spider mites, the Physalis Franchettii, Chinese Lantern growing in a container has become huge this year and has replaced the spot of all my crocosmias, which I sadly had to cut down before they even finished flowering, due to the spider mites.

The flowers of the Chinese Lantern looks really small and ordinary...

...but the fruits are really lovely. Soon this whole bush will be covered in these orange balls which eventually turn brown and become see-through.

I do have some fuchsias, this one has been in the shade all the time and is looking quite healthy. This is 'Sir Matt Busby'.

And this is my favourite fuchsia, the latest to emerge and flower, and placed in the shade, which probably saved it – my little ballerina 'Bella Rosella'.

Fuchsias 'Bella Rosella'.

The roses have mostly hit the pause button, after their big flush in late June and July, but this one have started again. It is a mislabelled rose, supposed to be ‘Candy Stripe’, but it obviously isn’t so I have no name for it!

And my rose ‘Freedom’ has been producing one rose here and there since first flush but I can’t see a second flush coming in the near future.

The autumn flowers have arrived, this is Echinacea purpurea, frequently visited by the increased population of bees and butterflies we have had this year.

Echinacea purpurea.

At my new seating area I have pots of Regal Pelargonium 'Pink Chiffon', a rose in a container, oriental lilies and a penstemon. If you missed the post about the makeover of my seating area you can SEE IT HERE.

The penstemon is called 'Strawberries and Cream' and has been flowering for about a month, with lots more to come.

Penstemon 'Strawberries and Cream'.

Penstemon 'Strawberries and Cream'.

And this is the very last of the oriental lilies, a whole year till next time!

Although the goliath lilies are still going strong, they are a bit later to start and seem to last longer too.

Oriental Giant Goliath 'Miss Feya'. These lilies will be 2.5m tall in 2 years time!

And next to the goliath lilies is my huge hydrangea. I pruned it hard last autumn but it has shoot up to the same size as last summer. This fence is 2m tall, I really don’t want the hydrangea to become any taller than it is now.

My hydrangea has been watered mainly tap water this summer and is bright pink. In summers when the soil has a lower pH they turn more purple.

One of the dahlias has managed to produce a few flowers despite the leaves looking a bit sad from the spider mite attacks, the flowers are gorgeous. This is 'Mary Eveline'.

Dahlia 'Mary Eveline', when the flowers first open they are very dark red, fading to a crimson red.

I am planning to re-design a part of my garden, putting in only white flowers. Here is the first contributor, a self-seeded anemone! I have a double hardy gardenia on mail-order coming next week and some of my white oriental lilies are going in too. I just need a few shorter, white flowers and the bed will be complete.

Speaking of white flowers, my primroses are still flowering!! They have been flowering since November last year, I have about 20 of them and they are all flowering, how is that for hard working plants! It is soon start of their normal flowering season so I hope they will just go on flowering.

This is my first attempt with sunflowers. I planted 12 seeds in between other plants, and only 2 grew up as the very late spring we had meant that they germinated so late so all the other plants shaded for them and the rest of the seedlings just wilted. But two of them made it. Next year I am going to disregard the instructions on the pack and sow them in pots first, and then plant them out when they are tall enough. Lesson learned!

Here is another one of my autumn plants, Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'.

And this little bee seemed to have a gourmet meal on one of the flowers.

The flowers come out very dark red first and then fade to a more orangey colour.

My passionflower tree is still growing, it is getting huge! Considering this vine can become 15-20m tall, my 4m dead tree-stump support is very short. I am not sure what to do when the vine is growing out of space here, I certainly don’t want it down on the ground among the rest of the plants. I might have to do some serious pruning...

The flowers of Passiflora caerulea are absolutely beautiful, so intricate.

And look, I even have fruit already! It is only 2 years since my passionflower was a tiny runner, pulled up from a friends' garden, I certainly didn’t expect fruit so soon.

More fuchsias? This huge basket was meant as a hanging basket for my front garden, but I never got around to drill holes for the bracket so it has been standing on an upturned big pot in one of my flower beds since May – fortunately in deep shade, and not attacked by spider mites.

These are called 'Royal Mosaic'.

Fuchsia 'Royal Mosaic'.

Fuchsia 'Royal Mosaic'.

And these are called Fuchsia 'Flying Scotsman'.

Let’s move down to my two clematises, you can hardly see the two obelisks they are growing on! It is a bit difficult to take pictures of them, but they have completely grown out of space and have created bridges between them and also to the camellia and are now scrambling up, covering one side of the camellia with flowers!

This is Clematis texensis 'Gravetye Beauty' and I have completely given up deadheading the two clematises, I simply can’t get close enough to snip them off the way they are growing now. The good summer has certainly been beneficial to the two clematises.

Speaking of monster plants, my two Dregea sinensis growing on the arch is still going strong, still in flower. This is my pride and joy – mixed with a dash of frustration every February when I have to prune off about 80% of it – although so worth the work!

The flowers of Dregea sinensis have the most incredible sweet scent and it flowers from June till late October.

But look here, something I bet you didn’t expect to find in a garden in London in August – a hellebore in flower! Yes, my season-confused hellebore has done it again, started flowering in the middle of the summer!

All my other hellebores are just boringly green, but this one does this every year, flowers with maroon flowers in the winter and then flowers again in the summer with these dainty-pink flowers.

I saw the first bud appearing more than 4 weeks ago, but it has taken its time, producing 6 flowers so far and more buds seems to appear.

I have never been able to get any seeds from my summer flowering hellebore, possibly because the right kind of insects to pollinate would not be around to do it, why would they, they normally do their job in March here in my garden! This year I have tried hand-pollinating the flowers but I am not sure if I am doing it right – time will show...maybe I can manage to propagate this little gem!

I don’t often have photos from my front garden so I thought I would put a few photos today as my window boxes look very nice right now.

They are all filled with the same Regal Pelargonium 'Pink Chiffon' as I have in pots in my garden, which have turned out to be a very good choice. I think I will have them next year too, the flowers last for ages before I have to snip them off and it is very convenient to have flowers that can be deadheaded 14-nightly instead of daily.

That was the roundtrip in my tiny garden for mid August, there will be a separate post later on about all my different fuchsias, many more than I could show you here, and I have previously made a post about MY ROSES and MY LILIES, if you missed them you can see them here, they were very much the feature in my garden the last month. Carol at May Dreams Gardens is hosting our Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, why don’t you head over to her blog and see what’s flowering around the world right now. Until next time, take care.

44 comments:

  1. Helene-your blooms are beautiful and I especially love your Dahlia 'Mary Eveline'. Your Passiflora caerulea is also gorgeous and the fruit...wow! I always enjoy visiting. Happy GBBD to you!

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    1. Thanks for visiting again :-) Always lovely to see people coming back. Happy GBBD to you too!

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  2. Your garden is looking very lovely, the fuschia varieties you have are beautiful.

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    1. Thanks, I will be making a separate post about my fuchsias next week, I have quite a few of them - those that still are alive!

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  3. Wow, what a tour, Helene! You've so many eye-catching colours and shapes. I love love love the tropical shades of the Helenium. And so pleased to hear that your anemone self-seeded. I just planted two in my garden but they are fairly expensive so I'm hoping they'll spread on their own. Those ruffles on your fuchsias are gorgeous -- esp the royal purple ones. And nice to get a glimpse of your front garden, too!

    (What is it with spider mites this year! They've been the bane of my rose garden.)

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    1. The spider mites attack this year is the price to pay for the lovely hot weather we have had for weeks on end, we don’t normally have that here in London! With such dry, hot weather and warm nights, the conditions for spider mites are just right. I have had very little aphids though…a meagre consolation when many of my plants are ruined.

      The anemone seed came flying in from some garden nearby, not sure where because none of my next doors have anemones – a welcome guest that I at first thought was just a weed :-)

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  4. Hello Helene, you have very colorful blooms and i can pick my favorites. But first, most of all i love your house, a big and fabulous one, haha! And that orange fruit i remember seeing it last year already as a see-through specimen. And that dahlia color, so special. I wish you show us also the wide angle, i love to see the garden while sipping hot choco sitting on that chairs.

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    1. My house is tiny! It is one room wide, and what you see on the photo is it, London houses are really small. Two small bedrooms upstairs and a small kitchen and living room downstairs. And I got a tiny bathroom attachment built in the 1960s at the back. My living room is smaller than my bedroom. London houses are really tiny since many of the Victorian houses remains and this was how they built them back then. Not sure what you would like to see in wide angle, this is all there is of my house and garden :-)

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  5. Beautiful blooms!
    My favorites: the dahlia, the roses, and the lilies
    Happy GBBD!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    1. Thanks Lea, happy GBBD to you too!

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  6. What a lovely photo's of your paradise Helene. I never could imagine what a demage the spidermite could do in the garden. I hope your dahlia's will supprise you bringing flowers later on.
    Fuchsia's are one of my favorite's. It's always told that they can grow in full sun but my experience is they do better in semi-shade or shade.
    I hope we can enjoy a long time of our garden's before autumnn comes in.

    Have a wonderful day Helene

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    1. I also find that fuchsias do better in shade than in the sun – even in complete shade they do well, certainly in a summer like we have had so far. I am hoping for a long, nice, warm autumn too!

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  7. Another wonderful post Helene, so full of colour.
    I'd been wondering what you were growing over the arch, and have not come across Dregea before. It is glorious. Is it tender?

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    1. I have a few posts about my Dregea sinensis, if you look at the left side ‘posts by categories’ you’ll find several with lots of info. It is a lot more hardy than it is given credit for, mine is 8 years old and have survived all the winters we have had lately with no damage. Well worth trying if you have the space for it!

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    2. Thank you for this lovely garden tour. I really do like the Dregea but I think I told you before. There are still a lot of flowers in your garden I think. Nice to see fuchsias. A long time ago we were mad of fuchsias, especially my husband and we had quite a collection. Lateron we got bored of them, especially me. When I see your beautiful plants I think wow, shall we have some fuchsias again, may be next year, but not too many, haha.

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  8. Dear Helene!
    I always love to visit your garden! Your Passiflora is really impressing! And I like your huge lilies :)
    Best wishes
    Elis

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    1. Thanks, my passionflower has been a very successful experiment! And I am determined to get a few more of those goliath lilies, they are really great.

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  9. Hello Helene
    Your passion for gardening is contagious! After all the hard work in the spring, I get very complacent and lazy, especially if the temperatures soar. But looking at all the lovely blooms in your garden make me realize that I need to get back out there and help make the garden look better. Thanks so much for your gorgeous photographs. Happy GBBD!

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    1. Thanks Astrid, to be honest, I don't do much in the garden either during the summer apart from a bit of deadheading and watering, the garden pretty much takes care of itself.
      Happy GBBD to you too!

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  10. What a wonderful garden you have! I love those fuchsias.

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    1. Thanks, the fuchsias I have left have turned out quite well :-)

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  11. WOW! Hard to pick a fav' plant...in fact impossible. But it's all looking great & I love your funky seatin area. Your garden is a joy! x

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    1. Thanks Jane, my seating area has finally got its much needed makeover :-)

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  12. All so lovely! I especially like the heleniums and the passionflower.

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    1. Thanks, the passionflower is a sight, I discover more fruits every day!

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  13. Helene, such a tidy garden!!! I, too, have gravel pathways, but my garden seems unruly compared to yours.

    Nancy

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    1. My garden looks tidy because of the work I did when making it, all the work you don’t really see but which I really appreciate now. I have weed liner under all the gravel, and all the flower beds are edged by the tall wood edges which were stained with 2 coats of Cuprinol before going in the ground. And I have bark chipping in all the flower beds and all the containers, I hardly ever do any weeding at all, I just deadhead flowers and cut down what needs cutting down at the right time of year.

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  14. Hellebores in August?! Wow, that is surprising! And look at that Hydrangea! Incredible! The Chinese Lantern plant is fascinating. Happy GBBD!

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    1. I know, my summer hellebore has done it again! I suppose I shouldn't be surprised anmore, it has been a feature every year the last 8-9 years, but it is such an unusual thing so I have to make a bit fuzz about it :-)
      Happy GBBD to you too!

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  15. Your garden is still so lush in spite of some spider mite infestation. Over here they love my Alocasias. The Fuchsias 'Bella Rosella' 'Royal Mosaic' and "Flying Scotsman"are real fine specimens. I wish I could plant them here.

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    1. I have a lot of evergreen plants which the spider mites haven't touched, but I have lost a lot of plants completely, and some are looking less than good. The cooler weather lately has helped though so I think the worst is over for this year.

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    2. For plants that I really treasured, I wipe the affected leaves with a soapy solution (dish washing liquid). It helps especially if tackled early.

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  16. I like the first picture of your post - all that lush green with pops of hot pink! I love your confused hellebore too, how strange that it would flower with different colours in different seasons. I'd love it if some of mine did that... I suppose I'll just have to wait and see!

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    1. It is a bit coincidence that my garden is mainly pink right now, in beginning of June it was mainly hot colours so it changes with the summer. But I do like the pink colour of the hydrangea, it is like a traffic light in the garden!

      I have tried to find out why my hellebore behaves like this, and there are several theories, one being that the plant is actually two separate clumps together hence different flowers in the spring and summer. Why this pale pink hellebore decides to flower in July and August instead of when it is supposed I really don’t know – and no one else seems to be able to answer that either. I have tried writing to a couple of nurseries and asking too, but have either not got a response or not a very useful answer. It seems no one has heard of a summer flowering hellebore!

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  17. Helene, I'm sorry your dalias and some fuchsias were damaged of spider mite. But you have got so many other healthy plants! They all are beautiful, but I love more the fuchsias, as Ballerinas, the red hydrangea and Regal Pelargonium. I will try to plant them in my boxes as well!

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    1. The Regal Pelargonium were a nice surprise, didn’t expect them to be so long lasting. If we get a mild winter here in London they might survive and just continue grow on next spring. If we get a winter like last year they will definitely die! I don’t have a green house and I don’t have space indoors to grow cuttings for next spring so I suppose if they die I just have to start all over again with plug plants like I did this spring.

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  18. I enjoyed the tour of your lovely garden, Helene. One can certainly tell from your front garden that a gardener lives there. :-) What beautiful blooms and photos you have in your post! I recently received a new camera as an early birthday present (until now it's been mostly point and shoot for me), and am curious if you use a macro lens for your beautiful close up shots. Thanks for sharing. :-)

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Beth, many people around here comment on my front garden as I am the only one in my street with flowers there. I used a point-and-shoot for many years and was happy with that, except whenever I wanted to make any prints, then the quality wasn’t good enough so last year I bought a DSLR, a Canon 600D. I still haven’t been able to afford buying a second lens so I only have the 18-55mm it came with, that’s all. I also have screw-on lenses for really close-ups, but that’s not really macro lenses, just cheap multiplier lenses, £14 at Amazon. They work very well on very close up, but I would love to have a real macro lens – and a 70-250mm lens too!

      I often crop my photos in Photoshop if I feel they need it so I don’t bother too much with how close I am when taking the photos. The transition from a point-and-shoot to a DSLR has been more difficult than I thought it would be, despite using completely manual film camera before my digital camera, I still have a lot to learn! Good luck with your birthday present :-)

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  19. What beautifully unique flowers. It was hard to choose which one I liked the most but I think the dahlias had to be my favorite.

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    1. I love those dahlias too, my favourite colour :-)

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  20. Despite the problems with spider mites your garden looks wonderful Helene. I love the penstemon 'Strawberries and Cream', the pink hydrangea and the lilies. The Passiflora caerulea flower is quite amazing. The boxes of flowers at the front of the house clearly say that a gardener lives here.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer, latest news about my passionflower is that many of the fruits have turned orange - not long for the first taste! Yes, I do intend to have a taste, although I have been warned the fruit doesn't taste much at all.

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  21. Hey again... I found pictures posted of summer-blooming hellebore... immediately thought of yours...
    Bummer that your summer-bloomers failed to set seed... I'm not sure that it's a matter of not having the correct pollinators... as it's the normal run-of-the-mill butterflies and bees that visit my plants.

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    1. Hi again, I remember your comment from January 2012 on my post from August 2011. Yes, my hellebore is at it again, but this year I am a bit more hopeful, the flowers have not dried in and died yet, as they have done in past years after a few weeks, perhaps I will get some seeds after all? I am a bit surprised to hear that bees and butterflies are normally pollinating your hellebores, mine are flowering so early that the bees and butterflies haven’t woken up from their winter sleep yet! I am not really sure what’s pollinating mine, I had snow on the ground for large parts of the time mine were flowering this winter, but they still set seed.
      After redesigning my garden I now let the seeds germinate where they fall so I already have many seedlings from 2012 seeds and I hope to get some next year too.

      Thanks for the link, will take a look.

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