Sunday, 15 September 2013

September beauties in my garden

It has rained in London the last week, a lot of rain, I haven’t really been out in my garden much at all. Between my hospital appointments and all the other things I have had on my calendar the last week I have just not been able to find many breaks in the rain to get outside. The last two days I have tried to take some photos for this post and it’s been almost a cat and mouse game with the weather – every time I think it’s safe to go out and take some photos it starts to rain again. Yesterday I just gave in and took some of the photos in pouring rain. I guess I am a bit of a sight out there, one crutch in one hand, the camera in the other hand and an umbrella carefully balanced on my shoulder. I am more afraid of my camera getting wet than me of course, and I was better at doing this balancing act when I had a point and shoot camera. Now I have a DSLR camera and it is a lot more difficult to take pictures with just one hand plus an umbrella. Oh well, the rain is good for my garden, it really needed it so I am not complaining, we should really have another week of it I suppose.

My garden has taken on the jungle feel it always does at the end of the summer, all the plants have grown tall, fill the beds completely and spill out on the path here and there. You can’t see to the bottom of the garden from the seating area and the end of winding path is blocked by all the plants. It looks like a completely different garden to what I have in the winter and early spring.

The Dregea sinensis on the arch has grown to monster size again, even though I pruned it almost completely last February. It is still flowering, but only on the roof so I can’t really get to the flowers and take pictures anymore. Another monster in the garden are the sunflowers next to it. I wrote a post about THE SUNFLOWERS earlier this month and wrote that I was unsure of which type they were as they were much taller than described on the seed packet. I have got a reply from Sara Raven customer service where I bought them from and they confirm that this is ‘Vanilla Ice’ and that they probably have got this tall because they have had to compete with the other things growing around them.

This is the first year I am growing sunflowers and I am absolutely delighted with the result, I will do it next year too.

‘Vanilla Ice’ is supposed to be 5’ (150 cm) tall, I have tried to show here how tall they actually are, this is a 2m folding rule and the sunflowers are almost 50cm taller. I struggle to deadhead them now!

The flowers are much more yellow than the pictures I have seen of ‘Vanilla Ice’, I am not sure why, but they look lovely anyway :-)

Here is another tall plant in my garden, the passionflower is still putting on growth and looks now like a dense tree. Under this canopy is a dead tree stump and I hope it won’t rot and fall down anytime soon as if it does, the passionflower won’t have anything to grow on! It is about 4 m tall and I do worry about pruning next year. Perhaps I have done something not so smart after all....

I must have had hundreds of flowers already and there are probably hundreds of buds still to open. Here in London, Passiflora caerulea can flower right into end of November if we don’t get any frost.

And I have fruit too, some orange already, most of them green.

Speaking of monster plants, here is another monster which I haven’t yet presented to my readers. It is a Clematis armandii 'Apple Blossom' and I bought it in December last year. It didn’t do much the first 6 months and didn’t flower this spring, but when it finally started making new shoots it certainly got going at rocket speed. The plant was about 50cm tall when I got it and I thought the trellis I put on the fence and wall would be enough for it, but as you can see it has already grown out of space. I am not sure where I should let it continue as I need to be able to reach to prune and tidy it so I can’t let it grow too high up. I hope it will be smothered in lovely, scented flowers next March/April!

Moving back to the sunflowers, they are almost hiding the pride and joy in my garden – my roses. The roses have finally started the second flush of flowers, very late as they normally do that in late June or July, but nothing has been normal in my garden this year so here we are in September, with the second flush. After this, the roses will go on flowering all the way until February next year when I cut them down, but they won’t flower as prolific as the first and second flush, only some flowers here and there. I think it is rather fun to have roses at Christmas in the garden, especially if we have frost or even snow.

‘Crimson cascade’ is one of my favourite roses, although it looks a bit sorry in the gloomy, wet weather.

The yellow ‘Freedom’ is also flowering en mass at the moment, mostly hiding in between the sunflowers.

At my seating area I have ‘Rob Roy’ a compact rose which only have a few flowers at the time.

And this is also one of my favourites, 'Wildeve' from David Austin. Looks rather drenched here but that’s what you get for taking photos in pouring rain!

And here is another David Austin, my lovely 'Scepter'd Isle'.

Next to my bench I have several large pots, one of them with my trusty old pot rose.

This pot rose flowers continuously and is one of my best performers. Not bad for a £1 investment from Tesco years ago!

Next to the rose is another incredible performer, I bought this Dicentra  formosa 'Bacchanal'  last year and it is still flowering! It has not been without flowers since May, and I keep checking it now and then, can’t really believe it just goes on and on. My two Dicentra spectabilis at the bottom of my garden gave up flowering around end of July, but this one have more buds to come. Maybe formosa flowers for longer than spectabilis, not sure as I haven’t had this one before but I hope it will do this every year!

The third pot here is my very old ballerina, Fuchsia 'Bella Rosella', it hasn’t liked all the rain, but at least the cooler weather and the rain has got rid of the spider mites it had earlier in the summer.


And here are some of the other fuchsias, still going strong.

Among all the pink flowers in my garden I do have some other colours, the large pot in the middle is a newcomer to my garden, a Ceratostigma 'Forest Blue'. I got it as a present, not sure if I would have chosen this myself, but I will sure give it a chance.

It has very spiny flower buds and it is difficult to see the difference between spent flowers and new buds. The flowers come in clusters and don’t fade at the same time so there is always half dead flowers among the healthy ones. I’m not sure what I am supposed to do with the clusters once they are finished flowering but so far I have just cut off the whole cluster. I hope that’s the right way.

Ceratostigma 'Forest Blue'. It’s nice with some blue colours in the garden, I don’t have many proper blue flowers.

Up on the new shelf at my seating area I have some lovely Geranium 'Pink Chiffon'. I have 10 of these in the window baskets in the front garden too and I have been so pleased with them, they flower for such a long time. Unfortunately they really don’t like rain, the flowers are as thin as tissue paper and when they get wet they look rather sorry. But with the summer we have had they have truly liked to be on this shelf, baking in the sun.

Geranium 'Pink Chiffon'. I think I will get these next year too, or perhaps I might try make some cuttings for next year if I am not too late.

My dahlias are still going strong, after a setback from the spider mite attack in June and July. These at the front are 'Mary Eveline' and they have done best, as they were the latest to emerge and got only minor damage. Dahlia 'Striped Vulcan' and Dahlia 'Sunshine' are at the far end and they were destroyed by the spider mites, I had to cut them down completely. They are now all back up and in bud, hopefully they will flower again before it is too late!

'Mary Eveline' has saved the dahlia bed for me.

The container with Physalis Franchettii, Chinese Lanterns is so full you can hardly see the container. I think I need to divide this plant next spring. The lanterns have now started to turn orange.

And here is a photo of my lovely hydrangea. I know many people cut off the flowers when they start to go off, but I think they still look nice at this stage and I leave them on through the winter. I think they look as they are made of porcelain.

Every month I have had pictures of flowering Primula vulgaris, and I have it this month too, as they are still in flower, can you believe it? I have 25 Primula vulgaris dotted around the garden and they have all flowered from December last year without a break. At this time of year they should just about start again, after their summer break, and go on until next spring – I hope mine are going to continue.

I also have a red primrose, it started flowering a few weeks ago – and this one had a summer break. Sorry about not deadheading before taking the photo, it was raining too much!

And this cute Primula acaulis ‘Zebra Blue’ has started flowering again too, yes, autumn is definitely here.

That was what I managed to get photos of this time, I also have two clematises still in flower but they are very difficult to take photos of by now as most of the branches with flowers on are growing entangled in my camellia next to it.

My garden has plants in flower every month of the year, no matter how hot or cold it is. What do you have in your garden right now? It is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day today, head over to Carol at May Dreams Gardens and see what is in flower around the world at this mid September.
Until next time, take care.

57 comments:

  1. Helene-your gardens are lovely and I love the Dregea sinensis on the arch. It is so full and healthy looking! Your passionflower is also amazing. I don't think I have ever seen the fruit of one before. The rains have certainly made your gardens very lush. Happy GBBD!

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    1. Thanks Lee, the Dregea is always a monster at this time of year! We have had rain all week-end, good for the garden but I am now aching to get out and do some gardening!

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  2. I still think your vine-on-a-tree idea is brilliant! Clearly the passion fruit thinks so, too!

    I didn't know you could get roses right through winter. We do as well, but by January, I'm quite ready to get them trim and tidied up for the new season.

    Those sunflowers have certainly done well for you. As well as those pelargoniums. They grow easily from cuttings so perhaps you'll be able to make some for next year.

    I smiled at the thought of you with camera in one hand, crutch in another, and umbrella braving the downpour for your blog's sake. DSLRs are difficult to handle one-handed, but I've even learned to do it left-handed ;-)

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    1. If I can get a day outside this week I will try to make some cuttings from the geraniums, my only problem is that the nursery shelf is already completely full so I don’t really know where to put them!

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  3. What a lovely vieuws out of your garden Helene. How impressive your sunflowers are. The yellow color in these dark days are so welcome. Overhere we had only a few dry spells but the water was so very welcome. Especially the hydrangyas were having a bad time in my garden. The roses in my garden are also very late with second flush of flowers. They are not flowering the way I am used to have. Here and there some flowers just like it is in your garden. My compliments for the way you photograhed your garden with the dslr in one hand it is heavy.
    Have a great sunday Helene.

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    1. All the rain has done wonder for my roses and hydrangeas too, no matter how much I water with a hose it can’t make up for a week of raining. Hope you had a great Sunday too!

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  4. Everywhere, so much beauty. The clematis armandii is a great choice for the sitting area wall, it will be a wonderful place to sit come Spring! I leave the hydrangea flowers on too, they look so good as they fade. When I have enough of them, I also want to bring some into the house to dry for indoor displays. Scepter'd Isle is a beautiful rose.
    Happy GBBD!

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    1. I chose the clematis armandii hoping it would cope with the north facing wall, that remains to be seen – I hope I get lots of flowers next year, fingers crossed! Happy GBBD to you too!

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  5. That arch is beautiful do you prune it or does it just grow so tidily. Mus admit I would have expected Vanilla Ice to be a creamy colour and not the yellow of yours.

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    1. I only prune the Dregea on the arch once a year, in February, when the sap is less flowing and the plant dormant. It is a huge task as I prune off about 80% and only leave a few main stems. I have to untangle the whole thing, it is like a bag of messy knitting yarn – and all best done in the coldest week of February or else I will be sprayed with sticky, itchy sap all over me. I still have to wear protective clothing and cover my hair, it is a messy job that takes a few days, but is sooo worth it. The rest of the year I just help the plant tuck in stray branches so it looks neat and tidy on the arch, no pruning at all. If I accidentally snap off a branch when tucking in I have a dripping tap of sticky sap and have to keep away until it stops. I love this plant and its flowers so the pruning once a year is a job I am prepared to do – although I dread it every year before getting started.

      I also expected creamy coloured sunflowers, was a bit confused about that but did not get an explanation to the difference in colour in my email from Sara Raven.

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  6. Oh so very beautiful!
    I've never seen passionflower vine grow that large.
    And your clematis - wonderful growth! But I can see the problem of letting it get up too high.
    My favorite in your garden is the Mary Eveline dahlia - gorgeous!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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    1. I believe Passiflora caerulea can grow to 20m tall if left un-pruned so mine can grow a lot bigger! I intend to prune it next spring though, as I don’t want it to jump to my tree or other flowers, it can smother a whole garden if not careful.
      Happy GBBD to you too!

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  7. Your garden is looking spectacular at the moment. I just adore those 'Pink Chiffon' Geraniums, and the pretty blue Ceratostigma. Your Roses are beautiful, and I can't wait to see the flowers on that Clematis that's taking over the fence.

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    1. I can’t wait for the clematis to flower either, always exciting with newcomers in the garden! I have another new clematis on order that I hope will be delivered this week, Clemtis 'Mon Amour' , with deep blue flowers, fortunately just a dwarf compared to the armandii and not at all difficult to keep to size.

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  8. I remember living in England, Wales.... beautiful gardens!
    Love your photos. Your dahlia is gorgeous and so different then any of the ones in the field I have been working in on Fridays just for the shear enjoyment of it.... check out my blog to read more.
    Mermaid at Frog Hollow

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    1. Hi, and welcome to my blog! I chose this dahlia because it looked so different, love it!

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    1. Glad you liked them, they have been flowering for a long time and have many more buds.

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  10. So many beautiful plants. I especially like your David Austin roses. I have several of them in my garden and they are winners. Happy Bloom Day.

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    1. My 3 David Austin roses are only in their second year and still quite small, I hope they will get bigger and taller next year so I can get more roses!
      Happy Bloom Day to you too!

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  11. Gorgeous blooms as usual Helene - Mary Eveline is a beauty isn't she!
    Your passion fruit looks ever so tasty. I hope you enjoy!
    Roses are the star of the show aren't they - you've a wonderful selection.
    That Clematis is a monster if it gets going! I can see how you might struggle with it. Your Dicentra Formosa should flower for most of the summer. Have you ever tried cutting your spectablis right back after flowering in spring. I do this and usually get a 2nd flush late summer.
    Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. I agree that the passion fruit LOOKS tasty, but I haven’t tasted it yet, Passiflora caerulea does have edible fruit but it isn’t supposed to taste any good, or not much at all, depending on where you look for info. Perhaps I will have a little taste, just so I can tell what it tasted….

      My dicentras got off to a very late flowering this year because of the late spring, they didn’t start until May, but both spectabilis flowered until end of July so I didn’t cut them down then – although the foxes have done some ‘pruning’ for me. They keep snapping off branches on both the spectabilis and the nearby rhododendron and the new hydrangea ‘Pinky Winky’ – the latter looks really sorry right now, haven’t even taken a photo for it here as it looks so weird after so many branches coming off. I might have to move some plants and simply make a fox path so the foxes can get up and down from the fence without damaging any more of my plants, I have done that on the opposite side, just given up having a plant in the corner as everything I planted there just got ruined anyway. Those pesky foxes!

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  12. I can relate to the using of a DSLR with umbrella in hand... Unfortunately I don't have nearly the lovely blooms that you have just now. We got just short of 7/10ths of an inch of rain this morning... I would be thankful for a whole lot more! Take care Helene...Larry

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    1. I wish I could send you some rain Larry, we have had lots this week, it has been good for my garden, has hardly rained at all this summer. I am not sure how much we have got as I don’t have a rain collector, but I have a tray I keep collecting leaves and dead flowers in and I have emptied it several times this week, with 2-3 inches of water in it every time! Take care.

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  13. Helene - the passionflower, the fuchsias, the roses, the dahlias - all are very beautiful. I admit our extreme August heat and drought (plus personal laziness) definitely contributed to the lacklustre state of my garden. Thank goodness I can enjoy your beautiful photos - there's not much left of mine.

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    1. Thanks Astrid! We had our summer heat in June and July, and a much cooler August. Now in September we have had unusually cold weather, it is more like late October weather and I dread to think this was it. Autumn came too quick for me!

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  14. Wow Helene - your garden is looking fabulous! You must be so sheltered too - roses through Christmas and such a happy, healthy passionflower. Dicentra formosa is a wonderful plant. I was worried by you juggling crutches and a camera and an umbrella. I'm glad you got safely back indoors to write this lovely post.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, my garden is quite sheltered, with the tall wall at the end of the garden, but London is a good few degrees warmer than the surrounding areas too, so that helps both in the winter and the rest of the year.

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  15. Helene, I have bloom-envy. Your garden is stunning! The heat and the rain have taken a toll on the blooms in our SC garden. Your passionflower vine is beautiful. I just started 18 vines from seed this year, primarily as a host plant for the Gulf Fritillary butterfly, but no flowers or fruit for awhile, I'm afraid. Thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. 18 vines! All passionflowers? You must have a large garden! One is quite enough for me, I am struggling to find people to give all the babies it produces, they pop up frequently around the base of the plant, some quite far away from it. I had two flowers last year, when the plant was 1 year old, this is its second year so it won’t take long before you have 18 monsters – at least if they are growing in the ground and not in small pots. Happy Bloom Day to you too!

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  16. Hi Helene. You have so many beauties in your September garden. I love your arch with the Dregea sinensis, a plant I couldn't dream of growing up here in Aberdeen. Whatever its name your sunflower is outstanding. I have enjoyed visiting your garden but from now on I will be viewing it with increased interest owing to the fact that our new house has a small garden.

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    1. You could be growing Dregea in your new garden, at least up a wall or a drain pipe, mine are fully exposed in the middle of the garden and had no problem with minus 7-8 for longer periods last winter. As long as it gets a good structure to climb on so it doesn’t blow off in the winter it will survive a lot more than some sites will have you believe! Mine are 8 years old and have survived a lot of bad weather the last few years.

      My best tip for a very small garden is to get rid of the grass and have big flower beds with good bark mulch instead. Less work, less weeding (hardly any!) and you can have many more plants!

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  17. I so envy your David Austins. I finally had to pull mine out. Every year they got black spot. I'd spray and spray. Nothing. Beautiful garden!

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    1. Thanks, I do have a problem with black spot too, our winters are too warm to get rid of it, but I spray with a systemic organic fungicide once a month and it helps a lot.

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  18. Great photos for being out in the rain! I am in awe of that large clematis! Wow! It will be a beauty when it flowers. Passionflower is one vine I'd love to have a spot for, but haven't found the right place yet. Love those exotic blooms! I also love your Crimson cascade, Mary Evelyn dahlia and your pink chiffons. And your Chinese lanterns! You really have a lot blooming!

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    1. Thanks! I have wondered if I should buy another trellis and just let the clematis continue around the corner to the white wall above the shelf where the geranium pots are, it would look lovely against the white wall and with the speed it is growing it would probably not take long to fill that wall too!

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  19. Mary Eveline is such a beautiful Dahlia. Helene your garden is really gorgeous at the moment, I love the jungle. And I envy your Clematis armandii, I tried this one in my garden but it did not survive the winter. Yours is growing fast and you will have a lovely fragrance of Clematis flowers next spring.

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    1. I hope my clematis armandii will survive the next winter, it was just a short plant last winter, sheltered by other plants and the fence, this winter it will be fully exposed on the wall – hopefully it will take the wind and the rain and flower beautifully next spring. I still haven’t seen in it flower – or smelt the flowers, looking forward to that!

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  20. Gosh, you sure do have a lot of plants in that wonderful garden, Helene! I love, love the Roses--and how wonderful to have them through February. Mine are just about done for the season, and soon we will have cold nights that kill off a lot of the plants and cause others to go dormant. Argh. I see your Chinese Lanterns there and they do look so much like their cousins, the Ground Cherries. The Geraniums all lined up are so pretty! Happy GBBD!

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    1. I hope it is a long time until we get frost, sometimes we get it in November already but most years it won't be until January or even February. I took cuttings off my geraniums today, will take them inside and keep them in my spare bedroom over winter as I don't have a greenhouse. This will be the first time I make cuttings for indoor growing, they will either die of the high temperature indoors or be gigantic by the time we get to spring, time will show!
      Happy GBBD to you too!

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  21. Your garden is looking wonderfully dense! As always I love the dregea on the arch. Isn't it amazing how much the garden will change and fill in over the summer. Mine is at the beginning of spring so things are just starting to fill out with leaves etc, I'm always happy when the bare ground starts disappearing but generally you reach a point where it all becomes a bit too overblown. I guess that's the good thing about winter - it gives you a chance to reset the cycle!

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    1. Not sure about resetting the cycle, I think I would be very happy in a climate where we never had winter! The good thing about living in Britain is that the winter can be rather short, sometimes just two months, but the last couple of years it has started in November and lasted until March – feels almost like being back in Norway where I am from! I hope this winter will be short, warm and full of nice days I can spend in my garden. But before we start winter we are still supposed to have at least two more months of autumn, if only the weather could play nice. It has been pouring down today too, no gardening for me, I am getting withdrawal symptoms!

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  22. The garden looks great Helene! I think this is quite a good time of year for sheltered London gardens, although the rain is hampering actually going in them!

    I think the passionflower almost looks like a topiary animal- a chicken perhaps?!

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    1. Ha ha, yes the shape of the passionflower is changing from week to week as it puts on growth, and depending on which angle you look at it. I haven’t pruned it at all, will do that next spring but might have to ask for some help as this will definitely be a job on a ladder.
      We are expecting a drier period soon, starting this week-end, will be good as I have so much to do in my garden!

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  23. I know that feeling of competing with the rain. It's been raining buckets here for weeks with the odd dry day thrown in - which I never seem to be around for! Makes for an unhappy gardener.

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    1. Hi Helene
      That's a sort of monster I really love :o). What a beautiful garden and you even got a fruit on your passioflora... superb! But of course I love the roses best... I've got the Wildeve too and I adore its fragrance. Isn't it just great?!
      I wish you a lot of fun in your lovely September Garden.
      xxx Alex

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    2. Hi Marguerite, it seems like it has been raining for weeks here too, but we have only tomorrow left with rain and then it is supposed to be no more rain for at least the next 10 days – and quite warm too. Can’t wait to get out in the garden and get some work done!

      Alex, Wildeve is still very small in my garden, second year I have it, I hope it grows a bit quicker next year but it is in a rather shady place so I guess that slows it down a bit. I love it though so Wildeve is definitely a keeper!

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  24. Hi, Helene!
    lovely garden in September! I love your clematis 'Apple Blossom' and would like to buy as well if I can to find it here. The yellow roses are wonderful!

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, I have high hopes for 'Apple Blossom', can't wait to see the flowers next spring! Hope you can find it where you live.

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  25. I really love those dahlias! I just love how exuberant those sunflowers are. They are just pure joy. I'll take some of that rain! Too dry over here. Your garden looks stunning, as usual. :o)

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    1. I'd love to send you some rain, we have had enough now for a while! We are having a few dry days right now but from Friday next week it's back to endless rain.

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  26. Hi Helene, the garden is looking absolutely fabulous. I love all the tall plants too- it adds a dimension and makes you look upwards to see the blooms. The dicentra formosa will flower on and off until frost so it is a nice alternative to spectabilis.

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    1. This is my first full year with dicentra formosa so thanks for the info, I am already thinking of splitting the clump I have so I can get two plants, it is so lovely with the continuous flowering.

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  27. Helene - Well done with your sunflowers. I've tried sowing annuals outdoors but didn't have any success - I suspect the birds ate the seeds. I have a perennial sunflower in a pot which I divided from my mum's garden, but I wouldn't dare to plant it in a flower bed because they grow uncontrollably.

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    1. I wouldn't dare to grow a perennial sunflower in my garden either, I think I have enough monster plants as it is! That's the great thing about the annual sunflowers, the whole thing dies down and if you don't want it next year, or want it in a new position it's not going to sprout uncontrollably over and over. Perhaps you can try what I will be doing next year, planting the seeds in pots, that way you can protect them until they have become seedlings and can be planted out.

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  28. For a first-timer, you grow sunflowers like a champ. Also, I'm intrigued by the lonnng bloom time of passionflower; your London climate is enviable in some ways.

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    1. Thanks, my sunflowers are still growing! There will be a follow-up post about the passion flowers this week probably, I love the long autumn and early spring here in London. I am originally from Norway and came here 14 years ago, still amazed by daffodils in February when my sister has 5' of snow in her garden!

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