Friday, 15 August 2014

August GBBD in London

We have had a great summer so far, but August has brought cooler weather and some really heavy downpours. That’s been good for my parched garden although heavy rain for a few hours doesn’t last for long, I soon have to drag the hose out again. I don’t think I have ever watered as much as I have this summer and I have already decided I am not going to have as many pots next summer as I have this year. The plants in the pots need water at least every other day, the plants in the ground manage for much longer.

Let’s start this GBBD post out in my front garden where my containers and pots are doing well but looking a bit tired and battered from the heavy rain.

The fuchsias are still flowering, not as much as last month but still producing new buds.

The window baskets are full, almost overflowing! Here are 3 types of bedding dahlia, trailing begonias and Calibrachoa.

I like the effect they make but I could possibly have had less dahlias in each box. They looked so small when they arrived, just tiny plants so I put 3 in each box, now that they are fully grown they are fighting for the space.

Back in my garden, the plants here are fighting for the space too. August is the month of the year where I have the least flowers and it is like my garden is having a break. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of flowers, but many of the flowers I have now are here almost all year round and not typically for August.

Here is a view from the backdoor steps, with the tall conifer towering above everything else.

My nursery shelves are emptied of cuttings – almost, at least for now, but next month they will start to fill again and will no doubt be bursting soon. On top of the shelves is my kitchen garden, 4 window boxes filled with vegetables and herbs.

I am growing tomatoes for the first time! Not sure why I haven’t done this before, I have known about container tomatoes for a while, but this year I decided to give them a go. They don’t need any pruning or pinching, they are supposed to just grow as they like. I ordered the 3 seedlings in April but they were not delivered until first week of July! They are all still producing flowers so I hope they will have time enough to produce ripe fruit. There are plenty of green tomatoes though :-)

The 3 tomato plants are all cherry tomatoes; ‘Tumbler’, ‘Hundreds And Thousands’ and ‘Gartenperle’ and they are all hanging out over the edge of the window boxes filling up this narrow corridor so I have to carefully walk past them.

‘Gartenperle’ is the only one so far showing signs of red fruit, I hope the other ones will soon follow.

I also have 2 chilli plants, also a first for me, not sure how hot they will be to eat as the Schoville heat rating of approx. 20.000 and 24.000 doesn’t really say me much but they were sold as ‘mild’ chillies. Everything is relative, time will tell. The 2 chillies are Cayenetta and Loco, this is Loco and the fruit will turn red when ripe.

Back to the seating area in my garden and the view is definitely more ‘jungle’ than last month. I sent off 5 large rubbish bags to the council’s composting department last Monday, you can’t really see where I pruned and cut off all that but it all came from the garden.

On the sunny side of the garden I have a mix of plants in flower right now, the white tall ones are Gladiolus Callianthus, I have planted them in pots as it said you could, only a few of them have flowered so far so a bit disappointing, but they are very different from your standard gladiola so I hope they come back next year, better and bigger.

As for better and bigger, if you remember my sunflowers from last year, look at this year’s sunflowers! Last year I had only one type, this year I have three – or 4 if you count the fact that I think one type is not the type supposed to according to the seed packet.

This one is supposed to be ‘Claret’, with dark red flowers and brown stems. I might be a tad colour blind, but not that much!

This is 'Valentine', probably what I had last year.

The sunflowers were all supposed to be 4-5 ft tall, these ones didn’t read the instructions! It is still just August and last year the sunflowers grew until middle of November. It is already impossible to deadhead some of them as they are too tall to reach.

Back on my seating area, the tender geraniums that survived the winter outdoors is having their second flush of flowers and are still looking great. I think I will try to keep them, possibly give them all a bigger pot and some new compost and see if I can overwinter them once again. You never know, next winter might be a repeat of last one, fingers crossed.

On the other side of my bench the fuchsias are growing like mad, here on the shady side they really thrive. This is Annabelle and these 4 plants are now taller and bigger than they have ever been. At the front is a container with a new plant in my garden, Buddleia 'Blue Chip', a dwarf buddleia. Well, it was advertised as dwarf but it has grown quite big in this container since I got it in April and looks nothing like the compact little plant I saw on the photo from where I bought it. True dwarf plants are rather rare, I wonder what it will look like in years to come, even with hard spring pruning.

On my last post I promised photos of my 3 giant begonias, but to be honest they have been battered so terribly by the heavy rain so they are looking a bit sad right now. And despite heavy staking they all have drooping flowers as the sheer weight of them is far too much for the plant to keep up. If they recover and look a bit better before next post I will take some photos, they are gorgeous, but this was the only decent photo I could get.

Further down in the garden, all the lilies are now finished flowering, it is a bit sad when it’s all over and I know I have to wait until May next year for more lilies. All I am left with are seed pods I am carefully watching, as I intend to grow quite a few from seed this year. So in 4-5 years I will have even more lilies than the around 150 I have today :-)

The dahlia area is crammed full, they have never been as tall as they are now and I think I perhaps need to dig up and divide some tubers soon.

Down at the bottom of the garden, my passionflower ‘tree’ is growing like mad, really MAD. I am afraid that the dead tree stump it is growing on is going to collapse under the sheer weight of it one day. I must admit I am a bit fed up of the passionflower, some of the novelty has gone off and all I see is WORK every time I see it. The passionflower sends up seedlings all over the bottom of my garden, even behind the fence on the wall, I have to keep pulling them up or else my garden would literarily be taken over by passionflowers.

But the flowers are soooo beautiful so I am not sure whether to keep it or just get rid of the whole thing. I would really like to use this tree stump to try to grow kiwis on it instead, there are several types of kiwis that can grow outdoors here in London with lovely fruit. The fruit of the passionflower is although edible, not very tasty. I have tried it!

The whole bottom of my garden is actually in for a rethink, it is not working very well and some plants are suffering from being in too much shade while others have long since outgrown their space. I need to sit down and make some hard choices about what to keep and what to chuck out.

But back to some more flowers. My penstemons are growing between the roses and are therefore in more shade than they really should have, but they are OK with that, just flowering a bit later than normal. This is ‘Strawberries and Cream’.

And this is 'Amelia Jayne' growing next to a sunflower called 'Vanilla Ice'.

Have you noticed I haven’t showed you any roses today? Well there are roses in my garden, but they have finished their second flush and from now on there will be just the odd one here and there flowering all the way to February when I cut them down again. But my fuchsias are still going strong, they will be flowering until we get frost, if we get any.

I keep deadheading the fuchsias as best I can, but sometimes I miss one here and there and they manage to set fruit. The fruit tastes lovely, if you have never had fuchsia fruit before you should! They all taste slightly different but most of those I have in my garden taste a bit like blueberries – and just as you are about to swallow the berry you get a slight hint of pepper! All fuchsias are edible, all parts of the plants, so they are great plants to have in the garden if you are worried that children or grandchildren might pop one in the mouth. And the slugs and snails don’t like them so that’s another plus!!

My mature fuchsias have all flowered since last summer, non-stop – for 14 months!! With the mild winter we had last year none of them went into a dormant period and they just continued flowering all through the winter and spring. Here is a collage I have made of Fuchsia 'Velvet Crush', which started life in my front garden window baskets but are now so big that most of them have been moved to large containers.

That was the end of the tour for this GBBD post for August, I am linking my post to Carol at May Dreams Garden, If you head over to her blog you can see many more gardens in flower around the world right now. Until next time, take care.

48 comments:

  1. Ah, the Sunflowers are so beautiful in all the shots--but especially the wider shot showing their place in the garden. How wonderful to have several varieties--they look so happy in your garden (but who wouldn't be?)! And the Fuchsias! Of course, you know they are among my favorites, too. I have several hanging baskets of them and they bloom here from May through October, at least (until we get a hard frost). They seem to be doing especially well this year. Sometimes our summers are a bit hot for them, but we've been around 27C all summer! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Beth, glad you enjoyed my sunflowers, I think they will make a yearly appearance in my garden from now on, I like these three varieties, even though they grow far taller than supposed to in my garden. My fuchsias have suffered a bit during this summer, when we still had high temperatures, I had to move some of them to shadier places. Fortunately I have plenty of shade in my garden :-)

      Delete
  2. Amazing! Your garden always makes me so jealous. I love your beautiful 'fence'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Endah, I’d love to grow many of the things you grow too, but we have very different climate :-)

      Delete
  3. Wow, Helene, it is looking wonderful despite the storms! I don't grow Fuchsia and I didn't realise they were edible. I was at the Thompson and Morgan trial site this week and a couple caught my eye and the thought of growing them next year crossed my mind, but now you have convinced me! Next year there will be a couple on my list. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah, happy to have inspired you to try fuchsias, but be warned, they can be very addictive! There are so many different varieties, for every aspect of the garden, but what I love most about them is that they can grow in complete shade so if you have a dark corner where other things struggle to grow then a fuchsia would be perfect!

      Delete
  4. It does seem late to be sending out tomato plants. how big were the plants?

    I tried growing acidanthera which I think must be another name for your Gladiolus Callianthus, as they look the same but the bulbs never really got going so maybe they do better in pots.

    As for kiwis - we gave too on the plot and they are really vigorous, we bought a male and a female some years ago but the male refuses to flower so we have never had any fruit.

    Your window boxes at the front are really eye catching.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The tomato seedlings were around 8 inches, single stemmed, so they have grown a lot in a month, but with the cooler weather we have got now in August I can’t see how all of them could ripen. The company got lots of critic on their Facebook page for sending out so late, and also for promising almost every other week from April that plants were on the way. I won’t use them again!

      I have looked at kiwis online and have found a self-fertile one so you only need one to get fruit. I haven’t got room for more than one anyway! Kiwi 'Jenny', Actinidia deliciosa is hardy and self fertile and although I haven’t tasted it, it is supposed to be delicious.

      Delete
  5. What a joyous and abundant garden. I particularly like the penstemon-such a good late season flower and Strawberries and Cream is very pretty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I love penstemons too and I have taken lots of cuttings so I hope to have several new ones next year.

      Delete
  6. Looking super, Helene. 150 lilies! Do you spend a lot of time tracking down lily beetles? I've had lily flowers for the first time in years and came to the conclusion that growing in pots near the path was the only way to keep on top of the blighters, as I could have a look every time I passed. I say, chuck the passionflower and go for kiwi - but that's because I'd like to hear how you get on with growing one! I do think it might be worth pinching off some of the tomato flowers, though, to encourage the fruit that's there. Everything's been so early this year that I fear a cold autumn might be early too. What a lovely display you're giving the neighbours with your windowboxes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don’t have much of a lily beetle problem to be honest, there are a few every spring, and then the odd one later on, but I have a good look every time I go out and pick them off as soon as I find any. I think have I found 4-5 this spring, that’s all for 2014. I use an organic pesticide made of fermented soy (it stinks when mixed!), and I pour it on the ground once a month so it can be taken up by the roots, it keeps greenfly at bay and also any other sucking or chewing insect including lily beetles. Picking off and killing any beetles I see over many years have helped too, there isn’t many larva in the ground and mainly just stray ones coming from other gardens now and then. You can buy the pesticide from Bakker.co.uk, it is called ‘Pireco® Foliar for Insects’. I use it every month between March and September and it helps against red spider mite too.
      I have lilies in the ground, in pots and in large containers, they do well everywhere, as long as they are out of the sun, I have much healthier lilies where they grow in part shade or even full shade.
      I will have a think about the kiwis, they grow very big too so I might be swapping one problem for another!
      Thanks for the tip about pinching the tomatoes, with the cooler weather we are having now I think I just might have to.

      Delete
    2. Thank you. I'll certainly take a look at Pireco.

      Delete
  7. Your trailing begonias in the window boxes are very beautiful. I can imagine what the people think passing by your home, Helene.
    The tomatoes you're growing look very healthy and sure they will ripe very fast. If I like the variety of tomatoes I pick up my tomatoes seeds: cut the fruit broad wise and collect the seeds from the bottom side putting them on toilet paper. They dry and stay on the paper until I sow them in march.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your tips about the tomatoes Nadezda, I did actually sow tomato seeds in February but the only place I can have seedlings inside is in my kitchen and it is so dark there that the seedlings never grew very well and eventually died. I also tried some other seeds that also didn’t do well indoors and I have decided to not try to sow indoors anymore. I wish I had a greenhouse! That’s why I went on to buy tomato plants in April – which was delivered sooooo late. Hopefully they will ripe but we have got cool weather now and it will stay well into September so we’ll see.

      Delete
  8. What a beautiful garden. And it seems like there are lots of things blooming to me. I was particularly smitten with that row of pink geraniums. Perfect location and I love them displayed like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, the geraniums are leftover from last summer that were supposed to die during the winter. I hope I can keep them another winter :-)

      Delete
  9. Well, I never knew fuchsia berries were edible. I shall be trying them now this year! I wonder what the 'Claret' sunflower really is. It may not be what you were expecting but it's still rather lovely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should definitely try leaving some fuchsias and let them set fruit :-)
      You can see ‘Claret’ on my GBBD post for July, I had photos of both the actual ‘Claret’ and the orange imposter. The orange is very similar in size and shape and fairly same height, but different in colour. I bought the seeds from Sarah Raven, I might send them an email and ask, perhaps they know.

      Delete
  10. So many beautiful flowering plants in your garden. The windowboxes in your frontgarden are stunning. The sunflowers in your backgarden are all doing great and so beautiful. Then I am really fond of your row of pale pink French Geraniums in the seating area, very sophisticated.
    Wish you happy gardening, sunny days and some rain at night.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Janneke, the geraniums are doing really well – and think, I almost threw them away last December thinking they would be dead soon :-)

      Delete
  11. Your gardens are beautiful as always Helene and your sunflowers and passionflowers are amazing. Your gardens just keep getting better and better and so worth the virtual visit! Happy GBBD!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lee, my garden is a never ending project so always something new to see. I have so many new ideas I want to try out so next summer it might look even better :-)

      Delete
  12. Helene I love visiting every month to see what is growing and even your tomatoes and sunflowers are growing better than mine. My summer has been wet and cool at times including now and the veg garden is not liking it. So happy you are having a great summer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Donna, we have had an amazing summer until end of July but then summer seemed to end for us. All of August has been cool and wet and it is set to continue for the foreseeable future. Summer is always too short!

      Delete
  13. I'm always amazed at how many plants you manage to get into that garden! The sunflowers are beautiful! It's on my list one year to grow giant sunflowers. They have never taken to the hard clay I've always had, but in my new garden I'll bet I could till up a spot and plant some. I never knew fuchsia fruit were edible! Fascinating! I love seeing all those beautiful fuchsias!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Indie, I learned a lot last year from growing sunflowers for the first time, this year I grew them in pots until they were taller than the plants in the bed and then I just planted them between the other plants wherever there were a space. They don’t have much root system and since they are annuals I just pull up the whole thing come December. Very easy. Those I grow are supposed to only grow to 4-5 ft, but as you can see they look more like sunflowers on steroids! But I like those three varieties I grow, as they have branches with many, smaller sunflowers rather than just one, tall, heavy, big headed sunflower. All I have are great for cut flowers too.

      Delete
  14. Great display as always Helene, shame about the passion flower, round here some people would do anything to be able to grow one. Some of my fuchsias are just coming into flower although to be fair they may have been left a bit short of water earlier on in the year, I would need a glass house to get the results that you can in your sub-tropical paradise:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My passionflower is a real thug!! It comes up between all the shrubs at the bottom of the garden, I am fed up of it now, some time this winter I will get rid of it but I fear I will be pulling passionflower runners for years to come. My fuchsias are now soon starting on their 15th month in a row of flowering and will probably continue until we get frost – if we get any!

      Delete
  15. I am always impressed by your fuschias, Helene--to bloom for 14 months is just amazing! We have had somewhat the opposite in summer weather--I have had to water so little compared to most years. Having to constantly keep up with watering containers does make you re-think how much you want to plant in pots. So many lovely blooms, but I'm especially taken by your window boxes--so lush and full; passersby must stop and take a look and wonder how beautiful the rest of your garden must be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rose, I will have a re-think for next year about the pots, I honestly didn’t expect us to have such an amazing summer once again, two years in a row, who knows, next year I might be watering far less and it might not be a problem with lots of pots and containers.

      Delete
  16. The rain clouds seem to bubble and sometimes rumble above our house but everyone else seems to be enjoying their contents. I can't believe we're already so far into the year.
    I looked into growing a kiwi but was put off by those who said it can take years (lots) before they fruit. Fav' daughter loves them but I feared she would have left home, married, had her own children & become a grandmother before they fruited. I'm a patient woman....but not that patient so I'll be watching this space if you do swap that passion flower (that I love!!!) for a kiwi.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been briefly looking into growing kiwis, not made any decisions yet, but from what I have read, Kiwi ‘Jenny’ is self fertile, frost hardy and takes only 2-3 years to start producing fruit. The fruit is quite small and smooth-skinned, but is apparently very tasty. I do love a challenge so I am certainly going to look more into this, but we’ll see what end up with :-)

      Delete
  17. Those troughs in the front garden get better each time I see them Helene. Well done.
    Lucky you being able to have the choice between the passion and kiwi fruit! The only kiwi that grows here is the A. kolomikta and even then I'm not so sure. Will have to see ow it fairs with the first bad winter.
    Will be watching with interest on what changes you make.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Angie, I haven’t made any decision yet, a kiwi plant is rather big and invasive too so I might swap one thug for another! I need to do some more research first I think.

      Delete
  18. Hi Helene, Your garden is still looking exceptional. I have even planted a Passion flower against my trellis fence, hope it does as well as yours. I see you have dahlias planted in your borders, I am so used to starting them off in pots, next year, I think I will have a go at planting them directly into the ground.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Alistair, if your passionflower does as well as mine then you can soon start looking out for all the runners around your garden!! I pull up runners several times a week, if I didn’t, my garden would soon be buried in passionflowers! My dahlias are all planted around the 9m tall cedar tree in my garden, the area is nice and dry during the winter as the tree takes up water all year, so when the rest of the garden can sometimes be rather wet from days and weeks of rain, the dahlia bed is just perfect for overwintering dahlia tubers. Some of them have been there for 10 years, just lifted a couple of times and divided and then planted again. I have never stored dahlias over the winter, but I often start dahlias in pots when I buy them and then plant them out once they have got going. Once they are in the ground they stay there.

      Delete
  19. Helene, I have to water my containers every day in the Summer (in Pasadena, CA) because it is usually 90 degrees! What I do have planted in the ground does not need as much water, but I recently learned that my landlord is going to pave over my side garden... so that will be the end of that, unfortunately and I am losing the beautiful plants I did put in the soil. So sad but thankfully, most of what I have is in containers.

    I had a fuchsia in a pot but over the past year it became very leggy and didn't bloom as much. I had to sacrifice it.... it was just looking terrible, but even with the heavy rains yours looks good!

    Isn't that Calibrachoa wonderful? It flowers non stop and I love how it trails.

    I love how you say your plants are fighting for space... in my small space container garden I always feel the same way!

    I especially love wild looking area where you have your sunflowers. Very very lovely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear you are going to lose some of your garden, I hope you can dig up the plants you have and move them or put them in large containers. If you have a fuchsia that gets leggy it will respond well to be cut down. Perhaps also give it a slightly bigger pot, some new compost and some slow-release fertiliser. You can cut it hard back, almost to soil level, or to where growth looks good. Soon the plant will start growing and will flower within 6-8 weeks. Remember that most fuchsias have a better life in semi shade.

      Delete
    2. Thank you. And thanks for the advice on the fuchsia. It makes such beautiful flowers. I will try your suggestion next time I am growing one.

      Delete
  20. Hi Helene! As always I love visiting your garden, and it looks stunning. I was surprised to see tomatoe plants in your garden, as I remember your comment on my blog, that they need too much watering hence you don't grow them. I am happy that you changed your mind as home grown tomatoes are the best! My plants are still covered by green fruits and I can't wait for them to turn red!
    Have a nice weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Aga, I found these container tomatoes online and decided to give them a try, that’s why I have one each of the 3 different varieties and I have already decided not to have ‘Gartenperle’ next year. These container tomatoes with cherry tomatoes only grow to about 45cm height and spread, much smaller plants than most tomato plants. I still would not want to have any ordinary tomato plants as it is far too much to take care of, and I haven’t got room for any either, but these container plants, planted in my extra deep containers seem to work, I only water them every 2-3 days. However, we are now at the end of August and I only have one pale pink tomato, the rest are green. Unless we get an amazing September I can’t see how they all are going to ripe. I picked off lots of tomato flowers, probably about 150 flowers (!!), to encourage the rest of the fruit and flowers to finish earlier, not sure if it will help enough but time will tell!

      Delete
  21. Your garden always looks so perfect. :o) I really love the containers in the front. Even if you pull out the passionflower, you'll have it forever. My trumpet creeper is like that, too. It will probably out live me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am prepared for that yes! I am looking for passionflower runners every time I go down at the bottom of my garden, and I seem to find one or two each time I look. They are easy to pull out, but I wish they would die with the mother plant if I cut it down. I am mentally prepared for that not happening!

      Delete
  22. Helene,

    Your garden looks fabulous as always! It's hard to believe summer is almost over. It was chilly this morning when I left for work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Donna, it has been a cool August here in London but it seems we are getting nicer weather back for this week. I am not giving up summer just yet!

      Delete
  23. It's all looking wonderful as usual Helene. Fingers crossed for summer returning next week like they are promising. It would be good to have some more sunny hours to spend in the garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, August has been a bit of a disappointment weather wise, although there were some good days now and then – but September can still rescue the rest of the summer :-)

      Delete