It is the middle of the month and Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day - and I have been pondering about what to call today’s post. I named the previous post ‘From a rainy London’ and I am afraid that title is still just as appropriate despite that we have been repeatedly promised better weather. OK, so we have had one day here and there without rain, today was such a day and it was brilliant the few moments when the sun was shining. We might be in for a week of better weather starting from tomorrow, but we have been promised hot summer weather so many times now so I am taking one day at the time. Yesterday I had my iPad with me out in the garden where I can see BBC weather for my postcode hour by hour and for every hour it said sunny intervals – while the rain kept coming and going and I had to seek shelter in the shed together with my camera. So much for local weather forecast!
I have so much in flower right now that I can't possibly show you everything, and even just one photo of each plant would have been way too many photos so today I have used the mosaic feature extensively. Fill up a mug of your favourite brew and come for a walk with me in my July Garden.
All the rain might make people miserable and longing for sunshine, but the garden is coping remarkably well with the extra water even though sunshine has been in short supply for months. Do you remember my previous garden and the ‘Jungle feel’ it had during the summer with the garden filled to the rafters with plants? I am not quite there yet with this garden but I am working towards it!
Look at the sky in the background…incoming heavy downpour!
Some of the roses are still flowering, but most are pausing just for a little moment after having had a great first flush. Soon they will all be flowering again. In the mean time I have alstroemerias and lilies dotted around the garden.
In the Japanese inspired garden the Salix integra ‘Haukoro Nishiki’ has ended up enormously big, even though I pruned it hard in early March. Or maybe it is so big because I pruned it hard? It will take a few years to learn how to take care of this mature tree, I think the trial and error method will be most useful – and after having read so many conflicting ways of how to prune these lovely trees I am more inclined to use a method I found on an American website. They simply recommended pollarding, chopping all the branches off every early spring.
This is how much I pruned it in early March. Maybe I pollard instead next year. It seems vigorous enough…but if I start to pollard it every year, maybe it will just grow even bigger every summer? Oh, I don’t know. Trial and error.
It is getting difficult to photograph inside the Japanese inspired garden, the plumtree is taking up a lot of space too, but here are some of the plants along the fence.
On the other side of the plumtree, along the wall is a quite sunny spot – well, that is of course when the sun is shining! But it’s quite a bright spot and here along the wall are my sunflowers and some goliath lilies – and I have planted some Digitalis purpurea 'Camelot Cream' that I sowed in early spring.
Only problem is that I don’t think this is 'Camelot Cream', they were supposed to be white with dark purple blotches…not pink!
I have something growing in a pot next to the plumtree that I don’t think I have shown you before. Remember all the fuchsias I had to get rid of due to Fuchsia Gall Mite? Well, some of the fuchsias didn’t have to be destroyed as they are not affected by the mites and one of them is this extraordinary fuchsia called Fuchsia boliviana ‘Alba'. I have had it a few years, but it hasn’t flowered yet. It thrives in cool, shady conditions and will be evergreen and flower almost 12 months a year in conditions with no frost. If we get winters like we have had lately I could possibly manage to keep it evergreen but it won’t die if exposed to a bit of frost, just loose its leaves. The reason why people grow Fuchsia boliviana is not for the flowers, although they are quite spectacular – but it is for the fruit which is said to be quite nice and can be found in markets in South America. I can’t wait to taste the berries for the first time, I have eaten many fuchsia berries over the years and some taste very little whilst others are quite OK. Boliviana is said to be the best fuchsia berries you can eat. Now I just need the plant to be big enough to flower and set fruit. Not sure if it will be this year but it is quite exiting! Here is what it will look like in a few years’ time.
Let’s move out to the front garden for a moment as I have had help to finally get on with things here. All the beds that were in my new garden originally had gravel and grit with broken, rotten liners under, and over the last year all of it has been removed so planting could take place. All except the front garden beds, I never got around to start on them and didn’t have anyone to help me with it. But now it is done and ready mulched with bark. Doesn’t it look great!
Two weeks ago I had a visit from Rita, Alva and Nore, here in the photo - and Ingrid and Steinar, they all helped me to get the front garden cleared and ready for planting.
All the grit and gravel was filled in the white bags ready to be driven off to the recycling station. Thank you to all of you for very good help!
The roses to the left are going to be planted here in this bed, but that will be a winter job for someone strong to do as the ground is too hard to dig big holes in now.
One of the roses are already in the ground, I inherited it with the house and don’t know what it is called.
Another waiting to go in here is this gorgeous ‘Chandos Beauty.
On the outside of the front garden I have window boxes with lobelia and lavender growing. My front garden has not been a priority yet so I hope to prioritise it next year. There is just too much to do still in the main garden, but getting the front garden ready for planting was a huge step in the right direction.
Back in the main garden the pot roses I bought from ASDA (Walmart) last November are still flowering – they haven’t stopped flowering since I got them.
The trick is to not take them inside – not here in UK at least, just pot them up in a twice as big pot as the one they arrive in and then put them outside. The same day is not too soon as every day they spend indoors they will deteriorate. I still have pot roses I bought for £1 - more than 10 years ago and they flower for longer than any David Austin rose!
When they have outgrown their pot, just keep potting up - to a container size, feed like normal roses and the result will be like these in 6-8 months.
These 2 pot roses can hardly be called pot roses anymore, but they behave just like any miniature roses do. A very inexpensive way of getting roses in a small garden. And now over to the daylilies!
I have of course lilies too, lots and lots of them - this is probably the most fascinating lily in flower right now, ‘Blueberry Crush’.
This is ‘Prescott’, an enormously big flower!
And this lily doesn’t flower a lot yet, but my goodness is she pretty – ‘Lankoon’ is an interesting new hybrid, still a baby in my garden at around 1m tall, but apparently it can grow to over 2m tall. I hope it will be a bit bigger than now because the downward facing flowers make it difficult to photograph so a metre more would make it much easier.
This lily is greeting me every time I go in or out of my backdoor, beautiful ‘Guardia’ with a heavenly scent.
And these two are also right next to my backdoor so I can enjoy the lovely scent. I don’t think there is any better scent in the garden than lilies and with all the different lilies I have, I get lilies in bloom from June to end of September.
The path to the tool shed is just about negotiable, any bigger plants and I will need a machete to get through.
In the lilac bed there are lots of hot colours right now, with daylilies, alstroemerias and a red miniature rose – mixed with asters. Never thought I would put bog standard asters with daylilies but I had 2 pots with asters and they needed to go somewhere sunny so I just put them down here between the daylilies. And now I like them so much here that I will get them planted here once the daylilies are finished flowering. Sometimes the garden just decides for you :-)
Another combination that just happened is just across from the asters, over here with orange and yellow daylilies, dark leaved Lobelia cardinalis and colourful zantedeschias.
And just behind that combo are two types of agapanthus, just about to flower. Yes, things are REALLY late this year.
Aren’t these two together just amazingly zingy?!
Moving a bit further down towards the tool shed you can see my second-year old cannas, still without flowers but I haven’t given up hope yet. If I ever get to see these flowers they will be PINK, which is a bit different to the usual orange or red. Behind the cannas you can see my ENORMEOUS size tomatoes.
They have even started to grow into the strawberry bed. All this rain and cool weather has made the tomato plants grow much bigger than any year before instead of concentrating on producing tomatoes. There are some tomatoes, but by mid-July I should have been able to harvest the first ones soon.
The third tomato plant I have is also growing out of all proportions, this one called ‘Lizzano’ is usually a nice tumbler draped over the edge of the black container. At this rate I will have to start doing some pruning soon, even if that’s not really considered necessary with tumbler tomatoes. But I can’t have them growing into tree size!
Let’s move back to some more flowers, this is miniature rose ‘George Best’.
The non-hardy zantedeschias has been a bit hit and miss, some didn’t even emerge, some are just leaves and some are flowering really beautifully.
I don’t think the difference is down to me as all the corms were planted in 2 identical containers and treated the same way.
The apple tree is loaded with fruit, most of the branches have bent down due to the weight of the fruit, only two are still facing upwards giving the tree these ‘horns’.
Under the tree are still pots and pots and more pots. I have so many plants still to get in the ground and some of them are suffering from having been in pots for such a long time since moving last year.
The pelargoniums are happy as long as they get watered enough.
The pink boots are filled with Bacopa.
Down at the seating area the hardy Zantedeschia aethiopica is in flower again – I think it must like the new container I gave it earlier this year, the container is so big you could give a child a bath in it!
The Bonsais on the table has got an overhaul – new compost and a haircut for all of them. These are all quite old, the one to the left is made from Virginia creeper and was started in 2004 – it is much smaller than normal right now as I have cut it down, but it will grow back again over the next year or so. The two on the top-right are made from Jasminum officinale – ordinary jasmine, and they were started in 2006. They flower a bit every year but in order to keep them small I have to prune off new growth which means flowering is rather sparse. The bottom right Bonsai is made from a honeysuckle and was started in 2005, it flowers every spring, but again to keep it in check I don’t let it grow too big.
Turning around from the seating area, the hardy fuchsia to the left is growing like MAD – I must have pruned it 3 times already and I will probably have to cut it several times more. Next spring I will cut it to the ground and see if I can get a better shape and growth.
Here in the woodland bed are the last of the Lilium regale, they are almost done. It is a brief but oh so spectacular flowering when they all open at the same time.
I usually let all the last flowers on each stalk set seed and I sow lily seed every year. It takes up to 8 years for each lily to flower like this, so now you know why Lilium regale bulbs usually cost a bit to buy. You can make them absolutely for free if you have a few bulbs already - all you need is time and patience!
This is a beautiful clematis I inherited, slow to get started so quite likely it is pruning group 3 – which is good, I like that, easy to deal with. Next to it on the left is the same honeysuckle I had a Bonsai of, this honeysuckle is made from an offcut from the Bonsai a few years ago! I had it as a mature big plant in my previous garden but it was impossible to take with me. This small plant will soon grow up to be a big plant – although the Bonsai will never get bigger. On the other side of the clematis is a new rose, 'New Dawn’ still very much a baby, but it does produce flowers already. I am expecting big things of this rose in the years to come.
Can you remember the plants I had over the arch in my previous garden? The one with small scented flowers called Dregea sinensis? I tried to dig them out and I took with me one plant and gave the other one away. That one is now living happily on Isle of Wight, but my part didn’t get planted and was not happy with container life so it died last autumn. But look – I got a new baby Dregea! I got it as a present from Hayloft nursery because they asked if they could use my YouTube movie for their month long promotion of this plant back in April. I said yes to that and got a free plant in return. Now I just need to think carefully where to plant it – I know how big it gets eventually, I had the 2 on my arch for 10 years so I know exactly how big it gets! But for now it is just a baby, more than happy to hang in a pot on the wall :-)
Last photo today – of my succulent collection which despite all the rain seems to be still alive. I suppose this could be a good way to round up today’s post, just as a reminder that the garden seems to cope with whatever is thrown at it in terms of the weather. It might be a bit slow this year, but nothing gets left out, we just have to be patient. Oh, and let’s not dwell too long over the 22 Dahlias that never emerged, they are the only casualties of the wet spring and summer as far as I can see. I think I know by now that my new garden is not going to be an ideal place to grow dahlias in the ground. Container dahlias it is then!
I am linking today’s post to Carol at May Dreams Gardens, please visit her for many more Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day posts from around the world.
Until next time, take care.