I started last post by saying summers are a bit hit and miss here in Britain – but here in the South East we can’t complain about the weather the last 4 weeks, it has been just warm enough to be called summer, not too hot and with plenty of sunshine. Only thing missing would be rain for a few hours every night so I wouldn’t have to do all the watering – but I am being picky now! It has actually rained only once the last 4 weeks, it was a good rainfall of almost 24 hours, but being nearly 4 weeks ago it is now a bleak memory for my garden. The clay soil is bone dry and like concrete and I have given up getting anything more planted a long time ago, it will have to wait until the winter when we get proper, prolonged rain again.
The good weather makes everything grow like mad though, and with the variety I have of plants there is no August slump in my garden – I have plants in flower in all directions just as I have the rest of the year. I have much wider paths here in my new garden than I had in my old garden – but even so – you can still see the resemblance by now. Once I get everything planted it will be jungle every summer in this garden too!
I struggled a bit to take the photos for today’s post as it was too sunny both yesterday and today. A bit of a luxury problem I am sure certain bloggers from northern parts of the country will grit between their teeth when they read this – nevertheless, I was playing cat and mouse with the sun trying to capture at least the long shots out of the sun....
....because just see what a difference it makes getting rid of the harsh contrasts the sun makes and being able to see all the finer details in the shade. The sun was coming and going all the time from a puff-cloudy sky.
Let me show you my sunflowers, the first one is flowering and there will be many more to come. I have chosen a mix of orange and brown toned sunflowers this year, a bit unusual colours and they are so beautiful.
The bees and bumblebees love them and the squirrels have already had a few attempts at nibbling on them, I assume it is just a question before I find a squirrel sitting on top of each of the sunflowers.
I just had to take a photo of the leaves, look at the size of this leaf next to my quite large hand!
Also in here next to the fence is my incredible Fuchsia boliviana. Since last post the flowers has become much bigger, but they haven’t opened yet. I think I will need to repot it before the winter as it dries out too quickly. That’s going to be a delicate operation getting the plant out of that pot and into another pot! Not sure if I should risk it but if it dries out too many times it might throw the flowers and I won’t get any fruit.
Next to the fuchsia is one of the new anemones, this is Anemone x hybrida 'September Charm'.
Moving on in the garden, the roses are now well into their second flush and many of them will go on flowering on and off until January when I cut the roses down.
The Hibiscus syricaus I inherited with the house is in full flower too.
The colour of these flowers is my favourite hardy hibiscus, and although the flowers are quite small I really like them. But I am planning to try some much bigger hibiscuses too – think dinner plate size flowers – 10 inches wide :-)
And right here at the front, in the red container on the right side is exactly a hibiscus like that, I have had it for 3 years but it is still just a baby, I was hoping it would flower this year but it seems I will have to be patient for another year.
One plant that isn’t a baby anymore is this Lobelia cardinalis ‘Queen Victoria’ – I spent a few years trying to find out how to grow these plants. I killed the first one and this is the second which has been happy in a container for 4 years. And that’s been the key to growing Lobelia cardinalis in my garden – by growing them in containers I can swamp them with as much water as they like without annoying any neighbouring plants.
Just behind the Lobelia are some of my tomatoes – I have so many tomatoes at the moment that I am freezing any I can’t eat or give away. They won’t be like fresh once out of the freezer again but will be fine for popping into soups or stews or in an omelette or anything cooked.
And on the other side of this path is another tomato plant, this is a different type and a bit later so I hope it will still give me tomatoes when the others have finished. Behind, the dahlias have started flowering and the cosmos are still going strong.
I have 5 different cosmos and they are all in pink hues plus white.
At the very bottom of this path the Goliath lilies are still in flower, although in a week or two it will all be over and a whole year till next time I have any lilies. In my previous garden I used to have Goliath lilies well into September every year, but it was a much shadier garden so here in my new garden they have gone off quicker.
If I could find a shadier spot I would try to plant some of them, but I must admit there isn’t much shade in this garden except for right under the big cenaothus trees and it is a pain to dig there with lots of big roots. All the Goliath lilies are still in big pots spread around the garden – they would all like a space in the ground this winter, a LOT of digging....
A little update on the beautyberry bush – the question was if it was a self-pollinating type or not – and if I would need to buy another bush to get berries. Well, I have never had a beautyberry bush before, but from what I can see, there are berries! In this photo you can see the whole process, from unopened flowers to the left, through flowers and to the small berries on the right side. I am a bit surprised about the berries though, but I have only seen this variety online, never in real life, but if this is the berries they will be very small. I have seen other beautyberries in Kew Garden and the berries were much bigger. It is early days though, I’ll keep you posted :-)
And now to something completely different; I was given a plant in a plant swap in April and back then it was just a tiny seedling. The plant is called Althaea cannabina and I was told it would be quite tall and have pink flowers. We laughed a bit about the cannabina part of the name, and I was told it was perhaps because it had a resemblance to cannabis. I have later found out though that cannabina simply means hemp in Latin and as this plant is called hemp-leaved Hollyhock or Palm-leaf Marshmallow it explains the name. I must admit I had no idea what a cannabis plant looked like so curious as I am I looked it up – and now I know a lot more about cannabis too and that it is also used for hemp (among other things....) Hah, what do you know – all the things you can find by asking Google!
But back to my plant, it didn’t look much when I got it, and it grew a thin stem that still didn’t look much so I just placed it under my apple tree where the squirrels unfortunately broke off half of it.
But look what has happened to that feeble little plant – it is flowering! I have given it a bigger pot and it will possibly grow a bit bigger this year, but being a perennial I will try to find a permanent space for it for next year. Mature height is up to 2m tall so a back of the border plant. This is a keeper, the bees already love it and so do I!
While we are here at my apple tree let me just show you this planter with bacoupa – I do get the feeling they will outgrow their boots before the end of the season!
Lots of things are growing well at this time of year and I don’t really have an August slump to complain about – some plants take a short breather and then come back, but for most it is just full on the whole time. Like this pelargonium for example.
Let me take it out of the bed so you can see the size of it because it is massive! This is ‘Apple Blossom’ and possibly the hardiest of my pelargoniums. They don’t stop growing during the winter so as long as it is not too cold they just go on and on. My pelargoniums spend all winter outside as I don’t have a greenhouse, they just have a few nights in the shed when the night temperature dips just below freezing and that’s it – outdoors the rest of the time.
The flowers of ‘Apple Blossom’ are just exquisite.
And just next to this is another exquisite plant, the two cannas that started flowering a few weeks ago for the first time. I planted them as bare root in March 2015 and I am amazed to see how big they are now. I think I need to split them up as both pots are full of plants.
The coral flowers are very difficult to photograph, my camera goes absolutely crazy with colours like this and even trying to adjust a bit in Photoshop doesn’t really give a true colour, not on my screen at least.
A bit easier to photograph is the plant next to the canna then, another Lobelia – this one is called ‘Compton Pink’ and I treat it exactly the same way as Lobelia cardinalis – with lots of water.
Have I not showed you any roses yet? About time then! This is my inherited one, growing inside the apple tree in a very awkward place to prune and care for it. Even growing like that is not really ideal as many of the flowers just get broken from rubbing up the apple tree. But I can’t see this rose being dug up any time soon so I guess it will be staying where it is, it is such a lovely rose so it is a keeper for me :-)
This is the very first photo I have shown of my new rose ‘New Dawn’ – I have high hopes for this rose but for now it is a very small plant and will need a few years to get properly established. It is an....oh, I hate to repeat myself, but....it is an exquisite rose!
And so is 'Rob Roy'! He has been growing in a container for more than 10 years and is still looking amazing. I hope to let him loose this winter, if I can get some help with planting.
And this is a 1970’s-lipstick coloured rose that I got from a nursery with a wrong label – I ordered something completely different. I have never found out what this rose is called, the nursery could not help me. It has also been growing in a container for nearly 10 years, I think it will probably be happy to be let loose.
And here in my front garden is where both these two last roses are going, together with a rose that was here from before and another rose I have in a container. I also have 6 mature penstemons to plant here and a good size hydrangea cutting from the big, dark-pink hydrangea in my old garden. And I was a bit afraid it wasn’t enough plants for my front garden so I made some penstemons cuttings in the spring. I might be a bit too good at taking penstemons cuttings because they all survived. All 20. Do you think I have possibly got too many penstemon plants for this front garden? Surely not?! I am planning to have another plant swap day in late September and I will try to swap and sell some of the plants I don’t need. Some of the penstemons are going :-)
While we are here I can show you one of my less successful projects – my raspberries. These are autumn raspberries and I bought them in November last year as two sticks with some roots on. I planted them in pots and have later potted them on twice until they ended up in these big containers. The idea was that they would hopefully have enough space here for a couple of years until I could sort out where to grow them permanently. I have had raspberries many places I have lived before, but I have never actually planted them before, only inherited mature bushes. I had no idea what to expect but I did think they would grow up and produce berries the first year. Perhaps it was just wrong of me to assume that – I can’t really find any information about how long it takes. They started growing leaves in May and as you can see – there probably won’t be any berries this year! There is no risk of pot bound containers either, with such a small growth I just hope it will be berries next year. Or is it something wrong with the plants? Should I have had my first good crop ready soon? The raspberries are called Bakker’s Jewel, they are perpetual autumn raspberries and should flower and fruit from July into October.
Here is a newcomer to my garden, Amaranthus tricolour ‘Red Army’ - one of those I sowed earlier in the year and although it is an annual I will probably have it again next year. I love the colour of the leaves and the dark tufts in the middle. And you can eat the leaves – that is if you can bear to eat them, they look so pretty I just have to let them stay on the plant so I can enjoy them for as long as possible.
And here is another lovely plant I sowed from seed, Limonium suworowii – described as pipe-cleaner-like flowers. And that is a good description – that is, if you know what a pipe cleaner is :-)
My primulas are starting to flower – and I have LOTS of them. I know this always causes a bit of a stir on my blog when I say this – but here in southern England, Primula vulgaris are plants that start to flower in early autumn and they go on to flower the whole winter all the way to early summer. Then they take a short break during the height of the summer and start again in August or September. Hardworking plants in my garden! The fact that the first ones are in flower is just a reminder that we are going towards autumn. Not sure I want to follow!
But before we get to autumn I have dahlias in flower and they have just started. I used to have many more but most of those I planted sadly died as they didn’t like the clay soil here in my new garden. Thanks to my slow progress in the garden I didn’t manage to plant all my dahlias, and those still in pots are now starting to flower and look good. They all need bigger pots if they are to stay in pots permanently, but I think that’s the way to grow dahlias here. This is ‘Happy Days’ – there will be more dahlia photos next time.
I am ending today’s post with one of my lovely Regal Pelargoniums, it has gorgeous colours and is called ‘Ada Green’. Regal pelargoniums are called Martha Washington geraniums in US, but they are not actually geraniums they are pelargoniums. Whatever you call them, like the ‘Apple Blossom’ pelargonium above, I am keeping them outside all year except for those possible few nights with frost.
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.