Thursday 2 June 2011

02.06. Red is the colour

Summer is back! After a short spell of cold windy weather we are now promised a long warm period. Today we reached 27 degrees in my garden and I have been outside most of the day. OK, so more warm weather means more watering the garden, but I am willing to accept that, I really enjoy leaving my cardigan on the coat hook :-)

My first picture for you tonight is from the garden next door. I bought the same type of solar powered lighting as I have in my garden, and I have tried to take a picture at night to show what it looks like. OK, so it isn’t the best quality picture I have ever posted, but it was taken at half past midnight! And I don’t have an infrared camera so my poor camera really struggled to capture anything at all. It was only thanks to a bit of Photoshopping that it is possible to make out the structures in the garden. But you do get an impression at least, and that was the point :-)

And here is the arch in my garden, covered with the now so famous Dregea sinensis which I have written about before. It is a plant that isn’t really supposed to grow outdoors here in Britain, apparently it is too cold in the winter…but this plant doesn’t know that and happily grows to such an extent every year that I worry the arch might fall down every autumn. Every winter I prune it hard, so hard that I always think I have cut off too much – and every August or so I think I should have cut off more…The plant is native to China but has been growing here since the Victorians brought it over - albeit mostly in greenhouses. In my sheltered London garden it is doing remarkably well, and even the extremely cold winter we had last year didn't seem to harm it at all. The flowers are beautifully scented and the scent is most noticeable in the evening, when having been exposed to the sun during the day. On a nice warm summers evening I can smell the scent from my back door and sometimes even in to my kitchen!

The Dregea flowers from beginning of June until late September, sometimes well into October if the weather is warm enough. I have raised mine from two cuttings I took from someone else’s plant 6 years ago, and I have also a few smaller samples on the go as extras, raised from seeds I have got from this plant, or these plants to be precise – there are two of them, one on each side of the arch, growing up and meeting in the middle.  I don’t know what to do if all the smaller plants grow up to be healthy big plants; I would have to start giving them away as I certainly have no more space for any more of these in my garden!

I did show you some of my lilies last month, but I just need to show you this picture of my ‘Blackout’ lilies. Aren’t they gorgeous?! I must admit that there is a bit of a theme going on in my garden when it comes to dark red or wine red…I really like that colour and my house and my garden is filled with anything I can get in any shade of dark red. You should see my kitchen, that’s dark red too! Make sure you click on the photos to get a larger version so you can see the flowers in all their splendour :-)

And speaking of dark red, here is my ‘Crimson cascade’ rose, another lovely example of a flower that really look great in this shade of red. I have had this rose for 8 years so it is one of the oldest in my garden. It does very well on the fence although it would probably have liked better to have a pergola or something much taller than a fence to climb on. Unfortunately I don’t have that; I tried with an obelisk for a few years but I soon ran out of space and decided to train it along the fence instead. That seems to work and I get tall spikes with clusters of roses standing above the fence. If you wonder what it looks like, have a look at my post on 20th May, ‘My Garden in May’, I have a film from my garden there with all the different roses nicely presented. 

And one more red thing? Strawberries! Well, not that many yet, it is my first season so the harvest isn’t exactly much to brag about, but I have had a few berries already and more to come so not too bad from only 3 plants. I got them as freebees last year from the online company I buy plants from and every plant sends out runners which develop into new plants the next year. These runners do drain the mother plant a bit; however, strawberry plants only bear fruit for a few years so it is vital to not pinch off too many of these runners even if they drain the mother plant. Saving 2-3 runners from each plant is a good compromise, so 3 plants can become 30 plants in just a few years :-) 

And lastly; I haven’t posted a picture of my cat for a long time so I thought you might want to see him again. He is still around, haven’t taken off like he did last year! I hope he won’t do a runner ever again, that was an awful time, not knowing whether he was still alive or not. But he came back after almost 5 months, as if he had only been away for a few hours and since then, back in August, he has never been away from the house for more than some hours at the time. Here he is, relaxing in the garden today, in the nice warm weather we had.

That’s it for tonight, more some other day. Until then; take care.

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