I was prompted to write this post because these are the first sweet peas I have ever grown on the ‘cordon’ method where you pinch out all side shoots and developing flowers along with cutting off all the tendrils so that all the energy goes into producing one strong stem which is then tied in every day. When it has reached the top of an 8 foot cane you lower it all down carefully, lay it along the ground and grow it up another cane 4 feet further away. Very labour intensive but, I was promised by those who know about these things, well worth it for the larger flowers, thicker and longer stems and the only way to grow for exhibition. And here we are, they were right! This is a mixture of Spencer varieties which I plan to enter in a local show on 19 July.
The plants are now half way up the next cane so the intention is to keep cutting the new flowers and select the best on the day. So far, so good but I probably won’t be doing it again. It was a nice experiment but it is far too time consuming for the rewards unless you are a serious grower or exhibitor.
After nearly five years of TLC, my little Tuscan jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides, which I grew from a cutting, has repaid me with it’s first flowers and the promise of many more to come. To me, this is what gardening is all about, nature, nurture and reward.
The Geranium palmatum grown from seed last year and easily overwintered in the greenhouse has flowered wonderfully on long trailing, slightly sticky stems covered with two-tone pink/purple five petalled flowers which are loved by bees.
Bidens ferulifolia ‘Golden Goddess’ with Orlaya grandiflora, two firsts from seed this year and destined to become an annual event. The Orlaya in particular is great value and works well with strong colours. I have dotted it around the borders where it lights everything up.
I struggle with hanging baskets. I don’t care for the big blousy baskets of trailing petunias or begonias and have tried just about everything else including pelargoniums and fuchsias. This year I have grown dwarf sweet peas for the first time and quite like them. Six plants in a 12″ basket was too many though; the watering and feeding is a daily chore, twice daily if the sun shines.
The first flower on Leucanthemum ‘Freak!’ There are many others I prefer and I hate the name. It sounds rather non-pc. The varieties ‘Phyllis Smith’ and ‘Droitwich Beauty’ are similar but altogether better in my opinion.
This was totally unknown to me when I bought it at a plant stall for £1. There was no label but an internet search revealed it was Lotus hirsutus or Hairy Canary Clover! It is one of those nondescript plants that is probably best left on the plant stall! It is just sitting in a pot without a proper home because it doesn’t really fit anywhere other than a Mediterranean dry garden which I don’t have. Perhaps it will find a new home somewhere else!
However, the Japanese Wineberry acquired from Barnsley House at their open garden event last month is destined for a long and happy life in the fruit garden. It obviously likes it here as it is growing away madly in a big pot and already forming fruits which I will duly eat! I only bought one because, like many berries, it is said to be easy to propagate by tip layering. Soon I will have a veritable forest of wineberries!
And finally. Senecio polyodon, a pretty member of a genus with over 1000 species ranging from our own common weed groundsel to the grey leaved monstrosity with horrid little yellow daisies often seen in municipal planting and supermarket car parks. I decided to give it try from seed which clearly paid off as it is now evident all over the garden from plants I grew last year and flowering for the first time this year.