An unusual six this week to match the unusual weather. I often find Slow worms in the compost heap, totally harmless legless lizards and something I enjoy seeing as I pull back the old carpet. I have no idea how they find their way in or out but they enjoy the warmth and humidity, as well as the endless supply of free food!
Monarda didyma ‘Panorama’ grown from seed many years ago, is not sufficiently robust for my liking. It doesn’t like my clay soil and needs constant watering to put on any kind of show which, in my view, is not sufficient to warrant space in my main border, However, I keep saying ‘one more year’ and she is still there, quite pretty this year for a change but only because I have spent a fortune watering the border constantly to keep everything alive.
One plant that has flourished in the heat is Scabiosa atropurpurea and I am blessed with a veritable forest of the stuff! I mentioned this last week but it is worth mentioning again due to it’s incredible tolerance of heat and parched soils, something we are likely to encounter in future years. It is also a prolific self seeder so, as long as you are prepared to weed out the ones in the wrong place, this is one you ought to be growing and once established, you will have it forever.
Rudbeckia laciniata, the tall species which needs a little support in windy locations but loved by bees and butterflies. I find it wilts in the heat of the day but recovers in the evening so I tend to water it in the morning rather than the evening, if I remember! It provides stature and presence in a mixed border, and even if you are a bit sniffy about yellow daisies, it has its place alongside blue things like my Agapanthus in the background. I have seen it with Eryngiums and tall blue Campanula lactiflora which is a great combination.
Dahlia ‘Mystic Illusion’ is a terrific cultivar with the darkest leaves of any I have seen. The bright and cheerful yellow flowers are a brilliant contrast and make it an outstanding combination from a distance. High water demand though and must be fed constantly to perform throughout the summer into autumn, so not easy to plant and leave for more than a few days. The deadheading is a chore too but, like Sweet Peas, is the secret to keeping it flowering.
I have never experienced heat like it in the UK, but on Monday & Tuesday, it was sufficiently strong to scorch the leaves of my white Lilac and has probably killed my Viburnum plicatum mariesii which is now frazzled and has dropped most of it’s leaves.
That’s my six for this extraordinary week. I look forward to reading the trials and tribulations of other Sixers!
Hope you have a good weekend
What a fine large slowworm, it is a real boost to see such creatures in our gardens. Hope your shrubs bounce back.
It’s good to think about plants like Scabiosa atropurpurea as the climate changes. I shall add them to my gardening wish lists.
Thanks for the tip about the scabious being drought tolerant. I have added it to my wish list.
I’m going through my garden and recording which plants are still in reasonable shape (echinops, gaura, eryngium, etc) and those that aren’t ( astrantia, phlox and, sadly, too many varieties of geranium). I intend to give this to the ‘head gardener’ as a guide – I wonder if she’ll take any notice….?
The scabiosa is breathtaking. Hope mine do as well as yours when the time comes. And take heart with the viburnum. Our two are in direct hot summer sun when it happens, and I mean quite hot – days of 30’s, and they survive well. But we have an automatic watering system which comes on at midnight every night through summer, so the roots never dry out. Touchwood its enough in climate change.