Six on Saturday

The evergreen Agapanthus africanus have just begun to flower and they look stunning this year. I have reduced my stock to just three plants in 20 litre plastic pots which are now in their third year since splitting them. 16, 18 and 20 flower stems which is the most ever. The heads are fully 30cm across on stems 1.2m high. They make quite a statement!

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ almost at full throttle now with her big beautiful creamy flowerheads being cradled by hazel supports beneath. I love this shrub but it does need a lot of water and support to do well. Quite a needy plant in my garden. Others tell me it is trouble free in theirs. It’s all about the soil!

Just behind Annabelle sits pink Linaria purpurea ‘Canon Went’, alongside his common purple cousin and the indestructable and long lasting pink Diascia personata which should definitely be grown in more gardens. I haven’t met anyone who knows this plant which is such a shame as it is such a good doer.

This is an extra pic to show how well the combination works.

This was controversial at my garden opening recently. It is the true Valerian, Valeriana officinalis, the root of which has been used since Roman times to treat insomnia. It is a very tall plant, 1.8m high, with a beautiful pinky white umbellifer flower which has an odd sweet smell which, as I found out, is not to everyone’s liking! I think is is rather musky and spicy but one visitor described it as the smell of “wet pants”!

The Petchoas (a cross between a Petunia and a Calibrachoa) in the basket are doing rather better now but not showing much sign of trailing yet. The colours still don’t excite me, I find them too subtle and a bit dull for the impression a basket by the front door is supposed to make. I think they work better in pots at low level. I won’t be using them in baskets again!

Some years ago I grew seeds of common Scabiosa atropurpurea, a distant cousin of the common field scabious, which thrives in my dry summer clay and self seeds everywhere. They now pop up in every variation of red, pink, purple, white and cream. One of the best plants for pollinators, tall and self supporting, long lasting, unfussy and beautiful. All from a single free packet of seeds on the front of a gardening magazine.

That’s my six for this week.

Have a great weekend

David

Six on Saturday

Absolutely delighted with this self sown hybrid Dahlia which has just come into flower. A seedling picked at random from one of last year’s pots of overwintered tubers. It looks good enough to be a named variety so I have called it ‘Radiant Heat’ !

I have been very impressed with these Calibrachoa this year. I have given up on the big blousy trailing petunias in favour of these mini ones and they have proved to be a great success in the baskets.

There is no blue quite like this chicory, it is unique and very easy to place. It combines well with most other colours and is tall and statuesque, a good 2m and still growing. The flowers close at night so I assume it is pollinated by bees and other day flying pollinators. It is certainly a popular pit stop in our garden!

The heat on the patio was intense this morning, reflected off the stone walls and paving, but the roses, nepeta and veronicas are revelling in it. I will be on a 2 hour watering session this evening though. Good opportunity to combine with a cold glass of Sauvignon blanc I find!

There has been some recent debate on forums about the virtues, or otherwise, of Agastache. This ‘Liquorice Blue’ has been with me for years and is a valuable addition to the early summer border but some people say it looks like a weed, having nettle-like leaves and relatively insignificant flowers, For me, its value lies in its attractiveness to pollinators, particularly bees, which find it irresistible.

Just one of many roses gracing my garden at the moment. The air is filled with scent and the sound of buzzing busy bees. This one is ‘The Generous Gardener’ which has the most wonderful pink buds opening to creamy white flowers and a delicious citrus scent.

Finally, (and I know it is the seventh image!) is the evergreen Agapanthus africanus which has only just come into flower, 6 weeks later than usual. Summer has finally arrived!

Have a great weekend

David

Judgement Day!

DSC_0016I don’t consider gardening to be a competitor sport but when the opportunity arises, it’s nice to see how you’re doing by getting the opinion of those in the know. So I entered the Charlton Kings In Bloom competition for the second time and it will be judged today! DSC_0015Sunday 19 July 2015                                                                                                               It’s 4pm and I am waiting for the judges to appear to inspect and critique my garden in the annual Charlton Kings in Bloom competition. My judging slot is 4.30 – 5.30pm which is the last of the two days and the 30 gardens which have entered. I hope they are not fed up and dying to go home! The weather is beautiful, warm and sunny with a light breeze, perfect for garden visiting. Officially, I am not even supposed to talk to the judges, I don’t even have to be here. They usually just turn up, walk around, take loads of photos, mark the scores on their clipboards and leave. However, I have a cunning plan, I am going to greet them and offer to give them the tour!DSC_0017 I have spent the last two days pruning, plumping, propping and preening…….weeding, watering, mulching, deadheading, mowing and edging……weeding, weeding and weeding! It looks good…not perfect but good enough I hope. It has been so warm and dry that many of the plants I hoped would be in peak condition are already over, the delphiniums, knautia macedonica, salvia greggii and microphylla are past their best but balanced by the echinaceas, heleniums and some of the early chrysanths which are out earlier than usual.DSC_0024

4.50pm They have arrived…..six of them! I know three of them including a former nursery owner and a professional gardener. This is going to be difficult. Wish me luck!DSC_00255.35pm They’ve gone! Phew! Actually it went very well. They loved the design and planting schemes, raved about the Agapanthus africanus lined up in front of the bungalow and looked at everything with experienced and critical eyes. DSC_0023They were keen on finding any rare or unusual plants and were furiously writing notes on anything they found. I suppose there are only so many petunias, begonias and pelargoniums you can take! This worked to my advantage as there are several unusual things around the garden one of them being the Leopard Lily, Belamcanda chinensis, which no-one recognised. Others were Salvia uliginosa and the beautiful but easy white  Lysimachia ephemerum  which got them talking and writing even more furiously.DSC_0020

Time for a glass of wine and a sit down. No gardening tomorrow!