Six on Saturday

The paths in the cottage garden are slowly merging into the beds which makes for a better appearance but more difficult to walk on. The plants soften the edges and lean out for more light.

I love the way plants mingle and merge with each other, jostling for position and trying to outdo each other for light and space. Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is an expert and uses the other plants to give her a leg up.

This little patio standard rose from T&M was supposed to white but turned out to be a lucky mistake as I just love the soft peachy apricot colour. It sits in a pot by the patio table and has a subtle fragrance. If anyone knows what her name might be, I would be grateful for a comment please??

Dianthus carthusianorum, a tall pink with clusters of gorgeous dark red buds which break out into pale pink flowers over a long period in June and July. I spotted this in the long borders at Hidcote and bought three in the plant shop. One has since died but the other two are romping away and clumping up well with more flower stems each year. Thriving on neglect, they love my dry alkaline clay in summer, not too keen on my wet clay in winter!

My camassias have not flowered well over the last few years and a quick internet search revealed that, although they don’t like being moved, they don’t flower well if they are congested. This was obviously the reason because having dug up what I thought would be the five bulbs I planted 7 or 8 years ago, there were now over fifty! I have cleaned and dried them in the greenhouse and will re-plant them, farther apart this time, in September. They like damp heavy soil and do well naturalised in grassland but I am going to try them in pots of loam based compost where I can regulate the water and see if I can get them to flower with narcissus. I think the blue and yellow will look lovely together in spring.

Petchoas, a cross between a petunia and a calibrachoa, which I was recommended by the editor of Which? Gardening magazine last year. I’m not sure about them! I bought Caramel and Cinnamon but I find the colours too subtle and dull for what should be a bright and zingy hanging basket. It is claimed that they don’t need deadheading but I have found that not to be the case and pick off the dead flower heads every morning. However, as my favourite training consultant used to say, “try a lot of stuff, keep what works!”

Finally, Delphinium requienii, or perennial Larkspur, which is a tall, unusual stately plant acquired from a friend who has it on her allotment where it seeds around freely. Seems to flower in it’s second year from a rosette of shiny leaves which slugs and snails leave alone! I rather like it and look forward to passing on some seeds and seedlings for others to grow.

Have a great weekend

David

Six on Saturday

It has been so cold here in the Cotswolds that we still have the central heating on! Never known a cold spell last into early May before. Everything is at least three weeks behind where it should be at this time of year. This Euphorbia cyparissias doesn’t seem to mind the cold and is adding colour to an otherwise green scene.

The recent late frosts have killed all the emerging Wisteria flowers! Despite the plant itself being totally hardy, the flowers are not and are easily damaged by cold winds and frost. I am bitterly disappointed as it is usually a highlight of early May for me.

The Camassias have not performed as well as usual this year with far fewer flowers. I will feed the bulbs for a few weeks before the foliage dies down and will then lift and divide them because it may be due to the bulbs being too congested. The brown leaf tips are worrying too. Perhaps a lack of nitrogen??

This Genista ‘Porlock’ is probably an escapee from a local garden and is actually in the hedge outside my garden but it is so beautiful I thought it was worthy of showing in the blog. Obviously a member of the pea family by the labiate flowers, it is a type of Broom with a faint but pleasant scent. I might see if there is an ‘Irishman’s Cutting’ I can take!

It has fascinated me that some plants always flower before others of the same species. This Aquilegia next to the house wall is the first to flower every year, weeks ahead of all the other hundreds in the garden. No logical reason why it should but it always does.

Years ago, I discovered Bowles Golden Grass, Milium effusum ‘Aureum’, in a local garden and the kind owner dug up a piece and gave it to me. Slowly but surely it has colonised several areas of the garden but in a good way. It likes the shady spots in amongst other plants, below trees and bushes, where it lights up the gloom with its bright yellow leaves.

I kid you not, this Erysimum ‘Apricot Twist’ has been in flower constantly for 12 months! I cut back some of the straggly growth in February and the new shoots are flowering alongside the flowers on last year’s growth which shows no sign of slowing down. These plants literally flower themselves to death over a couple of years or so.

Have a great weekend

David