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

My ‘Lockdown One’ project of creating a new cottage garden during April and May 2020 has certainly paid dividends this year. Everything has established and, with some slight alterations, is now how I want it.

This pretty pink Linaria ‘Canon Went’ was planted many years ago in a different part of the garden but is now obviously at home with its darker brother and the Verbena. It is a prolific self-seeder and ‘perfect for pollinators’.

I managed to rid the garden of the horrendous magenta Lychnis coronaria and now just have the white version which is easier to place and coordinates with almost everything. It has colonised an area of dry clay in the hottest part of the garden and its offspring are already preparing themselves for next year’s show.

My favourite shrubby Salvia ‘Trelissick’, named after the National Trust garden in Cornwall. I just love the dark calyx with emerging pink bud and creamy white flowers, a stunning combination.

Lychnis chalcedonica, more commonly called Maltese Cross, is another ‘in your face’ sort of plant for a hot border or scheme. Here backed up by the dark Pittosporum tenuifolium. Needs some support otherwise it will flop in the slightest breeze. Dramatic and much admired by quizzical passers-by.

Yet another Thompson & Morgan disaster! These begonia tubers were supposed to be ‘Apricot Shades Improved’ but have turned out to be plain red! So annoying when you nurture something into life in the cold days of February, carefully bring it on in the greenhouse in April, plant it up in the basket in May only to find it wasn’t what you had bought and expected.

Hey ho!

Have a great weekend

David

My Garden This Week

Unashamedly pinching an idea from other garden bloggers, I have decided to put up a selection of photos each week of the things I am most pleased with. These would not warrant a post of their own but deserve to be recorded and published for my records and others’ pleasure. So, in no particular order, a quick tour.Kolwitzia amabilis 'Pink Cloud'

The Kolwitzia amabilis ‘Pink Cloud’ commonly called the Beauty Bush is in full flower and laden with pink and white blossom. It only has a faint scent but the bees don’t seem to mind. It is absolutely buzzing.007

I love alliums and this Cristophii really captures the attention. It is not tall, perhaps 60 cm or so but the flower head is a good 25 cm in diameter, a perfect circle of tiny star shaped flowers. How does it do that???017

The height and intense colour of Purple Sensation makes it stand out in the borders and I think it looks good paired with Nectaroscordum siculum, the Sicilian Honey Garlic, which is a major bee attractor and totally hardy. 021

The first red dahlia of the year is Arabian Night and what a stunner! Very early but one of the benefits of starting them off under glass.Gladiolus communis byzantinus

The gorgeous fuchsia pink of Gladiolus communis ssp. byzantinus, apparently a good old English cottage garden plant despite it’s obvious Mediterranean origins. I bought a 9 cm pot at Malvern last year with one bulb in flower and popped it into the front border. This year it came up strongly and with 7 separate flower spikes so it seems to naturalise and multiply well.009

It’s really difficult to get a good photo of this plant and despite several attempts this is the best I can do with my basic Nikon. It is Silene dioica ‘Firefly’, a cultivated double form of the roadside wild flower, Pink Campion. Very floriferous over a long period and fully 120 cm tall but needing support to stop it flopping. I put in some hazel twigs early which are now doing their job beautifully and inconspicuously. Schizanthus 'Angel Wings Mixed' 016

The annual Skizanthus and Sweet Rocket are providing some colour in the front border while the late summer perennials are preparing to put on their show next month. I have kept some wallflowers going as well for the same reason. I hate ripping them out in full flower, it seems such a waste. Anyway, it’s only tradition that they are removed to make way for summer bedding so they can stay a while longer.

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Aquilegias have been fantastic this year. They have popped up all over the garden and in every shade of pink, purple and blue. I let them grow wherever they want because their slender stems always seem to fit in and never get in the way of other things. This incredible self-sown hybrid has an amazing number of flowers and is 120 cm tall. If only they had scent they would be the world’s favourite cottage garden plant.Geranium macrorrhizum & Aquilegias

In the back garden, the poor dry soil in front of the beech hedge doesn’t support much life but it has been colonised by Geranium macrorrizhum ‘Bevan’s Variety’, Geranium magnificum and hybrid Aquilegias. I don’t care if the path gets covered for a couple of months, we walk on the grass and in August they get cut to the ground when I trim the hedge and then they grow back in a few weeks and sometimes give me another show of flowers in October. One of the hardest working plants in the garden and the least fussy.Aquilegia 'Nora Barlow'

And just one more Aquilegia, this one is ‘Nora Barlow’ one of the Barlow series of cultivars which is truly perennial and comes back true every year. It lacks the ‘spurs’ of the hybrids and species  but has wonderful double flowers instead.

There is lots more about to happen. The Inula hookeri is in bud for the first time, the lilies are about to open and, best of all, we have started picking Sweet Peas!