And there’s more……

I found it difficult to stop taking photos this week, there is so much happening in the garden. The sunshine has prompted everything to put on their best clothes and shout out for the paparazzi.019

These beautiful un-named Asiatic lilies grew in a pot last year and have done even better in the ground. They mingle with with blue and red salvias and the forthcoming Echinacea buds and shriek to be noticed.013

The more demure and sultry Lily ‘Landini’ keeps a lower profile but is just as stunning.035

The pollen free ‘Elodie’ may lack any fragrance but is nevertheless a statuesque beauty and has done well in the same pot for two years so must be tough and hardy.034

The Inula helenium(?) mentioned in my previous post is a big hit with bees and hoverflies and provides a perfect landing pad.066

The Alstoemerias grown last year as immature bare roots from The Daily Telegraph are now established in a well drained raised bed and have rewarded me with a wonderful crop of tall yellow/orange flowers which last well for at least two weeks in a vase.061

It is a little disappointing that they are all the same colour but on the other hand they probably look better on their own and certainly make a statement.002

These egg shaped Allium sphaerocephalon are the last to flower and do so in a most unusual way. The papery bud splits open to reveal a totally green flower head which gradually turns purple from the top down. They have done well in a pot, taking over from the narcissus and tulips planted with them.024

The pond surface is now covered in water lily leaves and water soldiers keeping the water clear and providing shelter for the fish who have no eye lids and hate the glare of the sun.045

The Sempervivums in pots around the pond are beginning to send up their strange, almost pre-historic looking flower spikes after which, the centre of the rosette dies but not before giving me plenty of babies to replace them.067

The more I see the flowers of Dahlia ‘Twynings Smartie’ the more I am beginning to like them.051

The creamy white flowers and dark foliage of Twyning’s After Eight’ are an unusual combination which could easily have come from the ‘Bishop’ series. Perhaps it started life as ‘Bishop of York’.054

And finally……the beautiful simplicity of Dahlia merckii, a species from which many modern hybrids and cultivars have no doubt been bred. Easily grown from seed and apparently hardy in the ground, the lilac colour blends well in a mixed border. I find they are a bit floppy and need the support of a cane or other plants around them. Lovely!

Smartie Pants or Poo Pants?

035I am really not sure I like this new Dahlia ‘Twyning’s Smartie’. There is something decidedly odd about it. For a start it is a weakling, only about 18″ high and has taken absolutely ages to grow even to that paltry size. And the white splashed flower looks wrong, like it’s a mistake.039

Not all the flowers are splashed either so they are not consistent. If I had been choosing new Dahlia varieties I would have chucked this one in the bin as not fit for purpose.

I suppose it just shows how clever those marketing people are – getting mugs like me to buy the hype and the tuber! Its big brother, Twynings ‘After Eight’ which has dark foliage and white single flowers is still in bud. Let’s hope it reads this and does better!

Dahlia Delight

Dahlia 'Redskin Mix' You know when you thought you had dug up all the Dahlia tubers from last year?017

I dug them up, dried them off and carefully stored them in a frost free place keeping them ‘just moist’ so they wouldn’t dry out, checked every week and carefully brought them back into growth on the heated bench in the greenhouse in April. 161                                              These were the ‘Bishop’s Children’ dahlias grown from seed and much admired in the front ‘hot’ border. 162                                                                                                                After lifting them I dug over the border between the perennials, added compost and left everything to nature which then kindly provided three very cold months with frequent heavy and prolonged frosts. 007                                                                                                         And yet…….up they have come again! The couple of tubers I missed, left in the open ground all winter with no added protection and probably speared with the border fork!

Sometimes I think we try too hard and underestimate a plant’s ability to survive. Of course, I don’t know how many other tubers were left and didn’t!

Favourite Dahlia & Chrysanthemum of 2012

Bishop of LLandaff

Bishop of Llandaff

Probably my favourite Dahlia of the year, Bishop of Llandaff. The sturdy stems holding gorgeous deep red flowers contrast with the dark foliage and, with regular deadheading, went on for months. A really good front of border dahlia and very attractive to bees. Started from seed this year, this was grown from a packet of ‘Redskin Mix’ from Suttons Seeds.

Orange Allouise

Orange Allouise

Undoubtedly my favourite Chrysanthemum of 2012, the gorgeous buttery yellow ‘Orange Allouise’ which captivated me every day in the early morning sun throughout August and early September. Strongly recommended if you like that sort of thing!