Six on Saturday

So excited! My immature Fox Grape, Vitis labrusca ‘Isabella’ has produced one bunch of beautiful sweet fruits which will be picked and eaten in a few days. Now I have to find somewhere in the garden to put it. It has survived in a large pot for three years, but now it is bearing fruit I will have to find it a permanent place against a sunny wall to train it as the growth next year will be substantial and it will be starved of water and nutrient in a pot.

Grasses are difficult to photograph! This beautiful Panicum virgatum ‘Purple Tears’ is a case in point. Chest high and wide, it is at its peak now with wonderful photogenic seed heads that sway in the slightest breeze but on which the camera struggles to focus! Still, you get the point!

I have stopped growing Symphyotrichum as I found them weedy and needing support, often attracting mildew and generally unattractive. This one, however, is dainty and low growing Aster ageratoides ‘Stardust’ which is a healthy, well behaved, self supporting species aster which slowly spreads to form an attractive colony of pretty white daisies in September and October. It is loved by pollinators and provides plentiful nectar just at a time when most summer flowers are going over. Very easy to propagate by division or semi-rooted cuttings, totally hardy and as one knowledgeable nurserywoman pointed out to me, hides its dead flowers with new ones!

Still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down, Diascia personata continues to provide colour in various spots in the garden. This was a leftover cutting from last year and has been in flower since May in a pot. In the ground they can get quite tall and need supporting to stop them flopping and swamping adjacent plants, but they do less damage in a pot!

Another difficult subject to photograph is this Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’ which, as the name implies, shoots off its flowers in all directions in a wonderful display which goes on for weeks and weeks. Another easy late summer/early autumn border filler which goes particularly well with purple Symphyotrichum at this time of year.

Still a few cornflowers about. Was there ever a more true blue flower?

My first time growing some ginger lilies, this one is Hedychium flavescens with its spidery, heavily sweet scented blooms and spear-like dark green leaves which bring a tropical look to the late summer border. Surprisingly easy to grow from their fleshy rhizomes and undemanding in pots, they would do well in a conservatory but are hardy enough to be grown outdoors with a little winter protection.

The last few flowers on my Tradescantias before they are cut back this weekend. It has been a great first year for my new hobby which received National Collection status from Plant Heritage earlier this month. I have currently amassed over 40 species and cultivars of T. virginiana and T. Andersoniana Group which is roughly three quarters of those available in the UK but I am keen to find a way of bringing others in from the USA if and when phytosanitary rules allow.

Have a great weekend

David

Six on Saturday

It’s been raining here in Cheltenham for the last two days so my photos had to be taken between showers. However, the Echinacea pallida enjoyed the welcome rain and perked up a treat. Their downward facing petals look odd but are the defining feature of this species of Echinacea. My ‘White Swan’ have all disappeared and my purpurea drastically reduced, but pallida goes from strength to strength. Looks good with the Monarda too.

I am trialling Dahlia ‘Bishop’s Children’ for Which? Gardening magazine to see how they perform in containers and to see which colours attract the most pollinators. Unfortunately, they seem to be attracting more blackfly than pollinators at the moment! Time to squish!

I have to confess, I was stupidly excited at seeing the first grapes forming on my little Fox Grape, Vitis labrusca ‘Isabella’, and wonder if they will actually become tasty, sweet pink grapes. Watch this space!

The Merton Thornless blackberries are turning colour a little later than usual this year, presumably due to the unseasonal weather in May, but are very welcome, particularly to the hungry blackbirds! It’s a bit of a race each morning to see who gets there first! Mind you, there’s enough to go round and you can only eat, freeze and cook so many blackberries!

Japanese Wineberries are coming thick and fast too. The bright red shiny, sticky sweet little jewels are not so prolific as raspberries or blackberries but they are delicious on our morning granola.

‘Moneymaker’ tomatoes are very late ripening, probably due to the rubbish weather, but we should have been picking for a few weeks now. Not that we have been having too many salads this year! Disappointing, but things might have been different if they had been in a greenhouse. I like to grow mine outdoors for good pollination, and in the ground rather than pots or growbags despite the risk of blight. At least a month behind though!

Well, that’s my six for today

Have a great weekend and I hope it stays dry for you.

David