Six on Saturday

A quick glimpse of the booze factory! Blackberry Gin, Redcurrant Vodka, Blackberry Brandy, Japanese Wineberry & Maple Syrup Vodka, Blackberry & Vanilla Vodka Liqueur all steeping for 12 weeks before being strained, filtered and bottled for Christmas. Obviously, might have to sample each one before then!

Incredible sunset last night. Looked like the sky was on fire. Another hot couple of days still to come. Out with the watering cans!

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ is reputedly a short lived perennial but this one has been going for 8 years. Never quite sure what ‘short lived’ means, is it 3,5,7 years or longer? I have found it easy to take heal cuttings and propagate them in the Hydropod so all will be well.

I am always impressed with the simple and abundant flowers of perennial sunflowers. This Helianthus has been with me since we moved here 12 years ago and has been split, walked on and moved several times since then. It is one of those plants that come with a warning that they may spread vigorously which this one certainly does. However, in the right place the 2m tall flowers make a wonderful backdrop to a mixed border as long as you’re not sniffy about yellow. Pollinators love them and as I wrote previously, it takes a Chelsea Chop in May which doubles the flowers and prolongs the season.

Everybody likes a good Phlox! This one is short and sweet, and free of mildew for now!

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ is finding it tough going in my clay soil. She dries out quickly and needs constant watering which seems to result in shorter growth and smaller flowers. I enriched the soil with compost and have pampered her with organic fertiliser but nothing seems to perk her up. I think I may have to give up and just accept her runty growth.

And that is my Six on Saturday, on time for once!

Plant of the day

There are so many beautiful flowers in the garden at the moment but my plant of the day today is the dainty Gaura lindheimeri. There are many white and pink forms of Gaura and I have both but prefer the tall, plain white variety called ‘Whirling Butterflies’ because of it’s simplicity and visibility. Sitting here in my kitchen I can see the plant gently waving it’s wiry stems covered in small white butterfly shaped flowers a good 20 metres away.It seems to like my alkaline clay soil and grows up to 150cm high in full sun and, being on the edge of the footpath, is much admired by passers-by. The pink flowerbuds start opening progressively in June and continue up the lengthening stem into autumn with the last few at the tips still around in November. No scent unfortunately, but you can’t have everything!

I find Gaura to be quite hardy here but it is so easy to grow from seed that it wouldn’t matter if you lost some in a cold winter. They flower in their first year and grow into a good sized clump if they are happy. They seem to work well in a mixed border and act as a foil for other bolder colours and leaf forms. They don’t need deadheading and I wouldn’t be without them.