Six on Saturday

Euphorbia characias, nowhere near as tall as last year but with plenty of flowers to enjoy. Considering it is native to the hot and dry Mediterranean, it is a plant which has become well adapted to our wet winters. It it is happy enough to self seed everywhere too!

My congested bed of Hesperantha coccinea did not produce many flowers last year which was probably due to a lack of timely watering and exhausted soil. The RHS recommended lifting, dividing and replanting into soil with added compost so up they came! A bag of rich mushroom compost with added manure and a few fistfuls of Growmore should help them perform better.

Something I haven’t witnessed before is stripy Carex ‘flowering’ in my winter hanging basket. I just hope I don’t end up with seedlings popping up everywhere!

This week, I launched my new website to support my National Collection of Tradescantias. I have called it Spiderwort because that is the common name for the hardy species in North America. I would love you to have a look and let me know what you think of it so far!

The link is https://thespiderwortcollection.wordpress.com/

It is early days and I have a lot more information to upload, but any early thoughts would be welcome. The plan is to post updates at least weekly throughout the main growing season, April to August, and to record plant performance, pests and diseases, flower power and individual traits which die-hard enthusiasts should find interesting. However, I fully acknowledge that die-hard enthusiasts for this species are few and far between and I won’t be offended if you decide not to follow my Tradescantia journey of discovery!

Erysimum ‘Parrish’s’ continues to flower as it has done all winter long. I marvel at their stamina and flower power. She currently has darker flower colours than they will be in summer when the brick red and light purple will be added to the mauve. Unlike most Erysimums, this one enjoys being cut back hard in April to encourage new shoots.

I love the fresh new shoots of Roses. I also breathe a sigh of relief that I didn’t kill them with my drastic pruning. Fingers crossed for no more hard frosts! I am a bit old fashioned when it comes to pruning roses; as well as taking out any diseased, dead, spindly and crossing stems, I like to have an open centre, varying heights and pruned to an outward facing bud. Many theories abound including the use of hedge trimmers and just a quick haircut, but I find pleasure and satisfaction in giving this job a bit more thought and care.

Finally, half a clump of Sanguisorba ‘Pink Tanna’ on it’s way to a friend’s garden in exchange for Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’ already received and planted. Gardeners are such a generous bunch!

Have a great weekend

David

Six on Saturday

Here in the Cotswolds we are still blessed with good weather and after the recent rains we now have warm sunshine which is promoting new growth and repeat flowering.

Erysimum ‘Apricot Twist’

Most of the perennial wallflowers have finished and been cut back but Apricot Twist just keeps going. Difficult to place and a bit sprawly in habit but delicious nevertheless.

Hesperantha coccinea

The first of the Kaffir lilies are appearing and will continue right up to December if it stays mild. It’s the strong winds they don’t like and soon become tatty. I have acquired two more varieties this year, the pure white ‘Snow Maiden’ and ‘Pink Princess’ which I am hoping will flower this year.

Salvia mycrophylla ‘Trelissick’

This shrubby Salvia is one of my favourites and has been going strong for many years in the well drained sunny border. It is cut back hard each spring and responds with 18″ of new growth and months of pale cream petals from pink blushed buds and a dark, sometimes almost black calyx.

No, not mustard and cress, but thousands of white Foxglove seedlings in the ground beneath the mother plant. This has happened all over the garden this year but, sadly, they will have to be reduced considerably leaving just a few to mature. For some odd reason which I cannot fathom, white Foxgloves do better here than pink ones and although some do hybridise, I always have patches of pure white ones.

Lunaria annua

This purple Honesty was given to me by a friend this year as I wanted to establish some in the wilder parts of the front garden near the road. It was spectacular in flower and is now hopefully seeding itself around to give me lots more in the future.

Physocarpus ‘Lady in Red’

This Nine Bark is rewarding me with more lovely new red growth despite having been moved twice this year! It went from small pot to big pot to garden but didn’t lose its stride. A good ‘doer’ as they say.

One more for luck. This Dahlia has been an absolute bee magnet since early July and shows no sign of slowing down. Moist rich soil has produced six feet of growth and dead-heading produces non-stop flowering.

That’s all for this week. I hope you enjoyed my Six this Saturday. I will enjoy reading what others are up to.

Good gardening

David

First Frost

First Frosty Morning

The weather forecast said there might be a frost on Saturday night but just in exposed rural areas….they were wrong! We awoke to a hard frost and the tell-tale signs of tender plants grimacing in the early morning mist. Gradually, as the sun rose and the mist cleared, I realised this was the day to start the annual clearance.

It is an inevitable part of gardening with annuals and tender perennials that, sooner or later, they need to be lifted and either potted up, stored or composted. Most people seem to think that makes a garden ‘high¬†maintenance’ but I just see it as part of the programme. If you want a colourful scented garden throughout the year, it comes at a small price. However, the payback is lots of wonderful composting material!

Even after so many years, I am still reluctant to dispose of plants which are still flowering like Cosmos, Nicotianas,  China asters and bedding dahlias but if I wait I will just be clearing away a soggy mushy mess instead. So, out I went, wheelbarrow, border fork and spade in hand and had a really good day. The weather was warm under a cloudless sky.

Schizostylis coccinea

Schizostylis coccinea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I feel better for it, the borders look fresh and ready for the next chapter and I now have somewhere to plant out the 50 Alliums I bought at Malvern, the Echinaceas and rudbeckias bursting out of their 5 litre pots, the Hesperis matronalis, Sweet Williams and Foxgloves grown from seed, the Delphiniums and Penstemons bought as plugs, and the various perennials I have collected from plant sales but had nowhere to plant them. Heliopsis ‘Summer Nights’, Schizostylis coccinea, two bargain half price Phormiums, shrubby Salvias ‘Hot Lips’ and ‘Royal Bumble’, Kniphofia ‘Percy’s Pride’ and last, but by no means least, Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow is another day. Retirement has the benefit that I can spread tasks out a bit, they don’t all have to be done at the weekend, so now it is time to think, reflect, have a glass of wine and plan ahead. I might get the seed boxes out of the fridge and dream of next year’s promise, all those wonderful treats to come!