Six on Saturday

‘A day late and a dollar short’ as the saying goes. I spent Saturday driving back from Sheffield and unexpectedly hit a massive diversion at Chesterfield which was only flagged up at the actual junction which was closed. Two hours and 44 miles later, I was on my way back on the M1. Not the way I hoped my weekend would start! However, Rosa ‘Jude the Obscure’ lifted my mood when I returned home. Impossibly gorgeous.

Rosa ‘Camille Pissarro’ jostling for position with Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and showing why she was named after an 19th Century French painter. I bet his apron was messy!

Talking of Geranium ‘Rozanne’, here she is in all her glory, creeping, crawling and shoving her way into every nook and cranny. One plant can easily travel 2m in all directions and neatly carpets the ground beneath roses and shrubs. However, she climbs too and often pops up amongst even the tallest flowers.

Clematis ‘Yukikomachi’ with her delicate lavender blue tints on pure white flowers is one of my favourite viticellas and is neat and tidy on a short, north facing trellis. Growing in a big pot in a shady position by the side gate which makes sure she gets admired several times a day.

This summer flowering Allium angulosum, or Mouse Garlic, is one of the best bee plants in the garden and flowers for weeks on end. It sits beside an ever-growing clump of Sapponaria (Soapwort) which is now untidy and spreading relentlessly towards the daylillies. Note to self: remove 75% of Sapponaria before it takes over! The towering white spikes of Lysimachia ephemerum mingle with the tall Veronica and Veronicastrums to add height and drama to the summer border.

Rose ‘The Pilgrim’ at her very best, like a flaky pastry tart with vanilla custard.

Have a great rest of your weekend

David

My Garden This Week – The Best Bits!

DSC_0024I have been trying to take a good photo of Salvia uliginosa and have found it very difficult so this is the best I have managed so far but it really doesn’t do it justice. The colour is simply exquisite and it flowers for months. The bees love it and it is a full 1.8m high and wide which makes a wonderful border statement. Believe it or not, it is thriving in one of the worst parts of the garden overshadowed by trees and in sticky clay soil, all the things it should hate!DSC_0028

Aconitum carmichaelii, the common Monkshood, has got a fearsome reputation for being the most poisonous plant in the garden, particularly since a gardener died of it’s effects earlier this year. It is, however, a rather beautiful and statuesque plant, just don’t touch it and then eat your sandwiches!DSC_0034

The front border is filled with colour from the salvias, echinaceas, monardas and heleniums with the fresh foliage of the asters and chrysanths supporting them. Everything props each other up and avoids flopping. DSC_0036

Amongst the asters is this rather unusual Solidago ‘Fireworks’ which is not your average Golden Rod but a more refined version which works well with the purples, mauves and crimsons of the asters which are now beginning to open.DSC_0046

Best hoverfly attractor plant? This Lysimachia ephemerum, the Willow Leaved Loosestrife, gets this year’s award. Yes, better than Verbena, salvias or scabious and at least on a par with echinacea for attracting pollinators. Never seen it without something crawling over it!DSC_0054

The ever reliable Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii which lights up the borders in August and goes on for weeks and weeks. I wouldn’t be without it. Shorter than ‘Goldsturm’ and a brighter yellow in my opinion.DSC_0057

I do find it easy to ignore the more mundane plants in the garden and take them for granted, particularly those which have been there for years and just perform without fussing, feeding or propping, things like this Echinops ritro, a reliable drought resistant, clay loving plant if ever there was one. Loved by bees, flies, beetles and all manner of creepie crawlies, it must be overloaded with pollen and nectar. It is not until you look closely, really closely at those blue balls that you see why.DSC_0061

Each flower ball is comprised of hundreds of tiny florets, each one packed with food and drink. Isn’t nature wonderful!

Judgement Day!

DSC_0016I don’t consider gardening to be a competitor sport but when the opportunity arises, it’s nice to see how you’re doing by getting the opinion of those in the know. So I entered the Charlton Kings In Bloom competition for the second time and it will be judged today! DSC_0015Sunday 19 July 2015                                                                                                               It’s 4pm and I am waiting for the judges to appear to inspect and critique my garden in the annual Charlton Kings in Bloom competition. My judging slot is 4.30 – 5.30pm which is the last of the two days and the 30 gardens which have entered. I hope they are not fed up and dying to go home! The weather is beautiful, warm and sunny with a light breeze, perfect for garden visiting. Officially, I am not even supposed to talk to the judges, I don’t even have to be here. They usually just turn up, walk around, take loads of photos, mark the scores on their clipboards and leave. However, I have a cunning plan, I am going to greet them and offer to give them the tour!DSC_0017 I have spent the last two days pruning, plumping, propping and preening…….weeding, watering, mulching, deadheading, mowing and edging……weeding, weeding and weeding! It looks good…not perfect but good enough I hope. It has been so warm and dry that many of the plants I hoped would be in peak condition are already over, the delphiniums, knautia macedonica, salvia greggii and microphylla are past their best but balanced by the echinaceas, heleniums and some of the early chrysanths which are out earlier than usual.DSC_0024

4.50pm They have arrived…..six of them! I know three of them including a former nursery owner and a professional gardener. This is going to be difficult. Wish me luck!DSC_00255.35pm They’ve gone! Phew! Actually it went very well. They loved the design and planting schemes, raved about the Agapanthus africanus lined up in front of the bungalow and looked at everything with experienced and critical eyes. DSC_0023They were keen on finding any rare or unusual plants and were furiously writing notes on anything they found. I suppose there are only so many petunias, begonias and pelargoniums you can take! This worked to my advantage as there are several unusual things around the garden one of them being the Leopard Lily, Belamcanda chinensis, which no-one recognised. Others were Salvia uliginosa and the beautiful but easy white  Lysimachia ephemerum  which got them talking and writing even more furiously.DSC_0020

Time for a glass of wine and a sit down. No gardening tomorrow!