Six on Saturday

Blackberry ‘Merton Thornless’, absolutely delicious and currently picking a bowlful every day before the Blackbirds get them. The plant is enormous, far too big to net, but there are more than enough for everyone.

Dahlia ‘Union Jack’ , also known as ‘Star of Denmark’ is one of the oldest known cultivars dating back to at least 1832 but not grown much any more probably due to its lax habit. The flowers are too large and heavy for the spindly stems which droop under the weight. Anyone who has seen the original species dahlias like ‘merckii’ will recognise this unfortunate trait and understand why it went out of favour. I am now its Plant Guardian to make sure it remains in cultivation, despite its unpopularity!

Whilst most things in my garden are dying of thirst and underperforming, the fruit is amazing and revelling in the heat. These Japanese Wineberries are coming thick and fast and provide a welcome treat for topping the breakfast granola. The sticky little berries, like shiny miniature raspberries, are easy to grow and well worth it.

Aster trifoliatus subsp. ageratoides ‘Stardust’, lovely little species aster but terrible name! Another plant which has me as its Guardian but doesn’t need any help from me to survive. A real thug which refuses to stay in one place. A small 1 litre pot acquired 5 years ago is now a border all of its own and still spreading. Its stems root when they touch the ground and it sends out underground runners as well. Pure white starry flowers against mid-green foliage is a winning combination though.

Phlomis ‘Rougemont’, a sport of Phlomis fruticosa (Jerusalem Sage) discovered by chance in the grounds of the Rougemont Hotel in Exeter some years ago and now in my care. Unusual variegated felted foliage and a whorl of bright yellow hooded flowers adored by bumble bees. Only in a pot at the moment but due to be transferred into the garden when I can find the right spot, which is always the problem!

This Phlox paniculata was in the garden when we moved here 13 years ago, has been lifted and divided several times, and is now in several spots. It was destined for the compost heap last year but I gave it a reprieve and now quite like it so it can stay for another year or until I find something which deserves the space more.

Let’s end with one of my favourites and such a pretty flower with impressively large petals, Tradescantia (Andersoniana Group) ‘Red Grape’.

Have a great weekend


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.