Monthly Archives: November 2014

End of month view – November 2014

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Unsurprisingly the garden is looking rather sad in places.  The drive bed, above, is looking better than most, with an ongoing second flush from Rosa Snow Goose, as well as some new planting below.  The strap like leaves are from Sisyrinchium striatum, which I’ve moved from the swing beds where they were taking over.  It was an early ‘In a vase on Monday‘ post which alerted me to how well the rose and Sisyrinchiums go together and so now they’ve been moved to live together, rather than just appearing fleetingly in a vase.

The downside of digging all the Sisyrinchiums out of the swing beds, is that they are now looking very bare.  And that’s not the only reason; I also dug up the large Euphorbia wulfenii Characias from each bed, as neither was looking well, and I pulled out the ‘only-two-apples’ apple tree which was starting to shade the right hand bed and looked rather incongruous amongst the perennials.  On a positive note, all the space has allowed me better access to plant my bulbs, so hopefully things will start bouncing back soon (quickly crosses fingers…)

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The grass bed hasn’t yet had any autumnal clearing, and whilst the Stipa teniussima at the back are looking rather tired, the Nasturtiums at the front are in very rude health. Consequently I’ve left them alone for the time being, but sadly, the last few flowers on the nasturtiums are rather buried by the generous foliage.

Some of you may remember that I want to clear some, if not all, of the fox and cubs from this bed as they don’t really flower for long enough to justify their position, but that work is also yet to be done – and I think I need to get rid of all that nasturtium foliage so that I can even see the fox and cubs.IMG_5488

I’ve also done some clearing in the small veg patch, which is now back to just the raspberries, the diving lady (who has new bulbs planted in her pool) and Nimbus.

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I’ve also cleared the exhausted Cosmos Purity from the troughs, but have left the stocks at the back.  They are getting rather leggy now but I just love their scent and forgot to plant any new ones this summer, so I’ll have to hope they survive the winter and reflower.

As well as clearing, I’ve planted some more Alliums (Purple Sensation) in this bed as their numbers seemed to have dwindled this year, so I gave them a top up.  They should follow on from the two Narcissii, Minnow and Segovia.IMG_5474

The raised beds I used for cutting for the first time this year still need clearing, but there are a few Antirrhinums clinging on, as well as one sentinel Zinnia.

I think I judge these beds a success.  Of course I would have had bigger plants and consequently more blooms if I’d planted in the ground, but I just didn’t have the space, and this is a relatively out of the way position so it didn’t matter that the whole effect wasn’t very cohesive.  I’ll definitely use the space again, but will need to replace the compost for next year.IMG_5491

Meanwhile the shady bed continues to look good in its monochrome way.  IMG_5492

Aside from the beds, I’ve also been planting up lots of pots with bulbs.  The one below is one of a pair which sit outside the greenhouse.  I’ve lain strips of rose prunings across the top to discourage marauders, and they seem to have worked so far.

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In the greenhouse I have Iris reticulata ‘Gordon’ bulbs just starting to show their green shootsIMG_5495

and the cuttings taken last month are also putting on some new growth.  Certainly not 100% success, but definitely lots of new babies to tend. IMG_5496

And lastly, a couple of sights more applicable to much earlier in the year – still a few blooms on my Plumbagos, IMG_5498

and yes! more Tomatoes Sungold ripening.  The question is, where am I going to put all my tender plants if the greenhouse still has tomatoes in it?IMG_5497

With many thanks to Helen at The Patient Gardener for hosting the end of month meme. Please visit her website to see how other bloggers’ gardens look at this time of year.

 

Wildflower Wednesday – late November 2014

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Although there’s been very little in the way of frost here, the Duver is now looking distinctly wintery.

Whilst there are odd flowers – like the cow parsley, Anthriscus sylvestrisIMG_5419

wild garlic, Allium ursinumIMG_5421

and bedraggled chamomile,IMG_5440

these are the exception.

The majority of plantlife is either brown and decaying – my beautiful Sea Thrift, all over for the year – IMG_5441

and likewise the wild carrot, Daucus carota,IMG_5433

or are resolutely fruiting in a last chance reproductive saloon – rose hips,IMG_5431

seed head of Iris unguicularisIMG_5425

and Black Bryony, (Dioscorea [or Tamus] communis)IMG_5462

However, one thing clearly thriving in the relatively mild damp, is the funghi.

Sorry no names, but aren’t they extraordinary?  And no, I haven’t eaten any of them!

With many thanks, as ever, to Gail at Clay and Limestone for hosting Wildflower Wednesday.

Annual round up

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After a weekend of leaf collecting, veg patch dismantling and (tardy) bulb planting, I thought I’d hark back to sunnier, summery times and give a review of some of the annuals I’ve grown from seed this year.

All the seeds mentioned here were from Sarah Raven, except The Aster chinensis Hulk, which I think was Thompson and Morgan.

Above and below is the gorgeous marigold, Calendula offiinalis ‘Sunset Buff’.  IMG_3378

As well as the ‘Sunset Buff’, I grew Calendula ‘Neon.’  I’ve never grown calendula before, but I have to say I love these two.

I’ve been lucky enough to grow them either in my raised cutting beds, or my borrowed neighbours’ garden, as I would struggle to fit these colours into my rather pink scheme.

With regard to their use for cutting (the main reason I was growing them), they have been good, but I’ve struggled to get very long stems and also struggled with mildew later in the season. They were only planted in March, so I’ve planted some seed this autumn, in the hope of having more established plants earlier on next year.

Another orange plant grown in my ‘borrowed’ garden has been provided by my Tithonia, Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’.  This has been incredibly prolific this year with the blooms making such a cheerful, bold statement.  I do love this plant but wonder where I’ll be able to grow it next year as it does reach quite a height and spread and, as mentioned before, orange isn’t always the easiest colour to include in a planting scheme.  I do have plans for a new orangey/bronzey themed bed, but the Tithonia would be too tall.  

A genus I’ve grown lots of before is Cosmos, but this year as well as the lovely Comos ‘Purity’, so prolific and so, well ‘pure’ (clue’s in the name…)

I also grew Cosmos ‘Psyche White’. These are very similar to ‘Purity’, but have semi double flowers, which are like a fun mutation of ‘Purity’.

As well as the whites, I grew three pinks, Cosmos ‘Dazzler’, which is quite well known but was new to me and was good, but to my mind not as good asIMG_3776 - Copy - Copy

Cosmos ‘Click Cranberries’.  These very double flower heads were fabulous, and in such a stunning pink (it look wonderful contrasted with the Tithonia).  However, one problem was that sometimes the flower heads were so heavy they didn’t stand up in the vase as well as the singles.

The last Cosmos was C. Rubenza.  I do like the rather unusual colour which fades as the plant ages to a very dusky pink, but this one is shorter than the rest and therefore impossible to get really long flowers for cutting, if that’s what you’re after.

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I grew a couple of sunflowers – Helianthus ‘Valentine’ which was an attractive soft yellow and had realtively small blooms making them good for cutting.  Sadly, all my seedlings got eaten by slugs except one, so there weren’t many blooms to cut.  (I heard Sarah Raven suggest that it was as prolific as Cosmos but can’t say I found that with mine).

The second was Helianthus Claret.  I found these rather variable – you can see that the first picture shows the deep ‘wine-red’ colour I was expecting, whereas the next two don’t.  Although they were quite fun, and pretty prolific for cutting, I found it hard to put them with other blooms and didn’t particularly like just a vase of sunflowers.  I don’t think I’d grow them again.

Another plant I don’t think I’d grow again are Cleomes.  I rather like their spidery heads but I found them quite hard to arrange as cut flowers and certainly didn’t appreciate (or expect) their vicious thorns.  Ouch!

Something I would definitely grow more of are Zinnias.  They had a wonderfully productive year this year as it was warm and sunny, just how they like it, and they grow with long straight stems and last well in the vase.  I grew Zinnia ‘Genoa Mix’IMG_5362

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and Zinnia ‘Envy’.

Another favourite is Salvia Viridis Blue.  Although not that tall, I love the form with the wonderfully coloured flower bracts.  This is still going strong in the garden in November, as are

the Nasturtium Black Velvet.  These had a bad patch in high summer, but are flowering wonderfully now.  The stems are very short for cutting, but make lovely posies and are, of course, good picked and sprinkled on salads as they are edible.

This Malope, Malope trifida Vulcan, I hadn’t grown for years, but it did really well for me this year.  The petals have a beautiful silk like texture, which is gorgeous, but they can get easily bruised when cutting and arranging, so you do need to take extra care.

This Rudbeckia, Rudbekia ‘Cherry Brandy’ has also been great and was used in my ‘In a vase on Monday’ post on November 10th, as it was still going strong.

A couple more flowers I haven’t grown from seed since I had my allotment in London – Antirrhinum ‘White Giant

and A. ‘Liberty Crimson’

I loved arranging with both of these as they provided fabulous vertical accents.

To finish, my ‘greens’.  The first one, an annual aster, was supposed to be Aster chinensis ‘Hulk’, but goodness knows what it is instead.  I do rather like it though!

Secondly, Ammi visnaga white.  I grew this instead of the more common Ammi majus, but I think it was a mistake.   I found the flower heads were very dense and not so easy to mix with other plants.  It did look lovely in simple arrangements, for example with the white Cosmos, however.

My Amaranthus caudatus ‘Viridis’, was an absolute revelation.  Lots and lots of fresh green cutting material, with funky long (sometimes very long!) green tassels.IMG_3775

And to finish, one of my favourite blooms of any colour – Molucella laevis, or Bells of Ireland.  I just love the form of this flower and for the first time ever got good germination rates and managed to grow some pretty tall blooms.  OK, not the two foot ones you get in the florists, but then I probably wasn’t as assiduous with my staking as I should have been, and they were never going to grow that tall along the ground!

Of course the other things I grew plenty of from seed this year were sweet peas, but I think I’ve gone on long enough.  You can read about my sweet peas here.

I would love to hear about your favourite annuals.  Do you like mine?  Know better?  Tell me!

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – November 2014

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So it’s November, and whilst the garden isn’t exactly overwhelmed with blooms, there are still many flowers – and some quite exotic.  Firstly this orange abutilon, Abutilon ‘Orange Marion’. This is still sitting on my barrow and has been flowering non stop since June.  It’s in a large pot so will be brought into the greenhouse once frost is threatened, but in the meantime it’s enjoying the sunshine.

There are still roses flowering – Snow Goose,IMG_5385

and two inherited, nameless varieties:IMG_5352

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Another good genus still going strong is Salvia, Salvia microphylla ‘Cerro Potosí’IMG_5376

unknown and IMG_5372

Salvia ‘viridis blue’, flowering in front of the Stipa tenuissima in the grass bed.IMG_5381

Climbers include Honeysuckle and IMG_5387

Clematis ‘Freckles’.IMG_5380

In the ‘med’ beds, this Potentilla nepalensis ‘Shogran’ is still flowering well.  I just love this particular shade of pink.IMG_5392

On the more exotic side, flowers which you think should perhaps know better than to be flowering in November, there is a Grevillea (is it just me or do the buds remind you of a rather pretty  fist?)IMG_5370

Marguerites, still looking cheerful despite the chill, IMG_5369

Nerine bowdenii,

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Zinnia ‘Giant Dahlia Mixed’, in the cutting troughsIMG_5362

and the lovely diascia I was given by Nick Peirce from White Cottage Daylilies, which I wrote about here.  I really must ask Nick what it’s called.IMG_5378

And still the Verbena bonariensis come!IMG_5388

With thanks as ever to Carol at May Dream Gardens for hosting GBBD.