Monthly Archives: August 2015

End of month view – August 2015


What a grey day!  I should have taken my photos yesterday when everything looked a lot more cheerful.  This looks like an end of October view.

As you can see, a lot of colour has already gone from the garden.  Whilst the Verbena bonariensis and Erysimum Bowles Mauve are doing their best in the Lavender bed in the foreground, in the main Swing Beds, you have to get closer to see much in the way of flowers.

There are Cosmos Double Click Cranberries (the same as in the Cutting Garden) together with Aster Frikartii Monch, Geraniums and Phlox.  I particularly like the Aster and have recently taken cuttings in a bid to fill out the bed with more next year.


In the same bed, but looking the other way, you can see a few roses are blooming, but this year the sweet peas on the netting at the back have been a complete disaster.  I planted less densely than in the past thinking that giving them more space might back them flower better, but I think they struggled with lack of water early on, and just never got going.

After two disappointing years I think I might just plant some taller plants at the back of these beds rather than keep trying with the sweet peas, which only really worked well the once.IMG_8447

In the Grass Bed I pulled out the majority of the Verbascums as I really didn’t like their dead flower heads and instead planted some left over Zinnia Raspberry Cordial.  These are only just getting going, and not sure their habit matches at all well with the soft grasses, but I’m trying not to worry about that, instead I’m just thinking of yet more peachy flower arrangements!IMG_8449

In the Mid Century Bed, the Malope in particular has got a  little chaotic,  but there is still quite a lot of colour.


Here the Rosa Munstead Wood with Salvia and CentaureaIMG_8445

In the other new bed, things are looking a bit of a mess because of the grasses.  Whilst I love the Hordeum jubatum, it has been rather flattened in the rain and is giving the bed a very unkempt look. Lucky the dahlias (D. Happy Single Date) are shining out from the chaos.


Near to this bed are a couple of arrangements of succulents, which keep looking good whatever the weather.IMG_8452


The veg patch has also suffered this year.  Whilst the courgettes and runner beans are still going strong, the french beans have given up the ghost and the sweet peas, which did well in this bed last year have been almost as poor as the ones in the Swing Beds.

At least all the recent rain has kept the Diving Lady’s pool topped up.IMG_8446

Thinking ahead, I’ve recently been busy taking cuttings and here are a few, hopefully busy rooting as I type.  Oh how I love to propagate!IMG_8462

And to finish, the THIRD agapanthus flower grown from seed.  Did I say how I love to propagate?IMG_8466

With thanks to Helen at the  Patient Gardener  who hosts everyone’s EOMVs.

In a vase on Monday – four ways!


Some of you will have already seen the bucket of flowers picked at my Cutting Garden on Sunday afternoon:IMG_8440

Well this is a quick post (as End of Month View beckons) to see what happened to them.

The first vase (top) is obviously sunflowers, but also a couple of stems of Nicandra physalodes, the shoo-fly plant, which is growing about 6ft tall in a corner of the cutting garden, not planted by me.  It has fascinating black/green bells which ultimately open to purple.

Below, Cosmos Double Click Snow Puff and Purity, together with the stalwart Salvia Horminum ‘Oxford Blue’ and lastly some Molucella laevis, all of a sudden quite tall – so proud 😉


Next, a mad mug of blooms to take to London tomorrow, more Salvias, this time together with Antirrhinum Liberty Classic Crimson (which survived from last year), Zinnias, Cosmos and Dianthus Green Trick.


And finally, yet another little peachy number, this time for the spare room where my mother in law has been staying for the weekend with Sedum and Dianthus (both left over from last week’s vase), Zinnias and Antirrhinums.  I think this ones my favourite, which one’s yours?


And whilst certainly not the finest arrangements, it’s been such fun to have so many blooms to play with!

Why don’t you go and see what others have found for their Monday vases at Rambling in the Garden with Cathy?

The Cutting Garden – August 2015


I’ve been remiss in not posting about my satellite Cutting Garden (in my neighbours’ walled garden) since it looked like this at the end of May.  And now it’s producing bucket loads of blooms, like the one above.

The following photos were actually taken last week, but when I visited today it’s clear the recent rain has battered everything quite badly.  I’m never great at staking (always thinking I’ll get away with it!) but this year, when it was clear some stakes were needed, it was so dry I couldn’t get them into the ground.  Quite what my excuse was for not getting round to it as the ground softened is anyone’s guess.  Tsk!

This photos is looking in a similar direction to the one above and shows the Cosmos Double Click Snow Puff, with Cosmos Double Click Cranberries nearer the fence.  Down the slope are the Antirrhinum majus Orange Wonder  with Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue’ to the right.  In between are the Zinnias,


Zinnia Benary’s Giant Scarlet,IMG_8426

Zinnia Benary’s Giant Wine,IMG_8425

and my favourite, Zinnia Raspberry Cordial.IMG_8427

Looking up the slope you can see the Zinnias are still quite small (although have grown significantly in the past week).  Between the Zinnias and Salvias are a line of Ten Week Stocks.  Although they do smell lovely, they really don’t work for cutting, so I won’t be growing them again.


The sunflowers have been amazing this year.  IMG_8429

The large yellow ones, which were very kindly sent to me by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, didn’t turn out to be the red flushed Ruby Eclipse we were both expecting, but now the huge central stems have been cut, there are plenty of smaller clear yellow blooms, which have that lovely sunflower cheer.IMG_8421

There are two other sunflowers, Helianthus cuc Italian White and Helianthus Vanilla Ice, but I can’t seem to tell the difference between them.  They’ve been absolutely great, hugely prolific and yet dainty and soft coloured for a sunflower.  I featured them in my ‘Moonflowers’ Monday vase and have used them every week since.IMG_8423

Back home, as well as more Zinnias, (including Z. Benary’s Giant Lime not at the satellite cutting garden) I’ve also been cutting Molucella laevis


and another favourite, Dianthus Green Trick.  This came originally from Sarah Raven, but I’ve already taken a number of successful cuttings and this weekend have taken a dozen more. They last for well over a week in the vase and retain this lovely fresh green.IMG_8262

With many thanks to Julie at Peonies and Posies for hosting the Cutting Garden meme.

Now all I’ve got to do is decide what to choose for Monday’s vase!

Dahlia delights at Gilberts


My lovely chat with one of the Hillier’s staff trying to identify a rogue dahlia mentioned in my Sir Harold Hillier Garden revisited post, led to us leaving Hilliers to visit Gilberts Nursery, just the other side of Romsey.  Gilberts have a ‘dahlia field’ open from August to October, where they grow 400 dahlias which they supply as tubers and cuttings.  It was an amazing sight and a fabulous opportunity to see so many dahlias in one place.

Whilst catalogues and websites do a great job of showing the actual blooms, seeing them growing as plants – how tall, how bushy and how many blooms – was a completely different experience.  It not only made me want to buy dozens of dahlias, but rather tempted me to open a dahlia field on the Isle of Wight!IMG_8347

Here are a random selection of the ones that appealed to me

Barry WilliamsIMG_8355

GI JoeIMG_8376

Hapet VinetteIMG_8395

Crazy LegsIMG_8363


Piper’s PinkIMG_8393


Danjo docIMG_8367

Little SallyIMG_8391

Mels Orange MarmaladeIMG_8387

Dark SpiritIMG_8365

Karma NaomiIMG_8379

Karma ChocolateIMG_8381

Black NarcissusIMG_8360

So, whilst I didn’t identify the mystery dahlia (on the right), I did discover the similarly shaped Coccinea (left) as well many others to tempt me.

Thanks Gilberts, it was an education.



In a vase on Monday – just peachy!


After the success of last week’s peachy vase I was inspired to go bigger and here it is.

The vase has more of the Zinnia Raspberry Cordial, IMG_8435

Antirrhinum Orange Wonder,  Dianthus Green Trick, as well as green heads of Sedum Autumn Joy.

These have been joined by first pickings of Scabious Fata Morgana.  This is growing in the Bronze Bed and has turned out less peachy than I was expecting, but does seem to be getting rather more orange as the flower heads age.IMG_8436

But the new flower I’m most excited about is this Dahlia – Dahlia Happy Single Date.  Such a lovely colour.  What with my Raspberry Cordials and my Happy Single Dates I feel plenty more peachy vases to come!IMG_8438

With many thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who hosts all the lovely Monday vases.  Why don’t you ramble over and see what everyone’s found for their vases this week?

Sir Harold Hillier garden revisited


Back in February I visited the stunning 4 acre winter gardens at the Sir Harold Hillier gardens in Hampshire, and at that time vowed to return to see the Centenary Borders looking rather better than they were then:IMG_0446

Fast forward six months and they were absolutely magnificent.  At over 250 metres long, they’re the longest double borders in the UK and comprise over 30,000 plants.  The aerial photo below is from the garden’s website and shows the incredible scale of the endeavour.Pond

The planting was all still looking fresh and vigorous which I think is impressive as we head to late August.IMG_8341





And there were some lovely plant combinations like the salvia and perovskia with the dahlia IMG_8292

and the amaranthus with the grass.IMG_8301

There were a couple of similarly coloured sedums, Sedum ‘Marchants Best Red’ andIMG_8304

Sedum Red Cauli.  I particularly like this latter one and wonder whether I might find room for it in the Mid Century Bed.IMG_8299

Whilst many of the agapanthus in the borders were finished, this incredibly dark one, Agapanthus Black Magic was still in perfect condition and really striking.  It’s so dark it was actually quite hard to photograph and you’d have to be very careful where you placed it to provide a contrasting background. IMG_8338

And back to the dark red theme, there were a number of these Ricinus at over a metre tall.  I grew Ricinus communis ‘Carmencita’ from seed earlier in the year and now have four or five in 9cm pots. The question is what on earth am I going to do with them now?  Whilst one might look good in the new Mid Century bed, sadly I don’t have 250m of double borders to fill, so don’t really think I’ve got the space for them. Perhaps Hilliers would like a couple more?


From the Centenary Borders we walked on to Jermyn’s House, the previous residence of the Hillier family, the site of February’s lovely snowdrop display, and most importantly the location for my coffee and cake stop.

However, it wasn’t the cake that stopped me in my tracks, but the fabulous planting against the house.  IMG_8313


It was absolutely stunning.  Many of the flowers I’d grown either this year or in the past (Nicotiana Lime Green, Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy, Amaranthus caudatus ‘Viridis’) but they’d also succeeded with Zinnia Queen Red Lime (the one Zinnia I failed with this year) and brought them all together to produce a bold, brilliant whole.   One of my favourite borders EVER!

I definitely predict some Jermyn’s House inspired revisions to my Bronze Bed next year. IMG_8314

And to finish, one plant I didn’t know, this gorgeous, simple dahlia.  I was so struck with it I asked a member of staff what it was and she confessed it was a ‘rogue’ – not the dahlia they’d ordered and so she couldn’t identify it.

However, she explained that it had been bought from a local supplier, and that let to a whole new adventure….IMG_8327

In a vase on Monday – raspberry cordial debut

photo (3)

Further to Saturday’s rather rushed GBBD, here is last Monday’s vase bringing together some of the Cutting Garden blooms featured there.

I just love the extraordinary salmon pink colour of large Zinnia at the front.  This is Zinnia Raspberry Cordial which I fell in love with last September at West Dean (see below).


Whereas all my other ‘Benary’ Zinnias came from Chilterns, I managed to find these seeds for sale at Plants of Distinction.  I haven’t got too many Raspberry Cordial blooms yet, but there are plenty more to come at the Cutting Garden, and I also have plants planted in the Grass Bed.  It’s not often I’m so determined to seek out a particular variety, but I’m really chuffed I did.

To fill out the arrangement I also added some Zinnia Benary Giant Scarlet and my peachy Antirrhinum Orange Wonder.  The Antirrhinums in this vase were a bit ‘kinky’ as they hadn’t been staked, but I really like the way they’ve curving at the front of the 5

And for green, I have yet more heads of Dianthus Green Trick.  These ones are currently growing in a big pot near my front steps.  I really must take more cuttings as I love the freshness of the colour and how long lasting they are in the 1 (1)

With thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting everyone’s IaVoM.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – August 2015


Many of my current blooms are annuals grown from seed this year and the one above, Malope trifida Vulcan, has been amazing.  To be honest it probably should have been staked, but I’m quite enjoying the chaos and colour it brings.

Also in the mid century bed is my new dark rose, Munstead Wood still going strong.IMG_8211

In the other new bed, the Bronze Bed, there are Poppies, Papaver nudicale Party Fun.IMG_8242IMG_8239

Nasturtium Caribbean CrushIMG_8245

seen here through a curtain of Hordeum Jubatum.IMG_8240

together with Achillea terracottaIMG_8244

and Scabious Fata Morgana, which as feared, isn’t quite as peachy as I’d hoped, but pretty nonetheless.IMG_8241

In pots I have plenty of pelargoniums including this lovely scented one Pink Capitatum.IMG_8235

And at my cutting garden, I have these magnificent Sunflowers growing from seeds kindly sent to me by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.  We thought they were Ruby Eclipse, but they’re rather more yellow and enormous!  IMG_8249

As well as these giant sunflowers, I have also grown two smaller varieties, Helianthus cuc Italian WhiteIMG_8251

Helianthus Vanilla IceIMG_8250

Er, spot the difference?

As well, there are plenty of Cosmos Double Click Snow PuffIMG_8255IMG_8253

and Cosmos Double Click CranberriesIMG_8256

The Antirrhinum, A majus Orange Wonder which I was tempted to move back home, of course never got moved, and is having a second flush in the Cutting Garden.


Another Cutting Garden stalwart is the Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue’


This year I’ve gone a bit mad with Zinnias, planting Zinnia Benary’s Giant Lime, Zinnia Benary’s Giant Scarlet, Zinnia Benary’s Giant Wine, Zinnia Raspberry Cordial and Zinnia elegans Queen Red Lime.  Sadly the Queen Red Lime didn’t germinate  well and those that did ‘damped off’ but the rest are just starting to produce their fabulous bright blooms, on good strong stems, perfect for cutting.IMG_8259

with plenty more to come.IMG_8260

One group of flowers which really hasn’t fared well this year are my sweet peas.  They struggled with the dry weather early on, and have certainly suffered more from greenfly than any year I can remember – perhaps because they were stressed by the early drought.  But I still love them, roll on next year.IMG_8224

With many thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens  for hosting everyone’s GBBD.