Monthly Archives: September 2015

End of month view – September 2015

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Such a glorious day for my EOMV photos – so much more cheery than last month’s post which looked like October in August!

This part of the garden has taken on a rather purple hue with the Verbena bonariensis, Erysimum Bowles Mauve and asters.  In the two photos below, you can also see the lavender heads, but these are now grey rather than their original mauve, and should really have been trimmed back by now.

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In the left hand Swing Bed, as well as the Aster Frikartii Monch, you can see the annual Cosmos Dazzler and a matching bright pink Penstemon.  These Penstemons were already in the garden when we moved here and were transplanted to these beds five years ago when they were newly created. There are quite a number of them and in prior years they’ve provided a strong presence in these beds, whereas conversely, this year, they’ve been notable by their absence.  I’m not sure whether they got knocked back by frost early in the year, whether I cut them back too hard or whether they’ve suffered from competition, but I’ve missed them, and I’m delighted they’re back.IMG_8816

In the right hand bed, as well as the same plants as the left side, there is also a Caryopteris (front left), Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Heavenly Blue’.  This is a fabulous plant and matches beautifully with the Aster.  I’ve just checked the RHS website and apparently is can be propagated by cuttings, so that’s another one to add to my propagating list – I would definitely like more Asters and Caryopteris in these beds.

One thing I could do with less of, however, are the hardy geraniums in the front.  There used to be a mix of these, Alchemilla mollis and various other shorter perennials, but the geraniums seem to have bullied the rest and at this time of year they’re just green lumps.  It’s not good enough, but what to replace them with?

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In the grass bed, I’ve mentioned previously that I’d planted out spare Zinnia Raspberry Cordials here to replace the Verbascums I’d pulled out.  I don’t think the quite stiff Zinnias really work with the grasses, so I’ll be thinking again for next year.

In the front of this bed are numerous self seeded Nasturtiums, N. Black Velvet, but the blooms seem to be almost completely obscured by the leaves.  What’s the point of that?IMG_8804

The Mid Century bed is still doing pretty well, but certain plants have got rather out of control – certainly the Malope (which should have been staked but never was) and the Centaurea cyanus Black Boy which I think could also do with some support, but here the salvias are looking great, the Jubilee Celebration rose is blooming again and of course the Rhodochiton atrosanguineus continues its rampage up the obelisk.

The plant in the middle of this photo is an Acacia, Acacia baileyana ‘Pupurea’.  This had beautiful smoky grey, feathery foliage, but I’m concerned it’s got a bit droughted during the summer and hence is showing this rather golden colour.  For a plant that I don’t believe is known for its autumnal tints, this is a bit of a worry, but it seems healthy enough, so hopefully will pull through.

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I still have plenty of tender plants such as pelargoniums and marguerites in smaller pots, but in my large troughs I have rather mad Cosmos.  This is Cosmos Purity which (in common with many of my annuals) could really have done with some staking.  However, I quite like the mad exuberance, and the plants are still going strong, (unlike the double flowered Cosmos in the Cutting Garden down the road).  I think part of the problem is the vine, planted by the OH, which is growing along the back of the troughs and pushing the Cosmos forward.  I have to say I’m not at all convinced about the vine – the grapes are barely edible and it obstructs the view when you’re sitting at the table on the decking, but to date the OH won’t hear of me ‘editing’ it.  Grrr.

As well as the Cosmos, there are some Matthiola Incana plants here, originally grown from seed two or three years ago.  They’re really rather leggy now, but I just love the scent of stocks so I’m rather loathe to pull them out.

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The old tin bath by the front steps has filled out well and has a rather gaudy/cheery (depending on your perspective) array of Gazanias and Chocolate Cosmos, Cosmos atrosanguineus (also featured in this morning’s Wordless Wednesday).  There are also very dark flowered pelargoniums in here, but they seem to have been a little overwhelmed.  And I’m a bit confused about the dark foliage plants at the front – I thought they were the dark leaved Ipomoea, the Potato Vine, but looking at them online, the leaf shape seems to be palmate, whereas mine are heart shaped so I’m not so sure.  Can anyone else think what it might be?

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And lastly, the new Bronze Bed.  Some of you will remember that this was created out of the lawn earlier this year to take advantage of the fact that the area near the house is very sunny, whereas the bed further from the house is shaded by the oak tree over the road.  The picture below hopefully demonstrates this.  Both the oak and the bed on the far side of the lawn are in full shade whereas the new bed is singing in the sunshine.

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It has all gone rather bonkers, with the Dahlia, Happy Single Date, by far the most floriferous of all my dahlias this year, the Hordeum Jubatum seed heads scattering all over the place (and dog) and the Icelandic Poppies still coming.  Happy date?  Happy face!IMG_8828

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

In a vase on Monday – long stems at last!

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As I mentioned in my Cutting Garden post yesterday the stems on many plants are getting longer and longer as the season progresses,and so today I thought I’d splash out on a rather bigger arrangement than normal.

I’m again using my lovely sister-gifted Orla Kiely vase which is proving incredibly versatile and has a good heavy base so it won’t topple over, even when heavily laden!

As well as my sunflowers, H. cuc Italian WhiteIMG_8894

and stalwart Salvias, Salvia horminum Oxford BlueIMG_8898

I added some quite long branches of the shoo fly plant, Nicandra physaloides, a member of the potato family.  I’ve grown this from seed in the past and in fact have a couple of self seeded plants in the garden, but these branches were cut from my neighbours’ plant which is shrub sized at about 5ft tall by 4ft wide!IMG_8895

I like the way the dark buds picked up the dark centre of the sunflowers.  Meanwhile, the Salvias were supposed to pick up on the purple blooms of the Nicandra, but the two Nicandra flowers I had fell off in the arranging.  Oops.  But here’s another one peaking out…IMG_8896

With thanks as ever to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who hosts our IaVoM meme.

PS.  Hey, look what opened up as soon as my back was turned:

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The Cutting Garden – September 2015

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In my Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post for August I mentioned how I couldn’t tell the difference between my two Cutting Garden pale sunflowers, Helianthus cuc Italian White and Helianthus Vanilla Ice.  Well I can now – the one above, H. cuc Italian White, is now about 7ft tall, a good 2ft taller than Vanilla Ice. They’re both still going strong and highly recommended, but I think I prefer the taller variety for cutting.

Below the Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue’, is also still flowering profusely.  The stems are getting even longer and it’s a brilliant, long lasting cut flower.IMG_8842

This is one of the few Ten Weeks Stocks still flowering.  As I mentioned last month I don’t think I’d grow these again.  They never seem to have more than a couple of flowers blooming on the stem at any one time, and although they smell gorgeous, the flowers look rather mean and a bit tatty.  I think I’ll keep looking for alternative varieties as there must be better ones and I adore the scent of stocks.

I have already planted some more Matthiola Incana seed for next year, but if anyone knows of other stock seed worth growing I’d love to know.

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The two Cosmos varieties, C. Double Click Snow Puff and C. Double Click Cranberries are starting to look rather exhausted, but they have been pumping out blooms for months so I’m not complaining.  Interestingly the two different varieties I have at home, Cosmos Purity and Cosmos Dazzler, both single, are both still flowering well.  Do you think making double flowers is more exhausting?

Meanwhile the Antirrhinum, A. Orange Wonder, seems to have gone rather more pink as it’s aged, very strange!  There are still plenty of flowers coming and, as with the Salvias, the stems are lengthening, making them even better for cutting – and there’s very little rust which was definitely a problem last year. IMG_8848

The Zinnias are also still producing well, with Z. Giant Scarlet, IMG_8844

Z. Giant WineIMG_8843

and favourite Z. Raspberry Cordial.IMG_8845

I’m also still supplementing these Cutting Garden blooms with various flowers from the garden, including dahlias, dianthus, molucella.  However, there’s no doubt the Cutting Garden is starting to look a little autumnal and I can’t help but wonder how many blooms I’ll still have to share by next month.

In a vase on Monday – carnival!

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For some warped reason it gives me great pleasure to post a work vase when I’m not actually at work!  This vase was on my desk the week before last, but got bumped by last week’s red, white and blue concoction.

I’d deliberately created a very jolly vase as I knew it was going to be a tricky week at work, and so it proved to be, but I found genuine comfort (well at least distraction) looking at my jolly blooms.

Anyway, now I’m having a week off for the first time since April and I hope I’m having my own personal carnival, even though I’m in Croatia, not Brazil.

So back to the vase, as well as a couple of old favourites, Dianthus Green Trick and Antirrhinum majus Orange Wonder, I’ve also added some of Cathy’s sunflowers.  You may remember these were the ones kindly sent as seeds by Cathy from Rambling in the Garden who hosts In a vase on Monday.  They didn’t quite turn out as expected, but now that the huge original blooms have been cut, the later blooms are proving much smaller and much more suitable for cutting, so they’ve been added to mix.  In addition there were the first couple of blooms from the dahlia I added to the new Bronze Border, Dahlia Happy Single Date.photo 2 (3)

And providing an incredible match – this Zinnia.  Now this is far more orange that any of my Zinnia Raspberry Cordial, but that’s what it’s supposed to be.  I think it’s a gorgeous colour and I must remember to save seed to see if I can grow it again next year.photo 3 (1)

Do pop over to Rambling in the Garden to see what everyone else is up to, meanwhile, I’m heading back to the Pina colada…

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – September 2015

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So it’s September, which has to be Aster time – see Aster Frikartii Monch above.  This is my definite favourite and I’m hoping next year my recent cuttings will be filling out the Swing Beds and forming a late purple haze together with the similar coloured Verbena bonariensis.

Another genus looking good now is Salvia.  I’m not 100% sure about all these names, but I think I have Salvia Dyson’s Crimson,IMG_8526

Salvia x jamensis ‘Stormy Sunrise’IMG_8515

Salvia microphylla ‘Cerro Potosi’IMG_8510

and Salvia East Friesland

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There are plenty of pelagoniums still going strong, the first two unnamed, IMG_8507IMG_8503

and then P. SurcoufIMG_8504

and this dainty scented pelargonium, P Pink Capitatum.  The flowers are much smaller than the ones above, but I love the markings and the bright green, scented foliage.IMG_8502

And many of the roses are back for a second appearance – Rosa Flower Carpet, with a huge number of budsIMG_8492

Rosa KorizontIMG_8513

This one a gift from my friend Louise at the beautiful Old Rectory Garden – Rosa Jacques Cartier.IMG_8511

This is St Swithun, growing up the front of the swing pergolaIMG_8514

and Rosa Munstead Wood, new this year in the Mid Century bed,IMG_8525

and now joined by the similarly coloured dahlia, D. Downham Royal.IMG_8524

Other dahlias include D. Happy Single Date, in the Bronze Bed,IMG_8538

and D. Fifteen love (bought from Waitrose of all places, and still in its pot while I decide whether I should squeeze it into the Bronze Bed with the one above)IMG_8500

And to finsh, a couple of annuals still looking good – magnificent Molucella

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and still very fresh to look at (although now rather collapsed in habit!) Malope.IMG_8530

With many thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens  for hosting everyone’s GBBD.  Why don’t you pop over and have a look at what everyone has has blooming now?

In a vase on Monday – Pomp and Circumstance

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The combination of our doughty Queen exceeding her great-great-grandmother’s record to become our longest serving monarch, together with the show of jolly nationalism that is the Last Night at the Proms, has found me coming over all red, white and blue this week.

Sadly, the Zinnias appear rather orange in the photo, but these aren’t the Z Raspberry Cordial I keep using, but instead Zinnia Benary’s Giant Scarlet,  IMG_8542

and they are actually a pretty good match for the Antirrhinum Liberty Crimson.  The Antirrhinums were grown from seed last year and planted in my satellite cutting garden, and this year two plants have self seeded!IMG_8547

As well as the red, the white was provided by two Cosmos, C Purity IMG_8541and C. Double Click Snow Puff.

And the blue, well, I admit it’s rather purple, but I still love it, Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue’IMG_8544

And for reasons I can’t quite explain, I decided to throw in a bit of mint, for the fresh green.IMG_8545

Why don’t you go over to Rambling in the Garden and see what others have been inspired by for their vases this week?

The Greenhouse Review – mid September 2015

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I’m joining Julie at Peonies and Posies (rather late) to share what’s going on in my greenhouse this month.

After a delay in planting my tomatoes out, they’re finally cropping well and I’ve made my first Panzanella of the year:IMG_4597

The tomatoes at the top are Tomato Black Cherry, and I think these are my favourite new ones this year.  I’m also growing old favourites SungoldIMG_8480

and have grown the popular Gardeners’ Delight for the first time.IMG_8484

Also new this year has been Green Zebra, which is fun to look at, but difficult to judge when ripe, and in my opinion, not a great taste.IMG_8485

And lastly, the only large tomato this year has been Ferline.  This is better tasting than I thought initially when I ate the first one a month ago, so I may grow this one again, but I’m certainly open to suggestions for alternative larger/cooking tomatoes to try.IMG_8486

As well as the tomatoes, I’m growing Cucumber La Diva.  These are supposed to be mini ‘cigar’ sized cucumbers, but I’m not a huge cucumber fan and so they tend to get left on the vine, and then grow to much larger proportions:

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And in pots I have Pepper Marconi Rosso, the little mild chillies, Padron Peppers,IMG_8489

and my aubergines, Aubergine Kaberi.  I haven’t yet harvested any, and whilst they’re definitely getting bigger, I’m not convinced they’re actually ripening, but I can wait….

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And lastly, at my ‘potting shed’ end of the greenhouse, I’m afraid all my biennials – wallflowers and stocks, are still waiting to be planted out – and are definitely suffering for the neglect.  Tsk tsk!IMG_8487

With regard to future plans, I don’t suppose the veg will continue for too much longer and then I will need a good clear out.  And at that stage I’m wondering about trying the early sweet peas Julie had success with in her greenhouse last year.

The only problem is, if I fill the greenhouse ful of sweet peas, where am I going to put all my tender plants?