Monthly Archives: August 2016

End of month view – August 2016


Much is looking rather exhausted in this EoMV.  It’s been so hot and I think the OH’s watering efforts when I’m in London consist of a little vague hose waving, which we all know doesn’t really cut the watering mustard!

Having said that, the annuals are finally getting going and the roses are putting on a much appreciated second flush.  Here’s R. ‘St Swithun’ surrounding the swing.IMG_1559

In this rather bleached photo you can see (in the centre) the Diascia personata is still flowering well, and there are Salvias too, but most of the other plants have gone over.  Late season interest from Aster frikartii Monch seems to have disappeared from this bed, although there are a couple of small plants limping along in the right hand Swing Bed.IMG_1558

In the Grass Bed the annuals are finally starting to fill out after a very late planting.  Here Ammi visnaga ‘Green Mist’, Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Fizzy White’, Calendula officinalis ‘Touch of Red Buff’ and self seeded Nasturtium ‘Black Velvet’ are jostling for position.

Although I did lose some of the Cosmos along the way, it’s filled out well despite the dry conditions.IMG_1560

I don’t think the Mid Century bed is doing as well as last year.  I’m missing the bright pink Malope as well as the Rhodochiton (which I’d grown up the obelisk).  I did plant some, but again the lack of water meant they never took off.  There are a few annuals struggling along here – Antirrhinum majus nanum ‘Black Prince’ as well as Amaranthus caudatus which may yet fill out with a bit more TLC.


Lucky the dahlias and roses (here D. ‘La Recoleta’ and R.’Jubilee Celebration’) are doing their thing.IMG_1563

On the other side of the garden the Bronze Bed is rather overwhelmed by the Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date’.  I think next year I might have to reduce the number of plants from three to two, or even one, to get some variation here.  I loved the hot planting at Mottistone so perhaps should add a bit of (whisper it) red!IMG_1541

In the Veg Bed the Sweet Peas (yes I know they’re not veg) are rather mildewed, and the stems definitely shorter, but they’re still pumping out wonderfully scented blooms.  In front of these is a very handsome row of Chard ‘Pink flamingo’.  Sadly however, it seems to be remaining a very handsome row, which isn’t really the point.  We somehow don’t seem that interested in eating it.  Any top tips as to how best cook it?

Even further forward is Cavolo Nero ‘Black Magic’ and Broccoli ‘Early Purple Sprouting’.  I haven’t grown either of these previously, and they too have yet to undergo the taste test. IMG_1554

In front of the Veg the Agapanthus are still clinging on.IMG_1555

Some of you may remember that in the previous couple of years I borrowed a corner of a neighbour’s garden to use as a Cutting Patch.  I decided I didn’t really have time this year, but I am missing it.  I planted a few Zinnias (this one Z. elegans ‘Luminosa)’ in these raised beds, but they too are struggling with lack of water.  Behind there are yet more Diascias grown from cuttings.  I should probably move these into the Swing Beds with the rest.IMG_1548

Into the greenhouse and the tomatoes are in full flow.  I just love walking in and smelling that wonderful tomato smell, so redolent of summer.IMG_1549

In the pots a new Aubergine for me after multiple previous failures.  These ones are long but thin (clue’s in the name – Aubergine ‘Farmer’s Long’) which I think makes it easier for them to ripen.IMG_1550

Back outside for more pots.  The one below has been fantastic this year.  I love this little Pelargonium which was bought at the local Car Boot Sale and increased by cuttings.IMG_1561

The trough by the front steps is full of plants which, despite being tender, have overwintered in situ, including Gazanias and Chocolate Cosmos.IMG_1542

Here’s another shot of last Wednesday’s Morning Glory which is thriving under the glass canopy (where last year Sweet Peas sulked and turned their toes up!)


Dahlias on the barrow are looking a little unhappy, whilst the Abutilon is fineIMG_1547

Pelargonium ‘Surcouf’ has been fabulous all summer, despite a certain amount of neglect.IMG_1553

In the troughs the Cosmos are finally getting going.  I deliberately planted the shorter Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Sonata White’ as I’m always bad at supporting them and this way they don’t flop so far.  There is also Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue’ here, but they’ve struggled to bulk up and are now having to compete with the Cosmos!IMG_1556

This last shot is really an aide memoire for me – just look how the two Pelargoniums are thriving whist the Salvia (back left) Dahlia (centre) and Scabious (back) struggle.  Some things so clearly like their roots in the ground it really is cruel to deny them!

And for my final pot you’ll have to wait for Wordless Wednesday later in the day!IMG_1551

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting our EoMVs.

West Dean again :)


I was back at beautiful West Dean on Saturday attending a one day course on Propagation.  Whilst it was interesting, I’m not sure I learnt a massive amount, but it is always such a pleasure to visit.  The grounds are immaculate whatever the time of year, and so it was on Saturday.

The glasshouses were full of fabulously ordered rows of this and that.  Here tomaotes,


I took quite a shine to this beauty, ‘Monserrat’IMG_1524

and this enormous Snake Gourd.IMG_1522



The smell in this glass house was unbelievable!IMG_1519

In the walled garden the purple and yellow borders were still looking fabulous.IMG_1529

Just look at this planting combination.


I was particularly taken with this Verbena which was used repeatedly on the corners.  All of the plants were absolutely smothered in blooms.  I can’t help feel this would look a darn site more interesting in the front of my Swing Beds than the current geraniums with not a flower in sight!  (Note too the perfectly matched Penstemon)IMG_1531

Into the Cutting Garden and the colours are much hotter,IMG_1527

including a whole bed of stunning Zinnias.  Phwoar!


These three particularly caught my eye – ‘Coral Beauty’, ‘Oriole’ and ‘Cupcake Lime and Lime Red’ (together).

Another fabulous bed, this time of Dahlias.IMG_1500

Clockwise from top left ‘Dark Star’, ‘New Baby’, ‘Summer Night’ and, very similar to ‘Dark Star’ but with rounder petals, ‘Bishop of Auckland’.

And finally a picture of the two plants I took cuttings from as part of the course – Salvia ‘Ember Wishes’IMG_1533

and Fuschia thymifolia.IMG_1534

If  none of my cuttings take I really won’t mind.  I still met some lovely people and had a fabulous day at one of my very favourite gardens.  Thanks West Dean, I’ll be back.IMG_1492



In a vase on Monday – momentary calm


I woke on Sunday to the realisation that there was NOTHING I had to do all day, apart from walk the dog.  After the last few weeks when my four work days have become five, and we’ve had guests to stay at the weekends, it felt delicious indeed.

In recognition of this relative island of calm, I plumped for a relaxed, white arrangement (to go with the lovely sister bought Orla Kiely vase).

Into the vase were plonked Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Fizzy White ’ (and a few shorter, non double, Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Sonata White’)IMG_1537


White LavenderIMG_1540

and Ammi visnaga ‘Green Mist’IMG_1539

Shame all that inactivity yesterday has caught up with me today!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful Bank Holiday  Monday.  Why don’t you pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what others have chosen for their vases?

Mottistone revisited


Mottistone Gardens consist of 6 acres of formal gardens within the wider 650 acre Mottistone Estate.  The name is taken from a 13 foot iron sandstone Long Stone, a standing stone situated on a ridge above the village, originally known as the Moot Stone.

The manor (still tenanted and only open twice a year) and gardens were bequeathed to the National Trust in 1963.

I’ve visited the garden numerous times and have already blogged about visits in both March and June.  This time though, it was looking so good I wanted to share another visit.

The herbaceous borders above are reached via some beautiful stone steps frothing with Erigeron karvinskianus.


Here are the borders looking away from the house.IMG_1481

I find it fascinating comparing the picture above with one below from June 2015:

There were a couple of plants in these borders in two different colours that I’m sure I should know, but couldn’t name.  They were almost shrubby in size and both smothered in flowers.  Any clues?IMG_1484


Right by the house the colour palette is much hotter, with wonderful bold planting in a daring but fabulous mix of blue and orange.IMG_1478


Look at this scorching combination!IMG_1479

Walking in the other direction, south past the house, you pass the Monocot Border, laid out to show the great variety of monocots, including this wonderfully architectural Hedychium gardnerianum ‘Tara’.  I assume this is after the orange flowers have faded.IMG_1460

Beyond this border is the sheltered Lower Garden, planted with a number of tender plants including these fabulous Cannas.


From here you can see out of the garden and over to the Norman Mottistone Church (where Benedict Cumberbatch was married in February last year).IMG_1467

Despite having been here many times previously I’d never realised that the large tree to the north of this area is a mulberry, Morus nigra.  I only noticed this time as there were hundreds of mulberries littering the lawn!IMG_1463


And to finish, another mystery plant.  Any clues for this one?  I think it would look fabulous at the back of my Swing Beds.IMG_1471

So, thanks National Trust and thanks Mottistone, it really was a treat.

In a vase on Monday – Golfing gold


As you can imagine, there was great excitement chez Duver Diary about Jason Rose winning Olympic gold for the golf.  However, the gold theme of the arrangement above, made on Sunday to take to the golf club for ‘Joint Captains’ Day’ was entirely coincidental, and very much influenced by what I had in the garden that was ‘pickable’ and tall enough to fill such a huge vase.

I started with great big branches of Cotinus coggygria ‘Grace’IMG_1423

and added the large green Sedum heads.IMG_1422

To these I added the huge spires of Gladioli ‘Black Star’ (I was quietly relieved to reduce the number in the garden!)


and then finished with my gold accents, picked from the Bronze Bed (perhaps I should rename it the Gold Bed?) – both Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’IMG_1421

and plenty, plenty of Dahlia ‘Happy Single Date.’IMG_1420

As well as this large arrangement, I also made ten small posy pots for the tea tables like the ones I did here, but completely forgot to photo them!

I’m chuffed to say they all made it to the golf club intact, and when I went to pick the OH up around tea time, a (male) complete stranger passed me in the clubhouse and said ‘Hello Skipper’s wife, nice flowers.’ Praise indeed!

With thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who hosts this lovely meme.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – August 2016


Finally, a showing from some of this year’s annuals – the one above, Zinnia elegans ‘Luminosa.’

I purchased a number of seeds back in October thinking I would repeat the last two years’ practice of using a corner of a neighbouring walled garden as a cutting garden, but I’ve been just too busy to and so have tried to squeeze everything in here.  And whilst it hasn’t been entirely successful, the annuals are starting to fill out in their various (not always ideal) spots.

In the Grass Bed I have Ammi visnaga ‘Green Mist’, Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Fizzy White’, Calendula officinalis ‘Touch of Red Buff’ and some self seeded nasturtiums from last year.IMG_1442

In the troughs I have the shorter Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Sonata White’ and the Salvia that was so successful in the cutting garden last year, Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue’.  In the cutting garden these turned into wonderful big bushes, I’m not sure they’ll ever get that big here as I always struggle to keep the troughs adequately watered.IMG_1439

In the Swing Beds these Antirrhinum majus ‘The Rose’ are finally getting going, but I’m not convinced about the colour, finding it a bit sickly.  IMG_1441

At the back of these beds I had planned to plant some tall dahlias but then decided they weren’t the right colour and so instead have planted an annual tobacco plant, Nicotiana mutablis. This one has both white and pink flowers on the same plants and grows to 1.2m.  It was planted out very late and so far this is the only plant to have flowered.  I’m hoping that by the end of the summer there will be quite a ‘froth’ of these but it may be I have left it just too late.IMG_1450

And in the Mid Century bed these Antirrinum, A. majus nanum ‘Black Prince’ are also blooming now and to my mind are a far better colour than the pink.IMG_1452

Away from the annuals, I have a some good repeating roses – R. St Swithun, IMG_1440

R. Munstead Wood,IMG_1448

R. Jubilee CelebrationIMG_1445

and R. Pat AustinIMG_1425

And plenty of dahlias still going, I’d like to say ‘strong’ but after the over purchasing earlier this year, I’ve ended up with a number in pots and they’re not too happy, so perhaps I’ll just stick with ‘going’.  Many have succumbed to powdery mildew and one has a whole colony of blackfly, which I’m not prepared to spray, so am currently praying for ladybirds!

The old favourite D. Happy Single Date (much darker when the blooms are young) has its roots firmly in the Bronze Bed and is thriving, IMG_1426

D. Fifteen Love (pertinent as Andy Murray is currently playing in the Olympic Gold medal match as I type), doing OK in a pot, IMG_1434

D. Bacardi, also doing pretty well in the two greenhouse pots,IMG_1431

D. Hillcrest Royal (very mildewed)IMG_1436

D. Tamburo, also rather mildewed IMG_1428

and D. La Recoleta, with a very nasty case of blackfly.IMG_1444

But to finish, a shot of my seed grown Agapanthus lining the back of the strawberry bed.  Not the greatest photo, but you get the idea.


With thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts everyone’s GBBD.

Kew gardens – what a buzz!


To Kew Gardens for my first visit in a while to see the Hive installation by Wolfgang Buttress.  The Hive was commissioned by the UK Government for the Milan 2015 Expo and moved to Kew earlier in the summer.  It has been designed to highlight the importance of pollination in the food chain and poses the question, “how can we protect our pollinators in order to feed our growing population?”

I was accompanied my son (who studied Art A level and is currently studying at UCA) and is my usual exhibition buddy, and we both loved it.  As you can see from the people in the photo above, it is huge in scale (over 17 metres tall).   You can walk inside it and look out


and up.IMG_0554

The idea is to give an insight into a real bee colony and within the Hive are around 1,000 LED light which have been connected to one of the real hives at Kew and the lights turn on and off according to the vibrations of the real bees.  As well as the lights, there was also music, a “symphony of orchestral sounds performed in the key of C – the same that bees buzz in”.   I wasn’t so convinced about the music!IMG_0552

The Hive has been sited atop a beautiful wild flower hillock


and from here I had an elevated view of a section of the new herbaceous borders, known as the ‘Great Broad Walk borders’.

Whilst these are apparently the longest in the world at 320 metres, I’m afraid they didn’t blow me away like the fabulous borders at Hilliers I wrote about here.  Part of the problem is that for much of the length the beds are not that deep. The design does have a number of ‘bulges’ where the beds broaden, a bit like beads on a sparse necklace, which are more impressive.

The actual planting design features repeating ribbons of the same plant, rather like the Oudolf borders at Wisley, and where this worked (which it definitely did in many places) it looked very effective, but somehow even then it didn’t look like a normal herbaceous border’s bold domes of plants.

The main problem however, was that it hadn’t really filled out, which is not unreasonable bearing in mind it’s in its first year and I did visit a couple of weeks ago which is pretty early for a herbaceous border.

I’ve recently discovered that as a ‘Friend’ I can visit from 8am in the morning, so, bearing in mind I live in Richmond during the week, perhaps I’ll treat myself to a return visit one morning before work to see its development.  It’s certainly a vast improvement from what was there previously, so well done Kew.IMG_0560