Tag Archives: Cavolo nero ‘Black Magic’

End of month view – August 2016

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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.

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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!)

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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.

End of month view – June 2016

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What with my Northumberland jaunt, last weekend’s party and working in London every week, I’ve calculated that I’ve spent only ten whole days chez Duver Diary during June (and four of those working) and, whilst certain wonderful things carry on despite my neglect (roses, lavender, self seeded this and that) I do have a definite sense of the garden getting away from me.  If you look closely in the photo below, for example, you’ll see convolvulus growing up rosebay willow herb, surrounded by a fringe of couch grass.  So please don’t!

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Taking a circuit round the garden from this point takes us first to the troughs.  These still have the very leggy Matthiola incana that I can’t bring myself to bin, but these have now been joined by seedlings of the (slightly shorter than ‘Purity’) white Cosmos, Cosmos ‘Sonata White’  and Salvia horminum ‘Oxford Blue.’  I’m hoping it’s going to fill out into a wall of blue and white, but it’s very early days and I do think this trough, being south facing and metal, does suffer if the weather’s warm (some chance!).  And no, I didn’t line the front panel with polysterene as you’re apparently supposed to. IMG_1105

On to the veg patch and the most obvious ‘crop’ below is the Sweet Peas, definitely not edible!  Otherwise, from front to back, I have (under fleece) Purple Sprouting Broccoli ‘Early Purple Sprouting’,  and Cavolo nero ‘Black Magic’, and then Chard ‘Pink Flamingo’, Mange tout ‘Shiraz’, Dwarf French bean ‘Safari’ and Runner Bean ‘Lady Di’.  And running along the front edge (right of photo) Courgettes ‘El Greco’ and ‘Gold Rush’.  I think these are all new varieties to me except ‘Lady Di’ and ‘Goldrush’ so it will be interesting to see how they all do – and how they all taste.

On the left, out of site, in the highest raised bed, I planted Squash ‘Sweet Dumpling’.  This bed isn’t easy, as whatever’s there has to compete with the bay trees which were there first and obviously suck out lots of water.  I thought planting upturned bottles together with each plant and watering directly to the roots should solve this problem.  I was a little worried that I only had one plastic bottle kicking about and so was going to have to go on a San Pelligrino binge, but no!  Slugs ate all but one plant, so turns out my single bottle will be sufficient…

Meanwhile, if anyone has any bright ideas as to what veg would be happy in a very dry, south facing raised bed, please let me know, because there’s plenty of space now!IMG_1106

In front of the main veg patch is a smaller bed holding strawberries and rhubarb.  I planted out some Agapanthus I’d grown from seed along the back wall last year as I thought they’d enjoy a good cook against the south facing wall.  And look – over a dozen flower heads.  So exciting!

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The Swing Beds definitely need a sort out.  Since their creation in 2011 it’s taken some time for them to fill up, but now, all of a sudden, I feel they’ve got rather unbalanced, with certain thugs taking over at the expenses of other things.  I definitely have too much of the pink geranium along the front, so I need to thin that out.  And then I also have a number of annuals I’ve grown from seed which need to be slotted in.

I live in hope that this weekend might provide time for a BIG SORT OUT, but we’ll see…IMG_1131

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The grass bed has been completely dug over and emptied (apart from the Stipa) and has also been planted with annuals.  I’ve taken inspiration for the first year we were here, when I simply planted Cosmos in this bed.  This year I’ve included Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Fizzy White’ but have added Ammi visnaga ‘Green Mist’ to the mix.  I’m hoping for a white/green froth to echo the cow parsley in the field opposite.  We’ll see.

And in the interim, I’ve planted a few marigolds I had kicking around along the front edge.IMG_1111

I have been quite busy planting up pots post the big bulb throw out, but the one below is a new one, one of a matching pair given as a gift from my sister.  The concrete post is by the old (empty) chicken shed and the metal chicken normally sits on it but, as she’s not attached, she spends most of her time blown onto the ground.  I think she looks rather more settled amongst the pelargoniums and ipomaea!IMG_1110

In the Mid Century bed the Rosa ‘Falstaff’ is getting established on the obelisk, but you might remember I had good success with Rhodochiton atrosanguineus here last year, and I have now also planted some seedlings to see if they’ll cohabit with the rose.IMG_1112

There are a couple of pleasing combinations here – Dahlia ‘La Recoleta’ together with Dianthus ‘Sooty’

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and Digitalis ‘Mertonensis’ with (rather flopped) Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration.’   (I do wish ‘Mertonensis’ was taller – I’d have it everywhere)IMG_1114

On the other side of the garden the Oak Bed has now developed into a wall of shrubbery – the Cercis in particular has really filled out this year.IMG_1128

Closer to the house the Bronze Bed, new last year, is also exhibiting a rather floppy rose – Rosa ‘Pat Austin’.  I’m sure she wasn’t this tall last year and I pruned her pretty hard.

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She may be a rather ungainly girl, but she’s certainly pretty.IMG_1127

In the greenhouse I’ve finally planted out my tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines, but I couldn’t bear to pull out the Sweet Peas as they’re still flowering really well, so the toms have been relegated to each end of the bed.  IMG_1123

There are still a few seedlings kicking around inside the greenhouse – see below a third wave of Sweet Peas – but that is nothing

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….compared to all this lot outside!  Roll on the weekend….IMG_1120

With many thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting our End of Month views.