Tag Archives: Digitalis x mertonensis

End of month view – June 2016


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!


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!


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


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’


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.


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


….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.

Chelsea 2014, better late than never, #2

IMG_2573 You’ve got to love David Austin roses, and this ‘tea table’ in their stand in the marquee was almost as gorgeous as their roses.  See Boscobel below, not new, just ravishing.IMG_2576 On the way to David Austin I passed the RHS stand for the Plant of the Year 2014.  I took an instant dislike to the hydrangea which won, as well as the two runners up, but thought both this Turks Cap lily Lilium martagon ‘Jennifer Evans’, (bred by Ieuan Evans) IMG_2571 and the Trollius, ‘Dancing Flame’, (bred by Fairweathers Nursery, Hampshire, but entered by Hardy’s), were fabulous.IMG_2579 We visited a number of new nurseries, as well as a number of ‘old friends’ and one of the first new ones was Tynings Climbers, who hold the national collections of both Passiflora CVS and Jasminum.  I’d definitely like both these passion flowers – Passiflora ‘Constance Elliot’ and ‘Purple Haze’.

Also new to me was the Botanic Nursery, Atworth, who hold the national collection of Digitalis.  I really like the towering spires of foxgloves and whilst I already have some in the garden, I’d definitely like more and so bought seed of Digitalis pupurea ‘Apricot’ (not sure if this is the same as ‘Suttons Apricot’ I have already), D x mertonensis (I’ve grown this before but don’t have it currently and was inspired to grow it again by the ‘Positively Stoke-on-Trent’ planting), D. ‘Primrose Carousel (a lovely cream with purple spotted throat, see photo below) and D. Lutea, which I’m hoping to get to grow in the shady oak bed. IMG_2586 I also admired the grasses on the Eversley Nursery stand and particularly liked the cream pom poms on this Sesleria nitida.IMG_2588 Of nurseries I’ve bought from before, the Hardy’s stand was looking great and won Gold again.  In addition to the new Trollius above, I liked a low pink Geranium ‘Elke’ and a good blue, Geranium ‘Rozanne,’ as well as this rather mad peony, Paeonia ‘Copper Kettle’.IMG_2578 Another nursery I’ve bought from before is Trewidden Nursery, who are based in Cornwall and, according to their websire, are the most south westerly nursery in mainland Britain. They specialise in exotics, such as Proteas, Restios and succulents and, living in a relatively mild spot myself, I bought a couple of plants from them earlier in the year.  This time I’ve gone for seeds and am trying Tulbaghia simmleri, Aloe striata, Lessertia montana, and Gladiolus papilio – but forgot to take any photos.

And now for the real shock.  The OH, who to date has confined himself to succulents and, (when badgered), the lawn, had a very long chat with the man at Hampshire Carnivorous Plants and treated himself to a set of three small plants.  He doesn’t seem to have the names of them, but they’re definitely one each of (some kind of) Venus Fly Trap, Pitcher Plant and a Sundew.  They’ve already been transferred from their plug packaging, and are now sited in the greenhouse.  Could this be the beginning of something?

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And, given time, will I end up having to contend with something like this?   Golly.IMG_2594