Tag Archives: Malope trifida Vulcan

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – June 2017


Whilst many of my roses are already coming to an end, I’m delighted that the Rose ‘Flower Carpet’ are just bursting into bloom.IMG_2652

Other roses include R. Jacques Cartier, here with Diascia personata


R. St Swithun

and R. Pat Austin, here with Achillea Terracotta, as in Monday’s vase.

A few peonies are hanging onIMG_2692

and a similarly flowered poppy has arrived of her own volition.IMG_2687

A plant I’ve rarely featured is this Phlomis italica – a lovely soft pink in the Swing Beds.IMG_2685

Talking of pink, plenty of Pinks in the Lavender bed, with Erysimum ‘Red Jep’ in the bacjground. I’m excited that four cuttings I took of this Erysimum earlier in the year have now taken, but I think I should take a few more – I love it!IMG_2673

In pots the Clematis ‘Princess Di’ is now flowering together with the Perlargonium ‘Surcouf’.  the Princess looks happier than she’s ever been, I’m not sure whether that’s because I’ve been more assiduous with the watering, or whether the Pelargonium is so large it’s now shading the princess’ roots.IMG_2672

This is a rather loud combo by the steps up to the house – a Diascia, Heuchera and Calibrachoa.

The Gazanias in the old bath are such good doers – and are far more forgiving about forgotten watering than many other inhabitants!

Also in pots, would you believe four different dahlias blooming in June!

I haven’t quite worked out which is which as they’ve taken me by surprise, but assuming they’ll still be featuring next month, I should have worked it out by then….IMG_2674



Annuals are starting to get going, like Cosmos Psyche White,



and C. Antiquity.

Three lots of blue spires, the sister’s Penstemon (grown from a cutting, discussed here), Lavender, edging the steps and (I think) Veronicastrum

And to finish a couple of plants not yet blooming, but fingers crossed they will be by next weekend’s opening – Allium sphaerocephalonIMG_2691

and Agapanthus.  Wish me luck!

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

Seedy spreadsheets!

Today marked the beginning of seed sowing for 2017 with nine varieties sown.

Despite being more restrained with my purchases this year, leftovers from last season mean there are still over 80 seed packets vying for my attention and consequently a spreadsheet is called for.   And, as I already spend plenty of time working with spreadsheets, it has taken a week or two to knuckle down to preparing it, but now it’s done and I’m off!img_1553

There are old favourites like Cosmos ‘Psyche White’ above, Malope trifida ‘Vulcan’IMG_8530

and Molucella laevis,


but I’m also trying again with one I’ve always struggled with – Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’ (why can I grow all sorts of other Nicotiana but not this one?)

In addition there are some new varieties including Nasturtium ‘Jewel Cherry Rose’ which I saw growing at Sarah Raven’s when I went to her ‘Feast’ in 2014 and a new Helianthus on me, H. ‘Double Dandy’, described as ‘soft brown and crimson’.  We’ll see!

On the veg front, again some stalwarts such as Courgette ‘Romanesco’ and mini Cucumber ‘La Diva’


but also new varieties Courgette ‘Blanca di Trieste’ and Cucumber ‘Crystal Lemon’ as well as Sweet Pepper ‘Alma Paprika’.

However, I’ve realised today that I haven’t bought any new tomato seeds and, although I have some left from last year, I think further purchases are called for.  There really is no hope!

What are you growing from seed this year?  And what wouldn’t you be without?

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – June 2016


I’m a day late for GBBD and have again not touched my garden for over a week due to a trip to Northumberland.  It was planned to coincide with picking up our daughter from uni in Durham, but sadly it also coincided with cold, misty, rainy weather, however I expect I’ll still share some garden visits, even if they’re rather grey!

I took these GBBD photos on my return from London this evening and these too are reflecting the rainy weather.  Bearing in mind my recent multiple absences a degree of skillful camera work was also required to avoid capturing large swathes of convolvulus…..

So, despite the rain, June is all about the roses.  My roses aren’t quite in the same league as the wonderful NT garden at Mottisfont I visited a couple of years ago, but I added some new ones last year, so the number is growing.  The top one, by the front gate, has a lovely scent but was inherited so I’m afraid I don’t know its name.

Below, one of the new roses last year, Jubilee Celebration, already a favourite,IMG_1068

later turns into this.IMG_1062

In the same bed are both Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’ (looking here rather paler than reality)IMG_1069

and climbing Rosa ‘Falstaff’IMG_1077

Another inherited rose in the Lavender bed is a very similar colour toIMG_1065

this Sarah Bernhardt peony.IMG_1067

On the pergola posts either side of the swing are Rosa ‘St Swithun’IMG_1072

and Rosa ‘Korizont.’IMG_1073

In the Bronze Beds the Pat Austin roses which featured in my last Monday vase, have been joined by self seeded Nasturtium ‘Caribbean Crush’IMG_1060

and this poppy, Papaver nudicale ‘Party Fun’IMG_1058

I’m delighted that another poppy, Papaver somniferum ‘Lauren’s Grape,’ has reappeared in the Mid Century bed.IMG_1063

Here too the Lysmachia atropurpurea, grown from seed last year, is filling out


and has now been joined by a self seeded Malope trifida ‘Vulcan’.  I’ve grown more Malope from seed this year, but they’re all still sitting in a seed tray in the greenhouse.IMG_1079


The Alliums in the drive bed, Allium ‘Violet Beauty’, haven’t returned well from their introduction last year, but those that did return are looking good now.  Sadly, I’d added some new tulips, also called ‘Violet Beauty’ to join them, but the tulips came and went weeks ago. Back to the drawing board. IMG_1057

And to finish Meconopsis baileyi, a present from the OH for my birthday.  I wonder if I’ll mange to have it blooming this time next year?


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

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – September 2015


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


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


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?

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.

New beds focus


Today I thought I’d focus in a bit more detail on the new beds created this year.  I took the view that I didn’t want to spend a fortune on plants (although the roses were clearly an exception!) so I grew a lot of plants from seed.  As a consequence, it has taken a little while for the bed to get going, but you can see from the picture below at the end of March, what can happen in just over a couple of months.

Sadly the whole bed has got rather droughted (especially the hamamelis, H. Aphrodite, which now has very crispy leaves) but I think a couple of good drenchings have saved the position, and things are looking perkier.

The initial planting in the photo above left shows the Calendula ‘Sunset Buff‘ grown from seed last year and the small Libertia peregrinans,  I added some more C Sunset Buff grown this year, but all have suffered with the drought and become rather mildewy.   The photo below shows them at their peak a few weeks ago –  I do like this soft apricot colour.IMG_7711

As well as the calendula, I planted seedlings of Eschscholzia “Cameo Dream”, but these too have struggled with lack of water.  I’ve definitely lost a few and have yet to see any flower, which is a shame, as it’s a lovely, jolly flower I remember fondly from my childhood home, so I’d like to try to establish it here.

More successful has been the Nasturtium Caribbean Crush.  These echo the colour of the Calendula, but are shorter and so have been planted nearer the edges of the bed.IMG_7931

In the photo above you can also see one of the two Rosa Pat Austin I bought for the bed.  I had this as my Wordless Wednesday on June 10th, but that one was actually in Louise’s garden at the Old Rectory.  I guess mine have been a little later to flower as they have been newly planted this year.


Another plant I bought in was the Achillea Terracotta.  I’ve admired this for a while so it’s been lovely to have a bed where it looks at home.  I’m hoping as the calendula (and maybe nasturtiums) give up, these will keep on flowering.

And lastly in this bed, another plant grown from seed (actually last year, and then never planted out!) the beautiful Hordeum Jubatum.  I do wonder whether it’s a bit odd combining grasses with roses, but I love both.  The grass provides such lovely movement and looks particularly special later in the day.

The photo below shows the view from ‘my’ seat at our out door table.  I’ve struggled a bit with the photo as the new bed looks rather bleached, while the oak bed and the over-the-road-Oak are virtually black.  Whilst it’s not exactly like that in real life, the oak bed certainly recedes into the shadows at this time of year and so doesn’t provide a very entertaining view from the table at exactly the time of year when you might be thinking of eating outside.

Later in the season I have some (sale bargain) dahlias to add, some kniphofia and geum and also Scabiosa atropurpurea Fata Morgana.  The Scabious were from Chilterns and have dainty scabious shaped apricot flowers which I’m excited to see!

Hopefully the bed will continue to evolve and improve over time as I edit the plants and decide what works best.IMG_7933

The other new bed, has also come on dramatically since March:

One of the early highlights, together with the transplanted Cerinthe, was the ‘mistake’ ranunculus, supposed to be dark, but actually bright pink.  They are just about over now, but have been flowering continuously for over two months.


Seedlings planted here and already flowering  include Stocks ‘Ruby Punch’Malope trifida Vulcan, Moluccella Bells of Ireland,  Dianthus baratus Nigrescens and this lovely poppy, Papaver somniferum ‘Lauren’s Grape’.


In this bed I’ve planted three different roses, two Rose Munstead Wood, I’m delighted with:IMG_7924

and two Jubilee Celebration I like, but really think are too pale here.  I think I need to ponder on this (and also have somewhere else to put them if I decide they have to move.

The third rose is Falstaff Climbing, which was bought to climb the ‘obelisk’ birthday gift.

IMG_7926The rose has not even flowered yet, and will clearly take some time to make a real impression, so in the interim I bought a Rhodochiton atrosanguineus which is just romping up the support.

As with the Bronze Bed, there are hopefully more delights to come – again some dahlias, and further seedlings yet to flower including Daucus Carota Black Knight.

Whilst I can’t pretend creating these new beds has been cheap, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed trying to minimise the expense by planning and growing a significant amount from seed.  And, as with much gardening, not everything has gone to plan, but we wouldn’t want it all to be too easy now would we?

Annual round up

IMG_3379 (3)

After a weekend of leaf collecting, veg patch dismantling and (tardy) bulb planting, I thought I’d hark back to sunnier, summery times and give a review of some of the annuals I’ve grown from seed this year.

All the seeds mentioned here were from Sarah Raven, except The Aster chinensis Hulk, which I think was Thompson and Morgan.

Above and below is the gorgeous marigold, Calendula offiinalis ‘Sunset Buff’.  IMG_3378

As well as the ‘Sunset Buff’, I grew Calendula ‘Neon.’  I’ve never grown calendula before, but I have to say I love these two.

I’ve been lucky enough to grow them either in my raised cutting beds, or my borrowed neighbours’ garden, as I would struggle to fit these colours into my rather pink scheme.

With regard to their use for cutting (the main reason I was growing them), they have been good, but I’ve struggled to get very long stems and also struggled with mildew later in the season. They were only planted in March, so I’ve planted some seed this autumn, in the hope of having more established plants earlier on next year.

Another orange plant grown in my ‘borrowed’ garden has been provided by my Tithonia, Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’.  This has been incredibly prolific this year with the blooms making such a cheerful, bold statement.  I do love this plant but wonder where I’ll be able to grow it next year as it does reach quite a height and spread and, as mentioned before, orange isn’t always the easiest colour to include in a planting scheme.  I do have plans for a new orangey/bronzey themed bed, but the Tithonia would be too tall.  

A genus I’ve grown lots of before is Cosmos, but this year as well as the lovely Comos ‘Purity’, so prolific and so, well ‘pure’ (clue’s in the name…)

I also grew Cosmos ‘Psyche White’. These are very similar to ‘Purity’, but have semi double flowers, which are like a fun mutation of ‘Purity’.

As well as the whites, I grew three pinks, Cosmos ‘Dazzler’, which is quite well known but was new to me and was good, but to my mind not as good asIMG_3776 - Copy - Copy

Cosmos ‘Click Cranberries’.  These very double flower heads were fabulous, and in such a stunning pink (it look wonderful contrasted with the Tithonia).  However, one problem was that sometimes the flower heads were so heavy they didn’t stand up in the vase as well as the singles.

The last Cosmos was C. Rubenza.  I do like the rather unusual colour which fades as the plant ages to a very dusky pink, but this one is shorter than the rest and therefore impossible to get really long flowers for cutting, if that’s what you’re after.

IMG_3338 - Copy

I grew a couple of sunflowers – Helianthus ‘Valentine’ which was an attractive soft yellow and had realtively small blooms making them good for cutting.  Sadly, all my seedlings got eaten by slugs except one, so there weren’t many blooms to cut.  (I heard Sarah Raven suggest that it was as prolific as Cosmos but can’t say I found that with mine).

The second was Helianthus Claret.  I found these rather variable – you can see that the first picture shows the deep ‘wine-red’ colour I was expecting, whereas the next two don’t.  Although they were quite fun, and pretty prolific for cutting, I found it hard to put them with other blooms and didn’t particularly like just a vase of sunflowers.  I don’t think I’d grow them again.

Another plant I don’t think I’d grow again are Cleomes.  I rather like their spidery heads but I found them quite hard to arrange as cut flowers and certainly didn’t appreciate (or expect) their vicious thorns.  Ouch!

Something I would definitely grow more of are Zinnias.  They had a wonderfully productive year this year as it was warm and sunny, just how they like it, and they grow with long straight stems and last well in the vase.  I grew Zinnia ‘Genoa Mix’IMG_5362


and Zinnia ‘Envy’.

Another favourite is Salvia Viridis Blue.  Although not that tall, I love the form with the wonderfully coloured flower bracts.  This is still going strong in the garden in November, as are

the Nasturtium Black Velvet.  These had a bad patch in high summer, but are flowering wonderfully now.  The stems are very short for cutting, but make lovely posies and are, of course, good picked and sprinkled on salads as they are edible.

This Malope, Malope trifida Vulcan, I hadn’t grown for years, but it did really well for me this year.  The petals have a beautiful silk like texture, which is gorgeous, but they can get easily bruised when cutting and arranging, so you do need to take extra care.

This Rudbeckia, Rudbekia ‘Cherry Brandy’ has also been great and was used in my ‘In a vase on Monday’ post on November 10th, as it was still going strong.

A couple more flowers I haven’t grown from seed since I had my allotment in London – Antirrhinum ‘White Giant

and A. ‘Liberty Crimson’

I loved arranging with both of these as they provided fabulous vertical accents.

To finish, my ‘greens’.  The first one, an annual aster, was supposed to be Aster chinensis ‘Hulk’, but goodness knows what it is instead.  I do rather like it though!

Secondly, Ammi visnaga white.  I grew this instead of the more common Ammi majus, but I think it was a mistake.   I found the flower heads were very dense and not so easy to mix with other plants.  It did look lovely in simple arrangements, for example with the white Cosmos, however.

My Amaranthus caudatus ‘Viridis’, was an absolute revelation.  Lots and lots of fresh green cutting material, with funky long (sometimes very long!) green tassels.IMG_3775

And to finish, one of my favourite blooms of any colour – Molucella laevis, or Bells of Ireland.  I just love the form of this flower and for the first time ever got good germination rates and managed to grow some pretty tall blooms.  OK, not the two foot ones you get in the florists, but then I probably wasn’t as assiduous with my staking as I should have been, and they were never going to grow that tall along the ground!

Of course the other things I grew plenty of from seed this year were sweet peas, but I think I’ve gone on long enough.  You can read about my sweet peas here.

I would love to hear about your favourite annuals.  Do you like mine?  Know better?  Tell me!