Tag Archives: Penstemon ‘Stapleford Gem’

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – June 2017

IMG_2651

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

IMG_2682

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

IMG_2667

IMG_2668

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

IMG_2686

Malope

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.

End of month view – July 2016

IMG_1405

Another set of rather bleached photos as these were taken around midday when I found a minute spare.

After the big clear out in June, the grass bed was planted with Ammi, Cosmos and Calendula and all are starting to fill out.  I hadn’t really thought through how tawny the grasses would get, and the colouring is working well with the marigolds.  I’m hoping by the time they’re exhausted the Ammi and Cosmos will be in full swing and I can just turf them out.

Meanwhile the Swing Beds are rather overrun with Diascia personata but are at least looking more flowery than they were this time last year, but that won’t last long if I don’t get some water on them.

I’m trying to add more blues to these beds with some Scabious grown from seed (Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Blue Cockade’) as well as the sister’s Penstemon (P. Stapleford Gem mentioned here) but they’re still not really making any impact.  And although I have chopped back the pink hardy geranium at the front, there’s still too much of it, and it does leave a large uninteresting green patch when it’s stopped flowering.IMG_1403

IMG_1402

In the Mid Century bed the Rhodochiton which were such a success on the obelisk last year, still haven’t got going and a couple have definitely perished.  I do have some spares so need to get those planted before it’s all too late.  I’ve pulled out all the poppies now but they have been replaced by the rather gaudy Gladioli Black Star (discussed here).  Annuals here of Antirrhinum and Malope are still just getting going.

IMG_1408

IMG_1417

In the Veg Bed the most striking thing is the Sweet Peas.  I’ve actually planted two rows this year, there’s another wave coming behind, opposite the runner beans.  As for actual veg the courgettes are (predictably) taking over, and there’s plenty of chard.  The French Beans, Runners and Mange Tout have all been a little slow to get going, and they too would benefit from a really good soaking.IMG_1398

Highlight of this area for me has to be the home grown Agapanthus.  As I’d hoped, they’re obviously loving the heat of the wall at the back of the strawberry bed.

IMG_1399

At the other side of the garden in the Bronze Bed the Dahlia ‘Happy Single Dates’ are going from strength to strength and proving how much happier Dahlias are with their feet in the ground.  The number I’ve still got in pots are clearly feeling (and looking) rather disgruntled.IMG_1380

IMG_1381

In the greenhouse the tomatoes and cucumbers are hurtling up the bamboos, but haven’t been too productive to date – more water (and food) required, I feel.

IMG_1392

The aubergines have their first flowers.  Quite how Monty Don was harvesting fully grown aubergines weeks ago I have no idea!IMG_1391

Non edibles include my lovely Plumbagos as well as this glory lily (Gloriosa rothschildiana).IMG_1396

IMG_1397

And there are new biennial seeds coming to start the whole cycle again.IMG_1394

IMG_1395

And to finish, a few pots currently looking good.  IMG_1407

IMG_1390

IMG_1377

IMG_1385

With thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener who hosts the EoM meme.

In the first year they sleep…

IMG_5710

Late in the summer of 2014 I was at my sister’s new house in Hertfordshire and admired an inherited Penstemon flowering profusely in view of her kitchen window.

Conscious of how very pink my garden is, I thought a lilac Penstemon would work well late in the year with my Aster frikartii ‘Monch’ and Caryopteris x cladonensis ‘Heavenly Blue.’  I snaffled a few cuttings, put them in a plastic bag and travelled back over land and sea to the Isle of Wight.  Once there I planted them in gritty compost and later potted up the healthy cuttings into 9cm pots.

In the spring I planted them out in the Swing Beds and waited for them to add a late summer lilac explosion.  It never came.

All in all I consider Penstemons pretty easy and was a little disappointed (not to mention embarrassed) at the no show of (what I now have identified as) my ‘Stapleford Gems.’  And then last weekend I was walking along the pebbly path to the left of the left hand Swing Bed and there, growing completely horizontally, was just one perfect Penstemon flower head, demonstrating exactly the metallic purply blue colour I’d remembered.IMG_9658

And the title?  Coincidentally, talking to a gardening friend on Saturday, I heard a phrase I’d not come across before relating to perennials, which made me feel a little bit better:

“In the first year they sleep, in the second they creep and in the third they LEAP.”

So, maybe two more years until my lilac explosion, but I’m prepared to wait.Photo courtesy of http://www.alamy.com