Tag Archives: Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’

Annual round up

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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.

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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

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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!

In a vase on Monday – Autumnal orange

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Today’s vase (which is actually very similar in colouring to the last iaVoM I posted) was prompted by an overdue visit to my lovely neighbours’, who allow me a little patch in their walled garden to grow flowers for cutting.

I have to confess I haven’t been for weeks due to a combination of weather, being off the island, and a chest infection, so I wasn’t entirely surprised to see that nearly all the annuals I’d planted out in May had given up.  However one, Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’, was looking better than ever, so that’s where I started.IMG_5311

On their driveway they also has fabulous orange rose hipsIMG_5310

as well as Clematis tangutica seedheads, so I added a few of each.IMG_5309

To all of these I added some of my trusty Tithonias.  Sadly, this could be my last cutting of Tithonia, not because they’ve finished flowering, but because they’re grown in the garden behind us, and the empty house the garden belongs to, has now been let.  I don’t suppose they will flower for much longer, but I will miss them.IMG_5308

To finish an ‘aerial’ shot, which entailed a certain amount of climbing, showing

  1. my favourite vase from above
  2. one lone Calendula, which didn’t appear in any of the close ups and
  3. I should spend less time fiddling about in the garden and more time polishing my granite work surfaces!

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With many thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this lovely meme,

 

End of month view – October 2014

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I’m joining Helen at The Patient Gardener’s end of month meme a day late, apologies!

The picture above shows the lovely Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ peeking over the willow fence and matching beautifully with the self sown vine.  The picture was taken earlier in the week and sadly, already the cercis leaves are starting to fall.

Elsewhere in the garden there are still vestiges of summer to admire with the St Swithun Rose (yes I know it should have been tied up) arching over the swing in the sunshineIMG_5262

and succulents still flowering outside.IMG_5248

The Swing Beds are still showing some colour with penstemons, salvias and asters, but there’s a lot of chaos (certainly the climbing roses) and I still need to dig up the sisyrinchiums which are taking over the front of both beds.  I think I should also look at dividing some of the perennials, particularly the geraniums.IMG_5253

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The shady bed continues to look good despite no flowers.  I love the structure the caster oil plant, Fatsia japonica provides at the back of this bed.IMG_5276

In the veg patch there isn’t much to see apart from Chard (below) and a number of collapsed structures which need to be taken down.IMG_5256

With regard to fruit, there is still a small crop of autumn raspberries, as you might expect, IMG_5258

but I certainly wasn’t expecting this!  Strawberries in November – the world’s gone mad!IMG_5255

In the greenhouse I haven’t yet cropped my Mini Belle Yellow peppers.  To be honest now I’ve grown them, I’m not quite sure what to do with them.  Somehow I don’t have much need for raw peppers to add to a picnic for snacking any more….IMG_5277

Also in the greenhouse, over the last few weeks I’ve done something I haven’t done before, which is to let my Sungold Tomatoes do their own thing, unrestricted .  Having carefully pinched out the side shoots on all my tomatoes up until the end of September, I read/heard somewhere that Sungold can continue cropping until December under glass, and so, whilst all the other tomatoes will very shortly be pulled up, I’m just letting the Sungolds do what they want and then I’ll see whether I can harvest any more.

Of course one of the problems with this is that the plants are now right up to the top of the greenhouse and impossible to reach without a chair or ladder, but as they are my favourite tomato to eat raw, I feel a little mountaineering will be worth it.IMG_5278

I’ve also been busy taking cuttings of lavenders and pelagoniums.  I went to a talk at our local horticultural society recently and the speaker, one of the lecturers at the Isle of Wight college, said he always takes cutting into seed trays, and crams in 20!  I’ve always tended to put 4 or 5 around the edge of a terracotta pot, but I thought I’d try his method (although I drew the line at 12) and see how I get on.IMG_5279

Over in the ‘borrowed’ garden, the OH has been busy strimming all the brambles on the far side of the wall so that we can now see the recently arrived sheep.  There are still annuals flowering in the bed in front of the wall – Cosmos, Cleomes and Amaranthus – but the Ammi have pretty much given up.

A little later in the year, when the hawthorn trees are dormant, I’ll need to prune them into shape and tie in the required new growth.  Overall I’ve been delighted with how well they settled in since planting them at the beginning of February.

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And the Tithonia ‘hedge’ I mentioned in my GBBD post is also still going strong, although not quite as strongly as a couple of weeks ago.

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden queried my measurements but I don’t think I was far out. There are 11 plants and the bed must be nearly 20ft long and some of the plants are definitely taller than me (alright, not many!) and I’m 5ft 7.  Believe me now?

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In a vase on Monday – Nose twist

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Whilst one of the reasons I grow nasturtiums is to add a peppery twist to a salad, what I didn’t know until today was that, according to the National Gardening Association website, the name literally means ‘Nose twist’.  Any of you who have eaten one of these flowers will immediately recognise the sensation!

Today’s vase is I think the first time this year I’ve picked Nasturtium (N. Black Velvet) for a vase. Bizarrely I think my plants are looking healthier than at any previous time this year, so all of a sudden there are ample blooms to pick.  What is not ample, however, is their stem length, so I’ve resorted to my ‘vase of many bottles’ which I use very often for shorter blooms and used before for my ‘Purple Circle’ post.

In addition to the nasturtiumIMG_5153

I also picked some of my long flowering Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’IMG_5146

and a few of my Fox and Cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca) which are continuing to threaten to take over the garden.IMG_5145

Not exactly refined, but very jolly on the kitchen table.IMG_5156

Please go to Rambling in the Garden to see what Cathy and others have in their vases this Monday.

Garden bloggers’ bloom day – October 2014

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So many of the plants flowering now have already been featured in previous GBBD, so I thought I’d start with one that hasn’t.  This is Clematis ‘Freckles’, flowering on the pergola together with Rosa St Swithun.  According to Crocus.co.uk it is ‘often out by Christmas and sometimes by November’.  Clearly mine doesn’t have a calendar to hand.

Other non-annuals flowering now include Aster Frikartii MonchIMG_5114

and Aster September Ruby IMG_5119

I’ve still got plenty of roses flowering, although many have been battered by the recent weather. This one was inherited and is, I think, Rosa Flower Carpet Pink.IMG_5111

These next three were also inherited, so I’m not sure of their names.IMG_5113

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This last one is a bit of a joke as it is clearly very red when the rest of the garden is pink.  It was accidentally chopped right down to the ground by a builder when we were having a porch extension a couple of years ago.  I decided I wasn’t too upset as it didn’t really go with anything, but clearly, to spite me, it’s bounced back and is better than ever.

I can see it from the kitchen and I grudgingly have to admit that while it doesn’t match anything in the garden, it does go nicely with the Aga!IMG_5112

I love the dusky pink colour of this potentilla – I think it’s Potentilla nepalensis,.  I have a number of these plants in the Mediterranean beds and they’re flowering beautifully now, even though the weather could hardly be described as Mediterranean.IMG_5120

These can’t really be described as blooms, but I just love the flower shapes these succulent leaves make.  These are all still in the garden at the moment but expect they’ll all have to be taken inside by next month.

And a last non-annual – this is Pelargonium sidoides.  I just love the dark, rich colour against a silvery leaf and have even started cutting it for flower arrangements as the flower stems seem to get longer and longer as the season progresses.  I really must get round to taking more cuttings.IMG_5118

And to finish, an avalanche of annuals – all I think featured before, but all still flowering their socks off, bless them!

Zinnia, Giant Dahlia Mixed (the first bloom looking rather strangely glossy in the rain)IMG_5121IMG_5123

and Zinnia EnvyIMG_5124

Two Cleomes, C. Cherry Queen and C. Violet Queen.  The colours are more different than the photo would would suggest.

Marigolds – although some have succumbed to powdery mildew, many are still going strong.IMG_5125

 Nasturtium Black Velvet.  These stopped flowering completely after the summer drought, but are flowering beautifully again now – they seem to be relishing this wet weather.IMG_5117

And to finish, my Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’.   I planted around 8-10 plants out back in June, and now have a veritable hedge, 20 ft long and 6 ft high.  Beats Leylandii any day.  IMG_5126

With thanks as ever to Carol at May Dream Gardens for hosting GBBD.

 

End of month view – September 2014

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The trouble with going somewhere as amazing as West Dean (see my last post) is that your own garden can’t help but suffer by comparison.  But, having said that, it’s always good to see fabulous gardens as they hopefully inspire us to do better.

Like West Dean, I do have some Asters, including this inherited one which is very tall and has flopped badly, but still makes a wonderful showIMG_5050

but this one, Aster Frikartii Monch, in the left hand Swing Bed, is much better.  It’s still a little floppy, but a better colour and a much bigger flower.  I love the way it goes with the Verbena bonariensis.  (I think the colour is a better match in real life than in the photo).IMG_5046

In the right hand Swing Bed, you can see the matching Aster as well as the out of control Rosa Snow Goose.  I think a ladder and a pair of gaunlets is called for.IMG_5048

On the posts either side of the swing the rose Rosa St Swithun is having a lovely second flush.  I really need to tie these branches in too, but think I’ll leave it until they’ve finished flowering now.

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The Grass Bed is looking a little better now that the Nasturtiums have recovered from the drought.  I like the colour combination of the orange of both the Nasturtium and the Fox and Cubs with the purple Salvia, but this bed still desperately needs a good sort out.

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In the veg patch, likewise, the runner and french beans have all recovered from the drought and are cropping well.  However the Pumpkin Munchkins have finished and need to be brought in.  Some of the courgettes are still going strong, but nearly all have succumbed to mildew.IMG_5045

By the conservatory the (inherited) Nerines are coming into flower.  They always strike me as a rather incongruous plant for this time of year, but at least they add some colour.IMG_5038

In the greenhouse, as well as lots of tomatoes (yum),IMG_5060

and Cucamelons (not so yum!)IMG_5056

I’ve finally got peppers, both the long pointy red ones (well they will be one day)

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as well as some rather sweet little orange onesIMG_5059

Many pots are still going strong, but most won’t survive the winter and so will have to be moved into the greenhouse – never a trivial task!IMG_5040

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And to finish, a quick catch up of my ‘borrowed’ garden.  The Tithonia and Sunflowers featured last month continue to bloom their golden socks offIMG_5071

but the real development is a bed I created underneath the hornbeams we pleached earlier in the year (see part 1 and Part 2).  The hornbeams need a bit of a hair cut now, but have taken really well and I’m looking forward to seeing the blossom in the spring.

Again, like the Tithonia and Sunflowers, all the flowers here are annuals, but this time on a pink theme including Cleomes and Cosmos as well as the greens of Molucella and Amaranthus.  It really is amazing what you can achieve in one season with a few hands full of annual seeds!IMG_5066

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With many thanks, as ever, to Helen at the Patient Gardener,  for hosting everyone’s End of Month views.

In a vase on Monday – tangerine dream

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Another cheating ‘In a vase on Monday’ as this one was actually created on Friday to take to my sister’s new home for her birthday weekend.

Just three components, Helianthus ClaretIMG_4840

 Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’IMG_4839

and Cotinus.  I’m not sure if it’s Cotinus coggygria Royal Purple’, as it’s an inherited shrub, but it seems most likely.IMG_4841

I made the arrangement as a hand tied bunch and then tied the whole arrangement in a square of cellophane which helped to give it a slightly more professional look.

There is no doubt that I find larger arrangements exponentially harder than small ones, but I was lucky to have so many of both the sunflowers and the Tithonia to play with, and basically just kept going until I couldn’t hold any more stems in my hand.  I’m not sure that’s a recognised hand tied approach, but it worked for me!

With thanks as ever to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting all our vases.  And many happy returns, lovely sis.