Six on Saturday 29th June 2019 – Roses

Rose ‘Jude the Obscure’

Its far too hot to spend time in the garden today, the patio thermometer is showing 36C although it is fair to say that is probably a little exaggerated as the thermometer is on the house wall and sitting in the sun – but its hot!

However, I did spend a very pleasant hour or so last night weeding made all the better by the new fence my neighbours have put up but more of that another day. Hopefully, I might be able to do some pottering this evening or tomorrow.  In the meantime, I thought I would showcase my favourite roses.

Rose ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’

I grow fonder and fonder of roses. Its something about the tissue like quality of the flowers, the scent, the old fashioned nature they bring to my garden.  The first two on the post are David Austin roses which are now doing very well.  When I first got them they had habit of not supporting their flower heads which can be a little OTT at times but I think that as the plants have matures and established the stems are stronger.

Rose Handel

I can’t remember where I got this rose from; I have had it for years.  Its flowers start off with strong colouration around the petal edges which slowly fade.  It has added value as it is one of those roses which has multiple flowers per stem, unlike the two David Austin roses.

Rose ‘Lucky’

If you want lots of flowers then Lucky really delivers.  It flowers for weeks on end especially if I remember to do a bit of dead-heading.  Again a rose I have had for some time; it may have come from Peter Beales as thats where I bought a number of roses a couple of years ago.

Rose ‘Blush Noisette’

Blush Noisette is a small climber which grows in a pot on my patio climbing up trellis.  Another generous rose but looking a little pale this year compared to previous years, not a lot of Blush.

Finally my Marmite rose which was in the garden when we arrived.  It has persisted for years crowded in under various shrubs especially from my neighbours garden.  But due to the neighbours undertaking some heavy pruning the rose suddenly has loads of light and is flowering like mad.  It is one of those flowers that I think you either love or hate – I love it as its just so different.

So six roses for a hot summers day.  For more Six on Saturday posts pop over to The Propagators Blog and check out the links in the comments box.

Take one Aeonium….

Take one group of overgrown leggy aeoniums add…

a pile of old terracotta pots and

a few trugs of sandy gritty compost and you get

a whole load of aeoniums which I am now wondering what I will do with if they take.

When I got my first aeonium it took me some time before I had the courage to chop the top of the plant and pot it up.  But when I did I also, having read up on the subject, took stem cutting which took surprisingly well.  Whenever you cut the top of an aeonium off, if you are lucky, the plant shots from the cut and produces branches so you end up with a more interesting plant.

As you can see I have quite a few stems which I am hoping will reshoot to create interesting branched plants.  As for all the pots of aeoniums, if they take, quite a few of them will be donated to the work charity plant sale next year, where this year, the last batch of aeonium cuttings I took proved to be surprisingly popular.  That is most of my succulents sorted aside from the Echiverias which need to be divided but thats for another day.

 

 

Six on Saturday – 22nd June 2019

A stunningly beautiful day today; the sun is shining, there is a light breeze and the birds are singing.  Well for some of the day but with the sunshine comes the fair weather gardeners and the peace is shattered by the sound of lawn-mowers and strimmers and no doubt later the air will be full of the waft of BBQ smoke but at least its not raining and it does actually feel like June.

Salvia Hot Lips

I popped into the local garden centre on the way home from work yesterday just to buy a bag of compost and a hanging basket. I came home with two bags of compost, a bag of horticultural grit and a bag of sharp sand, fertilizer, a hanging basket, three heathers (don’t laugh), two trays of bedding dianthus, two salvias and an eryngium. But in my defence they were all considered and planned purchases.  The compost, gravel and sand were needed so I could sort out the pots on the patio and also my succulent collection which is in desperate need of tidying up and potting on.  The dianthus are for a couple of shallow pots to add some colour by the front door and on the patio and have already been potted up and are on display.  The salivas and eryngium are just want I need to add to the Big Border grassland style planting (I use that term very loosely) and fill the gaps left by the oriental poppy which I removed last week and the heathers are an experiment for under the big field maple to add some interest in the summer.

Salvia Lipstick

The salvias and eryngium have already been planted and I think the top photo shows how well the salvias have blended into the existing planting but lifted it a little.

Eryngium Picos Amethyst

The heathers aren’t planted yet as I have to do quite  bit of preparation work in the area before they are planted and I think I want to mulch around them so I need to get some wood chip ready.  Its meant to rain heavily in a few days so I might take advantage of the ground being wet and put the mulch on afterwards to try and retain the moisture.

Here is another view of the Big Border from the other side and end.  I really like how full it is and I am enjoying the combination of the baby blue geranium with the unopened flowers of Anthemis ‘Sauce Hollandaise’. I have no idea what the geranium is.  I have quite a few which I have acquired over the years as I feel I should like geraniums but they have never really performed that well until this year.  I think it is a combination of the neglect of the last few years, the fact that the poor things haven’t been moved for a while, and the significant rain we have had.  They are really looking great at the moment.

The final photo is of my patio which I spent several hours sorting out this morning.  It needs a weed but everything that needs to be planted out has been planted out; everything that needs to be potted up has been potted up and its all neat and tidy. Tomorrow the plan is to get up early and tackle the greenhouse before it warms up too much.

For the triumphs and tribulations of other gardeners this week check out the links in the comment box on The Propagators weekly meme –

A new kind of madness

I was reading the introduction of an embroidery book yesterday morning which really spoke to my inner gardener, as much as my embroidery self.  The book,  Needlework Antique Flowers by Elizabeth Bradley is from the early 1990s and belonged to a former member of my Embroiderers Guild who sadly died earlier this year. I love ‘old’ embroidery books as they often have real instructions on all sorts of lost stitches and techniques.  This book is about woolwork which is essentially like tapestry by done with cross stitch instead of tent stitch.  Anyway, I digress, the thing that struck a chord with me was the following comment from the author:

“Modern gardeners and gardening writers seem to fall loosely into two schools.  The first are plantsmen whom I greatly admire.  They really know their charges, can remember their Latin names however often they change, and thoroughly understand what each plant needs to thrive.  Their gardens, although often beautifully designed and laid out, differ from others by their plants also growing perfectly, each well staked and with enough space around it so that it can grow properly and be seen to best advantage…..I as a gardener, fall into a second category that can only be described as the school of enthusiastic amateurs.  I love my plants and know most of their names but just will not make the time to really find out what is necessary to get best out each.”

The reason this struck a chord with me is I often like to think of myself as a plantsmen, although I recognise I am being a little presumptive. Some gardening friends seem to think I am very knowledgeable ad plants (if they read this blog they would know I can’t remember one name from one week to another) and I do research what conditions my plants need but I fail completely when it comes to showing my plants perfectly so they can be seen to the best advantage.

Maybe this passage was in my mind when I spent some time on Sunday morning tackling the big border.  What started out as a little dead-heading quickly become more involved and the large red opium poppy was dug up.  Its huge leaves have been smothering so many other plants and I have decided that it is just to substantial for the border, which I am trying to focus more on grasses, bulbs and grassland plants.  The poppy has been cut back hard and potted up ready to be planted out in the front garden, as part of the editing work that needs to take place.  The camassia foliage has added to the problem as the leaves are dense, sword like and long and when it rains are flattened down on new foliage from other plants which are trying to grow; so they too are being edited. The alliums suffered the most from the suffocating foliage and were growing almost horizontally with weird kinks in their stems. So……

…each allium ended up with its own stake – how mad is that!  I think this must surely be the way to madness.  The lesson I take away from this is to plant alliums amongst less dominating plants.

Whilst, I aspire to show each of my plants to their best advantage, because of my preference for well filled borders I don’t think I will ever grow my plants “with enough space around it so that it can grow properly” .

 

Six on Saturday – 15th June 2019

I’m late this week as I have been at my Embrodierers Guild meeting so photos had to wait until I got home, and then I had to wait for another heavy rain shower to pass.  All of which meant that the plants were a little weather beaten and I was a little soggy by the time I had my six photos.

I’m starting with this peony, which I think is Bowl of Beauty.  I was so excited when I spotted the flowers opening this afternoon.  Its been in bud for weeks and just sat there and I convinced myself it was another red peony as the buds were quite dark.  I have a number of the big red peonies but a few years back I invested in a couple of none-red ones as I do like a peony.  However, I suspect I planted them too deeply as there were no flowers.  This peony was relocated last year I think and I was careful not to bury it too far down and I am sure this is why I have been rewarded with flowers.

Just to show you how over grown the garden has got here is the central Big Border from the bottom path.  Yet more dead-heading to do and if you look closely to the left of path you can see the Papaver ‘Patty’s Plum’ fading poorly, but it seems to work with the roses so I think I will leave it.  The red splash towards the back is an oriental poppy and I am going to move that once it has finished flowering to the front garden where its big leaves will be less dominating.  I expect, knowing oriental poppies, that some root will stay behind and in a year or so it will be back in the Big Border.

This is the the Big Border from the middle path.  The Geraniums have gone mad over the last week and I finally have that overflowing look I was hoping for.  I added a few lilies last week to add a bit of glamour.

Back to the plants here is my largest Allium, possibly Purple Sensation.  I love the metallic look of the flowers, they remind me of some sort of lighting installation.

The Allium also gives a useful size context to the Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ which is swamping the area behind the bench.  I left the bench in the photo for size reference and to shame myself into painting it. I think the Hosta is finally the right plant for this spot as I have been looking for something which would have enough presence to fill the space and be seen behind the bench but not a tall plant which would over shadow the bench.

Finally, a not particularly briliant photo of my white Ensata Iris, which is slowly increasing year on year and makes me very happy.

For more Six on Saturday posts from around the horticultural world check out The Propagator’s Blog

Beardless Iris Study Day

On Saturday  I had the pleasure of attending The Beardless Iris Society study day in the depths of Herefordshire.  I haven’t been to a plant study day for a few years now as I think I was just overwhelmed with plant information but the break has reinvigorated me and the programme appealed to my inner plant geek,

It was only fairly recently that I discovered that there was a Beardless Iris Society, a sub group of the British Iris Society.  In broad sweeping terms, which would probably be frown upon by stalwarts of the society, beardless irises are generally the Siberian irises and Japanese (Ensata) irises along with a few others which don’t have beards. Whilst some in attendance fained a dislike of Bearded Irises I think most, like me, just loved iris in whatever form they took.

The study day started with 3 talks.  A quick round up of Siberian Irises from Alun and Gill Whitehead, our hosts; a talk about European Beardless Iris by Tim Loe; and a talk about the Iridaceae family by Dr Julian Sutton of Desirable Plants.  Julian’s talks are always so informative and engaging and I learnt loads from all the talks; although there seemed to be a difference of opinion about the importance of the number of chromosomes in the hybridising of Iris sibrica  with Iris sanguinea and the significance of I. typhifolia. Most of it passed me by but I do find the discussion about these things fascinating even if I only understand a bit of it.

After a lovely lunch provided by our hosts we went for a visit to their garden, Aulden Farm, which hosts a national collection of Siberian Irises. As ever in the depths of Herefordshire the journey to the garden involved single track roads, encounters with tractors and lots of reversing – all good fun especially when you are in a convoy of 5 cars.

I haven’t been to Aulden Farm for years although I regularly chat with Gill at various plant events.  I seem to remember some years back when there was a drought and everything looked a little dry.  Not so this year, all very lush and bountiful.  Aulden Farm is the type of garden that really appeals to me.  It is a very natural garden without being a wilderness.  The grass fades into the full borders which overflow with all manner of interesting plants.  This isn’t a garden which relies on design and structure nor for that matter is it a garden which relies on unusual plants; it is a garden which seems to capture both extremes in a space which envelopes you in plants and wildlife with paths that encourage you to explore further.

The Whiteheads are plantsmen (or should I say plants people).  They are consummate growers and sell all manner of plants at various groups and events.  They also have an informal nursery at their garden for open gardens days under the NGS and other visitors.  Needless to say being a group of plant fanatics the nursery was the first stop for many.  As ever in these circumstances I take advantage of the distraction to get into the garden and take some photos before it fills with people.

One of the key feature of the main garden is a dry river bed which meanders across the site being more full of water one end than the other – I didn’t really get a handle on the logistics of it.  But the moisture creates the perfect environment for Siberian Irises -as you can see from the photos on this blog post.  They look so good in large clumps and they were so full of flowers unlike mine which have been very mean with their flowers this year.

For some reason I hadn’t really registered that there was a national collection to see in the garden, although I have been told this before but my brain is full of work stuff and was obviously have a sabbatical on Saturday.  Anyway, I was rather surprised to come across a gate leading to a large field like area of garden full of raised beds full of irises. As with any good national collection the beds have a clear planting plan displayed for visitors so you can mostly work out the name of the variety you are admiring. I liked most of them, my tastes are so catholic, but I was interested in the varieties with larger petals (or perianths as I think we were told to call them by Dr Sutton – must check my notes).  I am used to the more simple, natural siberian irises but the hybrids have three larger chunkier perianths which really appealed to me; but then I do love Ensata iris and these have a similar type of flower head.

Having admired the garden I found the nursery empty of visitors so time for me to browse the remains left and do a little plant buying.  On returning home and sorting out my acquisitions from the garden and plant sale in the morning I seem to have acquired 5 new irises which is rather troubling as I have no idea where I am going to shoehorn them into.

I had a lovely day, learnt lots, met interesting people, had good food, visited a lovely garden and bought plants – what more can you ask for.