Such a relief this morning to wake up to persistent rain after the heat of the past week. The garden has stood up reasonably well to the heat but I am sure a day of light rain will freshen everything up. I’ve done a Six on Saturday post on bulbs before so I thought I would do another one on mid-summer bulbs as bulbs is somewhat of a weakness of mine.
First up is one of my Agapanthus and I am pretty certain, well 90% certain, this is Agapanthus Alan Street as I know I bought this a few years back and it flowered and is a dark blue. I have quite a few Agapanthus most of them planted in the borders, as this one is, as I tend to go for the hardier varieties.
Another bedraggled Agapanthus, this time Agapanthus africanus ‘Twister’. I honestly don’t remember acquiring this one so was thrilled when the flower started to open especially as I kept looking at this variety when I was away last week – luckily I didn’t buy another one.
Galthonia candicans is for me a wonderfully glamour plants which I would like to see grown more. The flowers have a sort of waxy look to them which I love. I have planted it several times in the past, and even grown it from seed one, but it doesn’t come back reliably year on year which is maybe why more people don’t grow it.
Another surprise is the Habranthus brachyandrus which I found flowering in the greenhouse. I expect it was flowering when I bought it a few years back but it hasn’t flowered since. I suspect the heat over the past period has helped. The flowers are completely disproportionate to the thin grassy stems, so much so it makes you wonder how the flowers are held up.
Another allium, again no labels to be found. I like this one as its a small allium and has gentle soft look to it.
And finally Tulbaghia violacea alba which is a lovely reliable bulb and works well against the silver foliage of the Artemisia
It seems I have a growing collection of Agapanthus in the garden more by luck than design. It probably is because I have a weakness for all bulbs and at this time of year its seems to be either Agapanthus or Crocosmia. Over recent years they have been moved to the big border which is in full sun, slopes and has a large quantity of gravel in, so good drainage.
Most of my Agapanthus are anonymous, but I am pretty sure that the one above is Agapanthus ‘Alan Street’. I need to liberate it a bit as it has been overshadowed by something else and the stems are quite bendy.
I have included one of Echinacea partly because I am pleased that it seems to have established itself now coming back for a number of years but also because I think it is interesting the impact the drought has had on the flower formation. I have a number of plants where the flowers and stems are just short this year presumably because they haven’t had enough moisture.
I also seem to have started to collect Knipofia; I like the contrast their vertical spires bring to other flowers. I used to despise their gaudy flowers and tended towards the more subtle varieties such as Knipofia ‘Toffee Nose’ which has finished flowering this year. But this year I have added a couple of the Knipofia ‘Popsical’ as they are excellent for pick up the orange of the Crocosmia and tying the border together.
Also new to the garden this year are a couple of Agastache. Again the Agastache ‘Apricot Sprite’ helps to pull the border together with the Kniphofia and Crocosmia and the Anemanthele lessioniana.
I’ve also added a couple of Agastache ‘Black Adder’ to provide a contrast to the oranges.
It seems as though summer has finally arrived, the temperatures have definitely lifted into the 20Cs and the borders are very dry; not great given the plants I have planted out in the last few weeks such as the Echinacea above.
I was lucky to receive a gift of a number of Echinacea from Rob Cole at Meadow Farm last weekend. Rob is known for his breeding of Echinacea and he is working towards breeding some strong varieties which will do well year on year in British gardens. I have planted them out in the top of the Big Border and they have added a real bling along the grass path.
The border isn’t as floriferous as it was a few days ago due to me cutting flowers for the local horticultural show. I hadn’t planned to enter as I have been so busy at work and as Treasurer of the society I had a lot to do making up prize money etc. However, time was on my side for a change and I had time on Friday evening to put 7 entries together. I’m glad I did as I came away with two second places, three thirds, and one highly commended. Not bad for a last minute effort.
In another week this Agapanthus ‘Alan Street’ might have done well despite, like many plants in my garden, leaning distinctly to one side. I thought it would be better this year with the removal of the majority of the willow but now I wonder if it is just an effect of the slope. I think if I want to show plants next year I will have to identify them early and stake them.
Given the dryness of the borders my gardening time had to be focussed on the greenhouse which as you can see from state of the tomato plants was a good thing. I had no intention of growing tomatoes this year but my youngest had a green moment back in the Spring sowing various seeds including tomatoes, peppers, chilli and herbs for his new house. Sadly with one thing and another the move had to be cancelled and I ended up with all the plants. Now he and his girlfriend are about to rent a house I am hoping that some of the chillies and peppers might find a way to their new home but I will definitely be left with the tomatoes. I spent today rearranging everything in the greenhouse so that I can also get in, just about, and water the plants. A few nice surprises were lying in wait for me beneath the tomatoes – the first fern plantlets had appeared and the Euphorbia cuttings had taken. These are both firsts for me so I was really thrilled.
Finally I leave you with a photo of my herb window box which like the greenhouse has taken advantage of my lack of attention and is completely out of control. There are herbs in here, more of my son’s purchases for his original house, but I added a few nasturtium seeds I happened to have and they seem to have gone mad. I think they look wonderful and am considering trying the same over the prostrate rosemary next year.
And now I have to go and water the garden again… I would so like it to rain.