As ever I’m late to the party but yesterday was such a nice day I decided to delay sitting at the laptop until this morning and I’m pleased I did as the sky is grey and the garden is being buffeted by a sporadic wind.
I like to try to theme my Six on Saturday posts (when I remember to do them) and this week it had to be Irises. I have a real weakness for Irises of all sorts and am a member of the Iris Society. I suspect I should call myself a disgraced member of the Iris Society as I am incapable of remembering plant names and plant labels never stay in place very long. However, I would argue in my defence that an inability to remember a plant name or where you got the plant from in the first place doesn’t mean you can’t be passionate about a genus and love them very much.
So here are my six for this weekend, all flowering yesterday in the garden. I’m starting with Siberian Irises. The top photo is of a plant given to me by a work colleague who had herself had it for many years, the name long lost. It is so delicate and smaller in flower than the variety below. Also unnamed and again I have had this plant for probably 15 years or more. It doesn’t seem to flower as prolifically as it used to and I’m wondering if it needs dividing, or more moisture.
Now I do know that this is a Pacific Coast Iris and I grew it from seed from the Iris Society about 4 years ago. Last year it flowered for the first time and I seem to remember it had just 2 flowers, this year it has doubled up to 4 flowers. I get the impression that Pacific Coast Irises don’t have named varieties, maybe they cross pollinate too much to be reliable. What I find fascinating about Pacific Coast Irises is that they seem to thrive in the most inhospitable conditions. I have seen them growing in garden alongside dense conifers and in my own garden this plant is thriving next to a large and hungry Rosemary bush. I do wonder why they aren’t recommended more often for those difficult locations, possibly because it seems the only way to acquire them is via seed from the Iris Society or a plant from a friend.
I love this Bearded Iris. I love the deepness of the almost black petals, they are so sumptuous. I have bought many Bearded irises over the years but only seem to have three varieties growing in my garden now. I’m assuming that these are the doers, the ones that stand up to anything thrown at them – persistent rain, dislocation by a poor gardener, all sorts. ‘Langport Wren’ is spread all around the garden, a clump here and a clump there. This plant is on the edge of the new vegetable bed, guarding the lettuces.
Also on the edge of the vegetable bed are some Dutch Iris, or Florists Irises (above and below). I buy bulbs of these most years, apart from last Autumn, and about 50% appear in the Spring and if I am lucky some of them reappear in later years. I just love them. The petals are like silk and they appear on long stems (obviously why florists like them) above the surrounding plants looking impossibly glamorous. They are usually named but the names never stick in my head and I don’t think they matter to be honest.
I hope you enjoyed my Six on Saturday (well Sunday) and thank you to The Propagator for hosting this meme every Saturday, its not always easy to keep up with hosting a meme as I well know so well done.
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
I’ve been away for a week visiting gardens in Yorkshire, very inspiring and I will probably share my thoughts and images with you soon. I only had time on arriving home to unload my plant acquisitions so I didn’t have a chance to walk round the garden until Friday morning when it was absolutely pouring. The rain is well overdue and the garden will benefit and hopefully the humidity will be lifted but the rain isn’t very helpful for taking photos and having a look around the garden so these are not my best.
The dahlia is the only one that has grown for me this year. I bought four tubers and this is the only one that has grown, which is a huge disappointment. I doubt I will bother with dahlias again as they are generally too large and dominant for my planting style.
I love this gladiolus, I have a whole pot of it which I drag under cover each winter to protect it. Its a small gladiolus and originates from the cliffs of the Drakensburg, I expect I bought it from am alpine nursery when I was dabbling in alpines a few years ago.
I did spot that the Phlox paniculata ‘David’ is flowering. This phlox does really well for me and it smells amazing. I saw quite a lot of phlox in Yorkshire last week so I bought another one to see if it will grow as well.
I’ve included the flowering agave as the flower is so disproportionate to the size of the plant. I suspect it is long overdue for repotting; another job to add to the long list of jobs to do.
You may have wondered earlier what plant acquisitions I made so I thought I would show you a picture of them recovering in the rain. Some of them spent 5 days sitting under a coach so they have done very well; we were lucky that our coach driver is also a gardener. He has driven us for each of our trips over the last four years so is part of the gang now although this year we really challenged him with filling the underneath of the coach and every available space inside the coach with plants. I think I ended up with 21 plants including an echeveria, a fern, a couple of alpines and numerous plants for the Big Border where I am trying to improve the grassy pollinator look.
The other new acquisition on the patio is a new patio set of two chairs and a small table. We wanted chairs which were conducive to reading and relaxing and these chairs are incredibly comfortable. I bought them just before I went away so I am now looking forward to having a nice sit down outside when I get home from work next week.
My six this weekend are all about the boundaries because I am celebrating getting my privacy back. Long term readers of this blog will know that my old neighbours neglected their garden and it was overgrown with a thick barrier of ash and sycamore trees between our two properties which gave me reasonable privacy.
When the new neighbours moved in 3 years ago they did what any of us would do and cleared the garden. It was quite alarming for me as I suddenly felt like I was in a goldfish bowl. All the screening above the fence line was gone. This might not seem such a big deal but our gardens slope up from our houses and so with all the angles you often feel like you can be seen by your neighbours in your garden and they can see you which I don’t like.
Then to make matters worse because the garden had been neglected for so long the fences hadn’t been cared for and in some places it was only the trees and shrubs that were holding things together. So over the past two winters the fences have disintegrated or have bits missing and it has looked a real mess.
Not any more, they have had the fences replaced and we now have a lovely 6ft fence which is rather beautiful. Sadly, for the neighbours, as they are at the end of the road they are responsible for all the fences around their property so this must have cost a lot but I think it is fab. Suddenly, I have my privacy back and it brought home to me just how much I had missed that privacy. I think there is actually even more privacy than before as the fence is higher than the old one.
Not only have I got my privacy back but I have gained about a foot along the fence line. I need to fill in the trench left from where they dug out all the old tree roots etc but once I have done that I can play around and give some of my plants more space. I had left some Hawthorne seedlings grow up in recent years in anticipation of new owners clearing the garden and now I think I will cut the Hawthorne trees back to create more of a hedge along the fence which will in turn allow my Liquidamber tree to have more light and thrive.
The new fence at the end of the patio. The fence here was previous held up by a variegated ivy that I planted which was OK. The bamboos in pots were added when they cut all the trees down as it meant they could see straight from their garden down on to my patio which was horrid. The new fence is higher and somehow I think has obstructed the view but I think the bamboos may stay. Now they have a smart backdrop I may think again about what is around them and smarten it up.
As I am fixated with fences at the moment I thought I would include my back fence which you can just about make out through the undergrowth. The garden slopes up to it and last year I removed the path that used to run along the top of the garden as it was never used and was a waste of growing space. I am encouraging a wild and hardy exotic look up here. There is a huge thistle which has appeared from somewhere which sort of messes up the look of the planting but I was intrigued to see how big it would grow. Behind it is a fig tree which I had to prune hard last year as it had a lot of long branches going off at angles and I wanted more height than width. This year it is smothered in figs. I need to work out when I am meant to harvest them and what to do with the fruit as I don’t think I’ve eaten fresh figs before.
And finally my side fence which is the same style as the neighbour’s new fence but shorter. I thought I would include this as my final six as it another boundary photo and includes my marmite rose which I included in a previous post. I inherited this rose when we moved in about 16 years ago and for years and years it had one or two flowers. Then my other neighbours also indulged in some heavy handed pruning and cut everything back hard meaning that the rose suddenly benefited from light and more rain and this is the result!
I have a passion for bulbs, as well as ferns and some other groups of plants, but bulbs I really love. I love that there is so much energy and possibility packed into a small bulb, or corm. I love that bulbs send up their flower, like a rocket, and then die down allowing space for something else to shine.
I’m especially proud of the clumps of Watsonia as I grew them from seed some years ago. The clumps have got so big that they have been divided and moved around the garden. Watsonia isn’t a plant I see much in English gardens, but a few years back when I visited gardens in Ireland it was everywhere.
I’ve included Asphodeline lutea as I was super excited to spot it’s flower spikes yesterday. Like the Watsonia I grew it from seed a few years ago but it has never flowered, there’s just been some wiry leaves but this year there are two flowers spikes. Hopefully in the next few days the flowers will open.
Brodiaea has been growing in my garden for a few year’s now, the original bulbs were bought from a supermarket and it seems to just seed around the garden, popping up here and there as in the gravel outside the seed where I would never have managed to plant it.
A tiny little allium, label missing, which grows in my front garden. I do like alliums and have all sorts that appear throughout the year but I’m appalling at labelling and when I do remember to include the label the birds remove it. But does it really matter, its a cut clump of alliums which I suspect I bought from an AGS plant sale when I was dabbling in alpines.
And my sixth bulb is Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ which also grows in the front garden is at the other end of the size spectrum to the allium. There are two forms of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ one flowering before the other and I have the early flowering variety. It’s a rather glamour bulb – tall and dramatic.
Those are my Six on Saturday at the end of a warm week which has benefited the bulbs greatly, especially those from South Africa.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 –
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.
I can never decide if I like Papaver ‘Patty’s Plum’ or not. The colour of the flower when it first opens is lovely and I can’t resist the tissue like petals but it does fade to a rather miserable brown as it dies. Having said this my two plants of ‘Patty’s Plum’ are groaning with buds and I am anticipating the best ever show in the next week. There are two because being an oriental poppy when you attempt to move it you can more or less guarantee it will reshoot in the original position from some small element of root you have left behind. Interestingly, the red oriental poppy (name unknown) is always behind with its flowers and there are few obvious buds so far
Some of my alliums are behaving a little strangely this year by growing very tall with smaller flower heads than usual. It seems to be mainly the alliums with flatter flower heads than the globe flower heads such as ‘Purple Sensation’ although they too seem to have smaller flower heads. I can’t find the name of the variety above, its like Allium nigrum but has the pink inner petals so I am pretty sure it isn’t Allium nigrum.
I think this Thalictrum might be the ‘Black Stockings’ admired elsewhere. I am pretty sure these were grown from seeds some years back. It is a nice Thalictrum as it isn’t too tall like some Thalictrums.
The Siberian Irises are also not flowering as much as in previous years and I suspect that they and the alliums have been affected by the drought last year. I do love irises and this has been brought home to me over the last few weeks with all the irises I have included in my Six on Saturday posts. With this in mind I’m off today to a Beardless Iris study day which hopefully will be interesting.
I thought I would show you some of my more extreme pruning. The above is a Viburnum which had been neglected and grown tall and leggy with whippy stems – a victim of my lack of gardening over the last couple of years. A couple of weeks ago I noticed the flowers had gone over so I got my secateurs out and drastically pruned the shrub. It looked awful at the time but I was pleased to see that new leaves have started to appear so hopefully it will be reinvigorated soon.
I also meant to write a blog post last week about my tin bath pond but work got in the way so I am sharing a photo here. I have had the tin bath for a number of years. It was acquired with the intention of creating a pond; it sat on the patio for a year or two but for reasons I can’t remember now didn’t seem to work well so we (well my son) drilled some holes and I used it as a planter for a few more years. Then about 3 years ago I wanted to grow a miniature water-lily, as you do, so we (my son) filled the holes back in and we created another pond. The lily has grown well over the last couple of years but a water lily on its own is not that interesting so last weekend I stopped at a garden centre which sells pond plants and bought a few bits and pieces to add interest. I’m hoping it will be more colourful as the summer progresses.