Lampranthus brownii burnt orange/cerise pink flowers only open on hot sunny days
It certainly seems a very long while since I last posted from Chelsea Flower Show – the summer has spun on at high-speed, and now everything in the garden is powering into its late summer fireworks.
Acanthus spinosa and Asphodeline
There are several highlights in my garden of the last few months, as well as now, that I want to share, but first of all I want to pay tribute to my wonderful parents, whose fortitude and ‘can do’ spirit is a constant inspiration to me. They have created their fantastic garden over the last 32 years from the bare bones of a neglected historic garden, to make it the treasure it is today, so here are just a few ‘gems’ from their plot –
Clematis (name unknown) thriving in the vegetable garden
Dappled shade in the arboretum (all trees planted by my parents)
The nerve centre HQ of a talented propagator – my mother’s greenhouse
Above: Alstromeria, Papaver somniferum, rhubarb and giant Angelica in the vegetable patch, succulents in an old sink trough and Geum ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’
Meanwhile back in my own garden I have been enjoying planting up a new project – nice new planters on my balcony. The plantings here had been a bit half-baked for a few years – permanent plantings of vines and clematis aside, it was time for a change. My Sempervivum and house leaks moved up to the balcony for a start to get more baking in the sun, and I planted up three generous long troughs with a mixture of ornamental grasses, perennials and annual pelargoniums, as well as cucumbers to grow up the wall. I will add bulbs to this permanent planting throughout the coming year. This is how they looked on day one, back on the first day of June, with the blue of the Veronica very striking –
They filled out quickly – here in mid June…
And by this week they are look like this –
The tiny airy plant with miniature lilac flowers is Calamintha, a plant I read about as being a star of the Lurie Gardens in Chicago – very long flowering and tough, with a strange savoury smell.
Earlier in the summer I was pleased with this combination of blue and gold bearded iris with Euphorbia for the first time, as the later was moved to this bed last autumn.
It was a great year for bearded iris which thrived on all that early sunshine and heat.
Dispel all thoughts of Dame Edna and do plant Gladioli communis subsp. byzantinus – a tough little plant that likes nothing better than a dry, sunny, gritty edge of a bed to colonise, and brings a lovely fresh pink to early summer. I planted a lot of the tiny bulbs last year, and was well rewarded…
White foxgloves figured prominently in June popping up by themselves in just the right place –
going rather well here with Lonicera ‘Graham Thomas’, Knautia, alliums, Euphorbia and catmint…
Nigella, as ever, do very well all by themselves self-seeding effortlessly every year…
Old stalwarts in my pots are a mystery ornamental sage (purchased for 50p at a plant sale – sadly name unrecorded!) and Aquilegia, pairing nicely with the fresh green of early summer leaves.
Another greatly recommended performer of summer is Erigeron karvinskianus (known as Mexican Daisy) which flourishes on a tough life of self seeding itself into cracks in the paving and thriving on neglect. Here it is combined with sage and box –
My Astelia is now getting quite big in its pot. It lives in my mother’s greenhouse in the winter but comes out in May and is so wonderfully silvery it does add a sparkle to summer –
It has been a very good year for Agapanthus as they have loved all the sunshine and heat. They like to be left alone in one space, either in a pot or in the ground, to get nicely settled down and to get their roots all congested – then they will flower away like anything and never need to be disturbed or divided. Their perfect flowers give weeks of pleasure, their stems stand up to any amount of weather and wind, and they are very long-lived and effortless.
Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is very popular at this time of year for a very good reason – it is a superb colour, it flowers for ages and is very robust –
This is a new pot I planted up for a shady corner – an evergreen japanese fern, a variegated Carex, and the wonderfully named architectural evergreen leaves of Pachysandra terminalis ‘Green Carpet’. All are doing very well in quite deep shade.
This is the very useful perennial foxglove Digitalis ferruginea growing under my Quince tree and looking wonderfully ‘furry’ in the sunshine.
This is a new perennial to me, which I have read about, but never grown. It was planted in a pot in early June and has barely stopped flowering since and is very appropriately named Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies‘.
So in conclusion, it’s been a lovely horticultural summer thus far.
I love to observe the way the view from my kitchen back door changes with the seasons – I try to keep photographing the same view for direct comparison – so here is a flavour of the evolution from winter to high summer –
Wishing you all a very happy gardening summer!