End of month view – July 2017

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Every month, for a day or two leading up to making this regular posting, I muse on what I am going to say. Mostly I am thinking about the garden overall, rather than about specific plants, but overall is the sum total of what key plants are doing, so there’s overlap.
This month I had formed a strong impression that the earlier stuff was all but over, a little earlier than usual because of the hot weather, but the later stuff was perhaps a little behind because the ground had become so dry.
So I took this picture from our bedroom window and compared it with the same view from a year ago. Virtually identical. Seems like my June gap comes in July, though It’s not too pronounced. A little more effort to get dahlias and fuchsias going strongly earlier and I will have cracked it.

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The viewpoint I have used back towards the house has been all but closed off by the Schefflera and Pittosporum at the bottom of the picture. I put the camera on a monopod and held it aloft as high as possible, taking the picture with a cable release.

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I used the same technique for this shot. The polytunnel and the camellias and Magnolia immediately behind it are in the far corner of our patch. Last year I had a pink dahlia amongst the oranges and reds behind Herman the Head. This year I put it elsewhere but planted out the pink hydrangea, so there’s the same clash. I thought it would be over by now, at least that’s my excuse.

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This is probably my favourite bit at the moment. Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’, with a Shasta daisy behind it, which always flops. The taller Helenium to the right is ‘Chipperfield Orange’. I have Mina lobata growing up the metal obelisk, it can sprawl over the Helenium and keep the flowering going into the autumn.

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I don’t often mention the front, but we have just for all out vulgarity with bedding in pots, tempered with several Eucomis and Agaves montana and parryi which stay out all year round. So much crap is talked about bad taste in gardening, a few years bag Dahlias were the epitome of vulgarity, now they’re the height of fashion. I can’t be bothered with it. Bright colours are uplifting, the end.

Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’

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Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ was discovered as a seedling growing in the Sahin trial grounds in Zeeland, Holland. It was selected in 1996 for its long flowering season.

For me it starts flowering around mid July and has a main flowering period of four to six weeks, then produces a trickle of blooms into the autumn. It is about 90cm tall, entirely self supporting and compared to several other Helenium varieties I have grown, is slug resistant. It tolerates but doesn’t like, drought.

The colour is yellow overlaid with reddish orange, the base and tips of the petals remaining yellow. The prominenet central cone is dark brown, made paler as the florets open from the edge in towards the middle.

All that said, I still haven’t got to the main reason why I have such high regard for it as a garden plant, which is that it is by far and away the most popular plant in my garden with bees, butterflies, hoverflies and oddly, crickets. On a sunny day, there will be more many insects on my quite large clump as in the rest of the garden put together.

Both the individual flowers and the whole clump demand a photographers attention and having just purchased a new telephoto lens, I have been snapping away.

Six on Saturday – 8-7-2017

I had the bright idea of doing six plants that were self-sowing volunteers in the garden but quickly realised that I have four or five times that number, some more welcome than others. I’ll mention a couple.

One. Papaver atlanticum pops up where it pleases, producing a flat rosette of grey leaves then putting up slender stems topped by orange flowers that seem somehow devoid of the hard to place stridency of many nearly the same colour blooms.
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Two. Not that I have a problem with hard to place stridency. One option is to stick it in a pot and put it out the front of the house. South facing and backed by a white wall, it is ideal territory for serious sun seekers. We just had a new porch installed, which seems to have created a divide between the flowery stuff to the left, pictured, and the succulents to the right.
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Three. Talking of things that were getting in the way, I collected seed from a couple of my Dahlias last year and had several plants that needed to go somewhere until they flowered and I could see if any are worth keeping. Yesterday I cleared two lots of peas and the broad beans from my allotment and was wondering what I could plant this late in the season. The Dahlias are now on my allotment.
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Four. Hypericum calycinum use to be a very popular ground cover plant, then it started getting a rust disease that made it all but ungrowable in many places. I don’t know whether the patch we have was something we planted many years ago or whether it came under the fence from next door, but it has done rather well in the last few years and the flowers would be extraordinary if they weren’t so familiar.SOS10

Five. Geranium ‘Nimbus’ was a new acquisition last year and is now really getting into its stride. Hardy Geraniums can be very good garden plants but all too often cross the line into weediness or downright thuggery. For now this one is behaving itself impeccably.
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Six. This one, which I think is Geranium x oxonianum, though to be honest I don’t care very much, is an ill mannered thug. It’s not even the worst one we have. I suppose it’s quite pretty, but so is Japanese knotweed.
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That’s my six offerings for this week. Grateful to ThePropagator for creating and hosting the meme, I’m off to check out other peoples Saturday sixes.

End of month view – June 2017

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Two things struck me when I compared this picture with the same view a year ago. The first was that the flowers are a couple of weeks ahead of last year. The second was how little the view had changed. I found myself searching for the small differences between the two images.

For some reason I find that slightly dissappointing, without really knowing why. Perhaps because it seems like I’ve done lots of work in it and planted lots of new plants and there doesn’t seem to be a lot to show for it.

On the other hand, a lot of garden maintenance is directed at keeping things the same, on the basis that you have it looking how you want it to look and are trying to keep it like that for as long as possible.

Big changes are all too often not of our choosing, a large plant dies or a tree blows down. It often takes a disaster like that to significantly refresh an established garden though, and with hindsight will often come to be seen as having been a positive.

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There is still bare soil to be seen, with Dahlias, Salvias and the like taking their time to fill out. A lot of my Dahlias were slow to start this spring, I think I need to find somewhere warmer to get them under way earlier. Consequently I planted half a dozen out a week or so ago and a similar number today.

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Eryngium giganteum

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Geranium ‘Nimbus’

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The first Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ of the season.

Hydrangea

The double Hydrangea we bought last year is doing well.

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Hydrangea serrate ‘Tiara’

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Euphorbia lathyrus and unknown Clematis.

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Bobby

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Of Colour and Chaos

Six on Saturday: 10-6-2017

One. A cone from my beautiful Pinus parviflora ‘San Bo’ that I cut down yesterday. A close up lens and photo stacking creates an opportunity to look closely at something I usually walk past with barely a glance.

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Pinus parviflora ‘San Bo’

 

Two. You can pretty much work out from this picture that you are facing north. Prevailing wind from the west, to the left of shot, blowing Astelia chathamica, Leptospermum rupestre and foxglove into a windswept, bad hair day composition.

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Leptospermum rupestre, Astelia chathamica, Digitalis purpurea.

 

Three. Just out of shot in the picture above is the plant below, which is Geranium ‘Nimbus’. There are so many blue to purple-blue geraniums, I like this because of its fine foliage as much as its flowers, which have never been prolific, if truth be told.

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Geranium ‘Nimbus’

 

Four. Also in the blue part of the spectrum in this garden, are hydrangeas. This one is Hydrangea serrate ‘Cap Suzin’, which is usually a clear blue but this year more mauve. The serrate varieties are generally a bit smaller and less coarse than macrophyllas, which suits me.

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Hydrangea serrata ‘Cap Suzin’

 

Five. Stipa gigantea is at its superb best when it’s catching late afternoon sun set against a dark, shady background. It’s morning and it’s raining and it still looks pretty good.

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Stipa gigantea

 

Six and last. This little bush, it’s about 75cm tall, is Ozothamnus hookeri. At least I’m pretty certain it is, meaning that almost all of what is sold as Ozothamnus hookeri is something else, probably a hybrid. This is in full flower, strongly honey scented.

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Ozothamnus hookeri

 

Check out other Saturday sixes from The Propagators blog.

End of month view – May 2017

Come in, please, I’d be delighted to show you round my garden. Can I suggest you put on over-trousers, there are places where the path gets narrow and it was drizzling earlier, everything’s a bit wet.
Let’s start round here, I’m afraid I didn’t get to my poppy in time to stake it. Seemed to go down overnight. My Camellia ‘Nightrider’ is leafing out as beautifully as ever. That’s coming over the path too, suppose I’ll have to trim it back before long.

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This bit beyond the trellis is pretty shady. The Weigela has done better this year than for a while. The bamboo is getting a bit unruly, I’ve already taken ten or more stems out where they were leaning across the path. I use on the allotment for my runners. That

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thing down to your left there, that’s Polygonatum mengzense tonkinensis HWJ573. Hinkley and Wynn-Jones, need I say more. OK, the flowers aren’t stunning, but it’s a very elegant little plant. That’s Impatiens omeiana behind it, but you knew that. That’ll flower much later, provided I keep it moist. The Polygonatum has bright red berries right along the stem, I got seed out a few weeks back and sowed them; nothing yet. That big clump over there is Blechnum chilense; it’s too happy, trying to take over the garden. I love the new fronds unfurling but I’m going to have to chop it back.

Pot-Camellias

That’s all my pot grown camellias to your left there. Why in pots? Well I wish I had room to put them in the ground but I don’t. Some of them are a bit tender too, they go in for winter. That Polygonatum over there, the one the cat is sniffing, is just your common or garden Solomon’s Seal. Usually gets trashed by sawflies, this year, nothing. I squashed a couple of adults and rubbed off a couple of batches of eggs, is all. Right, this way.

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I sorted out my polytunnel. That’s where all that junk on the path came from. Agapanthus, that one, enormous, biggest I’ve ever seen when it’s growing well. In the tunnel? mostly camellias, tomatoes too. The toms provide shade for the camellias. The plan is to go to a show next year and sell loads. Camellias, not tomatoes. That’s my home made family apple tree just there. I did six grafts back in January, three varieties, all took. They’ve made just as much growth as the established shoots. Even some apples on one of ’em, though I should really remove them. Come on, this way. There is a path under

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these neriness, be careful though, they’re awful slippy. Worse later when the leaves die down. This paved semi-circle was our top of the garden sitting area once. Look at it now.

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The glasshouse is half empty, you can actually walk to the other end. The other half’s obsession, cacti.

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Right, push past the Chionochloa and mind where you’re treading. The Dianthus are just the thing for breaking up the edge of the path. Paving slabs are very practical, but the less I see of them the happier I am. I’d normally have chopped the Fuchsias back but they didn’t stop flowering all winter and if I did it now the bumble bees would be well pissed off. I love the colour of that geranium. While you’re here, just cut through the border there and clamber up the bank. Look at that view down the back of the glasshouse. Not

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bad for a bit no-one sees. Yes, that is Fuchsia excorticate coming through the fence, well recognised. Actually, while we’re up here, I’ll do my every month shot from here. The Schefflera taiwaniana is getting bigger, I’m going to have to move my viewpoint slightly.

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Another few years and the Schefflera and Pittosporum will be fighting it out. Further round the path is blocked with fuchsias I’ve potted up into 7.5 litres. Oh, and pot grown spuds, and lettuce. Yes, Dahlias too. They should have been out by now, bit slow to get going.

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Oh gosh, look at the time, I can see you need to get going. I’ll just leave you with some pictures, you can browse them at you leisure.

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Thrown together as my contribution to the Patient Gardeners end of month meme. There’ll be links to many more I don’t doubt.

 

Not the Chelsea Flower Show

I’ve been to the CFS a couple of times, exhibited there just once. I enjoyed it, from both perspectives. The older I get though, the less it moves me. I’m happy pootling away in my own garden and on the allotment. I’m interested in what other people like me are up to, somehow Chelsea is at a remove from my concerns. I’m not sure why that is, perhaps something about it not being real, like a show put on for peoples entertainment and forgotten about as soon as the next one comes along. Makes me feel like an outsider looking in at something I don’t altogether understand, even though it was the industry I was in all my working life. In my garden I’m an insider looking out, immersed, cocooned, at home.

I ambled round this morning with my camera; there seemed to be a lot flowering, I was going to count how many. I lost myself and lost count.

Allium

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