Due to unforeseen circumstances I have been without the means to join in SOS for a few weeks but I am glad I have managed to squeeze one in for August. The garden is beginning to slow down and relax in the late summer sun (a bit like me). It has been harder to find things to show this weekend but here goes.
- Hydrangea paniculata. I love the creamy green colour touched with pink and the generous flowering of this type of hydrangea. It looks good for a long time.
- Japanese anemone. Lovely pure white flowers with golden stamens on strong stems that can take any amount of blustery weather.
- Choisya. I was happy to see this flowering again and so were the insects. Not sure what this is – too big to be a wasp.
- Stipa. Another plant looking good at this time of year especially when the sun shines through it. You can’t tell from the photo but it is tall maybe 8 feet so it’s quite impressive.
5. Edge of the vegetable patch with marigolds and courgette leaves. I only managed to grow one courgette plant to maturity this year which is quite pathetic. However the green beans are as prolific as usual.
- Finally a dark dahlia. Near perfection I think.
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The height of summer. Here in Sussex today we seem to be having the ideal summer’s day at the moment with blue skies, a few wispy clouds and a gentle breeze, not too hot, just right. Looking at the photos I’ve decided to make plant combinations my theme because at this time of year there is such a profusion of flowers. The question is what to leave out not put in; everything comes at once in abundance. Combinations let me get in two (or more) for the price of one!
1. Clematis and Rose
This is Madame Julia Correvon with a shrubby (somewhat scruffy) white rose called Moonlight, I believe.
2. Yellow and Blue
This is rosa Graham Thomas with Verbena bonariensis. Earlier Mr Thomas with surrounded by catmint which now needs cutting back so it can shoot again.
3. More Roses
In the deepest furthest corner of the garden I have planted rosa Penepole under the cherry tree and a pink climbing rose to grow up through it. I grew the pink one from a 3 inch cutting I took from a hedgerow on common land and I think it’s Exchelsea. I am quite pleased with this achievement (although I didn’t actually do much apart from potting it up and keeping it going). It obviously has a will to live. The purple leaved hazel on the right appeared one day. I think maybe a squirrel planted a nut from my contorted purple leaved hazel but it has not become contorted.
4. Lemons and Apricots
I like these yellow day lilies with the yellow and green variegated holly in the background. Also next to them is the beautiful apricot coloured rose Lark Ascending. Yellow and apricot should probably not go together but I don’t care, I love them both and they thrive here under the Juneberry tree so they are staying together.
5. Absinthe and Claret
Alchemilla mollis with alliums in what I pretentiously call the french courtyard border (notice the vine along the fence).
6. Pelargonium Theatre
Collection of stellar and scented geraniums which I have been growing over some years. They overwinter in the outhouse behind them and I take cuttings. Patrick (husband) was inspired to make the shelving this year after a visit to Beth Chatto’s garden for which I am most grateful. My daughter thinks the notion of a plant theatre is hilarious and that it confirms my eccentricity. But I know that there are those of you out there who understand.
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After the cooler cloudy last few days it really feels like summer today.
1. June Roses
First up we have Rosa Darcy Bussell who is always first to the party and flowers her socks off despite the poor, dry location she finds herself in. A lovely rose and woman.
2. Cornus Kousa
This is the Chinese dogwood. I have always admired them in gardens I have visited. There are particularly beautiful ones at Borde Hill in Haywards Heath. It has taken at least 10 years for mine to flower but I think the white bracts are so special. If it was easy and quick I’m sure we would not value it so much.
3. Dutch Iris
A random variety I bought in the supermarket last autumn. I was excited when I saw the burgundy colour last week. I think it looks quite unusual in front of the geranium orion which are flowering like mad now.
4. A self-seeded poppy
It’s always interesting to see what colour the flowers will be so I leave poppies to grow and then remove it if it clashes or I don’t like it. This has had a reprieve because it has white blotches in the centre which is unusual for me.
Beautiful, self-seeded, blue geraniums growing through the cracks in the paving and up through the table and chair. Planting and staking for the lazy person.
6. New potatoes
Just noticed they have started flowering – they’ll soon be ready for eating. Yay!!
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May has to be the most lovely month (certainly in Britain). The hedges and edges of the countryside have come alight with green and white; fresh new leaves and a sprinkling of cow parsley, stitchwort and hawthorn blossom. But I digress, back in the Saturday garden things are hotting up in the vegetable patch and the roses have buds on but no flowers here yet. Five miles over the Downs in Brighton some roses are in full bloom and the lilacs are already over. The difference in microclimates is really surprising.
1. Frost damage
This is a note to myself that the garden is in a frost pocket and I really should not try to grow (waste my money) on tender lovelies because although they look fabulous in the garden centre in July they will be dead by next April! These are the sad remains of a pale pink hydrangea serrata and a supposedly hardy pomegranite.
The brown tipped leaves of viburnham plicatum mariesii (and a cheeky extra photo to show it in its full glory).
2. And they’re off!
Signals that the growing season has commenced, some climbing beans and dahlias hardening off, and the home grown beans sticks I put up this week.
3. Triffid rhubarb
I know you are supposed to remove flowers from the rhubarb but I love the dramatic look of it and tbh I don’t much like to eat it.
4. Potentilla limelight
Lovely soft yellow potentilla, hardy as hobnail boots.
5. The last camellia flowers
This poor shrub has been growing (barely) in the same place for over 20 years under a tree, squashed between two wooden fences. One fence was removed 3 years ago. This is the first year it has flowered and it really looks like it means to flourish and make the most of its second chance.
6. Corylus Avellana Contorta Purpurea
Contorted purple hazel with some self seeded companions, forget-me-nots, honesty and aquilegia.
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I had not got round to publishing this week but for the sake of the record I want to save it to capture the lovely things in the garden at the beginning of April.
1. Hally Jollivette Cherry
Covered in a pale pink snowstorm of blossom. It is still quite small (year 3 since planting) and looks as if its been battling the wind, leaning a bit. But it survives and for 2-3 weeks a year is a picture and lifts my heart.
2. Euphorbia robbinaea with the neighbours borrowed forsythia
A classic spring combination, quite dramatic. I would never grow a forsythia – nasty harsh yellow, 25 weeks of brown twigs and 25 weeks of boring green blobbiness. However I’m happy to borrow in March.
3. Juicy yellow daffodils in the front garden.
They grow so well in this scruffy, poor soil. So easy and so rewarding just as we are beginning to ache for some colour and brightness.
4. Orange Emperor tulips.
Really perennial and a great colour. Every year I forget about them and am amazed when they pop up and last at least 3 weeks.
5. Amelanchier Lamarkii or June berry.
A really pretty and hardy small tree. Reminds me of Auntie Eileen’s cottage garden on the edge of Ditchling Common.
6. Magnolia stellata
A few flowers just to prove it does bloom if a bit sporadically and onesidedly. I was thinking of taking it out but it has proved itself worthy with just these few pristine wavy stars.
6.a Narcissus pheasants eye.
I had to have a photo of these lovelies as well.
Back to “normal “ English weather for April. A bit of sun, a bit of rain, a lot of breeze. I think it must be better for the garden and countryside. Its certainly better for the chicken. One of the pair is particularly prone to going broody when the temperature rises. Lo and behold last week she started sitting on the other chicken’s egg, not laying eggs herself, refusing to come out and eat and getting very cross when I force her to. Fortunately today she seems to have forgotten the procreative drive and is back to normal, scratching around the garden and demanding corn.
1. Young “Beauty of Bath” apple tree.
I planted this last year and am pleased to see it’s got blossom. I am hoping it is the apple variety that was in my god mother’s garden years ago. I will only know when I taste it. I have 2 mature apple trees; a bramley and an eater but they have very little blossom this spring due to the winter pruning I think.
Surrounded by apricot fox tulips and wallflowers planted in the Autumn. I am pleased with the harmonious colours.
4. Old Kanzan cherry tree
It was here before us and I would have never chosen but I am very fond of it now reliably flowering every spring. I like it against the steely grey sky.
4. Euphorbia amygdaloides
An attractive evergreen plant that thrives and spreads in the difficult to plant area by the drive, in the shade beneath a holly. Spring is its time to shine in combination with the neighbour’s forsythia which has finished flowering now. For a short couple of weeks it looked spectacular.
5. Self seeded honesty
Makes a big impact with no effort from me. I love it.
6. Pony with braids in the field at the end of our garden. How cute is she?
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A still, cloudy day in mid Sussex but its warmish and the birds are singing and the chickens are chattering.
1. Hoop petticoat Daffodils or Narcissus Bulbocodium
This is a lovely, dainty daffodil shaped like a crinoline hoop petticoat. It comes from south west Europe and I imagine it growing in the Pyrenees mountains in the wild, mysterious area between Spain and France. It has been in this pot for several years and after it flowers, I just neglect it and hide it away till next year.
2. A pot of jetfire daffodils and some primroses
Jetfire is one of my favourites. The primroses are from Sarah Raven and were supposed to be in various pastel shades but they all seem to be pale orangey apricot. Actually, I think I prefer them like this.
3. Ice follies in the gloom
4. Prunus Kusar (Collingwood Ingram)
I was on the look-out for this small dark pink flowered cherry for some time. I love the delicate flowers and so did this bee. This was selected and is named after Captain Collingwood Ingram, an Englishman, who introduced ornamental cherries from China and Japan to western gardeners in the twentieth century. He also reintroduced the great white cherry (Taihaku) back to Japan which he spotted in a Sussex garden in 1923. It had disappeared from Japan in the 17th century. The romance of it all!
5. Catkins on a purple leaved contorted hazel
Pretty pink lamb’s tails.
6. Snakeshead frittilaria
What a name! But a lovely flower given time to establish. After 10 years I have several decent clumps.
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