If anyone had told me a few years ago, that I would be out in the garden in the pouring rain, cutting back plants and lifting others from a muddy border I would have laughed and said, “Me? No, not me”. I’ve always been a fair-weather gardener but in recent years I’ve come to realise that you can’t always wait for dry, sunny days.
The border revamp is fairly well underway and this week we’ve removed Sambucus ‘Black Beauty’ and Lavatera ‘Rosea’. It was a wet, messy, muddy job with my husband doing all the heavy digging (he wasn’t enjoying it!) while I was tasked with removing all branches and stems to clear the way. It was lovely to get back into the dry and warm house at the end of the day and get the wet, muddy clothes into the washing machine.
Planting (hopefully) starts next week. but for the moment, here’s my selection for Six on Saturday.
Dahlia Rebecca’s World
I’m really pleased to see this dahlia come into bloom. It’s far prettier in real life than on the plant packaging. This is, at the moment, the one and only flower, but it has several other buds that look as though they’re almost ready to open.
Lonicera periclymenum ‘Chic et Choc’
This is a small (1.2m/4ft) honeysuckle that can be grown in a container or as a small shrub. I have it on the patio in a large pot, growing up a cane wigwam. From a small 9cm plant delivered in spring, it has grown rapidly, providing a good number of flowers (which are beautiful). It’s described as being highly fragrant, but the cool summer weather here hasn’t brought out the best fragrance of any of the plants, except the roses which seem to emit perfume whether it’s warm or cold.
L. ‘Chic et Choc’ should flower through September, and I expect that it will eventually find a spot in a border within a few years.
Dahlia ‘Chat Noir’
Ohh…gorgeous. D. ‘Chat Noir’ has very long stems and I can visualise those beautiful flowers in a vase. It will be a larger plant next year and I might then be tempted to cut a few stems for the house.
Just as D. ‘Rebecca’s World’ has only one flower this week, this is also D. ‘Chat Noir’s’ very first bloom. I’m quite smitten with this one. It’s growing in a container this season, but next year it will be planted into the ground.
Rosa Kew Gardens
This rose has been shown in a previous post, but I thought I’d pop it back in this week as it has managed to withstand yet another storm, and several days of heavy rain without any noticeable damage. I’d love to say the same of the other roses as most of them haven’t fared very well. If we can get a calm period of weather they’ll recover fairly quickly, but meantime Rosa ‘Kew Gardens’ is looking good.
Hydrangea ‘Pink Annabelle’
Forgive me if I have a moan. Online photographs of H. ‘Pink Annabelle’ looked so lovely that I bought her, and planted her where I could see her from any of the back windows. But she hasn’t lived up to my expectations. At her best she looked like this.
Her best has now faded and she is…well…beige and very large. Perhaps she will look better next year when there will be a longer succession of flowers, but I suspect that she’ll have swapped places with another variety by then.
I want to remove the flower heads because they’re too visible from the windows, but I won’t as they just might look wonderful when Mr Frost comes to visit (no don’t get excited, not the Mr. Frost) I’m talking about Jack.
Faded Hydrangea heads have a beauty all of their own, add a crisp coat of frost and they can look magical. Maybe ‘Pink Annabelle’ will turn out to be the star of the show.
When the forecast tells me that Mr Frost will be visiting, the camera will be ready, warm clothes laid out and cosy boots will be sitting at the back door for a swift exit at first light to the garden.
Strawberry Plants (Misted Tips)
I’ve been growing my strawberries from runners produced from existing plants for many years, but this year I made the decision not to grow from runners, and remove all the existing plants. The problem was that I had three different varieties of plants, which were meant to grow during June, July and August. In reality, they all cropped at roughly the same time, and I eventually lost track of which variety was which.
Not wanting to miss out on a reasonable harvest of strawberries next summer, I decided to try out misted tip plants.
Misted tips is a method of strawberry plant production used to maximize the first crop of berries in the year after planting. It’s said to improve the crop by up to 100% compared to planting bare root strawberry runners in the autumn. Time tells all, watch this space.
They arrived two days ago, but the weather has been so bad that I couldn’t get them planted. I’ll be doing that today – because the sun is shining and it’s going to be a lovely weekend!
The plug plants are a good size, with a strong root system, but I’ve noticed that several of them have active runners attached. I’m wondering if it would be wise to pot on the runners?
I think they will root quickly, but will it take some of the vigour away from the mother plant? If anyone has any knowledge about this I’d love to hear from you.
That’s all from me this weekend, all that remains is for me to wish you all a happy last (meteorological) weekend of summer – hopefully enjoying your gardens! Don’t forget to check out all the other Six on Saturday posts from all around the world. Details below.
ABOUT SIX ON SATURDAY
To join with other garden enthusiasts from around the world, just take six photographs and post them to Twitter and/or your blog each Saturday. You can get all the details from The Propagator who kindly set it all up.
All photographs copyright of Catherine Wood unless otherwise stated