Sunday, July 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers Blooms Day July 2012

Another month, another opportunity to show what's flowering in my small Plymouth garden.   Rather than illustrate everything that's in flower - at the height of summer there are a lot of plants in bloom and I need to reserve some for next month - I thought I'd illustrate some of my hotter colours.  Reds and oranges are quite prominent at the moment and really do stand out even in the prevailing gloom of this sodden July.

Abutilon 'Patrick Synge'
In the shot above Abutilon 'Patrick Synge' drips from the lax branches that have been threaded through my plant of Acca sellowiana.  It will go on with a display like this till well into the autumn.

Next up is Begonia 'Bonfire', a variety derived from B.boliviensis.  This one surprised me by surviving outside last winter.  It was fairly mild, I admit - but I recorded -7C in the front garden on more than one night, so the tuber was probably frozen in it's pot.  And now it's back, better than last year.  I'll take a bit more care this winter.

Begonia 'Bonfire'
I have a liking for South African bulbous plants and three are making a prominent show in the garden at the moment.  Crocosmia 'Lucifer' I've written about before.  I've thinned out its numbers since last year but I still have way too much in the garden.  But, oh it is beautiful.
Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Second of the trio is a gladiolus I bought so long ago I've lost the name.  With me its completely hardy, coming through the severe winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11 unscathed.  It doesn't multiply much - I've got half a dozen flowering size corms, about what I started with - but it does survive to make a nice vertical statement in the rear garden.

Unknown gladiolus
Finally, Watsonia 'Stanford Scarlet' completes the South African trio.  I bought this from the inspirational National Trust garden at Coleton Fishacre a good few years back and it's thrived in the garden ever since.  This is one of the tall ones - about 4ft / 120cm here - with evergreen leaves.  It's getting crowded now so I'll divide it after flowering.

Watsonia 'Stanford Scarlet'

In the front garden Phormium tenax 'Variegata' is flowering.  This is a massive plant, with flat rosettes of strappy leaves that reach 8ft / 240cm tall.  It doesn't flower every year but has provided me with three stems this year.  I've watched them slowly grow for the last two months, thick, dark canes that have shot up to about 12ft / 3.5metres, the top part producing sprays of surprisingly delicate flowers.  Here's a couple of close ups.
Phormium tenax 'Variegata'
Phormium tenax 'Variegata'
I've been trying to create a 'orange-red' border in a small bed in the rear garden.  On paper it sounds good.  The English shrub rose 'Summer Song' is backed by Fuchsia 'Karl Hartweg'.  Alongside is a plant of the hybrid busy lizzie, Impatiens auricoma x bicaudata.  Next to that is Cordyline 'Red Star', fronted by Fuchsia boliviana 'Alba', the whole being edged with a border of Begonia 'Non Stop Apricot'.  In practice neither of the Fuchsias have flowered yet, the rose flowers have been trashed by this year's incessant summer rain and one of the five begonias has turned out to be red rather than apricot.  No matter.  The impatiens looks good and the other four begonias are now flowering well.

Impatiens auricoma x bicaudata

Impatiens auricoma x bicaudata

Begonia 'Non Stop Apricot'
The impatiens and begonias will need to be brought in for the winter but that will give me a chance to add a suitably coloured martagon lily to the bed and install Tropaeolum speciosum, one of my favourite climbers, to run up the sasanqua camellia that backs the planting.

Speaking of climbers I have a fond spot for Thunbergia, having grown quite a few different species and varieties in my gardening career.  This year I've added Thunbergia 'Red and Orange' to grow up a small climbing frame against the sunny house wall.  Cold and rain haven't helped but it's flowering now and should get better through the rest of the summer and into the autumn.

Thunbergia 'Red and Orange'
The final red flowered plant I'm going to illustrate is another of my day lilies.  This one is Hemerocallis 'Berlin Red', quite a tall one, with good clusters of large flowers at the 3-4ft / 90-120cm level.  The red certainly makes a statement in the garden.

Hemerocallis 'Berlin Red'
As always, my thanks to the May Dreams Garden blog for hosting the monthly garden bloggers' blooms day.


  1. That's a fabulous collection of reds and oranges. I really loved 'Bonfire' and that beautiful unknown Gladiolus. I like the idea of an 'orange-red border'. That would definitely add some wonderfully warm colours.

  2. Beautiful blooms!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
    Have a blessed Sunday!
    Lea's Menagerie

  3. I've enjoyed your post... amazing colors! I am preparing to have Crocosmia Lucifer bloom in my third attempt at getting it to live in my gardens. The first time it froze out over winter... last season I dug the bulbs as we do gladiolas and they rotted... this time I've put it in a protected spot and hope that our warmer winters of late will be acceptable to it. How I'd love to be echo the chorus that despite thinning, there is a lot of crocosmia in the gardens! Larry

  4. Hi, I had to laugh when I read about your attmpt to create an 'orange-red' border - I tried to create a red bed some years ago and purchased cheap plants out of flowering season. I ended up with flowers in every shade of pink/purple and very little red! Even those that I was promised definitely would flower red, wasn't actually red-red. Loved your post, my first visit, I garden in thickest of London and I always leave my begonias outside over winter - in pots. Will be back some other time :-)

  5. aloha,

    what a beautiful collection, i love that begonia, it grows so easily here in my garden also :)

  6. Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Larry: 'Lucifer' may be just too tender for your Minnesota climate except as a pot grown plant. With me it's too easy. It looks good in spring, with stiff pleated leaves but at around flowering time it starts to flop around and, with the amount I've got in the garden, can overgrow other plants.

    Helene: I think a lot of begonias are hardier than they're given credit for. I often pick up some cheap 'Non Stop' ones for additional summer colour and quite a few tubers overwinter quite happily in the ground if we have a mild winter here in Plymouth.

  7. Great selection of blooms! I have a soft spot for Begonia 'Bonfire' and Crocosmia 'Lucifer', both so reliable and showy!

  8. What a gorgeous selection of blooms! The bergonia is lovely, and I adore the Crocosmia--I think I need to add that to our gardens! Happy GBBD!