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.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A scented entrance

It's good to come home after a period away from the garden, especially when the time away was unexpected and rather sad.  I wasn't away for too long but long enough to miss my own space.  Add to that the not unnatural eagerness to see what has developed in my absence and it's not surprising that I was outside within a very short time of getting home. 

It was drizzling.  Not unexpected in Plymouth generally, and especially this water soaked summer.  But even so the perfume from the Trachelospermum jasminoides I've got planted by my rear garden entrance filled the air.  It was only just starting when I left, coming up to full bloom when I returned, and wafting out its sweetness into a fairly warm and humid evening.  Heavenly - and very relaxing.

Trachelospermum jasminoides - flowr detail
I've grown the plant in a previous garden and in my - now destroyed - greenhouse in this garden but needed to restock last year after losing my original specimen.  Decent sized plants are normally quite expensive so I was delighted when I visited a local garden centre to find a rather battered, underpotted, neglected but quite large specimen at a knock down price.  I snapped it up and somehow managed to get it into our small car for the trip home.  I then had the problem of what to do with it.  (I often buy plants on impulse and then work out where to plant them.)

I have a stretch of house wall by the rear garden entrance that drops straight onto concrete paving.  It was the ideal place but I'd have to grow the star jasmine in a large pot and up a suitable framework.  No problem.  A bit of construction work with bamboo canes cut from my Chusquea coloeu and I had a suitable framework to carefully twine the stems around.

Trachelospermum jasminoides  - after planting in June 2011
A bit threadbare at this stage but it started to bulk out with the after flowering growth flush and further again this spring with the latest flush.

Trachelospermum jasminoides - July 2012
Once the main flowering flush is over - mid August with me - this attractive evergreen will continue to produce a few flowers but puts most of its energy into new foliage growth.  In my cooler climate it's red tinged, a colour it retains over the winter to produce a very attractive coverage. 

Trachelospermum jasminoides - new and winter foliage colour
It's often described as self clinging.  Mine has obviously not reached that stage, showing no sign of developing any type of adhesive support.  So I'm still having to train it in to the bamboo framework against my warm, south facing wall where it gets full sun for most of the day.  Unless we have another seriously harsh winter it should be capable of tolerating the dips to -7C we get most winters and go on to delight for many a long year.