Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Heat wave ending.

The heat wave is coming to an end and the thunder storms are now with us. The garden borders are packed full of vegetation and are virtually impenetrable. A couple of the self sown plants which have appeared are borage (Borago officinalis) and the Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) which might actually do well in this hot weather. Of the two borage is the more welcome its striking blue flowers and hairy foliage are a treat. 
I have removed the majority of seed heads from the primulas and meconopsis allowing only a few to develop for seed, even though I do this each year I still have hundreds of self-sown primula seedlings plus a few meconopsis which unfortunately have to be treated as weeds with few exceptions. I wish I could keep them all!

Here are a few snippets from a walk round the garden:

On one side of  a central bed which although it gets a fair amount of sun is very damp, the candelabra primulas, foxgloves and meconopsis are now past their best and are being followed on by the Angel's Fishing Rods (Dierama), Primula florindae, lilies and geraniums. The spiky leaves are young iris plants which have not flowered this year.  

Geranium pratense 'Splish Splash' in amongst Primula florindae with lily stems in the background.

Primula florindae

This is a particularly well marked seedling of Digitalis 'Pam's Choice'. There are always a few which pop up every year from a sowing made about five years ago.

A self-sown plant of Angelica 'Ebony' which is still very fashionable after its use at Chelsea a few years ago. Many interesting seedlings have appeared as it has crossed freely with Angelica archangelica. Some have the height of archangelica but with red stems and slightly pinkish umbels. The plant at the back is Spirea japonica 'Golden Princess' which is one of the most beautiful and invaluable shrubs that I grow. The light yellow foliage is particularly striking but this is joined by the heads of delicate pink flowers which, in this case really contrast well. Can be cut back as hard as you like but will always come bouncing back in any reasonable soil and sun.

On a completely different tack, because much of the garden is in shade and is rather damp I do not grow many roses but couldn't resist the rambler 'Albertine'. I love the way the deep coral pink buds open into the much lighter pink flowers with a heavenly scent thrown in.

Bee eating badgers.
On the fauna front I have experienced badgers digging up a couple of bumble bee nests this year in the garden. Apparently they do this and are believed to eat the bees, grubs and what little honey is produced. Naturally this is not a much publicised aspect of badger behaviour.


  1. Hi Rick, The Digitalis 'Pam's Choice certainly does have distinctive markings, we planted a few of those perennial foxgloves a few weeks ago, not really expecting them to be as striking as the biennial though. So, the heat waves over, just when we are heading down to Cheshire tomorrow.

    1. Hi Alistair, Some of the species foxgloves I grow are in fact not very interesting but the big exception is Digitalis × mertonensis which I think is the most beautiful of all of them. I hope you enjoy your trip and the weather holds up, since the storm it has been fairly dry here. I seem to remember that you mentioned that you had family down here, but it is of course the RHS show at Tatton Park so perhaps you are going to pay that a visit.

  2. That's a lovely Foxglove Rick. I used to grow a similar one but it never did reseed it's self!! I agree re Digitalis x mertonensis (Strawberry foxglove)it's a beauty. I just love your poppy and primula bed. I hope my primula seed around happily and bulk up like yours.
    Re your question on my blog re x halimiocistus coming through winter. I keep it in an unheated greenhouse during winter - I protect the pot with bubblewrap and it's come through 2 winters thus far!

    1. Thanks for the info. re:x halimiocistus, I didn't think you could risk it outside even in a favoured position. I wouldn't worry about your primulas, as you have probably gathered mine grow and seed like weeds!