Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Searching for colour.

Because my garden is very much one that is at its best in Spring with the displays of Primulas and Meconopsis, when the middle of the year comes it is sometimes difficult to find much colour. Although I do have a few coloured leaved trees and shrubs dotted about flowers are a bit thin on the ground. For various reasons the garden has been neglected for about a month so I have suffered terrible slug damage and have even lost some plants due to the drought conditions, something that is very rarely a problem here! Even the badgers have had to find the last wet spot in the garden which they have now ploughed up in their search for invertebrates.



In the foreground is Ligularia 'The Rocket' just behind which is a lily just about to flower next to fading Astilbes with the big Eupatorium purpureum subsp. maculatum 'Atropurpureum' just about to bloom. The lily in flower is Lilium 'African Queen' in front of Acer 'Bloodgood' whilst the variegations of the Hostas can be seen in the bed behind.

Last man standing.
Primula florindae, last of the big Primulas, still in flower despite the heat.

Iris ensata
In a previous post "Iris for shadier damp conditions." I managed to miss out the king of them all the Japanese Water Iris, Iris ensata, these magnificent floppy flower heads are up to 150mm across and are born more horizontal rather than the vertical flower we would normally expect, easy to grow but beware slugs just love the flowers!

 
Potentilla

Potentilla

A couple of examples of Potentilla fruticosa, whose names are lost in the mists of time, are to be found in one of the few sunnier spots in the garden. These plants are no longer as popular as they once were, but are very hardy and easy to grow. Members of the rose family, they have now migrated to the genus Dasiphora (Dasiphora fruticosa), does this mean we will now know them as Dasiphoras rather than Potentillas? I doubt it.


Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora
The ubiquitous Crocosmia 'Lucifer' which has become the most popular of its genus and the original garden Montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) which was at one time a feature of just about everyone's garden but has now been superseded by its bigger brighter cousins. This had died out in my garden but has recently re-emerged in two entirely different locations, but both in dry shade.





Although I have often grown Nasturtiums for a splash of colour, this year I thought I would try a few more hardy annuals which I haven't grown for a long time. Some were grown in cells slightly earlier than the rest which were direct sown into containers some of which contained lilies. The direct sown ones did best, although the Nigella still hasn't flowered. One thing I forgot is that the Cornflower is not so named for nothing, in nature it uses the corn as a support and is generally not very good at standing up on its own, but just look at that flower, beautiful.



When Impatiens was struck down by disease this meant other than Fuchsias and Begonias there was little choice of bedding material that would grow well in my shady garden. This is a new strain of Impatiens from Parkers Bulbs which is meant to be wilt resistant, it clearly has the New Guinea strain in its parentage and has enormous flowers although the plants are very small and compact in stature which was a bit disappointing until they got going as I thought I had planted them too far apart. So far no sign of wilt so fingers crossed.

Actaea rubra - Red baneberry.
 The heads of berries on this very poisonous plant were that heavy that I had to lift this up from the floor to photograph it. Great for woodland and a bit of a novelty but Actaea pachypoda (doll's-eyes, white baneberry), which I used to grow, has white berries with black "eyes" and is quite bizarre, unfortunately it died on me! 

Bupleurum longifolium
 Here is another oddity, lucky dip seed from the HPS a few years ago, I thought I wasn't going to like it at first but it has grown on me. Essentially for a sunny spot but it survives here at the front of the border. I will continue my search for colour shortly.


11 comments:

  1. My garden's a little like yours Rick, more flowers in Spring than Summer, but just look at all the gorgeous foliage you have! Is it bad to say that I'm jealous your Crocosmia have died out :-O . The things are like weeds in my garden and I regret ever planting them, I've actually started pulling them up and putting them in pots to try and keep them contained. Iris Ensata is gorgeous, I'll have to look out for that one.

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    1. Because of my love of Spring flowering plants and lack of bedding Summer has always been a problem although I seem to have noticed it more this year so I am actively thinking of ways to increase the colour with perennials which don't mind my conditions. I like the old Montbretia so I am quite happy to see it back, one reason being that it is in flower now.

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  2. Nice pictures Rick and plenty of interest! What no rain and badgers?- times must be bad!
    I shall still calling them potentillas!
    I think your traditional monbretia looks really nice. Wonder if it came back from seed?
    I have just got back from a holiday in Tignes and amongst the wonderful wild flowers the cornflower is held up by… grass!
    Are you sure your bupleurum is not an astrantia - or more probably I am looking at the wrong thing

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  3. On second thoughst I am thinking of bupthalmum! I have actually grown bupleurum and love the beautiful umbrella flowers.

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    1. Thanks Roger, well at least we have some rain now! I am sure you are correct in that the montbretia came from seed as I can think of no other way that it could have arrived. I had to look up Bupthalmum and then realised that I actually grow one as Telekia speciosa, more generic reclassification, when will it end!

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  4. You are not doing too bad on the colour front Rick. I know exactly what you mean about drought. I never thought I'd be complaining re the lack of rain! Still, my new hose has been put through it's paces recently.
    The Bupleurum is a new one on me. I've never heard of it before.

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    1. With having to rather neglect things I unfortunately didn't water when I should have done to my cost, although some plants are now recovering. The Bupleurum is a good example of some of the lesser known plants which crop up on society seed lists, although the seed can sometimes not be accurately named it is fun particularly when you take a "Lucky Dip". The Actaeas were from the same source.

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  5. Oooh, the Iris ensata is magnificent! I am looking for some iris for my garden, haven’t started searching yet but will pull up your post when I get around to buying for next year. I have given up Dutch iris in my shady garden, will have to get some less sun hungry specimens.

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    1. Glad you like it Helene, yet again it was grown from seed when I decided that I was missing out on the Iris genus and raised about five different species suitable for shade in one year, all of which I am very happy with.

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  6. Hi rick, seems to me as if there is LOADS of colour still left in your garden, or are you, like me, a very selective photographer! Your foliage still looks so fresh, especially Ligularia 'The Rocket' which looks positively spring-like ! Mine is , I hesitate to say it, almost autumnal, particularly the Ligularia ! Eek!

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    1. You have me there Jane, definitely selective! I don't think you really have to be too selective in your garden from what we have seen. I am trying to put winter out of my mind but already thinking of the jobs that I can do when it arrives.

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