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!



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(Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) which was at one time a feature of just about everyone's garden but has now been superseded by its bigger brighter cousins.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.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

In amongst the Primulas and Meconopsis

The Candelabra Primulas and the Meconopsis are coming to an end. The botanists have been at it again so the names of the first couple of Primulas pictured are now extra long, not only that, they have now changed the Section from Candelabra to Proliferae, as I keep saying...........life's hard enough!

Looking through a concentration of Meconopsis and Primulas

Meconopsis betonicifolia
Colour form Meconopsis 'Hensol Violet' which comes true to seed.

Primula bulleyana ssp. bulleyana - Proliferae Section

Primula bulleyana ssp. beesiana - Proliferae Section
Primula aurantiaca a much finer and more delicate member of the  Proliferae Section
Meconopsis x Sarsonii unfortunately the petals are damaged by damp.

Luckily two of the lower buds opened perfectly.
As the last of the Proliferae Primulas are going over Primula florindae takes over to extend the season.
Primula florindae emerging from the "cabbage patch" left over from the earlier Candelabra Primulas, sorry those of Section Proliferae!
Primula luteola - Aleuritia Section
Yes the botanists have been at it again, the Primula genus must be flavour of the year! What was once known as the Farinosae Section, easy; leaves and stem covered with farina, is now Section Aleuritia. I repeat "isn't life hard enough"!