Monday, 19 September 2016

August lily time.

I am afraid I have let things in the garden get very much out of hand this year, the main reason has been some of the atrocious weather we have been having, we have not experienced a full 7 days of rain-free warm sunshine throughout the whole summer. The other thing is that my 91 year old mother fell and broke her hip and due to complications is still in hospital over 10 weeks later, those of you who have had to do it will know how disruptive long term hospital visiting can be.

Heptacodium miconioides
At the bottom of the back steps Heptacodium miconioides, a relative of the honeysuckle, contrasts well with the dark leaves of the Cotinus.   

Abutilon hybrids.
I quite like these Abutilon hybrids although the flowers are sometimes difficult to view, the leaf shape is interesting and although classed as HHP they are easy to raise from seed as annuals as these were.

Begonia basket
 This is one of two identical containers which was left out last winter, both the begonias and the fuchsia, which has few flowers due to lack of attention, came through the winter and lived to bloom another year.

Main border
A view away from the house down the main border. I am always short of border colour at this time of the year so added a few dahlias with mixed results. They were all started in pots in the porch but probably didn't get enough light which, combined with the poor weather when they were planted out, has caused them to flower very late.

Dahlia 'Café au Lait'
Two things about this dahlia, I had no idea the flowers are so big and secondly until I Googled it after I had bought it I also had no idea that it is currently so popular but I do have to say I quite like it.

 Not Dahlia 'Mel's Orange Marmalade'
Purchased as 'Mel's Orange Marmalade' I don't think this one could be more opposite.

Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker'
Here is a thug being put to good use, Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker' can be rampant especially in a damp spot but here it grows slowly in dry shade with the little yellow flowers lighting up a dull corner. Notice the mildew on the berberis it is there every year.

Gentiana tibetica
 Here is one for the bin, the flowers opened just once this year on an exceptionally sunny day and to be quite honest the plant didn't look all that different the flowers being a rather insipid greenish white.
Hydrangea aspera 'Villosa Group'
You see many specimens of Hydrangea aspera 'Villosa Group' in Scotland where it is very popular. Mine has come into its own in the third year from planting after the flowers were hit by frost last year. ideal for a woodland setting but does not like to dry out.  
August was the month for lilies and the healthy ones never fail to please.

August container group.

Lilium 'Anastasia' and Meconopsis walachii.

Looking past 'Anastasia' to Lilium Honeymoon in the background.

Lilium 'Honeymoon' with Lysimachia ephemerum in the foreground.

Chelone obliqua
Chelone obliqua this turtlehead adds some colour to the autumn woodland, the plant is very tough and could become invasive in a spot that really suited it.

Strobilanthes wallichii
Strobilanthes wallichii sometimes known as the Kashmir acanthus is a very hardy Himalayan plant which adds late colour to the garden.

Anemone tomentosa 'Robustissima'

 Anemone tomentosa 'Robustissima' may be a "thug" but it does light up a corner of the woodland, and as you have probably noticed most of the plants I grow have to be tough.

Rosa omeiensis pteracantha
Here's one you don't see every day, Rosa omeiensis pteracantha, sometimes known as the Barbed Wire Rose, is a Chinese import from Himalayan conditions this wild rose carries these exceptional, brightly coloured thorns on the new growth.
Front view.
Growing Cannas for the fist time I am quite pleased with the results, these are not tall growing varieties and have achieved what I wanted. The Surfinas also have done surprisingly well. 
Canna 'Cannova' F1

It would seem that I have been describing and suffering from too many pests and diseases this year.

Lily virus
Time for the bin.
The pictures above show Lily virus, it could be Lily symptomless virus, mosaic virus or even Tulip breaking virus take your pick, all of which are spread by aphids. There could even be a touch of Botrytis in there! Solution bin or burn.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

July - emerging from the gloom.

What a disaster until a week or so ago, blooms rotting off before they open and standing water in July. This post is a compilation of what seems to be the best of a bad job as we have at last been treated to some sun now.

Primula florindae and Iris ensata along with Dahlia 'Bishop of Llandaff also a Polygonum showing colour. 

What I like about geraniums is that some have the ability to weave in and out of other plants without being detrimental yet adding splashes of colour. Geranium × oxonianum 'Wargrave Pink' is doing just that.

The delightful little Astilbe from the background in the above picture. its name is lost in the mists of time but I think Astilbes are wonderful plants, providing colour at just the right time.

The Japanese Water Iris (Iris ensata), Polygonum, Primula florindae, a white campanula and  Spiraea japonica 'Golden Princess' are adding a touch of colour.

Two groups of containers with some lilies just breaking bud. Lamium maculatum 'Beacon Silver' is so useful for pots but the foliage does not age too well.  

Lamium maculatum 'Beacon Silver' partnered with Sedum Jose Aubergine

The second group is fronted by Geranium oxonianum 'Katherine Adele'. Campanula 'Sarastro' is next to it but has finished flowering and will be replaced.

Campanula 'Sarastro' note the tiny flowers of Geranium pyrenaicum alba, these charming plants seed themselves into everything and come back year after year.

Another view with the Cotinus coggygria 'Grace' growing away in rampant fashion to dominate the area, I sometimes have to cut it back mid-season.

The Front Garden

There are not many pictures on the site of my front garden other than those of problems, more later.

I seem to be acquiring a love of hardy geraniums here we have the super award winning Geranium 'Rozanne', maybe not everyone's choice for the situation but 'Rozanne' being sterile just keeps on flowering. 

Front garden view includes Polygonum microcephalum 'Red Dragon ', unknown Verbena courtesy of Roger and several others including alliums and Rudbeckia hirta.

View up the path to the front door I used to put loads of containers down the path but because of poor summers stopped, this year I have gone overboard and used Cannas and bedding plants such as petunias to put on a bit of a show.

Unknown Canna cultivar.

A mishmash of mainly Geraniums but remarkably a self sown group of Sisyrinchium striatum from a clump that died out because of encroaching shade two years ago.

Okay its common but Lysimachia vulgaris (Yellow Loosestrife)is a great reliable plant which will thrive in adverse conditions, here it sits next to Digitalis purpurea yet another common native in shade, I enjoy growing those plants which can be described as "difficult" but at the end of the day you just have to love native plants.

Creeping around in deep shade Geranium wallichianum set off by the falling needles.

Cedrus atlantica glauca needle drop.
This is the bad news, needle drop is caused by a fungus which is triggered by temperature. The cold spring seems to have played a part, when the temperatures rose very quickly earlier this year, albeit for a short time, it created the worst attack I have seen leading to massive needle drop.   

At first a sort of attractive pinkish colouration appears.

Followed by a massive needle drop, all the brown areas are now denuded and much worse.
Good stuff

After the doom and gloom here are a few plants which inspire:

Francoa sonchifolia 'Pink Giant' Reliable hardy perennial, soft green scalloped foliage sets off the pink spires of flower. (Plant World Seeds)

Dregea sinensis, Chinese climber known as the hardy Hoya or Wax-flower, Hoyas were once a popular house plant. Grown from seed this rather exotic climber proves easy to grow even with me.
The pure simplicity of a specie rose, Rosa glauca.
The "Meconopsis Bed"

Things are moving, as the big blue poppies are finishing Meconopsis walichii is coming into flower amongst the lilies and Ligularia przewalskii.

 Meconopsis bed pictures, note the Rodgersia leaves 
After a terrible spring which has seen the failure of many a plant things seem to be getting back to normal.

Monday, 13 June 2016

June garden snippets.

After two weeks of really good weather and getting plenty done we have just had some horrendous rain over the weekend and the week ahead is looking rather wet so I am afraid it is back to normal. The hanging baskets and most of the containers have been planted up so it's fingers-crossed that we have a decent summer.

General view from the back door, I show Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii' pictures every year but it is a superb shrub.
Cornus kousa just poking over the Viburnum, a classic example of where not to plant a showy tree!

Meconopsis x sarsonsii is the latest to come into flower.
This is actually the water forget-me-not, Myosotis scorpioides which is a British native. I planted this as an experiment at the edge of one of my main borders to see if the ground was wet enough for it to survive, needless to say it is thriving!

Paeonia - single red type, cultivar unknown.

Unknown paeony. The big question is do you prefer the simplicity of the single bloom or this cultivar which has made itself at home on top of a little wall beneath a privet hedge and has been visibly wilting in the hot weather. Personally I go for the simple flower every time.

Rather a nice colour of foxglove in front of the Viburnum, it is self seeded and is showing more than a few characteristics of Pam's Choice which was growing nearby.

The combination of foxgloves and Hesperis works well in the deep shade cast by my Cedrus atlantica glauca. It did look better but the Hesperis was nearly flattened by the heavy rain.

Primula secundiflora, one of the survivors from last year's seed, a Section Sikkimensis primula from Yunnan. This plant is very young and has not reached its full potential.

Nomocharis pardanthina f. punctulata. N.pardanthina was discovered by Delavay who coincidently also found Primula secundiflora (above). This beautiful bulb was raised from seed and to have several in flower this year is very satisfying. It needs conditions very like Meconopsis so grows well in the cool damp of Scotland and my garden for which I am thankful. Will not tolerate dry conditions.

Now for the big experiment, I have been thinking about making a video for ages but decided to actually do it. This meander round my back garden is very basic, in fact this is my first attempt ever, so please bear with me, it is definitely a bit all over the place, although YouTube's enhancing software worked wonders. The bad news for you all is that I really enjoyed making it so there could be more in the future.

    Please enjoy if you can, the music is part of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto - Wm. Mccoll & the University of Washington Symphony. This is in HD best viewed in full screen.