A week of first appearances of the year this week with more colour coming through every day as temperatures rise and days continue to lengthen. A decent fall of rain gave everything a welcome drink mid-week too, thank goodness. My sworn enemies the gooseberry sawfly and the errant football have done their best to dishearten me. I try to be good-natured about the latter, but I’d like to dispense with it with the same brutality I show the sawflies!
Wishing gardeners everywhere a good weekend, may your days be free of pests of all kinds! Head on over to Mr Propagator’s site
https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ to see what he and everyone else has been up to this week and check out the notes here: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/ if you’d like to participate in Six on Saturday yourself.
The first of the lupins are out and it’s clear the autumn manure mulch has really given them a boost. These at the bottom of the border are the first to benefit from longer days and the gradual rise in the sun’s position. Those further up the border come along a week or two later. The books will tell you lupins are short-lived perennials and that they should not be cut down after flowering: in my experience, neither is true.
Scarlet Geum ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’ always turns up much later than ‘Totally Tangerine’ and is never as vigorous. She’s very pleasing though and combines arrestingly with the euphorbia oblongata, which is turning into a bit of a thug, but it’s such a good filler that I’m prepared to forgive it.
The chard is still going strong, though some plants are just starting to go to seed and it seems affected by some sort of rust or blight which has also seen off the first of the year’s chard seedlings, frustratingly. I will raise another tray and keep them indoors until bigger. I find it much easier to grow than the true spinach, standing and cropping far longer and actually more useful in the kitchen too (not to mention prettier in the garden).
This beautiful iris came from Hestercombe Gardens in Somerset (by which I mean they sell their divisions to visitors, even I wouldn’t go to a garden armed with fork and trowel to help myself!)
Every year I raise ammi from seed (both majus and visnaga) but it’s a right faff and the seeds are miffy about germinating (I do find umbellifers moody). I saw what I believe to be daucus carotta, the wild carrot, growing on a roadside verge and it occurred to me it might make a tougher alternative which I think is perennial and won’t need cosseting and staking. So far, so good. Just as well – barely any ammi have made it to planting out size this year and the visnaga refuses to germinate at all!
On the whole I am inclined to let self-seeders get on with it, but this sometimes this leads to enforced inconvenience. Stachys byzantium and some sort of wild marjoram set up home together in the tiny space between patio paving slabs and erigeron karvinskianus decided to move in alongside. The downpipe I diverted into the bed on the right of this shot, plus the run-off of plant food from watered pots on the patio, has boosted these incomers rather dramatically. I like the effect but it does pose a slight obstacle to what is meant to be the route to this bench. The pink in the bed on the right there is gladiolus Byzantium, a species gladiolus that is altogether less blowsy than its larger cousin and to my mind more pleasing. I planted 100 last year in the hope they will perennialise and add a splash of colour in that lull between spring and summer. They’re just starting to pop up everywhere now and I’m very pleased with their understated elegance (not something that is often seen in this garden!)
Here are some other SoSers I’ve been enjoying recently:
Rambling in the Garden
Gardening in the Prairie