Kiss, kiss

Antirrhinum Black Prince

Antirrhinum Black Prince

Pucker up! Mwa! Antirrhinum Black Prince grown from seed this year, I’ve had some plants previously overwinter for a couple of years. This Snapdragon isn’t particularly tall growing and has darker leaves which set the sumptuous crimson flowers off.

As the Crocus email commented this morning, many plants now have a ‘second wind’, refreshed after the recent rainfall and revived by the lowering light levels. The Schizostylis have started to put out flower heads although one of the white one’s has been in flower already for a while.

Yesterday on a mellow sunny afternoon I planted autumn bulbs from Broadleigh Bulbs and am trying some old pinks again from Allwoods including Rose du Mai, Lady Granville and Bridal Veil (a very old favourite I first grew in a windowbox in Central London). The first batch of pinks last year weren’t happy in the main border in heavyish clay overhung by more vigorous plants and mostly disappeared (I know, it wasn’t ever going to work but I had nowhere else to put them at the time). Although cuttings I had taken from a previous garden of Ursula le Grove and (I think) Unique are still ensconced in said border.

The autumn bulbs include more Colchicum, The Giant and C autumnale, Crocus speciosus Albus and the yellow cupped Sternbergia lutea. I’ve also added a couple of Madonna Lilies to one bed where they can hopefully hold their own and won’t be completely swamped (which they wouldn’t like), unlike most lilies they need to be planted nearer to the soil surface which also makes them more vulnerable to being dug up as I fiddle around in the flower beds.

Two dead juvenile Blackbirds and a live Sparrowhawk (not necessarily connected)
Within 4 days of each other last week I found two dead blackbirds, one theory was that they had flown into windows. Last weekend I walked round to my squash dung pile, there was a sudden shrieking, a bird or birds crashed through a hedge in front of me at shoulder height into the main border and then something crashed back to land on the ground about two feet away from me breathing hard, a Sparrowhawk, I looked at it, it looked at me, and then it flew off.

Persicaria orientalis one season's growth.

Persicaria orientalis one season’s growth.

And Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate (Persicaria orientalis) has excelled itself again. This annual grows to monstrous proportions in just a season. I’ve got Morning Glory and Dolichos Lab Lab using the stems as a climbing frame, they are temporarily lushing up the pergola, next year the wisteria should have taken over.

Today the blustery wind is still stirring a few flecks of birch seed around, the amount of seed deposited everywhere over the last few weeks blowing in drifts into the house, blocking gutters, carpeting plant pots etc is huge, there’s going to be a birch seedling boom next year.

What’s in flower now

Selinum wallichianum flowering in late August

Selinum wallichianum flowering in late August

Selinum wallichianum, Sanguisorba canadensis, Helianthus Vanilla Ice and Velvet Queen. Crocosmia are on their final run including Star of the East and Buttercup. Salvia Hot Lips and La Luna, Cyclamen hederifolium. The Oenothera pallida Innocence grown from seed sown this spring is sprawling everywhere to the point of untidiness, but unlike O stricta the white cupped flowers which have just started to open have a positive nice scent. The Solanum rantonetti and laciniatum are flowering their socks off. Crinum trumpets are opening, not sure what to do with these over winter. Fuchsia species and Hawkshead and Lady Bacon.

Fuchsia Lady Bacon

Fuchsia Lady Bacon said to be hardy. I overwintered it in the conservatory.

There’s a second lower growing flush of delphinium flowers and I’ve just noticed a new purchase Helianthus Monarch which will be somewhat taller next year has a couple of buds. The dahlias are picking up although I think White Honka is not as delicate as Yellow Honka. Le Vonne Splinter is like a big beaming sun, sadly my more is more purchase this year Akita didn’t make it. I’m quite liking Ike a ruby red. The gingers have only just started, joining the apricot orange flowers of Canna Chocolate Sunrise.

Cirsium canum

Cirsium canum

An amethyst coloured cirsium I bought as Spp from Pan Global Plants a few years ago turns out to be Cirsium canum as I also grew it from Special Plants seed this year. I now have 5 plants, the original one is at least 7 foot in full flower which are just finishing now. I’ll be wading into the border this weekend to hack it down and give the aster Alma Potschke some flowering space. The main aster show has yet to commence.

Non flowering phlox
I had a phlox in the previous garden which stubbornly refused to flower, it moved here, it still hasn’t flowered, eelworm? Two I bought last year from Elizabeth MacGregor Nursery have been in flower for weeks, palest cream pink Monica Lynden Bell and mauvey/white Violet Flame, Monica is growing under the same conditions as the non flowering phlox.

I’ve started taking cuttings of plants I want to overwinter in the conservatory and sown a number of pots of wild flower seeds including Betony, Greater Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Sanguisorba and Pepper Saxifrage as many need a period of cold then warmth to kick start germination (Emorsgate Seeds). Yellow Rattle seeds were scrabbled directly into the soil of the mini meadow, let’s hope next year’s grass weakening exercise is more successful and I can get a better range of meadow plants to establish, bit of a washout so far due to poor prep. I’m told that direct sowing the annual Yellow Rattle like this is more effective than plugs.

My tomatoes are still absolutely lousy with whitefly despite various sprays organic and otherwise – Yuk. Not such a good year, Large Barred Boar definitely wins for taste and unusual dark red flesh with green flecking (from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds). I think I’ll clear the greenhouse and burn all the tomato plants this weekend.

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