Saturday, 24 September 2016

Parting gifts from the Garden Gods ...




As a parting gift from summer, the Garden Gods have given us some clear, golden days so that we can squeeze out the last rays of hot sun. And so we have. From breakfast outside to cold beers in the summerhouse at sunset,  we have wrung out those rays and soaked them right up, so that the memory will help to see us through the leaden grey of November, and the gales of March.


This September light has a mellow quality all of its own, gentle and golden, suffusing the garden and making the plants radiant and glowing.


These glorious days were the ideal time to wander round the garden, to assess the success and otherwise, of this season. I think it probably looks better at this current point than in most other years, due to the long spell of good weather, which has provided ideal growing conditions. The plants have loved it and kept flowering and growing although some of the bedding has already been despatched as it has grown too leggy. Most of the pots are still doing well, however, and providing lots of colour still.


The new decking area planting has really filled out now, and the plants are very happy there. The dahlias and cannas have enjoyed the warmth of this protected area, warmed by the thick stone walls.



There is a ligularia and an astilbe right at the back which are not so happy, as the bed is very well drained, and so a little dry for their liking.


Although many of the garden stars have already played their part and disappeared until next year, many remain, meaning that the garden still has colour and vigour.


This is our first year with Canna 'Cleopatra' and what a showstopper it is ! The flowers are a mixture of red and yellow, some being composed of a single coloured flower and some being a random mix of both.


The foliage is a thing of beauty and has elegant stripes of dark chocolate. If you want muted and tasteful, this exuberant plant is not for you. Ours is over six feet tall, and is no shrinking violet!


The photo above shows Canna 'Cleopatra', alongside banana 'Ensete Maurelli' and Ricinus (grown this spring from seed).


The garden is full of a number of varieties of dahlia, some named and others unknown, as they are our number one garden plant, giving non stop flower power until the first frosts. 




Below is one of the cactus dahlias , grown from seed this season. I love the slightly tousled, wildness of the petals. They grow absolutely massive, and are worth the additional efforts needed to stake them securely.


For me, this season has been my wake up call to Salvias - a wide ranging genus, ranging from hardy to definitely tender, but all bursting with colour. I am very drawn to the tender ones, and have been lucky enough to pick up a few on our visits to other gardens. 


This is Salvia Involucrata 'Boutin', which flowers reliably and heavily from July to November. I assumed it was tender, but Dysons Salvia nursery report that it is hardy to -11 degrees with them. It has an AGM and I have found it to be an exceptional plant. It roots very easily from cuttings, and I have taken lots, all of which have taken.


Below are photos of the most gorgeous Salvias going - the 'Wishes' series. These are tender and need to be overwintered in a greenhouse. They may survive in an unheated one, but I plan to heat ours to a relatively high temperature to protect all our tender plants.



Above is Salvia 'Black Knight', a vigorous grower, and prolific flowerer, with quite a loose habit, common to all the 'Wishes' series.


This is 'Embers Wishes', again a prolific flowerer, not quite as vigorous for me, as 'Black Knight', but still a great plant, and easy to take cuttings from.


This is 'Love and wishes', showing how it likes to spread itself out in a mixed border.


My personal favourite is 'Black and Blue', which has the same intense shade of blue as Salvia Patens, which contrasts so well with the black stems. Not pictured is 'Wendy's Wish', which I believe was one of the first in the series.


The Abutilons have also been a delight, and, as with the salvias, they are so easy to propagate by cuttings, with a very high strike rate. I guess the real disadvantage with Abutilons, for some people, is that the flowers are not as readily visible as many other plants, as the bell shaped blooms hang down, and are often half hidden by foliage. I quite like this quiet modesty, and I will grow them every year from now on.


This glossy, strong red flower is probably my favourite, although there are pinks as well as the reds and yellows, all of varying intensity of shades.


Abutilon 'Milleri Variegatum' has survived, but not thrived, in the garden this season.



I was initially puzzled by this plant, which came into flower a couple of weeks ago. I couldn't identify it, and thought that the nearest match to the flowers was something akin to a hyacinth. However, I came across it by accident on a website, and it is Clematis 'New Love'. Not a climber, this is a shrubby perennial with large leaves, and these lovely scented blue flowers.

The Garden Gods are still smiling and sending some golden days, and each one seems like a gift.


























26 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. So do I Sue, it is my favourite flower colour. The Aconites are a very similar blue and I love those too. There aren't many really ...

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  2. I agree that the Gardening gods are still smiling in your garden. It is so hot and dry here that many plants in my garden are looking tired. I have never seen the Cleopatra Canna. It is striking. I love salvias. My favorites are the Black and Blue and Wendys Wish. I have them both. There is one spot in my garden where Black and blue comes back every year. I move pieces of it here and there in the garden hoping to find another spot where they will return yet haven't found that place yet. I really like abultilons too. I don't grow them here because they don't bloom all summer and only start blooming when I bring them in for the winter. I decided they weren't worth the effort. The big pot with the grey and pink flowers is really pretty. I will try to remember that combination for next summer. Keep on smiling. :)

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    1. That's interesting , Lisa, so 'Black and blue' makes it through your winters unprotected ?

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  3. That not climbing Clematis is a beauty!

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    1. It is a thing of beauty, Diana, and most unexpected !

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  4. Salvia 'black and blue' is a real beauty. It doesn't return for me. Next year I shall acquire another one and get seriously into cuttings!

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    1. My understanding is that they are very tender, Jessica, and really need overwintering in a greenhouse, although you are in a milder part of the uk than we are ! Cuttings take incredibly easily and are very satisfying as the hit rate is nearly 100 % !

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  5. Hi Jane, I am glad to read that you had fabulous September weather and that you took advantage of that and soaked it all up, good preparation for the not so nice parts of autumn and winter...!
    Your dahlias are absolutely gorgeous! I especially love the cerise one on the third photo of the dahlias from the top, too, bad that you can't give a name for that one.
    To my own surprise, I was never really wowed by dahlias until something "clicked" last year. I bought two different varieties, but life had different plans and I failed to plant the tubers in the proper time. Despite the fact that the tubers got way too late into the soil and two plants died back completely, I am happy that the two other ones made it and one has set the first flower buds, hah! So if I manage to keep the snails away from them, I might have the first dahlias blooming in my own garden soon :-).
    I think, I will order some tubers from an online nursery in the next couple of weeks to get exactly the varieties that I want for next year and have hopefully more success with them.
    Wishing you a great (gardening) week!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Ordering for next season is one of the great pleasures of autumn/ winter, isn't it! Hope you are pleased by your dahlia flowers when they open. I only warmed to the many charms of the dahlia a few years ago. They are cheerfully forgiving plants and have such a long flowering season.

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  6. Wow, you have some incredible Dahlias! And I really like the combination of foliage types in the 7th photo (in the raised bed?). Very, very nice! September is usually a beautiful month here where I live, too, and your description at the beginning of your post is so poetic and true. Autumn is sneaking in, but there's still a summer feel to the air with enough warmth for "breakfast outside" and "cold beers at sunset." :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Plantpostings! Sadly September is nearly giving way to October ...

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  7. I haven't see dahlias for such a long time, Jane! Love them a lot. I used to have some, after flowering, they wilted. Probably too wet at that time, sigh. The salvias we have are annuals. The colours are very rich colours too. Oh, I love your black and blue one!

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  8. I too wondered if it was this year's weather that had contributed to less of a late summer lull, or if I was finally managing to extend the range of growing seasons in my garden... I rather suspect the weather... Whta lovely salvias you have - I have found out to my cost that they are not all hardy but don't feel ready to have any that need overwintering, although I have taken cuttings for the first time from one taht has seen a winter outside already. I have New Love too - it's such a gorgeous shade and so floriferous. Do you lift your dahlias? I do like that spiky white one and will look out for something similar. Lovely tithonia in that first picture

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    1. I had wondered the same thing and come to the same conclusion!
      I lift most of the dahlias except for one ridiculously hardy one which wintered outside even in the terrible winter of 2010! Wish they were all like that...

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  9. When things get dreary, all we need to do is revisit this post.

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    1. Hi Ricki, I love looking at summer posts from different blogs in the middle of winter! Hope springs eternal!

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  10. The last days before a frost can be particularly glorious, especially when the weather is mellow and benevolent. Your Dahlias are magnificent, makes me wish I grew some.

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    1. We did have our first baby frost last night Jason! Bit of a shock!

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  11. So many late summer beauties, I love your decking planting and I am mad on that canna. I love salvias too and I left quite a few in last winter and they came through unscathed, not the wishes series though. But it was a mild winter. Have you tried salvia from seed? They are very easy, I have some seedlings from Royal Bumble and I will try some more. You never know what you might get. Like dahlias, I love your cactus seedling.

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    1. I haven't tried Salvias from seed yet, Chloris, but have been checking them out over at Chilterns Seeds. I think Canna 'Cleopatra' is a plant you either love or hate as it is not , as Kenny Everat would have said "In the best possible taste!"

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  12. The new decking area looks good as does the garden, Cleopatra is one for the wish list.

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  14. Wonderful photographs! We also had some very warm and sunny days late in the season. I tried to make the most of them.

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  15. I love your website so much. I have learned a ton of stuff, I love all the beautiful photos and I love the way you write. A very poetic style which matches well with the subject matter.

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