During this blistering summer a number of people have commented on the colour in my garden (such as it is). I think this is down to a very few plants. (For those of you not enamoured with Sarah Raven, look away now). The top photograph is of Begonia ‘Glowing Embers’. These have flowered continuously all through the summer and I think the contrast of the leaf and flower is lovely. Although often grown as an annual, I have found that if I keep them in a sheltered and frost-free place over the winter they will flower again year-on-year. But be patient! The little stone-like tubers look thoroughly lifeless for a long time and, just when you might think they were totally dead, little green shoots appear.
The bottom photograph is of Petunia ‘Tidal Wave Red Velour’. These were originally plants in pots with cosmos and coleus, the latter two turned up their toes leaving only the petunia to inhabit the pot. It is only one plant and this too has continued to flower continuously through the summer. The pots have only been watered with waste water and have had no additional feed.
Both of these hard workers have come from Sarah Raven and, no, I don’t get a discount!
I thought we should collect some pictures from members to show that despite the recent Armageddon heatwave, we still have gardens! There might be a few crispy edges here and there, but it appears a huge range of winners are out enjoying the sun.
Vija has sent in this lovely scented Pelargonium Pink Capitatum, container-grown.
Anna found a beautiful Jersey Tiger Moth in her garden, sightings of these seem to be getting more common. Pat says they like warm walls, and I have found them in my garden too. They are very eye-catching in flight, when the orange wings underneath flash out. Their caterpillars eat nettle, bramble and ground ivy, what’s not to like? Also in Anna’s garden, her Yucca plants love this heatwave.
Annie H says ” These Evening Primroses have been flowering continuously since early May. They appeared self sown in next door’s garden so I collected some seeds and this is the result. They open new flowers each evening which shrivel up the next day.”
We’re always pleased to receive reports from our members’ gardens, particularly when accompanied by photos. This month Annie H wanted us to share her delight with the Rose Cottage ‘Garden Party’ tulips in her front garden.
Nicolas shared this photo with us showing his Daphne bholua in February.
I know we have had posts on euphorbias already, but these plants are such a delight in the month of April that I am adding yet more. The little Euphorbia Chameleon, below, self -seeds happily, but in such a delicate and restrained way that it is welcome everywhere I find it. In addition to this, it politely dies back and allows summer flowering plants to take over.
The Euphorbia below (amygdaloides purpurea) is a stunning contrast with the lime green flower head and the stems which are an intense dark red. It has seeded itself in the gravel path and I’m not entirely sure where it comes from.
In Euphorbia, flowers occur in a head, called the cyathium. Each male or female flower in the cyathium head has only its essential sexual part, in males the stamen and in females the pistil. The flowers do not have sepals, petals or nectar to attract pollinators, although other nonflower parts of the plant have an appearance and nectar glands with similar roles. Euphorbias are the only plants known to have this kind of flower head. It should also be noted that, when the stems are cut, they exude a thick white substance which is extremely irritating to skin.
And, of course, there is the magnificent Euphorbia Mellifera (Honey Spurge) which rightfully deserves its common name and is a delight to be near at this time of year when the scent fills the air. Every garden should have one – it keeps its shape well or can be cut back. Mine originally came from the garden of Jillian Smith, CABAHS ex-Chair, who many remember fondly. Jillian, if you are reading this – thank you!
Anna has sent a picture of her blue garden, which she plants in late winter every year before the Eucomis take over in the summer. The Polyanthus flower clusters are going over but more buds are coming up, including hyacinths and Welsh poppy seedlings. What a striking effect!
And Sue has a succession of bulbs appearing in her pots as her ‘lasagne’ style planting develops through spring.
Spurred by Kathy’s post on Euphorbia in the Old Pond Garden I have taken this photo of E. myrsinites which sits outside my back door all year round. As Kathy points out, Euphorbia are a large and adaptable genus and at this time of year are a real treat. I have found they do particularly well in my gardening conditions and now have several varieties.
In my front garden (such as it is) Euphorbia characias s. wulfenii is usefully seeding itself in a way which looks like I have planted it deliberately, but is actually nothing to do with me at all.
On the latest RHS gardening update I have just read that, according to Sally Nex, the more plants you grow the more carbon your garden can store away, which is therefore another way of helping to create a more sustainable environment.
This suits my gardening philosophy just fine!
I am so often tempted at plant fairs to buy another addition for my garden, but often without any clear idea of where the plant will go. (And how wonderful to be able to buy plants at the Chelsea Flower Show this year!) Now the idea of packing yet more in makes me feel positively heroic!