Stormy weather…

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Back door view, Tostat, July 2018

Last night was the third night of big storms- a huge electrical show in the sky, and Tostat lit up like Las Vegas.  This morning, a dark and sombre tone to the light, and continuing rumblings.  So much so that Molly the dog literally turned tail and ran back into the garden first thing.  The rain is very welcome, but like the whole weather scene this year, too much, too big, and utterly unpredictable.

In the last post, I was raving about Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’, and here in the foreground pot, you can see ‘Eucomis autumnalis’, which is the baby cousin and my first shot at Eucomis. I think that I need to repot all those bulbs for next year, as whilst the decorative drooping is pretty, it really means it’s a bit crowded in there.  Such a good plant- self-seeds and produces babies, and you can also grow the seed on- though it takes a few years to make a flowering plant.  I keep both Eucomis in pots, they like winter dry and some shelter, and then they handle sun and pot-soaking every 2 days- unless we are in a heatwave when it would be daily.

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Kalimeris incisa ‘Madiva’, Tostat, July 2018

Just coming out now, and continuing for 2-3 months, is Kalimeris incisa ‘Madiva’, a plant that is only in its second full year, but is proving to be a real trooper.  Just 1m high, it is really tough and shrugs off wind and rain, as well as hot sun.  It spreads steadily but not greedily, and is a delicate pale mauve colour- it looks fantastic next to the Monarda fistulosa, which has gone nuts this year with the rain and is taller than me.  This plant keeps going right till the late autumn- flowering when rain allows, and remaining upright and impressive.  From seed it is really easy, and these clumps are now 3 years old, so I will be dividing them later on.

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Monarda fistulosa, Tostat, July 2018

When the early or late light hits the Monarda, there is almost an electric quality to the mauve flowerheads.

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Monarda fistulosa shimmering, Tostat, July 2018
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Rosa ‘Crepuscule’, Tostat, July 2018

At least, I think that this is ‘Crepuscule’.  Apricot to start with, golden cream and yellow later, and a deep, drinkable scent- I love it.  Not mine, in the sense that I inherited it, and it is a gawky thing, but with all the rain, it is trying for a second show.

In this strange weather, I am taken with seed production.  Clearing out my seed collection, and seeing if there is any life left, but also growing some new plants that I want to try.  I adored this plant last summer in Herefordshire, and bumped into it again in Gloucestershire at Berrys Farm Garden, open for the NGS.  ‘Trifolium ochroleucron’ is stunning.  A big shapely clump of 1m or so, with these super-charged giant cream clover heads.  The good news is that all the seed has germinated in less than 5 days.  Now, I just have to not kill them over the winter.

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Trifolium ochroleucron, Berrys Place Farm Gloucestershire, June 2018

More riskily, I am trying this- Alogyne hakeifolia.  Tiny pic, thank you Australianseed.com, and also ‘Gardening with Angus’ for more information.  I saw this in Spain, and fell badly.  So, why not?  All gardening is about love and passion really.  I am in a mauve phase.

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Alogyne hakeifolia Photo credit: http://www.australianseed.com

Such strange times….

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Cistus x purpureus, Tostat, April 2017

Never mind the politics on either side of the Channel, at the moment, we have hurtled from mid-Spring to high summer with barely a heartbeat between.  The last 3 weeks have been so warm and sunny that everything in the garden is straining at the leash, but, at the same time, short and depleted as we have had no rain to combat the sudden warmth.  I have never had to seriously water tulips in pots before.   So bizarre and a bit worrying, all out of joint somehow.  But, on the positive side, it is rather wonderful to see almost all the roses in the garden out together, rather than the Banksiae rose being a solo turn for at least a month.

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Rosa banksiae lutea, Tostat, April 2017

The downside is that the normally tall and wafty Thalictrum aquilegifolium (usually 1.5-2m high) is under a metre high, still, from a photography point of view, it is amazing to be so close to the powderpuff flowers, and on a sunny day against the dark stream bank, it looks almost spectral.

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Thalictrum aquilegifolium, Tostat, April 2017

It isn’t possible to do any weeding at all as the soil has baked dry, and so the weed friends are having a great, if slightly dwarf, experience, and there are parts of the garden that I haven’t made it round to yet.  The penalties of being away, having lovely friends to stay and the weather- never mind.  I am currently enjoying, though she can be quite tart (!), ‘The Deckchair Gardener’ by Anne Wareham, which reassures my dutiful-daughter persona that nothing will be lost by weeding later or not at all!

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Rosa chinensis ‘Mutabilis’, Tostat, April 2017

Sticking with the roses briefly, here they are, looking the best that they have for years. For them, I suspect, the drought is not too problematic as they are really well-established, but the warmth has been accompanied by cool, refreshing nights and so this may be really suiting them down to ground.

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Rosa ‘Crepuscule’, I think, Tostat, April 2017

I adore this blousy old rose, which I think is ‘Crepuscule’.  It has gorgeous, warm, coppery colouring which fades to a creamy yellow and apricot- and a sweet, deep scent.  It doesn’t produce many flowers but they are all worth the wait.

Rosa 'Jacqueline du Pré', Tostat, April 2017
Rosa ‘Jacqueline du Pré’, Tostat, April 2017

 

‘Jacqueline du Pré’ is a rose that I once attempted to smuggle back from the UK in hand luggage, but gave it up as a bad idea.  It now lives happily in Shropshire with my friend, Jane.  But last year, it appeared in France and so that was the green light.  It is only an infant but even now, has four beautiful flowers, which are probably going to be smashed by the heavy rain that we are finally promised this afternoon. So I dashed out to take it’s portrait whilst intact.

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Rosa ‘Pierre Ronsard’, Tostat, April 2017

‘Pierre Ronsard’ opens to a dark pink, tightly furled centre, with pale outer petals and then settles into domesticity as above, looking, well, pink.  But it is a lovely shape and I adore the tightness of the furled petals.  Useless for insects unless they had mining equipment, but lovely all the same.

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Rosa ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’, Tostat, April 2017

MAC is curently flowering amongst the euphorbias, and other remnants of Spring, in a dry and sandy location- but it is looking fabulous, hurling itself over a wall and shooting up in the air.  What an extraordinary athlete this rose is.  I can’t recommend it enough as totally trouble-free rose- and it flowers off and on all summer in spates.

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Rosa ‘Zephérine Drouhin’, Tostat, April 2017

Looking for a thornless, trouble-free climbing rose that needs a little support, but after that, will dig in forever- ‘Zephérine Drouhin’ is the one for you.  Lipstick pink is matched with bright green foliage and she now measures about 4m x 3m with me, and is still going up, draping herself very nicely over the end of the house and the covered barn. She is a showstopper when in full flow, which is expected to be next week once the rain passes over.

And at the other end of the scale,  Begonia grandis evansiana is making a start in a massive pot.  By the middle of June, the pot will be filled by it, reaching 1.5m high and wide, and it is such a good doer that I forgive it for being a begonia.  Waiting now for the rain…

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Begonia grandis evansiana, Tostat, April 2017