Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A time of flowers: July part I

Time for my lazy monthly update, mostly in the form of pictures again - split into two this time, as there's lots of pretty things in the garden this month. We've had another very wet few weeks, and the jet stream finally shifting from an unusually southerly to more normal northerly track hasn't helped at all - being in the middle of the country, we've had the worst of both situations. Still, it's been mild, and the plants have thrived - even if the molluscs have too.

I have to say, I think the single-flowering roses (i.e. those that have just one flush of blooms, rather than repeat flowering when pruned back) like R. 'Albertine', above, have benefitted from the subdued conditions. They seem to have flowered much more slowly, over weeks rather than days. Of course, lots of flowers have been lost due to rotting before they opened, but most have survived. This old climber was bought for 10p a few years ago - a dead-looking twig in a pot. I have pruned it back hard many times, as it has a tendency to grow in the wrong directions (and is very thorny), but it still flowers well. It has little scent, but carries these lovely pink blossoms, starting deeper and fading through peach to almost white. A gem.

I did sow Calendula this year - both the mixed variety I grew last year, and a bronze-coloured variety. However, they did not germinate well, so I've relied on self-sown plants - and here they are. I don't normally favour yellow flowers, but I think I prefer the foreground bloom to the more typical orange one behind. They sing out on a dull day.

My other climbing rose (R. 'New dawn') is planted rather awkwardly in an island bed I devote to flowers - but in early spring, I constructed a sturdy tripod of canes, and tied in all the bare stems, pruning out anything weak. The result has been a big success - a six-foot column of flowers, which has been favoured by birds, waiting their turn at the nearby feeders.  Slightly paler than 'Albertine', and slightly more open blooms - with lovely golden stamens - which fade from pink to white.

In the same flower bed, I had nasturtiums last year - and they returned with no help from me (though I did plant some anyway). They don't come true from seed, and this year have split into almost every colour possible. This peach-blushed one is particularly striking, especially with the dark centres.

I did sow lots of annuals into the bed, to ensure it was stuffed with colour this year. Several kinds of poppies have finally got round to flowering - and this is the first. What a beauty. Incidentally, if you're thinking this must be a very garish display, you're right - I have no colour scheme, nor do I want one. It's a tiny garden, and mostly green due to my preference for fruit and vegetables, so this patch is where I let loose - although the bright oranges, pinks, red, purples, and white all seem to work together fine. It's a celebration of summer excess, brief and exuberant.

Finally, here's another rose, which I've photographed before. The varietal name is lost - this is easily 15 years old, rescued from a bucket by the side of the house. I seem to recall my parents buying it on holiday somewhere, and it has proved itself resilient. Bouncing back after going in the ground, it's flowered for a couple of months this year already. Not so showy as some of the other flowers, but a reliable beauty nonetheless.

More in part two...

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