Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A time of flowers: July part II

Continued from part one...

An unusual source of reliable plants has turned out to be the local greengrocer. He has a range on a couple of small tables out on the pavement in front of the shop, depending on the time of year. I got some lavender from there last year, which has thrived. Recently I saw a pot of mixed Achillea (yarrow), and I had to get it - they were in shades of faded pink and white, and huge (two-three feet tall) for not much money. I popped them into the front garden, in a gap left by the foxglove that had reached its end, and here they are - a lovely hint of cottage garden, and great for pollinating insects.

I have two large Buddleia davidii forming part of the 'hedge' between my small front garden and the road. This year, the deep purple one has grown to its largest size yet - from street level, around ten feet tall. I pruned it quite hard a couple of months ago, but left the tallest stems, as I wanted it to form a sort-of tree - I've seen them trained in this way elsewhere. It's just coming into bloom now, with its unmistakable bready scent, beckoning bees and butterflies.

More nasturtiums - this time mustard yellow. I've never seen this colour before, and although in principle I should hate it, I don't - it's another splash of brightness.

The dominant colour is red, however. Towards the bottom of the picture above, you can see the fluorescent orange that is for me the quintessential variety, but most are a deeper scarlet or blood red. These are all self-sown offspring of last year's carmine variety.

Two plants I sowed into modules were Nigella and Ammi majus (I also sowed them direct into the back garden flower bed). I planted some out under the tomatoes that went straight into the ground in the front, and though small, they are now flowering. What delicate patterns and colours - seen here amongst the leaves of a Cordyline that grew of its own accord a couple of years ago. There are mixed blue Nigella too.

My favourite rose of all time - Rosa gallica versicolor (syn. R. mundi). As with 'Albertine' in part one, this single-flush flowerer has lasted much longer this year, even producing more buds as the first flowers faded. The bright, striped pink flowers are heavily scented - a good, old fashioned rose smell. Perfect for liqueurs, syrups, and crystallising.

A landmark of the year - the first tomato truss! Yes, they're late this year - I planted them later and the weather has been even worse than in 2011. Still, they are growing fast now, and fruit is on the horizon.

Finally, my greatest sense of achievement this month derives from the sweet peas. Grown from seed, in pots in the greenhouse, sown in April. Three 19th century varieties, 'America' (the red and white striped ones), 'Beaujolais' (not pictured), and 'Senator' (probably the lilac ones) have all thrived and are romping up cane pyramids. They have all the scent you could hope for, and seem to embody the English summer - delicate, short-lived, fragrant, bright. I will pick them to prolong flowering - here they are in a shot glass that makes a good small vase.

1 comment:

rosamundi said...

rosa mundi is also my favourite. If you happen to have a bottle of Hendrick's gin to hand, try floating some petals in a gin and tonic instead of a slice of lime. Rose petals are one of the distillates.