Where did the Summer go? August just flew by sadly I was unable to write up my blog this month. We had hardly any rain in August and the garden suffered somewhat. The most disappointing were my roses which produced only one flush of flowers this year. Following the recent downpours we do have some lush foliage appearing so perhaps all is not lost.
Sedum with nearly complete Tortoiseshell butterfly
September has brought it’s usual crisp sunny mornings, one notable exception being the lack of wasps in the garden this year. Our bee population has recovered quite well however, we made an extra effort to provide more bee loving plants this year. The vegetable garden has been very successful this year with of course the notable exception of beetroot which I am still struggling with. Tomatoes, cucumbers, runner beans and sweet corn have all produced exceptionally well.
Our fuchsia baskets always seem to do much better in the cooler days of autumn.
A selection of some of the fruits that are still being harvested.
Grape ‘Muscat of Alexandria’ indoor variety
Grape ‘Phoenix’ outdoor variety
The grapes are the first I have harvested both vines are about five years old, I have my doubts if the outdoor varieties will ripen before the frosts arrive, fingers crossed.
The early part of July has given us some glorious summer days here in the south west. As a result we have plenty of blooms in our garden at present.
Our roses and delphiniums have been putting on a wonderful show over the past few weeks and the roses in particular are still only in their first flush of bloom, with luck our season will go on for a little longer than usual this year.
David Austin rose ‘Sweet Juliet’
Self sown Poppies
Digitalis grandiflora the perennial foxglove
Delphinium ‘Pacific Hybrids’ catching the early morning sun
Leucanthemum ‘Little Silver Princess’
Phlox ‘Deep Purple’
Leaving Madeira at sunset, my favourite time of day. The photograph made easier by standing on the deck of a very large cruise liner.
Temperatures just tipping 20°C in my part of the world and night time temperatures are around the 16’s what a difference this has made to the growth of my plants and a welcome return to warmer days.
A celebration of three of my David Austin Roses.
English Rose ‘Munstead Wood’ (ausbernard) a deep crimson Rose, a medium shrub with a strong fragrance. Munstead Wood was the home of Gertrude Jekyll in Surrey
English Rose ‘Lady Salisbury’ (auscezed), this is the very first bloom this rose has displayed as it was planted in November 2012. A repeat flowering old style rose with a light fragrance, fades to a lighter pink. The rose was named to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, the home of Lady Salisbury.
English Rose ‘The Pilgrim’ (auswalker), a pure yellow fragrant rose with a scent similar to that of a Tea Rose. A strong rose and very upright in habit. The name derives from Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’.
On the vegetable and fruit front, our harvest is beginning albeit on a slower scale due to our rather poor late spring/early summer;
First early potato ‘swift’
Carrot ‘Early Nantes’
Gooseberry ‘Invicta’ a culinary variety.
The flower garden is producing in abundance now, photographs will be published on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th July next.
I think it’s time to sit in my garden and watch my flowers grow with possibly a small glass of red to accompany me.
My idea was to use shadows to guide the eye to the back of the pergola where there is a window which overlooks the main garden. The photograph was taken at Hestercombe Gardens, Somerset, UK.
For me, June is the month when the garden begins to reward me for my efforts with feeding, pruning , mulching and the like. A selection of my June blooms;
Deciduous Azalea ‘Golden Sunset’ (Knapp Hill Hybrid)
Syringa ‘Madame LeMoine’
Chives (with bee!)
Azalea ‘Kermensina Alba’
Clematis ‘Mrs. Cholmondelay’
The City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain, curves in abundance here!
…..till May be out.
It’s certainly out now, and what a wonderful display we have had in Somerset this year. Temperatures are rising nicely for the first month of summer however the easterly winds are keeping the temperature a little on the low side meaning that the more tender plants are needing to be covered at night.
The roses are all coming back and budding up very well even though they were all defoliated by the severe weather we received in March. I am always amazed by Mother Nature and the capability she has in recovering no matter what is thrown at her. The first rose in bloom as always is ‘Canary Bird’ a large bush which grow as a climber.
The borders are preparing us for the summer and we are reaping the benefits of our the late spring plants and early summer blooms.
Our vegetable garden containing early potatoes, runner beans, sweet corn, garlic and onions are all growing away well. The large greenhouse is now stocked with twelve varieties of tomatoes and two cucumbers.
Finally, I thought I would show you a novel way of using a flower pot saucer, Mum and the two children seem to be enjoying themselves.
The last month of spring provides us with an abundance of colour.
Apple blossom from ‘Belle de Boskoop’ a culinary variety which if left on the tree until late December will provide a dessert apple.
Dicentra spectabilis ‘alba’, Dutchman’s breeches
Cowslips (Primula veris),
Aquilegia vulgaris, a classic cottage garden plant and seeds everywhere!
Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) huge bunches of flowers with a stunning perfume.
Wild violets, considered as a weed by many as it is very invasive.
Pittosporum tenuifolium . The flowers are very insignificant and sometimes hard to find on the shrub but what a beautiful perfume in the early evening.
The three little maids
Here we are on the ninth of the month and not a word written yet! May a busy month for most of us, a month when temperatures are on the rise and threats of frost are ever present, seedlings are galloping away and greenhouses getting ever fuller. The photo is of apple blossom on “Belle de Boskoop” a culinary apple which if left for picking until late December can be treated as a dessert apple. I have to say that I think that 2013 will be a bumper year for fruit in our garden, the apples are loaded with blossom mainly due to the intense cold of winter we endured in 2012 which has set the fruit buds very nicely thank you.
We have blueberries, gooseberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants that are full of blossom, just keeping our fingers crossed that Jack Frost keeps away until the fruit sets. Not such a rosy picture on the blackberry front, quite a few of our canes were badly damaged last year due to the very windy weather. They were fixed to the wall but due to the buffeting they received several canes were destroyed. A lesson learned for this year. As you can see, the blueberries are being well looked after !
The small amount of vegetables we grow are doing quite nicely, but more of that in later editions. The tomato greenhouse has been planted up with ten different varieties this year together with two cucumbers, these two species are not supposed to be compatible but I have been growing them for nearly twenty years in this way and no problems so far. Our smaller house will be accommodating chillies, sweet peppers and new to us ‘cucamelons’ Melothria scabra. My wife recently acquired a copy of James Wong’s “Homegrown Revolution”, a book which gives a new slant on vegetable growing as we know it. Cucamelons are a cross between a cucumber and a watermelon with a slight taste of lime but not much bigger that a grape ! Will keep an eye on this one.
We are rapidly approaching the time when we plant out all of our home raised hardy and half hardy annuals, most of these will be in pots to accompany our fuchsias, the wife’s passion. This year we have asters, dahlias, gazanias, calendula, cosmos and a whole host of bee attracting plants, more on this in the next bulletin.
As ever I am looking forward to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day (GBBD) on the fifteenth of the month, I have a good quantity of blooms for May. I will close as I opened with a photo of my favourite blossom.