Mid-July and the garden is full of so many different flowers that it would be impossible to do justice to each one in a single post. I shall restrict myself, then, to some of the highlights.
The forest of Verbena bonariensis has been thinned slightly, and is in full bloom now, giving a wonderful structure to the long border. The frequent showers of rain leave some stems leaning sideways for an hour or two, before springing back to a mostly vertical stance. I love watching birds alight on these upright stems, quite an art form, made more entertaining when the occasional stem swings wildly down towards the ground with their added momentum, sending the bird in a flurry of feathers to a more stable perch and the stem sailing back once more towards the sky.
I love this biennial Eryngium giganteum ‘Silver Ghost’. Tightly packed clusters of flower heads that are slowly becoming more blue nestle above beautiful silver bracts, which seem to glow whether in sunlight, moonlight, shade or at dusk. The strong shapes of those spiky bracts make a pleasing contrast with the upright green spears of crocosmia leaves and softer Stipa tenuissima which billows tantalisingly alongside.
There is an abundance of roses on the climber, New Dawn, and a handful of blooms on shrub roses rescued from the original garden, such as this pearly pink one above, which is nestled in among Gaura lindheimeri and pale yellow Potentilla sulphurea recta.
The gaura flutters with a tentative sprinkling of white butterfly-blooms. I’m pleased that it overwintered on our heavy Welsh clay to return this year.
The opium poppies are in full swing across both front and back gardens, an eclectic mix this year, though I still favour the deep purple ones.
Hardy geraniums continue to tumble through the garden in swathes of blue and white, particularly the sterile ‘Orion’, and the astrantias are sparkling. ‘Venice’ above, in its first year, is restrained but beautiful; hopefully next year it will get into its stride and be smothered with crimson flowers.
We have grown Dahlias this year for the first time; in the spring we ordered four varieties and potted them up in the greenhouse. Sadly one did not grow – when I turned out the pot after planting out the other three from their pots, the tuber was wrinkled, empty and wet. The voluptous dark crimson blooms of Chat Noir that have unfurled (above right) are stunning, and Twyning’s After Eight (bottom left) with its dark foliage and pale, simple flowers is magnificent; all have joined our ruby-leaved acer in the semi-circular bed beneath the kitchen window.
The third variety that we chose was the fuchsia-coloured Downham Royal; what grew (above top left) from the tuber thus labelled is, however, certainly not what we anticipated, but appears to be the darker-leaved orange-flowered David Howard instead. I contacted the mail-order nursery where we purchased these, and they refunded the two that were either wrong or dead, so next year we shall try those again, and hope that we can bring the ones we have through the winter too. I am not very convinced by the rogue orange variety, though its flowers are still striking.
Two clumps of Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’ are putting on a vivid display in the long border, while other varieties of bergamot are still to produce flowers. I am really taken with these, and they’re withstanding the squally showers well.
There are more hot colours down in the kitchen garden; a row of sunflowers stand with their backs resolutely on the house, optimistically facing the rising sun. Calendula ‘Indian Prince’ is threaded through our crops with sunny faces upturned, jewel-coloured nasturtiums romp around the feet of taller plants, runner beans are covered in deep orange flowers, and to offset these fiery hues, huge clumps of borage bring a glimpse of blue skies even through the rain.
Back in the ornamental borders, the cool spires of salvias are always covered in bees, while lavender plants hum with activity. Cerinthe major purpurascens make an unexpected rattling sound as pollinators forage deep in their bracts.
Electric blues sing up by the house, where a handful of Dutch irises in a container have unfurled their flags, to reveal bright yellow tongues. Other containers are more restrained; a colourful but delicate mixture of Linaria maroccana ‘Sweeties’ brightens up the front path, while I have separated some white linaria out to join the annual Gypsophila muralis ‘Gypsy’ which is growing into a haze of pale pink blossom.
The serene domes of Ammi majus sparkle throughout the borders, and the Knautia macedonica has thrown restraint to the winds this year, hundreds of scarlet buttons bob on wiry stems, coming up through neighbouring cosmos foliage and the emerging panicles of oak-leaved hydrangea just glimpsed above.
I must draw breath there. It’s a fulsome month, with the high rainfall keeping everything lush and green, and abundant flowers through the garden; I haven’t even touched upon the achilleas or alliums that are in flower, evening primroses and tobacco plants, ornamental grasses, or the Crocosmia Lucifer, Echinacea purpurea and leucanthemum whose buds are poised on the edge of opening, and countless others besides.
Thanks to Carol for hosting this mid month glimpse of what’s lighting up gardens around the world.