Growing plants, comparing plants, writing about plants.
The world of plants is vast and can be daunting, but the pleasure of gardening is in learning what works; for you, for your garden and for the natural world around you. There’s no right or wrong, no better or worse, you’re free to decide for yourself what to grow.
Join me in an exploration of plants. I’ll be making visits to different gardens, nurseries, trade and public plant shows throughout the year, where I’ll be looking at the plants being grown and sold so that I can share ideas that you might want to try in your own garden. I’ll also be writing about vegetable growing on my allotment, and I’ll be updating this website with some of the many new introductions that come onto the market.
July and August
July and August are the months of high summer although, as this year has regularly demonstrated, that doesn’t mean we’ll get good weather. The run of warm, sunny days that made last summer even more surreal than it was already have been confirmed as one of those occasional blips in the usual pattern that we all suspected they would be. Normal service has been resumed this year with the much more typical three fine days and a thunderstorm.
It’s not all bad news though. The grass stays green, there’s less watering to do and many plants will thrive in damper conditions, plus it doesn’t stop flowers opening. Roses have been blooming well into July after a late start and as I write this in the last week of July Dahlia season seems to be getting underway, despite the best efforts of the molluscs to eat them before they got anywhere near flowering stage. And many high summer herbaceous perennials are also looking good, providing plenty of food for pollinators.
At the beginning of July I went away for two weeks, the longest I’ve been away in summer for about six years. When I came back I was amazed to see how much everything in my garden had grown. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve got the typical long, narrow garden of a terraced house, with borders on both sides of the half nearest the house. Every single plant in both borders seems to have been trying to out-compete the others for growth this summer. There is a metre width of grass in there with stepping stones, though you can’t see it. I had to beat a path to the greenhouse to check on the tomatoes. All fine, thank goodness. I’ll have to write about irrigation systems at some point, especially solar powered ones which have kept my greenhouse plants going while I was away.
My Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Dikke Foske’ (first picture below) which at this time of the year sits in the shade underneath Clematis ‘Wisley’ and Clematis tangutica is taller than I’ve ever seen it at over a metre tall. This is roughly what you’d expect for that variety, but in the four or five years I’ve had it, it has never reached that size. My white agapanthus (name lost in the mist of time) has more flower than ever before. I repotted it last year which has helped, and I’ve been feeding it this year with a new organic feed (which I’ll be writing about soon in a roundup blog of things I’ve been trying out this year). I’m definitely going to be using that again.
I often grow one or two perennials from seed and the Veronica longifolia ‘Pink Shades’ which I grew last year are looking fantastic this year with an annual Clary sage, Salvia viridis (also sometimes called Salvia horminum) ‘Blue Denim’, although the one in this pot is actually a very pretty shade of pink. I also grew a new antirrhinum called ‘Mini Cherry Cola’ bred by Thompson & Morgan. It’s the one below with large, yellow centered red flowers and dark leaves and I really like it. Clematis ‘Wisley’ is flowering its socks off as it always does, Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ has been looking good though it’s going over now and doesn’t normally flower again and Lily ‘Avalon Sunset’ really belongs in a more exotic garden than mine. Though I’m certainly not getting rid of it, not least because this is the one the lily beetles have so far left alone……
The copyright of all images and text used in this website belongs to Janice Shipp unless otherwise stated.