I missed out on a Six last week as the builders had taken over the garden and I also had my monthly nature round-up to write about. I have eventually managed to get into the garden and check on any damage and hopefully next week I can set about planting all the hundreds of bulbs I appear to have ordered. Soon I will do a six on bulbs. Though you might have to imagine the actual flowers.
- Eryngium alpinum ‘Blue Star’ is an herbaceous perennial, to around 70cm in height, with silver-blue, cone-shaped flower umbels above whorls of spiny, basal bracts, supported by strong, grey-blue stems. I bought three of these this spring to plant in one of the raised beds (the White bed) to contrast with the white flowers. Two of them have flowered for months but the third one has only just developed buds! I shall watch and see how this does as we go into autumn. They don’t take up much room (so far) so I might transfer them to the ‘Bee and Butterfly Bed’ in the spring.
- Nasturtium ‘Black Velvet’ (Tropaeolum minus) – This almost-black nasturtium, (though in this photo it does appear very red) is the only one to flower despite planting half a dozen seeds. The rest may of course be hidden beneath the self-seeding orange ones. Nasturtiums are good companion plants as they will attract white fly away from tomatoes and cucumbers. A more compact specimen than the orange ones which smother everything, it makes a good ground cover or container plant.
- Asters novi-belgii. Or Michaelmas Daisies if you prefer. I bought these three from the glorious Picton Gardens in Worcestershire and if you have a chance to visit them you are in for a real treat. Since 2014 they have lived in a large container, but really need to come out as they have run out of space. Goodness knows how I will remove them though and it is a gorgeous glazed pot that I do not want to have to break open. Suggestions are welcome. I bought ‘Jenny’ with reddish-purple, semi-double flower heads which isn’t open yet, ‘Little Man in Blue’ which is an intermediate variety and covered in smallish lilac-blue daisies and ‘Trudi Ann’ another dwarf variety in purple. The bees and hoverflies love them as they seek out late season pollen and nectar.
- Pansies ‘Matrix™ Mixed’. Just ordinary pansies which cost a mere £2.99 for 36 plugs with an order for a Narcissus collection. I thought that was very reasonable until I they arrived. I have never seen such tiny plants in my entire life. Well, I have, but as seedlings! Anyway I found an old larger plug tray and transplanted them and put them under a slatted garden chair in the garden to get on with it. I now have 36 healthy looking plugs merrily flowering away. These are intended for the top of my bulb containers so soon they will be planted on.
- Campanula portenschlagiana . A flower I did not expect to see again this year as it flowers throughout spring and early summer. When the hot weather arrived the entire plant seemed to shrivel up and die. It grows in my stone wall so has very little soil. I was very surprised to see the leaves return after the rains in August, and then last week I noticed that it was flowering again.
- Osteospermum ‘Tresco Purple’. I lost my large plant in the snow. It is supposedly hardy, but obviously not THAT hardy. I also lost my Gazania and Arctotis plants. All which did well in the stone wall with little soil. I bought three small plants of various Osteospermum including Tresco Purple. This has performed the best, maybe I planted it in the sunnier position. ‘Cannington Roy’ has white daisy like flowers, each one looking as if they have had a light dusting of purple only produced one flower. ‘Lady Leitrim’ which is also white with pale pink tips hasn’t really done very much so far. I have just received three more small plants from a different nursery also with ‘Tresco Purple’ a white one ‘Snow Pixie’ and a pink one Osteospermum jucundum var. compactum at half the price and they have been potted on. Although also supposedly hardy, these will come inside for the winter months and be planted out in the garden next spring. And on my next visit to the garden centre I shall be buying some winter fleece so I am ready!
The header photo is of my Corkscrew Hazel which I like better in winter when its bare branches look nice and twisty. I find the summer leaves look rather diseased, all curled up, but this year I seem to have the most catkins that I have seen in autumn. I don’t think they get any more impressive than this. And I hope the Prop forgives me for giving him one extra.
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