Approaching midsummer’s day and we have yet to experience anything like summer. Unlike many parts of the UK it hasn’t been too bad down here in the west country this week. Yes it has rained and yes the temperatures are well below what they should be for this time of the year, but we have had some sunshine and I have managed to dry my laundry outdoors! Seeds of new hellebores have been sown along with some lettuce and parsley, but I am afraid they might all be washed out! And one of my new clematis ‘Prince Charles‘ was damaged by the wind on Monday and Tuesday taking away 12 flower buds. That causes me to have a sad face. 😞
This week I shall show you six things in (or around) the raised beds at the bottom of the garden. It’s a little wild at the moment!
- Painted Sage. An annual sage, grown primarily not for its insignificant flower, but for the colourful bracts borne on upright stems in summer. These modified leaves are blue, pink or white. This is in the herb bed alongside some variegated sage.
- Tulbaghia violacea or ‘Society Garlic’ is one of the prettiest and best summer edible flowers, with a garlic flavour but no aftertaste. I bought these from Sarah Raven and they should have sweetly fragrant lilac-pink flowers, however mine look almost white. I am hoping for a lot more flowers, but I think it needs more sun.
- Euphorbia oblongata is a long flowering foliage plant with brilliant sulphur yellow flowers and bold, strong shapes. It is really a short-lived perennial and although I bought 5 seedlings last year they didn’t come into flower until this spring and are now taking over the entire bed! It is supposed to flower until December so I intend to remove a couple of them and pop them into containers to move elsewhere. As with any euphorbia take care when cutting this plant as the milky sap is poisonous and can irritate the skin. I have it growing alongside Eryngium and Echinops so I hope to see them all in flower together at some point this year.
- Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ (Balkan clary) is a lovely deep purple flowering perennial with tall spikes. I have planted this to accompany the plants in #3 and I hope that in future years it will bulk out a bit.
- Centranthus ruber or red valerian comes from the Mediterranean and was introduced to the UK in the 1600s and has now naturalised here. It tends to self-seed everywhere in pavings and walls where the deep tapering roots can cause damage. In fact in the Western Cape, South Africa it is considered to be an invasive species. The most typical colour is a brick red or purplish red, but can include deep crimson, pale pink, and lavender. Centranthus ruber ‘Albus’ (about 10% of individuals) has white blooms and I have that one flowering in the front courtyard. It is a good source of nectar from May to October for bees, butterflies and moths like the Hummingbird Hawk-moth.
- Common Daisy (Bellis perennis). You may be wondering why I am including this one in my six as I am sure pretty much everyone will have this familiar wildflower growing in their garden and especially in the lawn as it favours short grass,. This humble plant can be seen flowering almost all year round and I am actually quite fond of it allowing plants to seed in the cracks of my paving and also in my very weedy lawn. Usually a daisy has composite flower heads – the yellow disc in the middle (‘disc florets’) and the surrounding white ‘ray florets’ (which look just like petals) but this one (on the left) growing next to my compost bin, appears to be a double flowering type caused by some form of mutation.
BTW The name “daisy” is considered a corruption of “day’s eye”, because the whole head closes at night and opens in the morning.
As always, if you want a peek over other people’s garden walls then please pop over to our host, the lovely Jon, AKA ‘The Propagator’ where you find links to many more wonderful garden enthusiasts from all over the world
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