People often complain that by August their gardens are looking rather dry and dusty with the best of the planting going over. Many compensate for that by growing autumn flowering perennials and annuals like Heleniums and Rudbeckias and Asters (or whatever guise they go under nowadays). I had some of those last year, but not this. For some reason Heleniums and Rudbeckias struggle in my heavy moist soil even though they were planted into raised beds. There is no lack of colour though. Especially in and around my ‘Gravel Garden‘.
In the central bee & butterfly bed among the Verbena ‘lollipop’, white cosmos and the peachy daylilies are two Lobelia which only begin to flower in August.
(1) Lobelia ‘Hadspen Purple’ is a handsome plant and grows quite tall. It is looking better than ever this year against the slightly paler verbena and the now fading Allium Sphaerocephalon and the tall Cosmos ‘Purity’. Odd how the colour changes depending on the light.
(2) At the other end where my colour co-ordinated Helenium once grew is Lobelia cardinalis ‘Queen Victoria’ which clashes with the pale pink of Lythrum salicaria ‘Blush’ and the violet-blue phlox; not being as tall as her purple cousin she gets a little lost in this bed. But do I dare move her?
(3) Some of you may remember that in the spring I had a zinc container full of multi-coloured tulips which looked pretty vibrant. The container stood on the large flat rock which was really the inspiration for turning this area of the lawn into a gravel garden. I wanted to plant it with something orange. Begonia ‘Glowing Embers’ was one idea or Lotus maculatus (fire vine) but due to the Covid restrictions I never managed to buy either plant. Instead I eventually threw in some Nasturtium, California Poppies and Zinnia seeds. The Zinnia seedlings all got eaten as they emerged, but I was left with a pretty pot of colour eventually.
(4) On a cooler note I have a couple of pots of Abyssinian gladiolus, Gladiolus murielae, an elegant gladiolus, bearing spikes of fragrant white flowers with a central maroon blotch. Last year I only had one flower spike. This year despite very healthy sword-like leaves I have two! At this rate it will be five years or more before the 20 bulbs I bought are in flower! They are lovely though. During winter they were kept dry in the conservatory.
(5) Black-eyed Susan (Thunbergia alata ‘African Sunset‘) and Purple Bell Vine (Rhodochiton atrosanguineus) were if you remember, planted in a large container with an obelisk for them to climb up. They seem to be very slow climbers, still only having reached half way! I like them though and the sparrows are happy to use the top of the obelisk as a look out perch before heading down onto the rock for a drink or a bath.
(6) And last this week is an old favourite. I brought these Penstemons with me from my old house as a cutting from my neighbour’s plant. I have several clumps around the garden from further cuttings, though some seem to have gone to plant heaven. A reminder perhaps that I should take more cuttings as a safeguard.
It has been awfully windy and wet here in Cornwall this week, especially Thursday evening when there was a massive lightning and thunderstorm! Things have been blown about a bit in the garden and I had to rescue my overwintered chilli plant and bring it indoors, I lost a stem with about 12 fruit on in the last storm! This week’s photos were taken in the middle of the week before the weather turned.
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.
See here for the participant’s guide.
What great splashes of colour Jude! Do you find the lobelia is fairly hardy for you? I haven’t tried it for years but they are so striking I might try again with them.
Well these two seem to be OK, especially the purple one, but I bought a pink one last year which hasn’t come back. I did put some wool fleecy stuff over the plants in this bed over the winter which may have helped. I think my plants suffer more from the wet than any cold.
They always look such luscious plants when you buy them, so it’s a shame to lose them so soon – but even so I think I will try them again
Lots of lovely August colour in your garden. I love those lobelias but I can’t keep them. And I can’t grow heleniums either. My zinnias got eaten too, they are caviar to slugs.
Well it’s good to know that it’s not just me! And you have so many excellent plants in your garden, I will need to start making a list of what you can grow. I shall strike zinnias off though 😂
It’s interesting to read that your Abyssinian Gladiolus don’t flower well, because mine don’t either. I have about 12 clumps which get plenty of leaves but so far only one or two flower spikes each year. I have only left them in because they fill up a space with greenery.
Isn’t that weird? Nothing to do with lack of heat then. I have mine in full sun, but wondered if that was sufficient. As you say the leaves are lovely, but it is the flowers that I want!
I did a bit of Googling and all the sites said they don’t like frost, which definitely isn’t a problem for me and they also don’t like to dry out. That might be the reason mine haven’t flowered but yours should be getting enough water.
Well I keep mine indoors during the winter months and do not water at all. They certainly get sufficient water during the growing season! I might try feeding them regularly next year and see how that goes.
I’ve been using a great new product called Powerfeed. It’s a liquid seaweed emulsion and promotes flowers. I’ll see if that makes a difference.
Be good to know! I do have a liquid seaweed feed, but I am very bad in remembering to feed my flowers!
Gorgeous colour in your garden, and I do love the colour combination of the Black Eyed Susan and the Rhodochiton on the obelisk.
A Sarah Raven combination. She really does know her colours.
I have just looked her up online….wow! Such amazing plants!
Not cheap, but a good site for ideas. Especially tulips.
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