Shades of Summer

We have been away from our seaside garden for two full weeks.   This always makes me uneasy, especially when the weather is warm and everything is growing so fast.  It’s also heartbreaking to miss some of the wonderful things that are flowering at this time of year.  Still, needs must and we have a great time whenever we are away, but it’s good to be home.

The blessing of a small garden is that it can be whipped into shape again within the hour.  However out of control things appear to have become a quick prune, deadhead and sweep have it looking ship-shape in no time.

We were greeted at the gate by the huge fragrance of hundreds of lily flowers and a wall of delicate star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides).  Our giant yellow Lilium “Golden Splendour” (top) have taken years to establish, but now tower over the fading flowers of the Ethiopian lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica).  One or two stems have over 20 flowers each and without support they’d be bent to the ground.  The fiery yellow and red spikes of Cautleya spicata robusta (above) are also beginning to emerge, mercifully unchewed by the snails which normally find them so delicious.   This year I’ve stood them in a terracotta tray to create a moat of water around the pot and have been quite liberal with slug pellets.   Years of disappointment and decimated leaves have made me very protective of these easy but exotic Himalayan plants.  I am also excited to find that my ginger lilies (Hedychium densiflorum “Stephen”) are showing flower heads in their first year.  The guys at Avon Bulbs can always be relied upon to send the biggest bulbs and roots they can, but these are doing exceptionally well.  I am growing them in pots for now and once the flowers open I will stand them in the borders where other flowers are fading.  Less impressive is my attempt to grow Canna “Wyoming”.  These have hardly budged in their pots and look very stunted.  Oh for a greenhouse to help get things started a bit earlier.

The other star of the show this week is Fuchsia “Dark Delicious”.  I have pinched the tops out of these plants mercilessly since I bought them in June and am now rewarded with bushy plants and hundreds of buds.  The flowers are big and bold but not fussy, so they just about get away with their vivacious colouring.  They seem to be enjoying a sheltered, north facing spot.  Meanwhile, one of my Petunia “Black Velvet” seems to be mutating into Petunia “Phantom” (below).  I’ve no complaints, it works rather well and breaks up the darker flowers nicely.

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