Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – August 2011

OK, I know, it’s a day late. But for some reason I suddenly decided to upgrade my OS last night as I was preparing my GBBD photos, and that was the end of that. Dur.

Mind you, I can distract myself quite easily at this time of year. The kitchen looks insane, with heaps of onions, shallots, apples, damsons – well, eirin bach, the small wild Welsh plum – and pears and all the jam-making equipment out, and I have a tendency to forget that there are flowers in the garden as well. Of course there are. There are courgettes.

But there are plenty of other delights, which is why I’m still posting a GBBD – it’s wonderful to get out there and look at something more edifying than a beetroot (though beets are pretty edifying, if you ask me).

The agapanthus survived the midwinter snowfalls, though I thought it might have succumbed at one point and took to examining it closely in early spring, hunting for signs of life. It has been flowering its socks off, bigger and better than ever.

This had been in a pot for many years, and when I finally got round to putting it in the ground I was staggered – the pot was almost entirely filled with roots; there was no soil at all as far as I could see. There were thirty flower spikes this year; perhaps it likes being buried under snow:

While I hope we don’t have quite the same level of snow this year, I’m certainly leaving the dead heads on just in case. Enough with winter.

The lavenders have also been exceptional this year, and alive with bees; this evening I counted over twenty in one small area. I harvest a lot of lavender, but I’ve got so much I don’t seem to make much of an impression. I gave them a savage prune earlier in the year, and they evidently liked it. I think they are probably Hidcote, but they were unlabelled when I bought them.

The array of scents in the garden are slightly confusing – the sweet peas by the kitchen door almost counteract the smell of chutney making, but they are beginning to fade. I’m getting paler ones; earlier they were mostly purple, but there are a lot of delicate blush pinks now.

They all have a powerful fragrance, so I don’t care, but it would have been good to have some paler ones as contrast. I must remember to plant a variety of shades next year.

And I have some new plants, ready and waiting to go in. One is this lovely primula – again unlabelled, perhaps someone can tell me what it is; it’s rather like a candelabra primula with an auricula air about the stems. It could be Primula capitata ‘Sylvana’. Maybe.

No idea where it’s going in the garden, but I think I’m in love.

And then it started raining. The honeysuckle is having another burst of flowering (Indian summer, Indian summer, not early autumn, no way), and for a few minutes the insects carried on feeding in the fine rain – look on the underside of the flower at the extreme left:

For a short time the rain was so fine that the droplets collected before falling, and I could still manage to take photographs. My Clematis rubramarginata has been flowering wildly; the Julia Correvon on the other side of my arch is over but this is delightful:

I love looking at flowers in these conditions (though it’s much better if I remember to change out of espadrilles, it was like walking around on two thatched cottages by the time I finished), as the rain draws your attention to different details, different aspects of their beauty. My big lily, for instance:

Stunning – I do hope it’s got something left in it for next year; I’ve had it for ages, and it would be very disappointing indeed if this year’s triumph was its swan song!

Once again, thanks to May Dreams Gardens for hosting GBBD…


11 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely rain photos, we haven’t had any yet. Listening to Monty Don the other week he said that Agapanthus like to be pot bound to make them flower better, so your not doing anything, was the best thing to do.

    1. kate says:

      Thanks; I love that stage, just before it really gets too wet to do anything, when even the spiders’ webs hold drops. But you can have too much of a good thing…… probably this afternoon.
      I knew about a certain degree of being pot-bound but I’ve never seen anything like this – and Monty was evidently right, because it was thriving. I often do the right thing by accident!

  2. hillwards says:

    Lovely pictures.
    Ah, eirin bach – perhaps the plums that grow on two old trees in our hedge boundary fall under this category. We figured them for some kind of wild plum, bullace even, as they’re not quite damsons, but bigger than sloes. We picked them last year and cooked them up ready to make jam, but the cooled mixture grew mould cultures overnight in the fridge. Obviously a bit ripe. Must pick them before they drop this year, if we’re to do anything with them, which probably means now!
    I’m still umming and ahhing whether to plant our agapanthus into the ground or keep it in its pot by the house. You give me courage to plant it out one of these days, although we are on fairly heavy clay, which may bog it down too much. Hmm.
    Lovely primrose, and clematis. The flowers wear raindrops well. 🙂

    1. kate says:

      Thanks and, yes, that’s it – that’s a perfect description of an eirin bach.
      They’re all over the place here, except chez moi, and my friends are quite used to finding me wandering along the lanes with baskets – with the added advantage of getting blackberries too. I use some slightly under-ripe ones for my jam (I think it helps the set) and follow an old damson jam recipe though I do cut the sugar – 1.5 kg eirin bach, 375ml water, 1.25 kg sugar – and add a slug of slow gin at the end. Before I started I had to weed out a few slightly iffy ones and I only left them alone for about an hour – when they’re really ripe they go mouldy fast…

      I didn’t have any choice with my agapanhus as it forced itself out of the pot, which cracked. But it did like it…

  3. Scott says:

    Beautiful post…that Clematis is just lovely 🙂

    1. kate says:

      Thank you – it’s a sweetie, isn’t it? And in its first year too – can’t believe my luck!

  4. Think I am in love with your prims too, very pretty. Your thatched cottage foot experience was worth it for the rain on lily photo. I adore agapanthus- we lost ours a couple of years ago, but once we move it is high on the list. Reminds me of a wonderful holiday in South Africa when we rented a house over Christmas with good friends. There was a lemon tree in the garden by the pool, so fresh lemon in the G&Ts. and huge clumps of Agapanthus everywhere we looked. Your pic brought the memories back. Happy jam making!

    1. kate says:

      Your agapanthus experience sounds wonderful: fresh lemons for the gin! (Mind you, right now, I’d have gin with no lemon at all as long as there was lots of it – we’ve a big craft fair this weekend and I’m having a nervous breakdown…where’s the bottle?)

      (Jam gone to craft fair. Amount of knitting / spinning available restricted by hand injuries, filling out stall with edibles. Must not eat the stock.)

  5. Eek! I think a large G&T is definitely called for, sorry your hand injuries are still inhibiting knitting and spinning, bummer. I’m sure you could just spread the stock out sort of Nouveau Cuisine style to hide the gaps where you have eaten it…

  6. Lovely photos! I feed my lilies with tomato plant food whilst in flower and after the blooms fade. This builds up the bulbs and they’ll be ready to flower just as beautifully next year.

    1. kate says:

      Thank – what a brilliant idea! I’m away in search of the tom food (the toms are hiding it in the greenhouse) and I’ll give my lilies a good soaking. With a bit of luck they’ll survive the winter in their current pots, too…

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