It stopped raining! (Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, July 2012)


I did realise that by simply saying ‘it stopped raining’ I was tempting fate, but nonetheless – it was St Swithin’s Day yesterday, and it didn’t rain. Well, there were a few drops late at night, but that doesn’t count, does it? And even though today may be nasty – crap broadband prevented me from posting yesterday – at least I now have faith that the next 40 days won’t be universally horrible. Of course, I could be wrong…

Whatever, at least the break in the nastiness enabled me to take some pictures without wearing a sou’wester and thigh waders, and I am amazed at what is surviving. Some things are even thriving, and a few are better than I remember them ever being before.

Like these, for instance. I have quite a few of these saxifrages, S. stonolifera tricolore, and they are flowering their invasive little socks off.  Nearby, one of the three verbascums which I hoped might lighten a gloomy corner is happily doing what it was supposed to, as well.

For the first time ever I have had to remove some spent Dicentra stems from the area in front of this Verbascum (blattaria var. album) – they were not fading away to nothingness as they usually do. They weren’t completely rotten (unlike my shallots and a lot of my spuds, hrumpf); just yellowing and horrible. At least I can see what’s happening there now. Unfortunately the answer is not a lot, but hey.

My new bed is at least providing me with some interest – a huge improvement on last year, when I was moaning about having very little in flower. The Cerinthes have been a triumph, and I have carefully marked the ones with the best colour for seed saving; I’m not doing without them next year. And I’m not the only one who loves them; they are alive with bees the moment the rain lets up.

I am very pleased with how the colours are working out – the idea was blues / purples / dusty pinks and white, with the occasional ping of brightness from red / crimson.

For height, there is some Verbena bonarensis (as well as an Angelica gigas, Echinops ritro and a globe artichoke – spectacular but covered in blackfly). It’s so easy not to look closely at the verbena, and I fell into that trap until this weekend

Beautiful. I gave into my alyssum weakness (I like the scent) and have some near the verbena; I am rather tickled by the resemblance.

One tall, one small.

And the white fuchsia which will be the heart of the new bed eventually, the one I thought I might have killed by moving it with great violence?

Not a chance. I’ve removed a few non-variegated branches, but otherwise it’s fine, thank you very much. Admittedly you have to bend down to see it in detail, and that’s after crawling through bark mulch up to your ankles, but give it a couple of years and it will be just how I want it (and then I’ll have to be violent towards it again).

Nearby, the big lavender and rosemary border – they should be lining a path but you can’t see that anymore –  is getting cracking. One or two of the plants are early lavenders, and they are well away:

but the majority aren’t in flower yet. A bit of warmth, a little light, a bit less rain, and they’ll be fine.

And the first agapanthus is almost out, too, rain or no rain:

I’m quite pleased with this. I spotted it, marked down, in a local garden centre and realised that all it needed was splitting – and I’ve got several healthy plants for the (reduced) price of one apparent invalid. Where I’m bringing new plants into the bottom garden – and of course I am, despite arguably not needing to add anything as I’ve lots I can propagate – I’m sticking to the same colour palette as the new bed. And anyway, who doesn’t need another agapanthus? Hm?

One last shot, my (newly identified) New Dawn rose:

It’s been lovely. Nearly over, though.

All in all, and despite terrible weather, there’s definite progress from last year. That’s a great reason why doing GBBD is a great way of monitoring what’s happening – and thanks to Carol from May Dreams Gardens for hosting; do pop over and see what other people, all over the world, have in flower…


16 Comments Add yours

  1. hillwards says:

    Lots of lovely blooms. And hurrah for a ceasefire from the skies. (Very damp this morning, mind, dry St Swithun’s day or no).
    The saxifrage is very pretty. I bought S. cuscutiformis a couple of months ago, with similar flowers in pure white, and amazing foliage. I love it.
    Another lovely verbascum – Karen has very generously offered to send me some seed if it sets, wonderful!
    Do you find that bees in the Cerinthe seem to rattle as they knock their thrumming wings against the sides? It makes me laugh…
    Your agapanthas is a few weeks ahead of ours, which has half a dozen slender buds but no sign of opening yet…
    S x

    1. kate says:

      I haven’t noticed the drumming bees – when it stops raining (yawn), I shall go out and listen carefully. Mind you, they buzz so loudly that I’m not sure I’d be able to hear the thrumming sound… I’m going to try and keep seeds of Karen’s verbascum too; between us, we should manage to have some. Shouldn’t we? Please?

      It’s funny, but I wasn’t really into verbascums; we’re inclined to the wild thuggy form, which happily seeds everywhere. But they are so useful for height, and the white forms are absolutely beautiful. I will be investigating further…

      1. hillwards says:

        I’ve only just discovered ‘proper’ verbascums too, with those V. chaixii albums being the first I’ve intentionally grown! I’ve germinated some V. phoeniceum this year from the RHS seed program, they could be rather beautiful when they flower too.

        1. kate says:

          I’m ashamed to say that I only germinated one plant from my RHS selection – a Pennisetum. Mind you, I have got five of them, and they’ll make a lovely grassy clump. Some time…

          (That might give you the impression that I’d failed to germinate the rest. Ahem. They’re still in their seed packets…)

  2. paulinemulligan says:

    St. Swithin got it wrong, lovely sunshine yesterday but back to pouring rain today! You have lots of lovely flowers in spite of , or is it because of, the rain. We too have the saxigrage stolonifera, and yes its looking very beautiful at the moment, have never known it to have so many flowers. One day the rain will really stop!

    1. kate says:

      Aha, on the saxifrage front – at least something is enjoying the rain, then. Actually, quite a few things are – but I’m not. It’s the veg that are really suffering – I almost emptied my second freezer in preparation for the glut, and it’s not happened. I can even keep up with the broad beans. Not a sign of a courgette…

      And I am never, ever, growing lettuces again. All I do is increase the slug population. Humpf.

  3. wellywoman says:

    It was gorgeous yesterday but we spent the best part of it in a car returning from visiting family. At least it made for good driving conditions. There was a suggestion on the Countryfile weather last night that the jetstream may be on the move. Hopefully that means we might end up with some weather more akin to summer. Apparently in the first 11 days of this month Edinburgh had only 1.6 hours of sunshine. It’s hard to believe for July, isn’t it? Gorgeous photos and it’s good t see not everything has been eaten by slugs. 😉

    1. kate says:

      Good driving conditions – that’s very philosophical of you!

      I think it’s making up for the maybe 36 hours of decent weather now. We’re back in November here; it started raining very late last night and it’s not stopped. Oh, I do hope Countryfile are right! It would be so nice to wear sandals; so nice not to need a jumper; so nice to be able to garden without coming into the house looking like Swamp Thing…

  4. Dobby says:

    I wore my wet weather gear to work this morning. Horizontal rain and the car park is miles (slight exaggeration) from the office. Had a wonderful weekend in the garden. Got loads done and there are a few thing that look like they may flower soon (please). I heard the jet stream is on it’s way north. Everything is crossed!

    1. kate says:

      Wasn’t it abominable? I was supposed to be showing off my garden but we could barely see it through the mist / rain / dripping. It looked dreadful! Oh well, what doesn’t?

      Please, please let the jet stream shift…

  5. Scott Weber says:

    Don’t you just love the Saxifraga blooms…they are so cool-looking…and you’re totally right, I rarely look that closely at the Verbena blooms…thanks for reminding me to take a better look 🙂

    1. kate says:

      I love those saxifrages – I can’t ever remember them being as good as they are this year. I must pay more attention to them as well as the verbena next year!

  6. Crystal says:

    Your photo of the Cerinthe has reminded me, I must add it to my wish list.
    At last, the jet stream is expected to move north. My grandma used to say those aeroplanes have a lot to answer for.

    1. kate says:

      Your grandma was right!

      Go on, add cerinthe. I plan for cerinthe world domination, they’re so fab…

  7. Christina says:

    Looking beautiful, Kate. I agree about the Verbena, one grows it for its form but the detail of the flowers is beautiful. Christina

    1. kate says:

      They’re just great for height, aren’t they? What a plus that they’re so lovely!

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