Hawthorn berries are starting to blush in the hedgerows, hanks of shiny khaki blackberries and sloes softly blooming purple tell of promise to come. Swathes of bindweed green up the tired hedgerows it festoons and Hemp Agrimony and Loosestrife add colour to damper places.
The unwanted fat green and pale maroon translucent skinned fruit of the manky Victoria Plum are dropping to the ground, Speckled Wood butterflies making a meal of them with birds and other beasties. The flavour I find is generally disappointing. Had the first damson from the Merryweather planted last year, the fact it’s smaller and has that slight Grrrr of tartness makes it more attractive as a plum.
The Agapanthus have been generally good this year and have lasted for weeks. I’ve got various named cultivars and seedlings. The last in flower now are Tornado and an unnamed white in pots, and a pale blue in the border.
I’m still liking sunflower Vanilla Ice, it continues to flower merrily on. Garden Statement a real disappointment, lovely lemon yellow but stumpy in stature (I really must read descriptions properly rather than assume things!). Each plant put on one large flower and a couple of very small side flowers, that was it. Dahlia australis grown from seed a bit disappointing as well, lots of growth but the flowers infrequent and sporadic at the moment. I bought some new grasses from Knoll Gardens recently, I like Pennisetum Fairy Tails, the thin fuzzy heads are more delicate than some of the other pennisetum and have a lovely rippley movement in a breeze.
Amongst the huge purpled snail bitten leaves of a seedling from Ligularia Britt Marie Crawford are great knobbed stems which open to flowers of a fabulous golden orange, less blarey orange than some of the crocosmias currently in flower, although I’m liking the tone in Cornish Copper from Trecanna Nursery.
Wild flowers given a bit of soft growing often bulk up more. This Horned Poppy was grown from seed taken from a Norfolk shingle beach where the silver leaves and sprawling stems grew skinny and hard, here the plants are altogether more lush and juicy, the flowers sitting plumply amongst the foliage.
Harvested the hay meadow bit, we’ll sow a lot more Yellow Rattle in the next few weeks as the wild flower plugs have struggled and given up for the most part, the creeping buttercup and over juicy grass having swamped them.
Today we’ve had much rain, the tail end of Hurricane Bertha. Rain over the last week has encouraged the mole to go bonkers reclaiming deserted runs as the digging gets easier and the clay based soil softens again.
The courgettes have really only just started to kick in, I thought the cow muck heap would have had enough moisture in it to sustain the plants, not so, I’ve had to water copiously to get them going. It’s a critical time for the winter squash to set as they also have been a bit slow. The watermelon I think is unlikely to set, never mind, the neat cut foliage and leaves sprinkled with yellow dots (Moon and Stars) is pretty. The Large Barred Boar tomatoes (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (US)) have so far generally performed better than my old favourites Costoluto Fiorentino, Gardener’s Delight took a while but are now cropping. Whitefly have taken hold in the greenhouse despite spraying, and the spider mites seem undeterred by the predatory mites on the brugmanisa.
The Seeds of Italy update email mentioned that people were saying their French Beans had not set this year, I’ve had no set on pole beans or runners, I partly put this down to allowing them to grow up into an old apple tree, they’d rather keep on growing over fruiting. The dwarf bean Marvel of Piedmont has cropped, a good tasty bean with purple striping (from Seeds of Italy).
The first Morning Glory flower opened yesterday – special!