Oops… there went the summer

Spangle Grass just coming into flower in the woodbed
Spangle Grass just coming into flower in the woodbed

There’s a most definite nip in the air.

Some of the more tender plants including salvias are starting to look past their best never having really got going in this relatively dull summer. I was hoping to finally propel Dahlia imperialis up to a giddy height and into flower this year, don’t think so somehow although she’s a good 8 foot at least in height now.

A late capsid bug attack is very evident, Fuchsia Lady Bacon is only flowering at the very bottom where the bugs don’t appear to have had a go.  The heliotrope flowers have soldiered on although the top leaves appear a little chewed such are the attentions of capsids.

The epiphyllum produced another smaller flower this week which matured and opened much faster than the earlier one, I presume something to do with day length? I’ve started to bring some of the sundews back into the conservatory, D regia a South African, was looking decidedly battered after the last few weeks of rain and lowering light levels.

Saw my first and probably last Humming Bird Hawk Moth on Tuesday when cutting back the late flowering buddleja Beijing to release some plants into the light that they were benignly swamping .

This morning I think it may have been our odd starling which has been lurking under the eaves all summer was by itself sitting on the TV aerial, glossy breast feathers burnished by the sun, 4 starlings flew over,  jinked when they saw me watching but then landed on the aerial briefly before all 5 flew away – a gathering of the clans, our local murmuration building?

True colours

The primary colours in the garden this morning looking down the main border are yellows and purples. Rudbeckia triloba and R laciniata to the left and on the right the last of the lily Black Beauty, empurpled angelica (seedlings from A sylvestris Vicar’s Mead which people say is perennial, I would say on-balance A sylvestris is biennial). And an unknown big pompom dahlia which survived in the ground from last year. In another bed the large strongly yellow rayed flowers of Helianthus Gullick’s Variety (coarse foliage and a terrible runner) soar into the air way above my head.

The asters (they now have a new horribly complicated name I’m not attempting this morning) have yet to kick-in, all are still tightly budded.

The flick of a squirrel tail disappearing into the main border just now means we’ll be awash with hazel seedlings next year. This year horse chestnuts came up everywhere, presumably they like them less than hazel nuts but conkers were plentiful last autumn so they felt duty bound to bury them.

Lying in bed one morning half asleep it occurred to me that I didn’t know where i’d put the Bessera, these tender mexican orange bulbs add a late flash of colour – yesterday when looking for a terracotta pot I found the small mouldy bulbs in the bottom of one pot – obviously I forgot to get round to potting them up this spring – oh dear.

More neglect. The top growth of white Thunbergia fragrans from Crug Farm Plants collapsed completely with the first whiff of frost last year. I took it into the dark but above freezing lean-to last autumn, dragged the pot out again this spring and stuffed it in an out of the way corner and forgot to do anything further with it.  It’s now engulfed a camellia and is a mass of flowerbuds all of which are yet to open.

This glamourpuss is Phymosia umbellata from Pan Global Plants.
This glamourpuss is Phymosia umbellata from Pan Global Plants.

As ever I’m way behind, so many cuttings yet to be taken including this tenderish mexican shrub from Pan Global Plants – Phymosia umbellata – it’s getting late, it’s getting late!

Last regular Dan Pearson article for the Observer today – that’s my gentle sunday morning reading gone.