callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,

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July garden

The worst of the day's toil is over and it's marginally cooler in the room with the computer than in the room where I could be watching Wimbledon. So the computer wins and I'll put up some more pictures from the garden.

We shall be lucky if we can eat all these lettuces before they bolt.

I've been behind with sowing so the next batch has only just germinated. We are already eating our own courgettes. They are so easy, I don't know why everyone doesn't grow them. The flowers are pretty, too, and a brighter yellow than appears from this picture.

I'm also picking enough strawberries for supper every other day. I don't really take enough care of them so there is some rot and waste. When they've stopped cropping, I'll give them a good chop back and clean up.
Some people would call sage a crop but I just like the look of it hanging over the wall. This is the purple-leaved variety and I need to cut out some of those green stalks before they take over.

We have some large clumps of daylilies. I don't much care for grassy things as they can look so messy but these were inherited and do so well in this spot that I haven't thought of a better substitute. I think this variety is called 'Children's Festival': it is a pretty peachy colour. Later on comes lovely red 'Stafford'. American hybridisers have been very busy with these plants but I'm quite content with a few old varieties.

Earlier in the year I praised Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander's' for its foliage. Here it is in flower.

Tender plants
My more highbrow gardening readers will be shocked to learn that I grow Busy Lizzies every year. They are not like some fusspot plants which only open their flowers in the sun: Gazanias and tender Osteospermums, for instance. In fact, they flourish in the shade, just what is needed here, and they are cheerful even in the dullest summer. A few weeks ago I bought a fiver's-worth of baby plants at the market and filled two baskets and two large pots with them. Here's one of the baskets, hanging from an apple tree.

And here's some of my beloved pelargoniums in the greenhouse.

Unusual plants
This is white chicory, very pretty, (the type plant has blue flowers). It grows very tall and narrow. It used to be a NCCPG Pink Sheet plant i.e. very rare, but I'm not sure if it still is.

This little mallow is perfect if you want the cottage garden look. It's Malva moschata alba and seeds itself all too keenly. Hard to dig up again, too, but very pretty with that pink centre.

It's wonderful in this heatwave to be able to have doors and windows open until late, so that the mingled scents of the garden come drifting in. Unless someone is having a barbecue but I will spare you the rant in case you enjoy them. One of the best scents comes of course from Philadelphus, which people used to call Mock Orange. I love this variety, 'Beauclerk' for the purple stain at the centre of each flower. I prune these quite hard so that they don't turn into the gawky specimens, with all the flowers at the top, which you see in some gardens. Your Felcos are your best friends!

I saved the best 'til last. We are lucky enough to have a large, specimen Magnolia grandiflora in the garden. Although it is growing near a wall, it is not clipped against a wall, as you usually see them, but is virtually a free standing tree. The enormous bowl shaped flowers, just a few at a time, start opening in June and continue through October. The smell is simply heavenly: vanilla and lemon. I read somewhere that this is one of the most primitive plants on earth. Wow! It's disadvantage as a garden plant is that it sheds its leaves in summer. No sooner has the grass been cut than very large brown leaves start rattling down. I think it's a small price to pay.

Tags: crops, flowers, garden, geraniums, greenhouses, weather

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