Shirley Temple is undeterred. How can anything so beautiful have survived the deluge. It’s honestly been non-stop rain for weeks.
I planted this peony nine years ago. It sat and did nothing for three years. Since then it’s never let me down. It grows in a semi-shady spot and doesn’t need any attention. I just make sure the annual mulch covering I put on in spring doesn’t go over the crown of the plant. You can cover the shoulders, but not the crown. Planting too deeply is one of the main reasons peonies fail to flower.
Today is the first time in a week I’ve been able to get outside with a camera. It was with a heavy heart. My plum tree has lost a major branch. It crashed down on the cut flower bed. Such a shame. It’s lost a third its growth – and all the plums for this year. We got our Stihl battery power chainsaw out and made it into firewood. Something positive out of a disaster.
On a happier note, my foxgloves are still upright! I don’t know how. It’s been howling winds as well as torrential downpours. I sowed the seed this time last summer. I sowed Pam’s Choice (above) and Sutton’s Apricot, and ended up with 200 plants. All it cost was two packets of seed. Such good value, growing from seed. I’ll do the same this week, growing white foxgloves for the front garden. I’ll sow them in peat-free seed compost, in half seed trays, and place them in a bright, but sheltered position- out of full sun. No special equipment, such as a propagator, is needed at this time of the year. Air temperatures are warm enough to germinate seed. After about four weeks, I’ll prick them out into individual seeds trays or 9cm pots. They’ll stand somewhere cool until late summer, and then they’ll be planted out in the garden. Biennials make strong roots and leaves this year, and flowers next year. Hopefully the foxgloves will start to seed about and I’ll be able to keep the cycle going.
Pam’s Choice is particularly lovely, with white flowers, and a raspberry jam “thumbprint” inside each flower. Bees love them.
Roses have shrugged off the rain too. It’s been a test to see which ones cope, and which ones turn into a soggy mess. None of my roses are sprayed. They have to be tough and look after themselves. This one is Zephirine Drouhin, the thornless rose. A martyr to blackspot, unless you grow it where the wind can blow through, as I have here, all along the field boundary fences. Having seen photos of beautifully-pruned and trained roses along wires, I’ve determined to make more of an effort with these. It’s all a question of time. Which I’m a bit short of, to be honest.
Another lovely rose doing well in the rain is Desperez A Fleur Jaune which flowers on and off all summer. The scent from this old rose is fabulous. Like the best fruit salad with pineapple and ripe peaches. Dating back to 1826, it’s a strong climber – up to 6m. It starts off a bright pink/ apricot colour, and fades to a creamy yellow.
Dear old Constance Spry, David Austin Roses’ first introduction, is another glory in the rain. It flowers its socks off for about three weeks, and then that’s it; the show is over- until next year. Luckily there’s room in my garden for this highly-scented rose. I wouldn’t be without it. It dates back to 1961 and is named after the florist and gardener Constance Spry.
There’s no scent at all with Cerise Bouquet, but this climbs to the top of our tallest beech tree and then cascades down, flowering on and off until November. Sometimes there are even a few flowers for the Christmas table. So if you’ve got space for a robust, disease-resistant rose, choose Cerise Bouquet. It faces north, so it’s also a good rose for semi-shaded positions.
It’s just started raining again. Oh well, I’ve managed to tie in the sweet peas and stake a few perennials. I’ve woven some silver birch twigs into a nest support and propped up some floppy daisies. The barn owl has just skimmed the top of the hedge and glided quietly into the field. She must be feeding young, to be out in the day. We can hear the fledglings calling from late afternoon. Their calls getting desperate by nightfall. I hope we all have some better weather soon.
Links: Six on Saturday : https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/15/six-on-saturday-15-06-2019/
You might also like : I wrote about Gardeners World Live here : https://bramblegarden.com/2019/06/14/bbc-gardeners-world-live-photos-of-show-gardens
I wrote about Stihl chainsaws here: https://bramblegarden.com/tag/stihl/
My cut flower patch :https://bramblegarden.com/2018/06/18/in-a-vase-on-monday-my-cut-flower-patch/