Garden Diary for ‘Six on Saturday’ – 8th August 2020

Peach and blue tones feature in my garden diary this week. Dahlia David Howard is usually a much brighter colour than the flower pictured above. But we’ve had sweltering temperatures the past few days and heat has faded some of the blooms. I rather like this delicate hue. I’ve waited until dusk to take my photos. The dahlia bed is next to the orchard, and I can hear hedgehogs shuffling through the dry twigs and grass in the undergrowth. If I wait quietly, they will come out and feast on fallen plums. I never knew how much they loved plums until a few years back when we had a massive harvest and, each night, five baby hedgehogs turned up. It was magical to watch them enjoying the ripe and juicy fruit. In the day, there are butterflies sipping the juice, meadow browns and peacocks in abundance this year. Not so many painted lady butterflies as last year though.

Here’s my second ‘peach’ photo. Rosa Phyllis Bide. It’s a medium-size rambler with large sprays of semi-double flowers 6cm wide. I grow it because it is disease resistant and doesn’t need spraying with chemicals. All my roses have to be tough. If you choose carefully, there are many varieties less likely to suffer from the fungal disease black spot. Phyllis Bide is easy and trouble-free, and repeat flowers from June to November. There are sometimes a few blooms in December, eagerly snapped up for Christmas table decorations. Flowers are gorgeous set amongst creamy white beeswax candles. Bees also love the pollen, and catering for wildlife and pollinators is often at the heart of everything I do. In my garden, Phyllis Bide grows up a wooden post and into a lilac tree, adding interest when the lilac is out of flower. It’s about 2.5m tall with a 1.5m spread.

This is a late-flowering Phyllis Bide rose, covered in snow on 11th December. Sunshine soon melted the ice, and the flower was still perfect. Isn’t it beautiful. A heart-sing moment, captured with an old i-phone camera.

My third photo is from the polytunnel. I’m growing pots of dwarf peach and nectarines. This one is Prunus Nectarella. It grows to about 1.5m by 1m in a 60cm container. I’m also growing Garden Lady and Bonanza. Planted in pots, they can be carried into the greenhouse or poly tunnel over winter, which helps protect early flowers from frost. They flower in February when there’s few pollinators about, so blossom has to be pollinated with a soft paintbrush. It’s a lovely calming occupation on a cold winter’s day, and gives hope spring is not far away.

Peaches and nectarines suffer from a disease called peach leaf curl. It’s a fungus which infects leaves causing them to distort and blister. It results in early leaf fall, reducing vigour. Wet conditions are needed for the disease to thrive, so keeping them indoors over winter helps to protect them. All the effort of growing them is worth it. Eating a peach or nectarine that’s been allowed to ripen naturally on the tree is a delight. Shop-bought fruit just can’t compare.

I wrote about my peach crumble cake recipe here. Do try it – with any fruit you have, apples, pears, plums- or peaches, and let me know what you think. It’s become a family favourite here.

https://bramblegarden.com/2017/08/22/peaches-and-plums-crumble-and-jam/.

Now for the ‘blue’ photos this week. I’ve chosen morning glory, Ipomoea purpurea. This is a seedling from a selection I’ve grown for years. Morning glory is an annual climber reaching 4-5m given a warm sunny fence or wall. Mine grow up through my climbing French beans. I’m hoping the flowers will attract pollinators which will benefit my vegetables. You can see the nectar guides in this photo. Flowers have visible and UV guides or lines directing bees to the nectary. Sunshine has highlighted the lines. It’s almost mesmerising. I save my seed each summer and store it in a cool, dark place over winter. I’ll start them off again in 3″ pots on the kitchen windowsill in February. Recommended varieties include Star of Yelta, Grandpa Ott and Heavenly Blue. All easy to grow, and once you’ve bought a packet of seed, you’ll have morning glory for ever more. Such a lovely thought!

My second ‘blue’ photo is gladioli. Another summer treat. This one came in a blue-mix assortment from Gee-Tee Bulbs. I plant them down the centre of my hazel rod sweet pea A-frame, where they grow quite happily without needing stakes. As soon as the heads pop out of the side of the frame, I harvest them for my cut flower posies. Gladioli can grow tall and floppy, and in the high winds we seem to be getting more and more, they often end up crashing to the ground. Grown with sweet peas, or though a climbing bean frame, they’ll get plenty of support. Corms are lifted in autumn when I pull up sweet peas. I let the leaves die back naturally and then I take off the little offset corms which grow beneath the ‘mother’ corm. I’ll keep them dry and frost free over winter and replant them next spring. If you have lovely, free draining soil you could leave the gladioli in over winter. But I have cold, heavy clay which seems to be flooded every winter now. Corms would rot in the wet. Links for bulb suppliers are at the end of this piece.

And finally, my sixth photo is meadow cranesbill or Geranium pratense. Again, you can see the violet and silver bee guides. So delicate, it reminds me of a butterfly wing.

I wrote about my wild geraniums here. https://bramblegarden.com/2017/06/28/wordlesswednesday-wild-geraniums-on-the-march/

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s voyage around my garden. My plot has kept me up-beat during the covid pandemic, giving me something cheerful to focus on. Thank you for all your kind messages. It’s lovely to hear so many of you feel you’ve have had a brief respite from worry, just for a few minutes, reading my blog and virtually ‘walking’ around the plot with me. Keep in touch, and let me know what has helped you through this difficult time. Have you grown anything new, or found comfort in familiar things. Thanks for reading. It’s much appreciated.

Links:

Dahlia David Howard. https://www.gee-tee.co.uk/bulbs/dahlias

Rose Phyllis Bide: https://www.davidaustinroses.co.uk/products/phyllis-bide

Peaches, apricots and nectarines: https://www.chrisbowers.co.uk/dwarf.php

Morning glory: https://www.mr-fothergills.co.uk/Flower-Seed/Morning-Glory-Seed/#.Xy_rxhB4WfA

Gladioli: https://taylors-bulbs.com/summer-flowering-bulbs-advice/

Geranium pratense: https://www.naturescape.co.uk/product/meadow-cranesbill-plugs/

I am @kgimson on Twitter, karengimson1 on instagram.

Six on Saturday is a meme where gardeners from all around the world post six or more photos of what’s growing on their plots each week. It’s fascinating to see what’s looking good. Sometimes it’s the same plant as I’m growing, but in another country millions of miles away. https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

34 thoughts on “Garden Diary for ‘Six on Saturday’ – 8th August 2020

  1. Interesting to see and read about your peaches and blues, Karen – how lovely to have seen those baby hedgehogs with the plums! Seeing the gladiolus made me realise how unusual that shade is in the garden – and seeing your Phyllis Bide has made me realise how much I have neglected mine, which was newly added and has really suffered from the heat…🙄

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    • Thank you Cathy. Luckily my rose is well established and in the shade of some beech trees. The poor garden has been roasted to death. And today it’s monsoon rain! What I would like is nice gentle summer rain. Have a good gardening week. Karen x

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  2. Beautiful photos Karen. I can only dream of homegrown peaches! We have had some very good ones from my local supermarket though and I made a peach cobbler, original Georgia style. My goodness, all that sugar! I must admit we have both put on a few pounds over the past few months, despite all the gardening, as sweet treats have been more regular occurences. 😮 😉

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    • Thank you Cathy. Must admit, I lost a lot weight the first few months of lockdown as I was so worried about my daughters working with covid patients – especially as they didn’t have the PPE they needed, all the time. Much more relaxed now, and putting weight on as there’s such a lot of fruit and veg coming off the plot, and neighbours /villagers are sharing everything. There’s a great community spirit here with everyone sharing jam and pickles, cakes and bread. Thanks for reading. Enjoy your week xx 😘

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    • That is very true. Especially as many of my plants come from friend snd relatives – some who are no longer with us. Happy memories every time I see a plant in flower and think of where it come from. Thanks for reading and getting in touch. Karen

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  3. Phyllis Bide is gorgeous! What a lovely colour. I don’t think I dare grow gladioli though I do have the Gladiolus communis subsp. Byzantium which are often found growing wild in the hedgerows down here. They usually get blown to the ground though!

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    • Thank you. Yes, it’s really windswept here. We have had two lots of 40 mph winds in June and July. Summer seems to be getting stormier. I’d love to grow the Byzantium gladioli. I saw them at a National Trust garden once, under a cornus wedding cake tree. Stunning. Thanks for reading the blog. Have a great week. Karen

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    • Thank you Eliza. That is so true. Me too. I need plants. I could go without – I am going without luxuries. But plants, I must have them around me. I must. I couldn’t be happy without a few potted scented pelargoniums on the kitchen window. I’m also thinking of the winter. I keep trying to ignore all the doom sayers re covid resurgence. But, just in case, I am reorganising my greenhouse and getting ready to stock it with winter treats. There will be early spring bulbs in pans and paperwhite narcissi again. Scent is just as important in winter as summer. Thanks for reading the blog. Enjoy your gardening. Karen x

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  4. The blue gladioli is a beauty. I’m growing gladioli for the first time this year, a dark burgundy, in a pot. It hasn’t flowered yet and so far it’s holding up in the winds, but perhaps I should look at using some supports.

    My mouth is watering – I have a weakness for nectarines – and that one looks delicious!

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    • Thank you Catherine. Yes, I would put a cane in, if you can. The gladioli leaves look so strong, but they get too heavy and topple over. Good luck with yours. I’m watering mine with some potash seaweed tomato fertiliser. Helps the flowers open right to the top. Let me know how you get on. I can highly recommend the little peach and nectarine dwarf plants in a pot. I’m moving mine to the black door so I remember to water it, and one day soon, I’ll reach out and pick my peach for breakfast. That moment! It’s what we garden for. Thanks so much for reading the blog. Karen

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    • Haven’t noticed the dahlias fading before. But this year has been particularly hot, windy and sunny. Everything is bleached in the sunshine. The deep red ones are so far holding their colour though. I’m really pleased with the gladioli. Large corms so I’m hoping for long -lasting flower spikes. Thanks for reading. Have a great week. Karen

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      • Currently being roasted alive. All the beech trees are dropping their leaves and everything is turning golden. Looks like autumn in my garden today. So dry. Frustrating when I’m seeing floods in other people’s gardens. I don’t want either extreme, just some nice steady rain. Enjoy the weekend

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      • Yes, I’ve been waiting on the rain. Thunderstorms at my parents half an hour away while we’ve had nothing till today and and even then we’ve only had a light shower. I’ve got a few Acers going crispy already despite my best efforts to water. Glad it’s a bit cooler today.

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    • Thank you. I decided to grow them in amongst the veg when I had a really poor lot of climbing beans a few years back. It seems to work, and looks pretty too. Thanks for reading. Have a great week. Karen

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    • Thank you Noelle. It’s still rather sweltering here. We have all the windows and doors open and I’ve put 50 percent shade material on the greenhouse roof. Thanks for your kind comments. Have a great week. Karen

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  5. I love the intense colours of Grandpa Otts and have grown it for the last few years but not this year – note to self! Your blue gladioli is just beautiful and I’m going to use your idea of growing them with sweet peas, thank you. The gladioli included in my Six were left in a large container over the winter and I was relieved to see them flower this year. I think I should dig them up at the end of this season though, perhaps two winters might finish them off.

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    • Thank you Ronnie. Sorry for the delay replying. Have been rather taken up with a naughty little kitten! Have a lovely gardening week. Thanks again for reading the blog. Karen x

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