Summer annuals, such as cosmos, haven’t started flowering yet. We are about two weeks behind, due to a very cold spring. So for this week’s flowers from the plot I’ve had to rely on biennials, perennials, climbers and shrubs. Each week, I pick a selection of flowers to take to my Mum as a ‘snap-shot’ of what the garden looks like. It’s a way of sharing our love of flowers and keeping her connected with what’s happening here.
Love-in-a-mist was sown last autumn and over-wintered in an unheated poly tunnel. I was testing out a theory to see if I could get early flowers by the last week of May. There are masses of flowers, but these are only a few weeks earlier than the ones growing in a sunny south-facing border outdoors, so I probably won’t repeat this exercise. The cost of compost and use of space doesn’t warrant the slightly earlier flowers.
The tiny deep purple flowers are Geranium Phaeum which pops up all over the plot in places I never planted it. It’s a long-flowering perennial and doesn’t take up much space, just meandering about through established shrubs and in a dry, shady woodland border.
The other jewel-like purple flowers are perennial wallflowers from Coton Manor plant nursery. These are highly recommended as they flower for a very long period and are low maintenance and easy-going. I bought just one plant and took cuttings immediately. I soon had 20 plants to cover a quarter of one of my vegetable and flower beds sited next to the greenhouse. I have 10 beds which are 1.5m wide by 3m long with small slab paths running between.
The last of the orange biennial wallflowers are being picked now. I’ll sow some more seed for next year. Sooty is a favourite deep purple/ black variety. The one above was part of a mixed packet of seed named Orange Bedder. It’s been flowering for several months. Deep red buds open to a lovely marmalade orange and the markings on the petals remind me of a dragonfly’s wings. The scent is wonderful, especially in the evening, and attracts clouds of moths. And circling above the plot, eating the moths, we have pipistrelle bats. We have seen them here since we moved in and created a garden 30 years ago. We thought they roosted over winter in the farmhouse next door, but they must have found other accommodation as the farmhouse has been completely renovated and there are now no gaps in the slate roof.
Forget me nots fill another whole bed, providing ground cover for the soil until the bed is required for summer crops. Forget me nots pull up very easily and suppress any weeds, so you are left with a nice clean bed to start planting out crops such as sweetcorn, onions, French beans, and courgettes. This year I have planted a dozen sunflowers in amongst the sweetcorn, an idea I spotted at Easton Walled Gardens last summer. Nasturtiums will clamber up the sweetcorn as it makes a sturdy support for annual climbers and scramblers.
Welsh poppies pop up in every crevice all over the garden. I did previously try to eradicate them, but they persisted and I’m quite pleased they did now. Such a cheerful plant with flowers that look as if they are made of silk. I have the yellow and the orange types here. Background foliage comes from the Physocarpus Diabolo which grows in a north facing border and provides material for flower arrangements all summer long.
Dead nettles and cow parsley add a touch of white to the posy. Dead nettles continue to grow out of the bouquet and flowers last a long time. I was intrigued to see four out of the 12 gardens at Chelsea Flower Show contained so called weeds. I laughed out loud when I heard pots of dandelions were selling for £30. I’m actually a millionaire if dandelions, nettles and buttercups are taken into consideration. My whole plot is full of them!
I have a new little helper in the garden! My grandson, Finn. He loves running between the cow parsley along the woodland paths and picking flowers for his great grandmother. I’m hoping he will have a life-long love of nature and flowers, just as we did, growing up running free in our grandparent’s gardens. Have a happy gardening week everyone.
Do join Cathy for her ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme. If you are busy, like me, it doesn’t matter what day of the week you post your posy of flowers from the garden. It’s a good community to be a part of, sharing what we are growing in gardens all around the world.