It’s autumn, and to keep the colour going, the gardener turns to plants of doubtful hardiness. Annuals struggle on, desperate to set seed before the frosts kill them off, dahlias flaunt in the borders before midnight chimes, while chrsyanthemums dash in, arriving at the last minute before the curtain falls on another gardening year. But […]Read more "Sumptuous and Hardy"
Last month, I wrote how blue is not a usual colour for flowers in the autumn. How wrong I was. Perhaps I’ve subconsciously been seeking them out, but blue flowers are all over the place in my garden just now – the vitex I wrote about, salvias, ceanothus, and aconitums. But possibly the bluest of […]Read more "More Autumn Blues"
Even before the botanists started splitting clumps out of the aster family, aster linosyris seemed an unlikely member. Known as the Goldilocks Aster, this rare British native (which also grows in much of Europe as well as Asia Minor) has small, bright yellow flowers on stems anything up to a couple of feet tall. But […]Read more "An unlikely aster"
Blue is not a common colour in the world of flowers, especially in late summer and early autumn. Most shrubs have flowered by now as well, so to find a large blue-flowered shrub at this time of year must be considered a bonus. Welcome to vitex agnus-castus. According to Wikipedia, it is also known as the […]Read more "Big and Blue"
Not all plants (and I am talking about bulbs and perennials) die back at the same time. Spring flowering bulbs have generally died back by early June, leaving a space for burgeoning summer growth to fill. Allium foliage has a tendency to start decaying just as the bulbs come into bloom – I find that […]Read more "Mind the gap"
I planted clematis ‘Kaiu’ five years ago. It has small white bells with a pink tinge on the newly opened flowers. Several websites agreed it would grow to around two metres, perfect for training into the purple-leaved shrub physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo.’ After a couple of years to get established, it took quite a shine to its […]Read more "On and on and on and on"
Lobelia – a blue annual used in hanging baskets. There are also some perennial ones that often don’t survive the winter due to a combination of cold and wet conditions. This includes the variety ‘Queen Victoria’ with purple leaves and scarlet flowers that both gardeners and snails find irresistible. Then there’s another member of the […]Read more "It’s a lobelia, Jim, but not as we know it"