My favourite July blooms are dahlias and agapanthus, but these beauties deserve posts of their own instead of being bundled in with the also-rans. So coming up soon will be posts about my ‘seashore garden’ where the agapanthus live and the ‘Henri Rousseau’ garden where all my fabulous dahlias create a jungle effect. But today’s list has some lovely blooms too.
Let’s start with fragrance and I think it is worth battling lily beetles and killing them gruesomely each day to enjoy these beauties. My favourite is the amazing ‘Silk Road’. It is an ‘Orientpet’ lily, that is a cross between Oriental and Trumpet lilies. It is a giant, growing to 180 cm. It has huge gloriously fragrant flowers. I love it and next year I shall have it growing in extravagant abundance.
Growing in my jungle, I have, appropriately enough, ‘African Queen’ which is an Asiatic trumpet lily in a gorgeous soft apricot.
In my secret garden I have two lilies in bloom at the moment, one is another apricot one, at least she is white with apricot centres spotted with brown, she has lovely reflexed petals and gorgeous stamens. ‘Lady Alice’ is a real aristocrat.
Also in the secret garden I have another orientpet lily but not such a giant as ‘Silk Road’. It has the unromantic name of ‘Leslie Woodriff’.
In a border I have the deepest, darkest lily imaginable called ‘Night Flyer’.
Talking about flying, I have a new Asiatic lily here called ‘Pink Flight’.
I found it impossible to pick out just one lily for my top ten blooms but if I carry on like this and show you all the clematis and all the different jasmine we will be here all day, and so I will make it snappy and select just one of each. This is difficult specially with the clematis because now is the time for the lovely texensis and viticella hybrids which I adore. But still I will choose just one viticella and it is the gorgeous Clematis ‘Purpurea Plena Elegans’. Here it is looking great in my secret garden.
Moving swiftly on, although it seems very rude to ignore the beautiful Clematis ‘Betty Corning’, let’s look at the fabulously named Jasminum officinale ‘Clotted Cream’ It bears an abundance of large blooms which are in fact just the colour of clotted cream and I chose to feature this one because I pass it every time I go to the greenhouse and it smells divine, although it doesn’t look good all year round like my golden leaved one, Jasminum officinale ”Fiona’s Surprise’.
Another deliciously fragrant climber is Trachelospermum and I have a golden- leaved one and a pink flowered one, but today I will just show you the one scrambling up the wall and trying to creep in the windows. It is Trachelospermum jasminoides and as well as the glorious fragrance, its leaves turn red in winter. It is sometimes called Star Jasmine but this is misleading because although it has starry flowers it is not a jasmine at all
Fragrance is another feature of my number five bloom. It is the Mount Etna broom and when mature it makes a light, airy tree with yellow pea-like flowers. Genista aetnensis is endemic to Sicily and also Sardinia where it grows in poor, stony soil. I have it in my gravel garden. Here it is with the pink, bushy Diascia personata.
And now for something completely different and rather rare. Echium webbii is endemic to the Canary Islands where it is restricted to the Island of La Palma. It is rarely seen for sale here and I am grateful to my lovely friend Maggie for this gorgeous plant. It also grows in my gravel, but is is quite tender so it spent its first year in the greenhouse and survived last winter in the garden under a blanket of several layers of fleece. I have read that it is biennial, but I have also read that it survives for several years although it is short lived. But never mind, it is easy from cuttings. This year it is flowering for the first time and I am thrilled with it. The flowers are a beautiful shade of blue and the bees love it too. You have probably seen the soaring spires of Echium pininana. but Echium webbi is a rounded and shrubby.
I have another shrub which I don’t think is particularly rare but most visitors don’t recognise it. It is Bupleurum fruticosum and it comes from sunny hills and rocky places in the Mediterranean. I imagine it would make a good seaside plant. I love umbellifers and this plant has umbels of sulphur yellow flowers which look like little buttons. It has attractive foliage so it looks good all year round. It is a great plant for pollinators, although I am not sure about the ones here; a wasp and suspicious looking beetles which will probably wreak havoc somewhere when they have finished sunning themselves. I have often been asked for a piece of this plant but so far I have had no success with cuttings.
I love apricot coloured flowers and I love mallows so Sphaeralacea ambigua is a winner for me and it is such a gorgeous soft apricot which looks perfect with Kniphofia ‘Timothy’ and the giant grass Stipa Gigantea.
I love the elegant spires of Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’ and I don’t know why I only have one plant, I would like to have the pointy fingers popping up all over the garden.
I will finish with a hydrangea and this time I am happy not to show all the ones I grow because most of them are not to be boasted about, the poor things struggle. I don’t know why I persist with them when it is really too dry for them here. But I do have one which is happy because it is lucky to live in one of the damper parts of the garden. It was a cutting which I brought from my old garden and I love it for its clusters of tiny flowers. It is called Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Ayesha’. I read somewhere that they are slightly fragrant but I have never got round to sniffing them. Ayesha is pretty in pink but I suppose in an acid soil she would be lilac or even blue.
So here are my July beauties, please join me and show us some of yours. In the meantime I am sorry to miss out so many lovely July flowers so I am going to put a few of them in a gallery.