Every summer I write a post about the wonderful jetty garden belonging to our much loved Boaties; my son, Bertie and his partner, Beatrice. Their home is a converted Thames sugar lighter and they don’t let a simple thing like not having any soil get in the way of having a fabulous garden on their jetty. Each year we think it just can’t get any better and it does.
I’m still not sure what the magic trick is to grow hostas like these. This is just one plant of ‘Sum and Substance’.
And notice there is not a trace of slug damage, although no pellets are used , just daily vigilance and the slimy offenders are thrown into the river.
I’m not sure which variety this next one is but I love the dark purple flower stems.
And this is a novel way to hide an ugly plastic pot. Soleirolia or‘Mind- You- Own- Business’ as it’s commonly known. The hosta was a seedling.
Tree ferns are another specialty. Here are a couple with Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ The willow on the right hand corner is Salix exigua.
Bertie was complaining that ‘Limelight’ doesn’t look as good as it should because he didn’t get round to pruning it. I just wish my Hydrangea paniculata looked like this.
And here is the willow. The tree on the left is an olive.
But back to the tree ferns, I have lost count how many there are.
Birds love the jetty and they have an amazing number of nests in the spring. Here is the nest of a long tailed tit in a tree fern. It is moss and feathers and it is all delicately woven together with spiders’ webs. It is cosily enclosed with a roof . The family all hatched out safely.
The jetty garden is a green oasis with just flashes of colour, it relies on shape and form. So there are lots of different ferns, grasses and hostas. To give height there are trees in pots but also bamboos. I love the way they decorate the jetty with found objects from when they go beach combing. This rope looks wonderful wrapped round the bamboo pot.
I grow the Japanese grass, Hachonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ in a pot too, but it certainly doesn’t look anything like this. We sat at socially distanced tables for lunch and a sign of the times, there was hand sanitiser on the table.
And here is the other table. Lunch was, as always, delicious.
A recent addition is Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Rex’ which will need a jetty all to itself once those leaves start expanding.
It seems a good day to write about the jetty garden as it is Bertie’s birthday today, so Happy Birthday my son, and lots of love to you and your lovely Beatrice.
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.
The last few days have been windy and showery, so now seems a good time to croon over beauties in the greenhouse. One shelf is taken up with my nerines which are waiting for their time of glory later as the summer comes to an end. Under the staging are all the pots of cuttings which I am compelled to take whether I need more plants or not.
But I keep one shelf for the display of whatever is in bloom at the moment. If I was doing this last month my epiphyllums would have been taking centre stage with their ridiculously flamboyant flowers in shades of pink, yellow and red. I have rather a lot of epiphyllums and I don’t know why; they only bloom for two or three days, and they take up ever more room with their long, spreading tentacles. This is the last bloom collapsing.
So epiphyllums, lovely as they are, don’t make it to my chosen six today. As I love scented flowers, I am starting with the gloriously scented and very aristocratic, Hymenocallis ‘Sulphur Queen’. Its common name is Peruvian daffodil, but I tell you that reluctantly because of course it is not a daffodil, so let’s not pretend it is. I love its frilly corona and long filaments and the green stripes in its throats. Next year I shall buy more bulbs and try some in the garden although they will have to come in for winter as they are not hardy.
I usually have a pot or two of Habranthus robustus in the greenhouse as they seed copiously. They are much loved by slugs and you have to be vigilant otherwise you will find the eagerly awaited flowers have been chewed off. I always thought they were called Habranthus robustus but now I find that is a synonym and the correct name is Zephyranthes robustus. They are a member of the amaryllis family. As they seed so generously I think I shall try some outside in my gravel garden.
Next to the zephyranthes and looking very nice is a succulent I would never buy or even glance at normally. It is a kalanchoe that a kind friend gave me and I put it in the greenhouse and forgot all about it. But it is smothered in pink-flushed white blooms and looking wonderful.
Joining this little group of pink and white are a few pots of starry Rhodohypoxis baurii. These are clump forming tuberous plants from South Africa. In theory these can be grown outside in a sunny dry spot but I have never managed it. They need to be kept dry in winter and so it is easier to keep them in the greenhouse where you can control their environment. They like a slightly acidic soil. If you pick off the dead flowers they will bloom for ages. Once they finish blooming then they need to be kept dry.
Every year I buy a couple of hippeastrums for Christmas and to my shame until now I have never got them to bloom again. To my amazement this one decided to give me a beautiful summer bloom and I am delighted. I can’t boast about it though as it is more by accident then design. Incidentally, I don’t know why people still call these Amaryllis. They are in the Amaryllidaceae family but Amaryllis come from South Africa and these beauties come from the Americas.
My last plant comes from South Africa too. It is a giant with a bulb as big as a grapefruit. It is Albuca nelsonii or Nelson’s Slime Lily, if you prefer its rather unpleasant common name, I find it rather offensive. The white flowers with a green marking are very eye-catching. It is easy to get more as each bubil will grow on.
Albuca shawii is another pretty albuca with yellow smaller, bell -shaped flower, it is not yet in bloom but I will show you later how pretty it is.
So there we have it, six of my greenhouse beauties. But what a shame to miss out some of the others. I will pop a few in a gallery if it is not cheating too much. I believe the Propagator who hosts this meme is quite stringent in his requirements but maybe he won’t notice. Anyway, do pop over to see how he and other Sixers are brightening up a rather dull Saturday.
Today I have been watering my tomatoes with comfrey and nettle tea. I don’ t have a particular recipe, I just put nettles and comfrey into a big barrel of water and leave it for about four weeks until it smells absolutely disgusting and then it is ready to use. It is a wonderful tonic but I couldn’t get the smell out of my nose after doing it so what could be better than a vase of sweet peas? Usually I am a stickler for using the correct nomenclature when talking about plants but even I am not such a pedant as to insist on calling these beauties Lathyrus odoratus. Of course they can be nothing else but sweet peas. These are doubly delightful because the seeds were a present from my lovely friend Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who hosts this meme.
Modern sweet peas such as the Spencer hybrids seem to have bigger, ever more exquisite flowers but at the expense of fragrance and fragrance is the whole point of a sweet pea. And these beauties smell sublime. The varieties Cathy sent me are these lovely old-fashioned varieties . ‘Lord Nelson’ is navy blue, and he was born in the 1890’s. ‘Solway Serenade’ has bi-colour pink and red flowers . The most fragrant of all is ‘Matucana’ and it is also the oldest of all as it dates from the seventeenth century. It is magenta and purple.
With the sweet peas I used some furry pink grass, Pennisetum villosum and pink flowers of Diascia personata.
In with the sweet peas seeds there must have been some vetch seeds, Vicia cracca. When they germinated I thought they must be some unusual sort of sweet peas and now they are flowering I think they look pretty growing up through the sweet peas so I have left them there. They are a perfect match for ‘Lord Nelson.’
To add even more intense fragrance I used some pink lavender.
I think the colours of the little pottery jug are a perfect match for the flowers.
The spiky flower on the left is Salvia greggii ‘Icing Sugar’.
Thank you Cathy for such a lovely gift, I shall certainly grow these beautiful fragrant varieties again next year.
June is the most sumptuous month in the garden, bringing the velvety and silken delights of peonies, irises and roses. Roses are of course my absolute favourite June flowers but I wrote about them in my last post. There are so many glorious June flowers that choosing just ten is difficult. But fragrance in June is always wonderful so let’s start with a philadelphus. I have quite a few because I like to have their wonderful sweet fragrance following me round the garden Most of them are over now but the gleaming white flowers of Philadelphus ‘Snowbelle’ are still looking lovely. This one is perhaps not quite so fragrant but with large, double flowers it is much showier than most of the others and the bush is nice and compact.
And now the lilies have started and my first into bloom is also the most fragrant. Lilium regale produces copious amounts of seed and blooms after only two years from seed so once you have it you never need be without it. I love the contrasting rosy pink buds and pink on the outside of the reflexed trumpets and the poached egg centres.
My Himalayan giant lily. Cardiocrinum giganteum is blooming this year. When it has finished the bulb breaks up into lots of bubils and you have to wait seven years for it to bloom again. It produces large, dramatic seed heads but even I am a bit daunted by the long wait for blooms from seed. I have had it for nearly twenty years and this is the third time it has flowered. I bought a new one this year and I will buy one every year for the next few years so that in future I will always have one in bloom. This lily likes plenty of moisture and copious amounts of rich feeding. I buried a dead hen under it the first time I planted it. Obviously, I didn’t sacrifice it on purpose for the lily; one of my hens had died as hens are likely to do on a whim, for no apparent reason. I don’t keep hens now so the lily has to make do with lots of home made compost and manure. It is not as big as it was so I really think it needs a dead hen.
It’s just as well that I grow plenty of deliciously scented flowers because I can’t resist aroids and the the most sinister looking one Dracunculus vulgaris smells of rotting meat to attract flies as pollinators.
Another aroid, Ariaema costatum doesn’t smell disgusting but it looks even more sinister, like a cobra which is just about to strike. It likes a damp soil and is great in a woodland setting.
Let’s have another scented plant. Cistus ‘Ladanifer‘ is one of the showiest and most beautiful of the Cistus species. I love white flowers with dark purple centres and these look like crumpled taffeta.The flowers themselves aren’t scented but the whole plant is gummy and smells of the maquis and transports you to its home on the shores of the Mediterranean. It likes a sunny spot.
For the next plant we have to go to another continent. Carpentaria californica is another sun loving shrub and this time the white flowers are more like those of anemones with lovely golden anthers. They look lovely against the glossy evergreen leaves. Unfortunately there is no scent.
And now for something a bit more dramatic. The tall bottlebrush flowers of Eremurus x isabellinus ‘Cleopatra’ look like rockets. These plants need good drainage and plenty of sun. I grow them in my gravel garden. You have to be very careful not to damage the roots when you are planting them or weeding. The roots look like starfish and are easily broken.
Campanulas are ringing their bells all over the garden and they are very good at seeding themselves into the just the right spot to make a lovely picture. The peach-leaved Campanula persicifolia is everywhere here, in both white and sky -blue and I love their cup shaped flowers.
I love the huge violet blue bells of the hybrid Campanula ‘Sarastro’ This does not seed about but the clumps get ever larger.
The nettle-leaved Campanula trachelium can become a little over -enthusiastic when seeding around. But I was pleased with this next one because it appeared with double flowers.
Another double campanula with a pretty hose in hose effect is Campanula punctata ‘Wedding Bells’ This spreads into a nice clump and here it has seeded into a pot but the seedling is not double although it is still pretty.
I am not so keen on Campanula glomerata although the lilac coloured ‘Caroline’ is pretty.
So far I haven’t featured any bright colours so let’s have a look at the snapdragon which I grew from seed last year. It is called Antirrhinum majus ‘Black Prince’ and the plants came out various shades of red. But they are all lovely. And this year they are nice big plants. This one looks good with the dark red leaves of Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’.
Whist we are talking about black foliage let’s look at this lovely elder which is called ‘Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’. The pink flowers keep their colour and make an attractive looking pink elderflower cordial.
Perhaps I should finish with one or two clematis as they are looking so good right now. I bought this one as the velvety wine coloured ‘Niobe’ and so I was rather disappointed when it bloomed as it was clearly wrongly labelled. Still it is pretty. I think it could be ‘Mrs. N. Thompson’.
This next one is Clematis ‘Piilau’. I love the colour and it is always full of blooms. Some of the flowers are double.
Viticellas are really useful for this time of the year and unlike the large flowered clematis they rarely suffer from wilt. The lovely dark pink ‘Madame Julia Correvon’ has been beautiful for ages on the trellis in the secret garden and now it is joined by ‘Tie Dye’.
I could go and on because June flowers are wonderful and it is hard to select just a few. But never mind there is always another day. Please join me and share some of your Top Ten June Blooms.
I’m not sure what the collective noun for roses is but I think ‘an intoxication’ is as good as any. A couple of years ago I wrote about amazing rose garden planted in an old lime quarry which I visited many years ago where over 500 roses had gone wild to create a Sleeping Beauty wilderness of breathtaking beauty. They weren’t pruned or fed but they all looked very healthy. Here is the link. Everything’s Coming up Roses. I think I should like to do the same thing here when I am too old and frail to garden, I shall just let the roses take over and do their own thing. And I can’t think of anything more beautiful. In fact the front garden is already beginning to look that way because I don’t like working there in the time of the plague because of over -enthusiastic puffing joggers and cyclists and garrulous neighbours coming too close. So it is getting wild and woolly and the roses are taking over. These ones along the front of the fence look like Hybrid Musks to me but I am not sure. Whatever they are they are useful because they are repeat flowering.
The gate is guarded by this alba rose and Clematis ‘Contesse de Bouchard’.
Further up we have darker pink ones. I’m not sure of the variety but it travels around as do all the ones in the front garden.
The purplish rose is ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ which is not really blue, thank goodness. Who wants a blue rose?
There are two weeping pears ‘Pyrus saliciifolia in the front garden which are useful for growing roses up. The first one has ‘the rambler ‘Veilchenblau’.
Next to it is’ Felicite Perpetue’.
In the yew there is a climber ‘Karlesruhe’ which is repeat flowering.
Of course any self respecting Tudor house has to have roses round the door even if the front of the house is late Georgian.
Let’s go round into the back garden now where apart from next door’s cat Luther there is nobody to disturb us.
The roses were three weeks early this year and they started in late May instead of their proper time in June. I did try a little video to show some of them and several friends seemed surprised that I posted it as it was so shaky and jerky. Clearly I have a lot to learn. The Pianist said I would get trolled if I put it on Youtube but my blogging friends are such nice, kind, people and everyone was very polite. So I might have another go sometime. But I didn’t manage to get round all my roses. So here are some more. Everyone who comes to the garden falls for the David Austin rose ‘Summer Song’, it is such a rich colour.
Nearby is another David Austin, this time a paler shade of peach. It is ‘Evelyn’,
We all love David Austin roses, they are unbeatable. I have quite a few and my favourites are ‘Grace’ ‘Teasing Georgia’ and ‘Munstead Wood’ which is such a fabulous rich colour.
But then how could I leave out beautiful Lady Emma Hamilton’ who has gorgeous flowers, leaves and stems?
And I also have ‘Mill on the Floss’ ‘Gentle Hermione’ ‘Anne Boleyn’ and ‘Imogen’ and they are all just as beautiful.
I have a special liking for single roses and ‘Sally Holmes ‘ blooms all summer long as long as you dead head her.
Of course most roses need full sun to really do well and in a mature garden one runs out of sunny spots. But on the other hand there are plenty of trees and here nearly every tree has a rose running up it. The lovely pure white single Rosa leavagata ‘Cooperi’has scaled the wall and is heading into the greengage tree. This rose needs a sunny spot but I love for its healthy green leaves as well it its flowers, but it is very prickly.
Nearby towering over the greenhouse is a seedling I grew from a Kiftsgate rose and it clearly has ambitions to grow as big as its parent. It is growing up a holly and I find these make good hosts for rambling roses.
It is fun to grow roses from seed because you never know quite what you will get. This next rose grows at a much more sedate pace and is very pretty. I don’t know who its parents were.
Some of the rambling roses I have growing up apple trees are now enormous and I wonder how the poor trees will manage if they get any bigger.
And although ‘Phyllis Bide’ looks wonderful scrambling over the arches into my secret garden I am not sure how long they will be able to support them. I shall have to do some hard pruning.
‘Blush Rambler’ is climbing up the stump of the cherry tree I had chopped down. I think it looks lovely with the dark leaves of the Forest Pansy.
Albertine’ is an old wichuraiana rambler, bred in 1921 in France. It is still a popular one and rightly so. It has a lovely perfume and beautiful coppery pink flowers. It is easy from cuttings. Incidentally, now is a good time to take rose cuttings whilst they are still flexible. Take ones about the thickness of a pencil.
Climbing roses are not as rampant as ramblers and so they can be grown up smaller trees or bushes. I love the single flowers of ‘Mermaid”
And I adore the complex shape and gorgeous colour of ‘James Galway’ which a fellow blogger identified for me.
‘Lady Hillingdon’ has scrumptious flowers which look as if they have been dipped in tea. She is too idle to hold up her heads though.
I have more than sixty roses so I can’t write about them all here but you can see my obsession is gradually taking over. They get minimal care, a bit of pruning and I do feed them once a year . I never spray and if any rose suffers badly from blackspot or rust then they have to go, I haven’t got any room for invalids.
We have enjoyed watching the changing seasons whilst we have walked round our lanes, fields and woods during lockdown. In April we enjoyed the bluebells.
In May, the meadows were spangled with gleaming yellow buttercups.
And the lanes were lined with the froth of cow parsley.
And now we have ox -eye daises and poppies.
And in the hedgerows there are wild roses and honeysuckle.
So my vase today takes its inspiration from our walk. I don’t pick wild flowers of course, but I did pick some wild oats from the verge. The foxgloves, ox -eye daises, poppies, honeysuckle, elder flowers and roses were from my own garden. The ox-eye daisies, Leucanthemum vulgare are pretty, but horribly invasive and I am always grubbing them out.
The foxgloves put themselves in this corner. Behind them you can see the elder.
I don’t have wild honeysuckle in the garden but this gorgeous Lonicera periclymenun ‘Scentsation’ is a particularly fragrant substitute.
Lonicera periclymenum ‘Scentsation’
And instead of the wild rose I have used a lovely, single rambling rose called ‘Francis. E. Lester’ It is deliciously fragrant too.
I bought my jug when we went to the delightfully quirky Port Meirion. I wonder when we will ever be able to go there again.
But never mind we are lucky to live in a pretty part of rural Suffolk.
Cathy at Rambling in the Garden hosts this meme and this week she seems to be in a celebratory mood, do pop over and see and you will find what other people have found in their June gardens for a vase this week.
I have tried several attempts to make a video of the garden. The first made me feel sick to watch it. The second one invaded the Pianist’s privacy. I walked straight past him sitting in his chair reading and didn’t notice I was filming him as I was so focused on my Rosabanksiae ‘Lutea’. I said did it really matter, he wasn’t picking his nose or anything. He said that wasn’t the only problem, you could hardly hear a word I said and why was I whispering. I was whispering because I felt a silly chump walking round the garden talking loudly to myself. Anyway I had another go, avoiding the Pianist in his hammock and declaiming loudly. This time after hours of trying, I couldn’t upload it to YouTube, ( or is it download, I can never remember the difference?) Apparently, it was too long. So here is my fourth effort; it’s still jerky but perhaps not quite as bad as the first one, there is no sign of the Pianist and I am not whispering. I haven’t shown all the garden and I finished rather abruptly when I realised I was running out of time. And I missed out lots of roses that are looking great right now. But maybe, if I can get this onto YouTube I will try again another time and show you the the parts I missed. You never got to see my vegetable garden or my greenhouse.
By the way, the hosta I showed you just before the abrupt end is ‘Sum and Substance’.