ENJOYING THE SUMMER IN THE GARDEN
At long last the Scottish summer has arrived and has surpassed itself with a lot more than just our normal three consecutive days of brilliant sunshine. We have a lot to thank for with global warming.
The garden has been unbelievable. Summer flowers are not waiting to put on a decent bit of growth before they settle down to flower. There are flowers everywhere. Hanging baskets and tubs full of geraniums, petunias and impatiens are at their best, but with still plenty of time to grow bigger and provide even more flowers. Even the winter flowering hanging baskets full of pansies are still flowering so though they have been replaced they are now sitting on large pots on the patio. As long as they get dead headed they will continue to flower.
However begonias, lobelia and nemesia are all growing strongly but not yet coming into flower. Their time will come.
In the herbaceous border the oriental poppies, peonies and flag iris have all finished, but now the delphiniums are taking central stage.
Both bush roses and climbing roses are at their best and my shrub rose Ispahan and Lavender Lassie are covered in masses of scented pink flowers.
Summer flowering shrubs provide the backbone in the garden landscape with the larger ones giving privacy around boundaries. Philadelphus has masses of pristine white scented flowers in mid summer and can grow very tall. Buddleia and some Escallonias all in flower now can also reach for the sky. Coming down in scale the Hypericums, Cistus, fuchsia and Senecio just love these long days of hot dry sunny weather. I am just hoping that it will still be there when this comes into print.
The hot dry weather has been great for weed killing as hoed weeds left on the surface just shrivel up, and paths, hard standing and other areas where weedkillers, mainly glyphosate has been used are perfect to wipe out pernicious perennial weeds.
Down on the allotment strawberry picking is in full swing, so for breakfast it is strawberries in the muesli, then strawberries with Greek yoghurt and a drizzle of honey for lunch, then in the evenings it is just strawberries to enjoy as we watch the World Cup. There might even be some left over to enjoy once Wimbledon starts and Andy gets into his stride.
Staying on the healthy foods, lettuce, radish, spring onions, Swiss chard and the first of our Purple Top Milan turnips are all ready for the plate. Most of the overwintered cauliflower Aalsmeer have finished, but for some reason there is one left that just seems to grow bigger and bigger but as yet the curd has not formed. It is going to be a cracker, I hope.
Broad beans have responded to the warm weather and are in full flower with plants standing over five feet tall. However dwarf French beans had a very poor germination, then the slugs had a feast before I got the pellets out. This might not be their year, but it is too early to condemn them yet.
Peas are all growing very strongly. I have recycled my pruned shrubs for supports for them, so Salix britzensis looks after my Kelvedon Wonder and my dead Goji which I dug out now supports my Hurst Green Shaft. Both the willow (Salix) and the Goji prunings have rooted and started to grow.
Is it the weather or my green fingers. That Goji was dead, but now it wants to live after I dug it out. That is just plain weird.
Potatoes are all now in full flower and looking very strong, but I will wait another couple of weeks before I lift a sample of my early variety Lady Chrystl.
Plant of the week
Senecio greyi is a medium sized evergreen shrub with grey foliage and in mid summer gets covered in masses of bright yellow daisy shaped flowers. It is perfect for maritime locations and dry soils with good drainage. It flowers best in full sun.
It is very easy to propagate from softwood cuttings in early summer or ripe cuttings later on.
The yellow flowers associate very well with mauve flowers of Erigeron and the bright purple succulent Delosperma cooperi which all flower at the same time and will all grow in drier soils.