Sunday, 9 July 2017



Dublin Bay in June
The recent heat wave enjoyed (or endured) in the south of the UK, may not have quite reached us up north, but this year our Scottish climate has still been outstanding for warmth, sunshine and dry weather. This followed a mild winter and a very pleasant spring so it is no surprise that our gardens have been a riot of colour month after month. I thought colour had peaked with a massive show from the tulips, but that was followed by the show of dazzling azaleas, then the bearded iris, and now the summer roses climbing up my walls continue the show. Every time we walk around the garden there is another plant having its moment in the spotlight. Two weeks ago I wrote about all this colour in the garden, only to find that a fortnight later the colour has not diminished but there is a whole new group of plants seeking attention.
Just where do you begin and just hope it continues through summer and into the autumn.
At the moment it is the climbing roses that catch the eye as well as my two shrub roses Ispahan and Rosa mundi.
Rosa Mundi
 Over the years I have grown numerous bush and shrub roses only to dig them out after a few years due to the ravishes of mildew, rust and blackspot. I am now down to about twenty which all have reasonably strong foliage able to withstand rose diseases. My red climbing rose Dublin Bay grown on a south wall is spectacular and every year never fails to impress, though I am fussy with the winter pruning even tackling those shoots beyond the top of my twelve foot ladder.
Another very tall shrub having its moment is my Philadelphus virginal. Catching those long arching sprays of pure white flowers against a deep blue sky make a brilliant picture and the scent is unforgettable.
Delosperma and Senecio
Coming down in scale to my dry border I have a few shrubs well adapted to a south facing bank with good soil but with a four foot retaining wall to hold it back it has always suffered from lack of moisture. A selection of those plants adapted to maritime conditions seems to work well. At this moment my large Senecio greyii is a mass of yellow flowers and growing alongside it clambering over the wall is a Delosperma cooperi with purple flowers. A perfect match and adding to the display is my pink Erigeron ground cover and taller evergreen shrub Cistus purpureus with
deep pink flowers. This group was never planned, but over the years I found a plant to fill a gap to suit the dry conditions and just so happen they all decide to flower at the same time. Sometimes you just get lucky. Another piece of luck was the visit to RHS gardens at Wisley last year when Anna picked up a packet of Sweet William seed which we had never grown before but Anna recalled them from childhood days and wanted to try them out. We didn’t have a special place for them so they went into every spare piece of soil in rose borders, herbaceous borders and our allotment flower border. They have been fantastic and added colour to other plants all around them.
Peonia Doreen
Over on the herbaceous border the latest star performer has been Peonia Doreen, one of Anna’s prize purchases from Gardening Scotland a few years ago. Every year it gets bigger with more flowers and now really catches the eye. Then again our massive group of deep blue delphiniums continue to perform every year, but need serious staking due to their size and strength.
Tubs and hanging baskets are growing well and are quite colourful, but this is not their time yet as they still have to come into full flower probably from end of July onwards. However the pink and red geraniums have been outstanding. I kept pinching off all the flowers from winter till the end of spring to build up strong growth. This has paid off as now they just can’t wait to get their flowers up into the sunshine. Petunias alongside them are also enjoying the warmth putting on plenty colour.

Wee jobs to do this week
Salad catch crops

Harvest vegetable crops as they ripen such as turnip, lettuce, rocket, spring onions, peas and early salad potatoes. This releases land for another quick growing crop of salads, beetroot, autumn and winter cabbages and cauliflower. There might also be time for another pea crop using a dwarf early variety such as Feltham First, Meteor, Kelvedon Wonder, or sugar snap peas.


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