August is a funny old month. All the splendour of June and July has overreached itself a bit and, in places, frankly flopped: yet it’s a bit early to start on autumn just yet. The kids are still on summer holidays, for goodness’ sake. And besides, the crocosmia are only just waking up and cannas are still in bud. There is a definite pause: a moment for the garden to catch its breath, so to speak, before the next big push.
That’s not to say there aren’t any flowers: you just have to look for them with a bit more determination. Here’s what I found in my garden this month.
I’ve been experimenting with some ‘Fuchsiaberry’ plants – bred for their edible berries. All fuchsia berries are edible, but most varieties major on flowers (understandably) so the fruits are a bit on the small side. The wild fuchsia, F. magellanica, is your best bet for jam-quality fruits, but earlier this year Thompson & Morgan started experimenting with fuchsias with berries as big and fat as the blooms. At the moment I’m just growing on the plug plants, so they’re still a bit on the small side, but what I hadn’t reckoned with was the lovely flowers – every bit as good as a bedding variety.
The poppies on the top terrace are looking as lovely as ever: but the wildflower mix I had in here just hasn’t really worked this year. Sporadic is probably the kindest way to describe it. It’s partly because I haven’t kept on top of the hedge bindweed that infests this bit of the garden; partly because a lot of the seed mix simply didn’t germinate. Hm. I’m thinking of doing something more formal here in the long-term: if only to stop it looking so messy.
In the same patch is a lovely clump of hyssop – all that remains of a batch of seed-sown hyssop I was hoping might become a hedge. Unfortunately the seedlings got swamped by the (then) exuberant wildflowers so this is the only survivor. It is, however, robust enough to have lots of promising looking greenery for cuttings: perhaps a better way to make me a new hyssop hedge. I feel a parterre coming on.
On a more positive note, the cut flower garden – one terrace down – has been coming into its own beautifully with froths of wallflowers this spring followed by willowy cosmos in lots of different colours. And this month we’ve been treated to stately gladioli: it was a mixed pack so I don’t have variety names but I particularly like this deep maroon.
The antirrhinum (excuse the fuzzy pic) were a giveaway from spring and I had no idea they’d turn out this raspberry ripple colouring. I can’t decide: some days I think, wow – that’s special; other days I look at them and think…. meh.
In the rockery the ‘Honorine Jobert’ are in full flouncy flower: this area used to be overrun with them (they can be quite invasive when they’re happy) and I’ve dug out most as it’s meant to be a herb garden here. But I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of them altogether as they are so lovely. And they don’t like being moved, it turns out, so I have them here or nowhere. So I just have to pretend they’re herbs.
I am so pleased with my hanging basket. It’s pretty simple: just a ‘Tumbling Tom’ tomato, some seed-sown basil from spring, and a cluster of French marigolds (you can see me planting it up earlier this summer in this video for crocus.co.uk). Tomatoes now slowly ripening: red on yellow and orange is going to be quite some combination.
This little mallow (Malva moschata, I think) arrived all on its own: nothing to do with me. I thought it might be a buttercup at first but something stayed my hand: I’m so glad I let it grow.
And here’s another voluntary resident: my giant and very handsome Inula magnifica must have arrived courtesy of a bird (I do buy some plants occasionally, honest!) and has been with me, growing bigger by the year, for about three or four years now. It’s a glory right now: eight foot tall, well above my head, and covered in huge spidery yellow daisies. Bees love it.
My orange daylilies have been under a stay of execution for some time now, saved only by the fact that I haven’t got around to digging them up yet. The buds are yummy – a bit like lettuce – and the flowers are quite nice, especially this time of year, but my goodness it is a thug. And there are so many nicer daylilies I could be growing instead.
So often flowers are an afterthought when you’re growing veg: but blooms are a big thing in my garden even though it’s mostly edible. Here one of the three troughs of coriander (one just sown, one growing and one to pick) has burst into bloom: even though it brings the leafy harvest to an end it’s still a welcome sight as it means seeds are on the way, for flavouring curries and resowing for the next crop too.
Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens – thanks Carol!