Six On Saturday: Hot stuff

All I can think about is the heat. I have been wondering what plants cope with this new British climate. Hot dry summers and wet winters. Answers on a postcard, please. This is the fifth summer in this garden and it is time for an edit. When is it not time for an edit? Recent carnage has included the decimation of the gooseberry bushes. Eleven taken out and now eight remain. Excuse me if the maths is wrong :). This makes room for some redcurrants and I shall sneak a bit off the end to extend one of the borders. That’s a trailer for a six to come. For the moment here’s this week’s six.


Zinnias.  Last year they seemed to come through late.  This year they are bang on time.  They are fast becoming my favourite annual to sow.  I lost a couple to the voracious slugs but those that made it through are putting on a good display.  These are the Sarah Raven ‘Deep Zinnia’ collection.


Kniphofia.  Or Red hot pokers if you prefer.  I never thought I would grow these but I have been won over.  I picked up a bag full of divisions at last year’s visit to Ulting Wick garden in Essex.  They cost £5, money well spent.  Sorry, I don’t know the variety.  They have just started flowering but I read that once settled in they can flower from March to November.  If they achieve that I will be very happy.


Agastache ‘Blackadder’.  Much loved by the bees.  I am trying these again.  The previous plants did not overwinter.  The RHS classes them as Fully Hardy (borderline) so I have my fingers crossed.


I am also giving achilleas a go this year.  This one is already a disappointment!  I bought it as ‘Terracotta’.  Descriptions variously suggested soft orange, browny orange and of course terracotta flowers.  But not yellow.  I have since tracked down one description which suggest flowers may age to yellow.  This plant seems to have skipped the soft orange stage.  Unless it changes its ways this is probably not a keeper.


I almost missed showing the large flower head of the evergreen agapanthus.  They are just beginning to go over here.  They are a marker of high summer in this garden.


The front garden hydrangea is going through its annual identity crisis.  What colour will it be this year.  I prefer this bluish colour but other flowers are pink, purple and faded variations in between.

Jobs to do include cutting some of the lavenders back.  One clump has definitely finished flowering.  There is watering to be done and the cosmos need dead heading.  The roses are in full flow again so more dead heading.  I think I can manage that in the heat but the best part is walking round the garden in the evening and taking in the scents.  Lovely.

I hope all is lovely in your garden.  To catch up with the news from other SOSers please stop by  The Prop’s garden update, where all the links are posted.

26 thoughts on “Six On Saturday: Hot stuff

  1. Lovely to see what a zinnia actually looks like. I’ll look forward to mine eventually flowering. Not too hot here in North Wales so I don’t know whether to envy you your heat or commiserate. Do you think your lavender has gone over sooner than in previous years? Mine usually lasts until September but looks really tatty now, so I’ll be cutting flower heads off mine this coming week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the lavender has gone over earlier by a couple of weeks. It is in a very hot dry spot. I have some others in a slightly cooler spot that are still flowering. My Zinnias didn’t come through til late August last year but they did last a long time – keep deadheading.

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  2. I also took some great photos of agastache before I left. I’ll post them in a few days when I get home.
    Nice last photo, so simple and so beautiful at the same time. Take care and good luck for the watering with this hot weather.

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    • I keep hoping with the achillea – I ‘took it back’ today! I showed them the label and a photo of the plant in my garden and they agreed it’s not the same, they are trying to source me a replacement. I will be very happy if it works!

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  3. When I grew commercially, I often seeded “Terra Cotta.” There was a wide range of color, with maybe 40% being the yellow you showed, a few white or cream, and the rest were varying shades of orange or orange/red. However, I noticed that when I planted out the rust colors, after a few years, they almost always became pale yellow eventually.

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    • That is so helpful. Thank you. I actually ‘took it back’ today. Showed the supplier the photo and he says he will try to source me another one. It will be interesting to see if his supplier says the same as you. Pale yellow I can cope with but this is too acid for my taste. But I am trying to like it and will see how it ages. Thanks again for your thoughts.


    • I have a white and a good red one called ‘Summer Wine’. The growth on that one is a bit spindly this year as I moved in out of some shade into more sun a little late! But it is getting going.


  4. I’m trying achillea this year – they’ve always failed before but hope springs eternal. Today I sheared all my perennials back to their stumps as everything was so brown and shrivelled. Hoping for a heavy thunderstorm to give me fresh growth. Do you think we need to make big changes to cope with the warmer summer months we are having every year now????

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    • I enjoyed your post. I really don’t know what to plant. The wet winters seem to rule out the more Mediterranean plants and I’m not so keen on too many grasses in the garden. My alchemillias are next in line for the shear – they are just looking a bit seedy. I’m waiting for that storm!

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  5. Kniphofia seem to be popular in other regions. It used to be common here decades ago. There were no cultivars; just the common orange sort, with yellow variants rarely observed. I am sort of tempted to try them. I never really stopped liking them. I just do not see them around much. I would probably prefer the formerly common sort that I remember. Agapanthus is still very popular here. I am surprised by its popularity elsewhere.

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      • Oh, of course. It is actually not all that crazy. It just seems like too much work for something that is so easy to divide from overgrown colonies, and there are so many overgrown colonies about.


  6. We receive the British tv programmes here and so have seen the reports of temperatures in England which have been alarming to us poor creatures here in Ireland who melt should the thermometer ever dare to go above 25C. There was talk of mid 30s in the last week – impossible to sustain life, never mind garden, in such conditions. We, south-east Ireland, have been 10 – 15 degrees cooler and consider it hot here at present. At least we have had rain this July which has been great for the garden.

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    • It sounds like you have the perfect climate right now. It has been 33/34 for days now and so hot at nights. No rain to speak of, but 60% chance of storms on Thursday – which will probably flatten everything. #neverhappy

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You and I started our gardens together! This is my fifth summer although I didn’t do a thing in the first one other than note what was growing. Now I feel like I want to change everything! It seems overgrown and I’m struggling with one of the raised beds. Originally for veg, I rapidly gave up on that idea. The S&S were eating far more than I was growing! The annual white bed worked well so maybe I’ll go back to that as the perennials I keep planting keep dying! Also rampant bamboo and montana clematis need dealing with. Sigh… Perhaps a lawn would be easier…

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    • Aah, the heady optimism of those first days! I am gradually reducing what I grow in the veg plot end. I am down to tomatoes, potatoes, beans and courgettes this year. But plenty of soft fruits most of which was inherited. I am changing one end of the long border which I now realise gets much less sun than I thought. Shame about those perennials dying, painful too!


  8. i have a cunning plan – i’m going to get me some of those agastache. jealous of your zinnia. mine are nearly always rubbish or eaten by slugs. i have some that i sowed late that i might get some flowers from next month, they might be ok. we shall see…!


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