We had torrential rain on Monday evening which caused local flooding on some roads, nothing like that experienced in Europe this week for which I am grateful and this weekend we have a scorchio heatwave. It is feast or famine weather-wise and I had a nostalgic longing for the gentle summers of childhood. We did have them didn’t we? There is one aspect of the garden that is very much feast time and that is the dahlia banquet I have been serving up for the slugs. That’s it. I am done with dahlias, never much liked them anyway and as I don’t have that many they will not be missed. Also suffering this year are the lupins and zinnias. The new resolution is ‘if the slugs munch it, it is not staying in the garden’. In ruthless mode I also dug up an echinops ritro – globe thistle. Never much liked that either. It seemed to suffer from aphid attacks and then took on a bedraggled look until the next wave of growth came through. Not attractive and now gone for good. On the good news side, I have planted out all the salvias and some very slow to get going nicotiana ‘Whisper’ seedlings. Twenty tiny seeds sown, four germinated. They grew on so slowly that I had actually forgotten them. Yesterday, in some cobwebby corner of the greenhouse, I spotted the glowing green leaves and they were in the garden pdq. Here’s this week’s six.
Hebe, variety unknown. I inherited this in the front garden where it lurked under the magnolia tree doing not very much. Two years ago I dug up it and for the time being, as one does, put it in a corner of the veg plot. This year it has performed spectacularly. With fireworks of white spikes of flowers fizzing of in all directions. It is alongside the potatoes this year and I am very happy to let it stay there. Added bonus: no slug damage.
Ever reliable, no slug damage, and so easily taken for granted, even moaned about occasionally, verbena bonariensis. Moaned about because here it self seeds readily. It seems to grow in every corner but does the best in the sunniest spot where it really does stand up well without falling over the path too much. I pull them up where they are flopping.
Hollyhocks. Hmm, yes some occasional slime trails but the plants just push on upwards. Self seeding itself throughout the borders and I do nip out the seedlings when I spot them but of course some manage to elude me and then deliver a mid summer surprise as they soar above the other plants.
The ever sunny leucanthemum superbum or shasta daisy. Now securely staked. I grew these beauties from seed when I first came to this garden and used them to front the wild blackberries, that I was going to dig out. Over the last few years the blackberries have been somewhat tamed and since they deliver a bountiful crop they get to stay. They are one of the few happy weeds that I inherited.
I had to laugh as I saw glorious photos of lupins in SOS posts and then was told last week that one of the ‘jobs to do’ was to cut back lupins. Mine have barely got going. This one has just managed a flower spike, the others have been munched by slugs. I fully expect the blackfly to descend on the lupin this week. They are going and I think I’m going to use the space to plant another rose.
Last of the slug free plants is euphorbia oblongata. Slightly past its flowering best but what a stand out colour in the garden right now. Grown from seed a few years back, and if I remember rightly I sowed a whole packet of 45 seeds and got three seedlings. But then what would I have done with 45 plants! Sometimes nature knows best.
We have been enjoying cucumbers from the greenhouse this week and I think the time has come to dig up some potatoes. My old allotment site issued a tomato blight alert this week – so far all looks okay here. The French beans are flowering and the courgettes will undoubtedly zoom away in this weekend’s heat. It’s also time to pick some currants and the last of the gooseberries. It’s not all bad, is it? Over at The Propagator’s garden all seems good too, with plenty of sunny flowers to enjoy. I hope, on balance, things are also good in your gardens.