Today has been the coldest so far this winter and we’ve spent a very unpleasant couple of hours this morning finalising preparations for winter protection at the nursery. The cold has made me look back at the summer via my photographs, with longing trying to recapture the warmth (not that there was a huge amount of that here in Evesham!)
The first photograph is looking up the Hamilton bed which was a haze of Scabious, Phlox, Penstemon, Leucanthemum, Echinacea and grasses oh and an unknown pink rose,one of our auction buys, which flowers prolifically all summer.
The second photograph is looking across the Sunshine bed towards the Pink bed and features the “must have” plant of our garden visitors this year – Epilobium “Stahl Rose”. It was a huge success and we sold out quite early on however being an Epilobium it’s not difficult to propagate so we will hopefully have enough for next year. The deep red, low growing plant in front is a Sweet William, we decided to give biennials a try last season and used them and wallflowers with great effect. The added bonus with Sweet Williams is their lovely scent.
Roll on next summer!
I like seed catalogues and seed lists from garden societies. I enjoy trying out new plants from seed – you never know what you may find. So it came as no real surprise to find, about four years ago, that the Veronica kiusiana seed that I had bought, because it’s a delightful plant – upright, wedgewood blue flowers in summer and gorgeous butter-yellow foliage in autumn-wasn’t. Not only was it not kiusiana but it wasn’t like any sort of Veronica in our nursery.
It grew really slowly from seed, taking three years to develop and another year before it flowered. It has silvery foliage, almost white on the reverse, a woody stem which tends to grow laterally in a rather ungainly manner when potted, and then – finally – a spire of intense blue flowers in October. Right now, it’s still in full flower in our nursery garden, (see photo taken yesterday) and therefore, since the nursery is closed and we haven’t been out to a plant sale since the middle of August, it is hardly a best seller!! It should be. Who wouldn’t like a plant in flower in late autumn?
I have made several forays onto the internet to try to identify it but nothing really struck a chord until the day we received some plants from the Hardy Plant Society – The Conservation Scheme. We have been asked to grow on and assess some of the plants on their list, and one of these was Veronica ornata. It’s still too early to make a positive identification, but it looks awfully like my mystery plant. Watch this space – well, don’t bother for the next 12 months, because it could be a while before our HPS plant shows it’s true colours. But that’s gardening for you, isn’t it?
There’s been a lot of media coverage just recently of Monty Don and his dog, Nigel. Naturally, I’ve seen a lot of Nigel (and let’s not forget the newbie, Nelly!) as I’m a devoted fan of ‘Gardeners’ World’ – from the Geoff years onwards. So I’ve had quite a while to admire Nigel’s perfect ‘on camera’ persona, and to envy Monty his placid companion. Watching Monty casually lob a ball for Nige, who then WALKS OFF WITH IT!!! makes me sooooooo jealous.
Now. Imagine the filming at Harrell’s nursery garden.
Gardeners’ World. Music – Monty strolls into view, pushing a wheelbarrow – music fades.
Monty: Hello. Welcome to Gardeners’…….. (Milly, at his heels, spots the camera man.)
Milly: Bark! Bark! BARK!
Monty:….. World. Tonight …Bark! BARK! Quiet, Milly!.. I’m going to ..( camera man suddenly lurches to one side as he is struck by Sophy hurtling up from the garden on hearing a stranger’s voice) … be planting …. ( picking up the ball that Maisie has dropped at his feet and throwing it)…. my runner…(picking up the ball that Maisie has dropped at his feet and throwing it a long way)…. beans…Bark! Bark! BARK! ( Camera man can’t follow Monty to his raised bed, as Sophy is hanging on to his waist with her paws) .. now that …(picking up the ball that Maisie has dropped into his newly-dug runner bean hole and throwing it as far as he can) Bark! Bark! BARK! Quiet!! Milly….all danger of frost…(picking up the ball that Maisie has dropped on his runner bean plants and hurling it into the trees) …has passed…. OFF SOPHY!! QUIET, MILLY!! Right. Let’s stop filming for 5 minutes while I shut the dogs in the shed. ( Cameraman heaves a sigh of relief as Sophy is pulled off him. Monty grabs Milly and Sophy and shoves them into the shed. There’s no sign of Maisie, as she’s lost her ball and is now deaf to any and all calls.)
Oh! Yes. I envy Nigel and Nellie, but I wouldn’t swap.
I picked this bunch of flowers from my garden Monday morning then we had frosts Monday and Tuesday nights so this is my last decent amount of flowers from the garden for this year. Quite often I get the odd one or two flowers, usually roses, up to Christmas but I don’t expect enough to fill a vase until next year.
The peach coloured Dahlia has been terrific all summer, I’ve had it for ages and have no idea of its name! The Penstemon is “Alice Hindley” a really good plant, the white argyranthemum is also nameless as I’ve had that years taking cuttings late summer and over-wintering them in the greenhouse. The Helianthus is a new one to me, I bought it this spring called “Dorien Roxburgh” a bit taller than H. “Lemon Queen” and doesn’t seem to need staking and has been very floriferous. The Schizostylous I bought years ago in Cornwall and I’ll probably get the odd one or two more flowers until it gets really cold.
The roses are “Sophy’s Rose”, “Munstead Wood”, “Hot Chocolate”, Champagne Moments” and the peachy coloured one at the front might be “Lady Hillingdon” I think!! A New Years resolution for 2017 will possibly be to make labelling plants more of a priority. (maybe)