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Last Month in My Garden, August 2017

August has been a long month! By that I mean that I could remember little of the garden at the start of the month until I looked at the photos I had taken then. Much has changed but some plants flower on and on, even improving in impact. Hardy geraniums come first to mind, particularly those bred from Geranium wallichianum, such as Rozanne. I have a paler one, called ‘Azure Rush’, which is equally good. G. psilostemon is the parent of purple flowers with black centres; upright ‘Red Admiral’ and spreading ‘Ann Folkard’ and ‘Anne Thomson’ have given lasting colour, particularly an old, large clump of the last. They will all flower throughout September and, probably, into October. In April, I was given the HPS conservation plant Geranium ‘Pink Delight’, which soon flowered. It is still flowering. Because it could be tender here (it is possibly G. x antipodeum x G. x oxonianum), I kept it in the greenhouse at first but moved it out when hot weather struck; it now needs repotting before returning to winter shelter. If I can propagate it and produce several more plants, I shall try one in the ground in a well-drained, sunny spot.

Geranium ‘Azure Rush’

Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’

Geranium ‘Pink Delight’

Not for the first time, I have failed to stake some plants this year and the weight of the flowers has pulled them down, constantly reminding me of my failure! The tall rudbeckia look particularly bad but ‘Goldsturm’, which never needs staking, is perfectly vertical – a real friend to the lazy. It is another plant that gives excellent value for space, flowering for months. I grow it in front of oriental poppies and when they go dormant the area is usually filled with dahlias, which also have long-lasting high impact. Last winter, I experimented with leaving almost all my dahlias in the ground and, as a result, lost many of them. I know many gardeners do leave them in and I have forgotten the odd one in the past and been lucky but I shall not rely on it. The plants that did come through have mainly flowered late, starting in August. I had some additional varieties from the Plant Heritage Plant Exchange this year so must take good care of them because all are unusual and are worthy of conservation. Another rarity, ‘Bonny Blue’, came from an HPS sale but whoever named it was lying because it is purple! (but attractive).

Dahlia ‘Guitarman’

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’
with Dahlia ‘Murdoch’

Dahlia ‘Bonny Blue’

Lythrum salicaria

My pond has been a sea of purple all month – beautiful but not pleasing. Lythrum salicaria, Purple Loosestrife, had overrun the area and I had it “all” dug out last autumn. It was a great disappointment to see it more floriferous than ever. I shall have to kill it off soon before it seeds because the seeds do “volunteer” generously and quickly develop tap roots which are difficult to pull out. Weeds are a constant problem but there are many good plants to look at, if only I could train myself to walk around the garden without seeing the problems. When I visit another garden, I am always more positive so I hope people take that attitude when they look at mine!

Margaret Stone

Posted by Margaret Stone

Vist Margaret's garden on one of the NGS open days.

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