The fact I have so many self-seeded geraniums shows you that I am not ruthless enough to cut them back when the flowering wanes – a version of the Hampton Hack – ie I don’t cut the geraniums down to the ground once the first flush of flowers are over quick enough to stop seeds being formed.
I have seen many butterflies on my allotment recently, especially many peacock butterflies which love the Echinacea flowers, and brimstones which like the early-flowering Aster x frickartii ‘Mönch’ and the flowers of Dianthus carthusianorum.
Those HPS members who participate in the Conservation Scheme will know that I am keen to keep growing the plants that have been taken out of the scheme because they are now more widely grown. One of my favourite scheme plants that was not successful with other growers is Crocosmia ‘Vic’s Yellow’.
Cephalaria Gigantea is a great architectural plant to mix within planting schemes, also known as the Giant Pin Cushion flower, due to the shape of the flower heads, even more so after the Corolla has fallen. This perennial is a superb wildlife friendly plant to attract pollinating insects.
So FINALLY after all these months of one thing leading to another, we are about to deal with the new polytunnel. The new tunnel was going to be 20ft x12ft (6.1m x 3.66m) and having learned from putting up the original tunnel that it is REALLY difficult to get the plastic to lay flat over a tunnel that is on a steep slope, we tried hard to make the surface much flatter.
Another more well-behaved plant which is also very drought-resistant is Catananche caerulea. I love the brilliant blueish-purple flowers which open in abundance at the end of June. Hoverflies and solitary bees love to visit the flowers.
I am always spoiled for choice on June star plants in the garden. This year I’ve chosen an Oriental Poppy (Papaver Orientale) from 14 June 2021 – with self-seeded Geranium endressii round it – it’s a slightly pinkier version of the red Oriental Poppy I have elsewhere in the garden, which I bought from a Yellow Book garden one year without knowing what colour it might come out.
Soldanella montana comprises exquisite delicate nodding violet/blue flowers, the undersides are greyish in colour, with fringed petals. This little gem will flower from April - May, and can be planted in any good soil, and thrives in part shade.
Bumblebee queens are emerging now and will be hungry after a long hibernation. Crocuses provide valuable food in the form of pollen and nectar, and are eagerly visited by the queens. Other useful plants for early bumblebees are late-flowering mahonia such as Mahonia aquifolium, hellebores, pussy willows and winter heathers such as Erica carnea and E. x darleyensis.
Despite the cold frosty weather there is already a tiny bit of colour appearing from early spring bulbs. The winter aconites have come out but have had no chance of opening their flowers yet as it has been too cold. Snowdrops are just showing a bit of white at the top ...
Once the containers were filled I started planting. I have already planted a few Sarracenia plants such as S. flava and two hybrids, also several sundews such as Drosera filiformis and Drosera rotundifolia, and three Venus fly trap plants (Dionea muscipula).
I was egged on to take the secateurs to our yew by my friend Mary who was visiting one September. Unlike all the shapes above, I originally intended to make a spiral, as we had hoped to do to our box pyramids in pots either side of the front door when we lived in London.
The second article I ever wrote on this blog was to tell you about planting our mixed native hedge along the 40 meter long orchard boundary in December 2014, and this article is to tell you about its growth in the subsequent years, and its current status.
The only bumblebees I still see flying around are common carder bumblebees (Bombus pascuorum). They are normally the last bumblebees you see in your garden before winter arrives in earnest. Good late-flowering bumblebee plants are single-flowered dahlias and Verbena bonariensis.
The apple tree and its fruit are well represented throughout history, in mythology and early worship. Rameses III, an Egyptian pharaoh, encouraged people to make offerings of apples at a temple in Thebes, but he also allowed the more realistic back-up option of bone-marrow extracted from a camel, if you were short of apples.