Friday 9th July 2021

Fresh from our successes transforming areas of our colleagues gardens, we returned to Garden House this week. And floriferousness abounds.

The G/H opening for the National Garden Scheme on 18th June put the fun into fund-raising and raised over £1500.00 for charities. Many thanks to all who baked cakes and even more to those who stayed to help out for the afternoon. And people just loved the garden! Why wouldn’t they?

With the arrival of these long, hot summer days, someone (undisclosed) has been getting slower and slower in producing the blogs on time.

But, after all, doesn’t slow and steady win the race?

Certainly!

‘Hakuna matata’ is my motto

Just put one word steadily after another

But, do try to keep up, dear

Plant Ident.

This week we are focusing on scent. It adds so much to the atmosphere of a garden, and of course plays an essential role in attracting pollinators to different plants at various times. Bees and butterflies during the day and bats and moths at dusk and night. Clever things, these plants.

Rosa ‘Compassion’

A favourite of Geoff Hamilton’s, and therefore a favourite at Garden House too. A repeat-flowering climbing Rose with good scent and real presence. Dark green, glossy leaves show off the large, fully double apricot/pink flowers. Likes full sun, fertile and well-drained soil. Good on a wall or pergola. Water lots, feed and dead-head and this plant will be compassionate to you, giving weeks and weeks of pleasure. 3.0 x 1.8 m. A.G.M.

Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’

More compact than many Philadelphus varieties, this single-flowered Mock Orange has a gorgeous orange blossom scent and is very attractive to pollinators. Very low-maintenance (always an excellent selling point), it is a good choice for a sunny mixed border. Prune as soon as it has finished flowering and cut back one in four of the oldest stems to the base. Remove any dead, diseased and damaged wood. 1.2 x 2.5 m A.G.M.

Trachelospermum jasminoides

A must for its perfume alone, although its glossy evergreen foliage is also highly desirable, as are the small, white, star-shaped flowers which emerge in the summer. The foliage turns a warm scarlet/bronze over the winter months. Star Jasmine needs full sun, feeding and watering to thrive. As do we all. Good drainage is also essential. Pollinated at night by moths when its scent is at its most tantalising, carried on the warm air. How romantic! Hardy in the south-east, but ensure it is kept as frost free as possible. 9.0 x 6.0 m. A.G.M.

Aloysia citrodora

This may not look much like a scented plant, but, by jove, when you rub those slender, elongated leaves and breathe in, you get a sensational sensory surprise: lemon sorbet! Simply gorgeous, and much more zingy than that old stalwart, Lemon Balm. Grow in a sheltered spot in front of a sunny wall and your Lemon Verbena may make it through the winter months. If cut down by frost, they often regenerate from the base in late spring. Take cuttings to be on the safe side. Don’t be without it. 2.0 x 2.0 m. A.G.M.

Dianthus ‘Old Square Eyes’

Dianthus, or ‘Pinks’ are best grown on very free-draining soils such as chalk. Flowers tend to be white and various shades of pink through to magenta and red. Cut stems back after flowering, or the plant becomes leggy and looks grim. Gorgeously perfumed, they have a clove-based scent. The cultivar ‘Old Square Eyes’ was discovered as a chance seedling in about 1980. It grows to around 30 -40 cms and looks good at the front of a sunny border. Increase your stock of Pinks by propagating from pipings (effectively, these are Dianthus cuttings). They can be taken now and put into an open compost mix. In fact, this is one of our –

Jobs for the Week

Take Pipings from Dianthus

Pipings can easily be pulled from the main plant. After removing the lower leaves, the piping can then be potted into a good open mix of compost and horticultural grit.

Never forgetting…?

The all-important label

If you can’t find the name of the plant, then a description is helpful

Stand back. Allow time to pass and nature to take its course, and…

Look what happens!

Work on the Rockery

By July many plants need a bit of a tidy-up. Helianthemums, for example, really do need taking in hand; H. ‘Wisley Pink’ and H. ‘Henfield Brilliant’ in particular. They are free-flowering and low, spreading Rock Roses. Cut the straggly growth back to give a mounded shape to the plants; whilst doing so, use the opportunity to take cuttings. Plants from cuttings are Always A Good Thing.

Pot up Sempervirens and Succulent plantlets

Sempervirens, or House Leeks, are hardy evergreens. They are sometimes used in the making of ‘green roofs’, and when planted in groups, look like little jewel-boxes. They can be appreciated throughout the year, with fairly minimal input required. They don’t like being soggy, however, so it’s a good idea to give them some protection from prolonged rainfall.

Carefully remove any ‘babies’ by pulling the little rosettes away from the mother plant, together with a piece of root. Push gently into a gritty compost with good drainage. Water. Label. Done.

Below, a pink/burgundy colour palette made up of hardy Sempervirens

Tasteful. NOT tasty.

Succulents, on the other hand, are not hardy. They need a hot, dry situation and shelter from the wind. And the rain. And the frost. Ideally, they need to be undercover in the winter and definitely protected from the wet.

Echeverias are Succulents. Beautiful things, which can be propagated in the same way as House Leeks. Their rosettes are altogether fleshier, meaning that they have thicker leaves. More plumptious, if you will.

Cut back Geraniums

Many have almost finished flowering, but if cut back now, and then fed and watered, the regrowth will be virtually immediate. And often, there will be another flush of flowers too. Worth doing!

Although it does entail a lot of bending

Go On The Offensive On Lil’s Bed

We’re all for wildlife at Garden House, but there are exceptions. We don’t relish slugs. Nor snails. Nor resident foxes on a mission to dig to New Zealand. This bed needs some TLC after these critters have wreaked havoc. Stake Sunflowers, Salvias and Ammi. Pull out anything dead, dying, half-eaten. Plant some more mature annuals, stake and grit them. Water in well. Pray. And mount a 24-hour watch with a flame thrower to hand. Other weaponry is available.

Praying and gardening go hand-in-hand

Time to get up onto two feet now.

Upsy daisy

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