Friday 15th July 2022

Mid-July, and the heat is on

No problem for us at Garden House; we plant for both sun and shade.

Such cool gardeners!

Plant ident.

Purple prose to describe the purple/blue plants in today’s ident.

Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Blue Spire’

Russian Sage (and, therefore, a Salvia). Large, plumy panicles of lavender-blue flowers are borne on this beautiful perennial sub-shrub from mid-summer and carry on through to autumn. Its white stems have aromatic silvery-grey leaves and the whole effect is luminous. Best grown in a poor but well-drained soil in full sun, so it’s particularly suited to sandy, chalky and loamy conditions. Lovely with ornamental grasses. It can flop a little and so should be cut back in March to its permanent woody framework in order to promote bushier growth. Mulch with compost after pruning and water well. Drought resistant. Attractive to pollinators. A.G.M.

Clematis Perle d’Azur

A late-flowering large-flowered Clematis with sumptuous pale blue/mauve flowers which are produced on the current year’s growth. Plant deeply and in shade to provide a cool root run, as this will help to prevent Clematis wilt and encourage new shoots to grow from below ground level. However, you do want to encourage the top growth to romp away into the sun and this is best done by planting it next to an arch or obelisk. This Clematis belongs in Pruning Group 3, which means it should be cut down in February/March to a framework about 45 cms above the ground, where fat new buds are forming. Feed regularly and water well. Cosset your Clematis. A.G.M. Ht. 4.0m

Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’

An elegant, deciduous shrub grown mainly for its rich purple foliage. Back-lit by the sun, the leaves shine. Pinkish-white flowers appear in early summer follwed by glossy red seedheads in the autumn. Site in partial shade-full sun, in a moist, well-drained soil. Does well on clay. Prune after flowering to promote colourful new growth; take out about a quarter of the old stems – or you can cut it back completely. Looks fantastic grown alongside lime-green plants and also golden shrubs like Euonymous ‘Green and Gold’. The foliage lasts well in a vase and is a great filler for arrangements. A.G.M. Ht. 2.0m

Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’

A real favourite at Garden House. The deep purple-black foliage is finely cut and complements the pink heads of elderflower blossom which are later followed by red-black elderberries. Prune back to ground level annually, in early spring. Likes a moist, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Easy from hardwood cuttings. A.G.M. Ht. 3.0m

Cotinus coggygria ‘Grace’

This is a purple-leafed form of the Smoke Bush, whose distinctive soft, smoky, flower plumes appear in the summer. It’s a shrub which goes on giving as the year progresses, because the leaves turn a vivid orangey-red in the autumn. Grow in well-drained, fertile soil in full sun or part shade. It loves a mulch of well-rotted compost or leafmould. Prune to shape. A.G.M. Ht. 6.0 m

Teucrium chamaedrys

Wall Germander. A delightful, dwarf, evergreen sub-shrub. Whorls of purple-pink flowers on loose spikes appear from midsummer to autumn. . Dark green, shiny, aromatic foliage. Heavenly in a herb garden. Can be used to make a low-growing dividing hedge in a parterre (should you be partial to parterres). Clip after flowering to ensure the plant remains bushy. Full sun. Bees adore it. You will too. Ht 0.25 m

Jobs for the week

Lots to do – but we’re feelin’ hot, hot, hot. So we keep our hats on and find a cool spot when we can –

Cut back Bearded Irises

Make a fan-shape as you cut the foliage, maintaining interest in the shape. Water well after cutting back. If the Irises have become overcrowded, divide clumps, removing the old central part and then replant the rhizomes. They like to bake in the sun.

Clip the Yew hedge outside the Garden Room

It needs shaping. Also, remove Honesty and the seedheads of Aquilegia. Take out the Hydrangea in the border as it’s too dry there for it to flourish. Right plant, but in the wrong place.

Cutting back and planting

Continues apace on the terraces. Gardening is something you very literally have to get into.

Work on the cut flower bed

Sadly, there’s been a lot of fox activity on this bed, and the blighters have caused quite a bit of damage. Cut back where necessary; deadhead; feed and water. Plant out classy Cleomes.

Plant Rose in Apple tree bed

Remove Rambling Rosie from her pot, where she is being somewhat lackadaisical, and plant deeply with lots of fresh compost in the bed next to the Garden Room. Hopefully this “vigorous, arching and repeat-flowering Rose” will then do what it says on her label – ramble!

Clearing the bed prior to tackling Rambling Rosie – a prickly customer.

Health and Safety Signage

Literally banging on about it

Potter in the Pelargonium Palace

Check those Pellies. Not too dry, not too wet. They must be just right.

Perfect pondering, pottering

and pouring

Work on the Dry Garden

Cut flowered plants back to a dome shape.

And plant Scabious

Sow biennials

It’s the last chance saloon for this job. Seeds of white and purple Hesperis, Angelica, Papaver nudicaule to be sown in the Cathedral greenhouse. Sieve the compost to remove any large lumps and ensure a fine sowing medium

Civilised sieve sharing

Put a layer of grit on top of the compost after sowing, then label. Water very gently using a fine rose spray on a small watering can.

Looking good alongside the cuttings

Plant Zinnias

Zingy Zinnias. These will contribute to extending the flowering season in the garden alongside other late-flowering perennials such as Heleniums


Hang on. Did we forget our Cake Break today?

Absolutely not!

A very special cake for a very special person’s very special birthday

We simply had to raise a glass to her

This was our penultimate session for the year. It hardly seems possible.

But, be in no doubt that Friday Group will finish 2021-22 with a flourish!

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