Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Mistaken Identity

At one time, dahlias went out of fashion. I, for one, am pleased that they've seen a revival in recent years and many people are growing them once again.

I often buy bulbs and tubers from Wilkinsons at a bargain price so I choose from the selection on offer there. This year it was Procyon and I have to say that it's put on a great show.


Another bargain purchase was Dahlia Blue Bell, I bought it very late in the season but as it was being sold off at just 50p, it was worth a gamble. The foliage has grown but so far it hasn't bloomed. I'm not too concerned, I shall save the tuber and replant it next year when hopefully, it will give me some flowers.


One variety I decided to search out this year was Bishop of Llandaff. I bought it from a garden centre and it was in a sealed package. A stunning dahlia having vibrant scarlet flowers set against almost black foliage, I don't think this is anything of the sort.


Definitely a case of mistaken identity. The dahlia I've ended up with is nice enough but I'm very disappointed that it isn't what I expected.


I shall try again next year for a Bishop of Llandaff, I hope I'll be more successful next time.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Photo Medley - August

I can't believe how fast this year's going. In meteorological terms, it will be autumn on Tuesday. I prefer to follow astronomical dates though, so for me, autumn won't start until the 23rd of September, still time for us to have a bit of summer. Time now then, as August comes to a close, for my round up of photos which haven't yet made it on to the blog this month.

Here's one from our holiday at the beginning of the month, Dalby Forest. It's such a beautiful place to walk and Archie loves it here too.


A few more photos from our visit to Wentworth Garden Centre Gardens where the bees were enjoying the flowers just as much as we were.


I think borders look fantastic when they're set against a wall for a backdrop.


The trees were underplanted with hostas giving this area a woodland effect.


This is the bee house which Mick attached to the fence for me a couple of years ago. It's never had any residents and I was going to move it a couple of months ago to see if a change of location would attract some visitors but before I got the chance, something moved in. Can you see that one of the little holes has been blocked up? I hope this will encourage some friends to follow suit.


Daniel bought me this red rose for Mother's Day a couple of years ago. It hasn't done very much until this year when it's put on a lovely show.


I always take far too many photos for my Harlow Carr post each month so here's a few more which I took this month. We had a brass band playing to us whilst we wandered the gardens.


These large pots greet us as we walk through the door, they display different flowers every month so I look forward to seeing the new arrangement on each visit.


I've never grown ferns myself but I find them fascinating, quite prehistoric in their look and the way they unfurl their fronds.


Many plants are setting seed at this time of year, I expect there'll be more seed pods to see on my next visit as we head in to autumn.


The cornflowers are in the Kitchen Garden. There's a wide variety of flowers grown there amongst the vegetables which, I'm sure, must help attract the pollinators.


Crocosmia Lucifer. A fabulous flower for a hot border.


It's a bank holiday weekend here so fingers crossed for some good weather. Mick has taken next week off work so I'm hoping we can get out and about a bit. Have a great weekend everyone, whatever you're up to.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Coming To The End

We're coming towards the end of the potatoes now. This year, as in the past couple of years, I've grown Arran Pilot and Anya. I grow them in containers rather than at the plot as I find there's no damage to them whatsoever whereas there was always lots of slug damage when they were planted in the ground. These are the last two tubs, one of each variety. I have a few of this size container but the majority of my potatoes are grown in smaller buckets.


I've had a very good year with my potatoes, I'm wondering if it's because of the wet spring we had, they must have had plenty of water at a crucial stage. These Anyas were harvested from one of the larger containers, I'd planted three tubers in it. There's six pounds which I think is really good as they're small potatoes and I've never found Anyas to be a variety which gives a particularly heavy crop.


I do have one other tub left to harvest, that of Bonnie, a variety I'm trying for the first time this year, along with Sherine which I've just harvested but haven't yet tried.

I had quite a few seed potatoes left over this year so earlier in the season, as each container was emptied, I planted more. I don't know if they will come to anything or not but the tubers would have only gone to waste so I'm not losing anything by trying.


Perhaps I'll have some home grown potatoes on my Christmas dinner plate this year.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Bloody Butcher

A local garden centre was selling tomato plants in spring. I don't usually buy plants as I grow my own from seed but I noticed that some of the varieties were heirloom varieties and when I saw the name of one, Bloody Butcher, I couldn't resist.

I didn't think the plant was going to be up to much because as it grew, it didn't seem to have very much foliage. I'm not sure if that's what these plants usually grow like or if it's an effect of our cold spring, we gardeners put so much down to the weather. Despite my earlier misgivings, the plant's gone on to produce a decent crop of medium sized tomatoes.


On researching this variety, I've found that the plant can produce fruits which aren't uniform in size, anything as large as a beefsteak to a small cherry size, however, I haven't found this to be the case with my own plant, they're all pretty much the same size with just a few smaller than the rest. I'm growing my plant in the greenhouse but apparently, it does well outdoors and is well suited to growing in cooler temperatures and short summers so ideal for the UK.


I think you can tell from this next photo how juicy these tomatoes are. They're beautifully sweet and have definitely passed the taste test. They've even been given the thumbs up by my dad, praise indeed.


I think this will be another tomato I grow again. I'd like to try it outdoors next time and see how it fares there.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Colour In August

In 2013, I followed the late Geoff Hamilton's advice and visited a nursery or garden centre each month where I bought a plant in flower. Doing this should ensure that I have something blooming in the garden every month of the year.

In August 2013, my plant of choice was Liriope - Royal Purple. Unfortunately, this is another plant which hasn't done very well, in fact, it didn't even put in an appearance the following year so it was very short lived. I've replaced it this month with Tradescantia - Charlotte. I expect this variety will be very popular given the birth of the new princess. You can see it was just starting to bloom a couple of weeks ago when I bought it but it had lots of buds.


I'm not familiar at all with tradescantia but I've found out that it's a clump forming perennial, just like the liriope, and is semi evergreen.


It looks like a good, strong specimen and its buds have burst since I bought it revealing these beautiful, three petaled flowers.


I hope this does better than the liriope.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Maskotka

I discovered Maskotka tomatoes last year. The plants I'd grown from seed weren't doing so well so I bought a couple of Maskotka plants from a local plant sale, I'm so pleased I did. This year I decided that I'd grow Maskotka from seed myself.

The plants are determinate, or a bush type, but they're not compact by any stretch of the imagination, they're very untidy and tend to sprawl all over the place. These are my three outdoor plants, I'm growing a further two in the greenhouse.


It's a heavy cropping variety so the weight of the fruit makes the plants very heavy, I find I have to stake them to give them a bit of support.


The fruit has a wonderful taste, sweet and thin skinned. I keep a tub of them on the worktop in the kitchen so that I can snack on them throughout the day, they really are delicious. They're a decent size for a cherry tomato too.


Gardener's Delight has always been my cherry tomato of choice. I've grown some plants this year but now I've tried Maskotka for a second year and my opinion is the same, I shall grow Maskotka in place of Gardener's Delight in future.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Harlow Carr In August

There was quite a change in the feel to Harlow Carr this month. You can tell that we're heading towards the end of the season as many of the bright hues of July are fading fast. This was most noticeable down by the stream where the banks are covered with mostly greenery and pale flowers with just the odd bright splash.



I like the frothy type of planting here, it makes you want to reach out and touch the plants as well as look at them.



The gunnera is looking splendid, it's hard to believe that this bank was bare at the start of the year, all this growth in just a few months.


The gardens have an Alice In Wonderland theme going on at the moment to coincide with the school holidays, there were lots of younger visiters. I loved this topiary, the White Rabbit, Queen Of Hearts and Tweedledum and Tweedledee. There were characters walking around the grounds too.


I couldn't get over the size of these flowers, they were as big as footballs. This is Hydrangea arborescens Annabelle.


Not all the areas are winding down quite yet though, this border continues to flower with hot colours.


I really like these echinops, apparently, they're great in a vase too.


One of my favourite flowers is astrantia, this one is Roma. I keep saying that I'll get one for my own garden but I still haven't.


The wildlife was enjoying this border, the bees were diving head first in to the Crocosmia Lucifer.






Another border with lots of colour still on show.


The Kitchen Garden has just come in to its own where colour is concerned. The dahlias are now blooming and many other types of flowers are dotted around growing amongst the veg.



There's a huge difference in the vegetables since my last visit, everything seems to have grown so quickly. This pumpkin is Atlantic Giant, there's some way to go until it will be harvested.


The squash are growing nicely. There's lots of different types sprawling in the bed.


The sweetcorn has its silks. I haven't grown any this year, I did buy the seeds but I never got round to sowing them.


They're going to have a great apple harvest. The trees are trained as espaliers against a framework bordering the paths.


No kitchen garden should be without sunflowers. These four beauties give a different meaning to Pretty Maids All In A Row.


The border I'm following has taken on yet another look. It seems new things pop up and flower each month.



Outside the Alpine House is a Pictorial Meadow, an annual flower meadow with a mix of plants which flower in summer and then die. A traditional wildflower meadow is perennial and flowers repeatedly year after year.



I like the use of cosmos, it's feathery foliage fills any bare spots giving the meadow a more fluid appearance.


I expect my next visit will see many of the vegetables in the Kitchen Garden being harvested and many of the flower beds starting to wind down ready for winter, however, I'm sure there'll be a few surprises too, there always is.
 
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