A good week

It has been a good week for the garden. It has been sunny some days, there has been some rain and nights have been warm. Plants are growing well, including the weeds, and the lawn, which is needing to be mown twice a week.

The corner that is the yellow and white garden has been rewarding, with white lupins and bearded iris stealing the show. That will change as the nasturtiums, which have self sown, as I expected, come up thick and fast. I am hoping that they all stay as ‘Milkmaid’ with pale yellow flowers and did not get hybridised with the others in different parts of the garden last year. Fortunately they are easy to pull up if they are the wrong colour.

The occasional rain has made all the planting of annuals a bit easier though I will need to water them in again today.

Elsewhere the lush grass even makes the less well established beds look good.
Although there are still some apples in flower, most are now over and, although the setting has not been amazing, because of the cold April and wet May and, I feel, the lack of bees, most of the varieties have set some apples and I am sure there will be a crop of sorts this autumn.
The hostas are a lot better this year, because of the late spring, moist May and, unlike last spring, no vicious late frost (so far!). The ‘hosta garden’ has around 70 varieties and most are doing well. Only one seems to have died – of course the most expensive I bought – the red-leaved ‘First Blush’. It is upsetting but I have to say that, although it is the pinnacle of hosta breeding, I was not in love with it! I am more excited that ‘Captain Kirk’ is maturing and looking good.
I am also pleased that the small lemon verbena plants made it through the winter in the cold polytunnel and, now potted, are growing away well. I love the smell of lemon verbena and now have to think of where to plant them. Some will go into pots and at least one will go beside a bench so I can enjoy the fragrance on those rare occasions when the bench is used by me rather than the birds.

Plant of the week

This could almost be plant of the month or plant of the year. It is not looking its best but the fact that this pink (dianthus) has survived in a row of pinks that saw many losses over winter, makes it special. ‘Devon Wizard’ is, I think, a Whetman pink and shows that not all modern flowers have poor scent. I brought a plant with me several years ago and propagated it and planted out six plants. The young plants flowered last year and the first flowers this year opened several months ago. The flower stems are shorter than normal because they are overwintered stems but the new flowering shoots are growing taller, making them ideal for cutting. Apart from the bright colour, which may be a bit strong for sensitive souls, the joy of this plant is that they are so very strongly scented. They fragrance the air around them, so much so that you can smell it yards away and when mowing nearby. This has an RHS AGM, which is well deserved. I like old pinks but I have to admit that this is such a strong grower, flowers for so long and is so sweetly scented that, as a garden plant, it is superior to most. As well as being a strong plant, the foliage is quite ‘blue’ and very attractive even when the plant is not covered in blooms. I need to make more and, when I am ready to plant around the formal pond (still not lined) combine it with lavender for a perfume overload.

Many ‘pinks’ in garden centres are short-lived hybrids that are nice for summer pots but are not long-lived. True garden (Allwoodii) pinks like this, are perennial. They are great in the first year, fantastic in the second and then they deteriorate as they get woody at the base. They need to be propagated by cuttings, which are quite easy to root, in summer, as long as you use a really gritty compost (or a compost enhanced with vermiculite or perlite).

10 Comments on “A good week”

  1. Annabel
    June 6, 2021 at 10:43 am #

    Thanks for a great positive and inspiring post. Might consider Dianthus for June colour. The front of the pink borders always look a bit bare in June -july. The Lupin and fox gloves are taking all the limelight in the back.

    • thebikinggardener
      June 6, 2021 at 11:31 am #

      Hybrid (Allwoodii) pinks are great value and although they are at their peak in June and early July they keep on blooming till autumn. They are good companions for bearded iris – both like the sun and the dianthus don’t swamp the bases of the iris. Thanks for your comment. Have a good day.

  2. tonytomeo
    June 7, 2021 at 6:18 am #

    How nice that bearded iris are still blooming. They look white in the picture, but when expanded, they look more like lemon meringue.

    • thebikinggardener
      June 7, 2021 at 8:15 am #

      I used to have lots, mostly bought from Schreiners, Cooleys and Mid America, but had to leave them behind when I moved here. Those I have now had a hard life in pots, waiting for years to be planted out but now, finally released, they are doing well – I just have little chance of naming them and will just enjoy them for this year!

      • tonytomeo
        June 10, 2021 at 4:45 am #

        None of my iris were purchased. That is a rule in my garden, with only a single exception. If I ever find ‘San Jose’ for sale, I intend to purchase it. All the other have a story. My Iris pallida came from my great grandmother’s garden. I have been growing it as long as I can remember.

        • thebikinggardener
          June 10, 2021 at 3:53 pm #

          Iris pallida is a lovely thing and even nicer if it has history for you

          • tonytomeo
            June 11, 2021 at 6:24 am #

            I had considered it to be a bearded iris. It is still my favorite, even more so than the white bearded iris.

  3. Paddy Tobin
    June 7, 2021 at 7:14 am #

    I have been worried about apple set but I think we will have bit of a crop. Great gardening weather these days alright. We did a very long day here yesterday.

    • thebikinggardener
      June 7, 2021 at 8:13 am #

      The trees flowered their little hearts out. I do not know if it is just me but there seem very few bees about. Perhaps the cold April was difficult for them.

      • Paddy Tobin
        June 7, 2021 at 1:45 pm #

        I am hopeful of a good fruit set

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