Flowers on borrowed time

We are enjoying a kind autumn and there is still lots of colour in the garden. The soil is wet but we managed to get another mowing in yesterday – each time we mow we realise it could be the last time and keeping the grass low and clearing off the leaves is important, especially where spring bubs are planted.

I am delighted to say that the rostrincula has managed to bloom. We have had a few nights down to 6c and the first frost is going to happen some day (or some night) soon so every day that is mild is a bonus. The rostrincula has actually grown well this year, after a hard prune in spring and I am so pleased that it has had a chance to bloom, for a while at least.

Several hemerocallis are stoically blooming on. An advantage of these late blooms is that they tend to last for two days because it is so cool. Here is ‘De Colores’ which is a nice spider with flowers about 20cm across.

The tender salvia ‘Santa Barbara’ which is a S. leucantha hybrid, is looking great at the moment though it will have to be dug up and cut down to overwinter because it is not hardy. It always flowers so late and is almost not worth the effort in this climate but is so lovely I will persevere.

A newbie in the garden this year is Saxifraga fortunei ‘Gelber Monster’. I have only dabbled with these very late perennials once before when they fell prey to the dreaded vine weevils. Most of the popular kinds have dark red leaves and pink flowers so I chose this with pale yellow flowers. It is in some soil that is packed with organic matter and partly shaded so I hope it stays for a while.

I know that persicarias are as welcome as piles with some followers of the blog and Persicaria wallichii is more controversial than most because it is said to be invasive but, judging this perennial after its first year, I have to say that I like it. I may move it to less rich soil in time but it has made a large clump with no signs of spread (so far) and has been in bloom, with zillions of tiny white flowers, since late August. It is about 1.2m high so far and looks lovely when the low light catches the blooms but what is most valuable is the gorgeous scent.

I can’t end a post on such a positive note so I am showing my Hydrangea involucrata. This is not very hardy and last winter all the topgrowth was cut back to the ground and I thought it was a goner. But in June a couple of shoots appeared from the base and I was delighted to see it was alive. After a slow start it has begun to look really healthy and there is a flower cluster appearing at the end of each shoot. But the chances of these maturing is very remote I fear.

But good ol’ Rosa chinensis ‘Viridiflora’ just keeps on blooming and I like the flowers more in autumn and winter when they don’t have to compete with their brighter cousins.

The dahlias have been dug up and the tubers kept of the best seedlings. The ornamental gourds that were scrambling up the trellis have been cleared away too and the fruits harvested. Most are being given away but I will keep a few in a fruit bowl for as long as they last.

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5 Comments on “Flowers on borrowed time”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    October 22, 2021 at 1:36 pm #

    Flowers are especially treasured at this time of the year as the big flush of summer is well gone and anything looking well is appreciated.

    I managed to cut the grass/collect the fallen leaves here yesterday also but the ground is soft in some spots and I left big marks from the wheels. It will take a good dry week to allow another cut.

    That rostrincula is very attractive – one I haven’t seen previously.

  2. tonytomeo
    October 23, 2021 at 8:48 am #

    Salvia leucantha is already generating new growth for next year. That complicates the annual cutting back. I know it would be nice to groom out the old and leave the new, but I typically just cut the whole mess to the ground. I am pleased that it is not necessary to dig it for the winter.

  3. Jackie Knight
    October 28, 2021 at 8:23 am #

    I love the unusual plants that you are so good at caring for, that persicaria is lovely, and I had no idea there were scented persicaria, is that the only one?

    • thebikinggardener
      October 28, 2021 at 8:29 am #

      Thank you. I think that scented persicarias are the exception though I won’t say that P. wallichii is the only one. In fact P. alpina is also scented but the smell is not as pleasant and is sometimes described as being like a pig sty! It is a robust, upright perennial and very show. I never remember seeing it in the UK but it is fairly common here in Ireland. It seems strange that it is called ‘alpina’ because it certainly is not something to plant in a rockery. I don’t have it yet but I will plant one. I got P. wallichii from Cotswold Garden Flowers – which you can so in the UK but I can’t any more.

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