Can you believe it – it’s middle of July already! Here in London we have had amazing weather for a very long time, actually since it stopped raining in March, although it was rather cold in March and April. But since May we have had summer basically, and not many days below 20 degrees and many days hovering around 30 degrees C. The last week we have had some welcome torrential rain, but although it has been good for the flower beds, all the pots and containers still need watering almost every day. I am glad I have managed to reduce the 350 or so pots down to a more manageable 200 plus!
It’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day again, grab a cup of your favourite brew and come with me on a guided tour into my London jungle garden, I’ll show you what’s been happening since last time you were here. Lets’ start in the front garden.
The fuchsias here are getting really big, last month that fuchsia in the middle window was just a tiny plant, now it makes my living room rather gloomy. I am considering cutting off half of it, which means losing most of those huge flowers. Considering I said....
Here are my summer window boxes, starting to plump up, with creamy-yellow trailing begonias, strikingly pink Calibrachoa and 3 types of dark-leaved bedding dahlias in each box.
The dahlias have been a bit of a disappointment so far, the flowers are mainly below the leaf level so most of them are hidden amongst the leaves instead of towering above them like all my other dahlias. Not sure if this is a ‘design fault’ or if they will stretch up when we get further towards autumn. The flowers are cream, pink and dusty pink, would have been nice to see them properly.
OK, now to the back garden, i.e. the jungle! Can’t believe we are just in July, the garden is going to grow for another 3 months and it is already looking like this!
In the bed next to the patio, the most striking feature is all the daylilies which has flowered for over a month now, and above them the sunflowers are towering, in the same burnt red colours. I can’t believe I have managed to grow monster sunflowers this year too, these were supposed to grow to 4 ft!
And someone has dropped some wrong seeds in the bag, they were not meant to be orange....
....this is how they all 4 were meant to be, Helianthus 'Claret'.
And a bit further down the first of Helianthus 'Vanilla Ice' has started to flower, making me even more convinced that what I grew last year definitely wasn’t 'Vanilla Ice', even if the seeds came out of the same packet as the seed from this beauty. Here you can see the 10 ft monster from last year which apparently (according to where I bought the seeds from) should be the same. You be the judge....
Speaking of monsters, my new Goliath lilies have been flowering for a while, these are in their first year and in year 3 and onwards they can become more than 2.5m tall. This is Lilium 'Friso', a lovely scented giant and the flowers last for weeks!
I can smell these lilies stand several metres away from them, they are just intoxicating and to me there is no better scent in the garden than oriental lilies.
Here is another giant Goliath lily, this one is called 'Anastasia’ and is also just in its first year. I have a third Goliath lily which will flower next month, it is now much taller than my 2m tall fence, and is in its third year, called Miss Feya – hope to show it next GBBD.
And now to something completely different – clematises! Well, let me begin with the beginning. This is a photo from GBBD in March, when my camellia had just started to flower. Can you see those two obelisks behind and to the right of the camellia? That’s where my two old, mature clematises grow, Clematis texensis 'Gravetye Beauty' to the right and what I have always thought (and according to the label) was Clematis 'Niobe', but lately have come to doubdt when seeing photos on blogs here. Whatever she is called – oh yes, she is a ‘she’, she is a beautiful clematis, if anyone has a name for her please put it in your comment. So, anyway, usually the clematises grow up the obelisks and fold outwards a bit, often end up tangled and entwined, but that’s OK, they are cut down to the ground next spring anyway.
But this winter we didn’t really have a winter, no frost at all so the clematises just continued to grow during the winter and early spring. And they quickly grew out of the two obelisks. Then they met in the middle and created a bridge, then a tunnel and now they are....
Mainly flowering in the big old camellia, covering the whole thing in flowers!
You really can’t see where the two obelisks are, and where the obelisks ends and the camellia begins – it’s all a huge mound of clematis leaves and flowers!
Deadheading is impossible, I have always used to snip off spent flowers but not this year. Still, they keep on flowering. Here they are, both of them.
And this photo is from the left side of the camellia, where most of the 'Gravetye Beauty' flowers.
The colour of this one is rather beautiful, even if it was meant to be Niobe, and even if I think Niobe looks even more beautiful in photos. I can see I need to make room for one more clematis....somewhere!
OK, so from one (or two) monster plants to the next one, this is my passionflower, Passiflora caerulea draped over a dead tree stump. I gave it a really good snip in March, cut off more than 60-70% or so, but it has already grown bigger than it was last year at the end of autumn.
The flowers are spectacular and it is already producing fruit. The fruit will be orange when ripe.
The flowers look so intricate, I never tire of looking at them.
A bit alien looking?
And now to something completely different, but still rather alien – my summer flowering hellebore. If you are a regular visitor here you will have seen this one before, as it flowers every summer. This is the only pink hellebore I have, so the only time of the year I get to see a pink hellebore in my garden is in July/August, it doesn’t flower in the winter with the rest of the hellebores!
I have never had any seeds from my summer flowering hellebore, so today I had a go at hand pollinating the flowers, in a hope that I would get seeds this year. Imagine if maybe I get some seeds, maybe the seeds grow into plants, maybe the plants inherit the mother plant’s properties and become summer flowering hellebores some....oh, 4-5 years from now. And perhaps there is a market for summer flowering hellebores and someone will want to buy my plants....and I could get rich! Ah....one can always dream :-)
Here is a view towards the bottom of my garden, the beds are so filled that it is difficult to walk on the path without bumping into flowers on both sides.
Down here in this corner there are lots of fuchsias that don’t really appreciate sun, they love the shady, damp contidions down here.
And walking a bit further up you can see the whole dahlia bed in full.
Some of them hasn’t come into flower yet, I am still waiting for 2 different new ones to flower, but the rest has been flowering since last GBBD.
Look at the size of Dahlia 'Striped Vulcan' !
I think Dahlia 'Mary Eveline' is my favourite dahlia.
If we walk further along this bed we get to the last roses of the first flush – it lasted a long time this year, but the last couple of weeks with heavy bursts of showers now and then and soaring temperatures has taken its toll on all the roses. Now it’s going to be a quiet period for the roses, with just the odd rose here and there, before they put on another flush again in August.
The rose ‘Crimson Cascade’ is my oldest rose, and also one of my favourite. Here together with ‘Freedom’.
My two hydrangeas are growing like mad, this one is in serious need of staking – something that should not be necessary for a hydrangea. I think I need to prune harder every winter, I just do the obligatory down to second fat bud, with such mature bush and such a speedy growth I need to prune more because my hydrangea can’t take the weight of these flower heads on the tall branches. It has already got lots of bent, hanging branches just supported with a web of bamboo – not really supposed to be necessary!
This hydrangea is a bit easier to manage, not as tall, and a good few years younger, from memory I think this one is 6 or 7 years, the other one is 10. But it is growing taller and wider every year, I can see I need to do some serious pruning here too soon.
One could get the impression that my garden is just filled with tall, monster plants with huge flowers – that’s not the case. Here are some rather understated flowers you will have to bend down to really appreciate. This is the flowers of Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' or black mondo grass as some call it, or black lily grass as it is also called.
The flowers are tiny but beautiful, and in a few weeks time the flowers will fall off and black berries will develop. The berries will stay on the plant until the flowers appear again next summer.
And here are some other cute flowers, this is Penstemon 'Strawberries and Cream', a lovely new addition to my garden. I have already taken cuttings of it!
And speaking of cuttings, have a look at my nursery shelves, have you ever seen them as empty as this?! I have managed to plant out a lot, and I have also given away, swapped and sold some plants so there is very few left.
It’s mainly on the top shelf I keep plants now, and here is my kitchen garden, plus some sun hungry plants like my two oleanders and a tray of succulents (in the foreground). The edibles are radish, chillies and 3 types of tomatoes – but I did not have much luck with sowing tomatoes from seed as my kitchen is too dark really for growing anything from seed. So I decided to buy seedlings online instead. I bought them in April and delivery was supposed to be in May. Guess when I received my tomato seedlings? Last week!! I am furious with the nursery, will never use them again, I hope I will have tomatoes ready before Christmas…and without a greenhouse I need to get them ready before we get too cold weather. The rest of the edibles here are herbs: chive, basil and thyme, all of which I use a lot of all year round.
Well, I haven’t mentioned fuchsias in the garden yet, they are of course plentiful! Someone asked me last week how many fuchsias I have, and I had to admit I had absolutely no idea – so I just had to count them. I had 56 all in all. But a couple of days ago I managed to find a good home for 2 more fuchsias, so now I have only 54. However, at the end of this week I will get delivery of 10 new fuchsia cuttings that I have never grown before, 10 new plants that I next year can take cuttings of and make many new fuchsias from. Yippee!
This is ‘Annabelle’, a trooper in my garden, I have 4 mature , tall plants and several cuttings from last autumn already flowering.
And this is a close-up of Fuchsia 'Velvet Crush', the same as the big fuchsia in my front garden.
This massive bundle of fuchsias is just one pig pot, but with 3 plants, I should never have planted that many together – they were tiny when I did it! Since then they have grown a bit – a lot, and they have all flowered non-stop since July last year and never had a dormant period during winter, I actually hope there will be a rest for the fuchsias this winter so I can cut them down as usual. Then I can perhaps manage to split this one into 3 plants. As this one stands now it needs watering with copies amounts every single day.
And here is a beautiful fuchsia too, this is ‘Bella Rosella’, it probably got the biggest flowers of all my fuchsias.
This is ‘Mrs Popple’, a fast growing fuchsia, completely hardy.
And this little beauty is Fuchsia 'Blue Veil', rather on the small size still, but it will grow bigger.
My garden is having a ‘bumper year’, first an amazingly warm winter with copious amount of rain, but no flooding issues, then a cool spring with lots of sunshine, and now a great summer with lots of sun, high temperatures and a heavy downpour now and then. Who can ask for more?! Long may it last :-)
I haven’t put any close-ups of my many new hemerocallis, I plan to make a separate post with all those that flowered this year when I got time. It will come eventually!
I am linking my post to Carol at May Dreams Garden, If you head over to her blog you can see many more gardens in flower around the world right now. Until next time, take care.