Garden News Magazine September
As always weather plays such an integral part in a gardener’s life and August certainly threw us all a mixed bag. From drought to gale force storms we have had to be flexible. Some evenings I was out till ten o’clock watering, limping plants through the brink of survival and other night’s it was batten down the hatches and survey the damage in the morning.
My August garden has been split between exciting new blooms and going to seed.
Our Munstead Wood rose gave a beautiful second flush, gaura ‘Rosy Jane’ playfully wafted in the breeze and salvia Love n’ Wishes, as always, was covered in vivid, virtually fluorescent pink flowers. It was also a bumper year for our self seeded Rowan. It was utterly laden with berries, which the local birds were thrilled about. Sunflowers bloomed from seed collected last year whereas dahlia and rudbeckia emerged gradually, teasing, coyly holding back before exploding into life. Dahlia ‘White Perfection’ yet again put on a fabulous show.
The hot weather gave me a perfect opportunity to collect seed. Normally I leave all the seeded plants in place as they provide a great home for bugs in the winter and look pretty when frosted but I have been so overrun with seed heads that is was time to clear some space and allow new plants space to grow.
I had a big chop back of Lunaria annua, honesty, which was literally taking over my back border. Fred, our cat, likes to get involved when I’m in the garden so he ‘guarded’ the seed heads or rather flopped down in the heat and had a rest. Foxgloves and calendula were prime for collection too; some were direct sown, the rest stored in paper envelops to keep dry.
One hot August afternoon I was greeted by an unexpectedly visitor, a Common Darter dragonfly. This amazing prehistoric creature decided to perch on a spent foxglove seed head and sit there for some time. Another good reason to leave seed heads insitu.
One aspect of gardening I find particularly special is how it brings people together and forges friendships. Plant and seed swaps are a wonderful way to share. It is amazing how much a new plant or pack of seeds can make you smile. I gave a friend various tomato plants grown from seed and she kindly swapped a sweet pepper ‘Redskin’ and mini cucumber plant – both of which have flourished and were delicious!
My Auntie Betty and myself share a love of gardening and her expertise has always been an inspiration to me. She saves up her spare seed packets and posts them to me. Receiving these bulging parcels is literally like receiving a Willy Wonker golden ticket - the anticipation of not knowing what gems hide within to grow next season. What a treat!
My highlight: Growing Euphorbia marginata ‘Summer Icicle’ from seed, given to me by my Auntie Betty.
All photos © Debi Holland 2020