We are in that time of abundance in the year where there’s still plenty to harvest, pick and admire, but there are also overtones of completion and change. As a former astronomer I hold with summer stretching on till the autumnal equinox (23 Sept this year) when night and day lengths are about equal. However, I can see signs of its grip slackening already. But let’s stay positive here and talk about the season’s riches for Jon, the Propagator’s Six on Saturday. Click through to his post for a burgeoning selection of Sixes!
Here are my six:
1) A New World Feast
On Friday I decided to harvest some of the slipper gourds (Cyclanthera pedata) to see how developed their seeds were. The largest had seeds that were colouring and toughening up, so I need to start cooking with them in earnest. Once the seeds are too tough I will strip them out and stuff the gourds. Achocha ‘Fat Baby’ (the smaller, spiky ones) are at a similar state of maturity. So I roasted this haul with garlic for a family meal and the reaction was ‘meh’. Yes, amazingly there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm. Ah well, better than ‘yuck’ I suppose, but it’s a good job that I like them!
2) Starry Wood Asters
After a trip to Hyde Hall last summer I was enthusing at work about how brilliantly the white, starry wood asters worked in lighting up the shady bits of their shrub borders. I thought they might work well in my shady front garden. Luckily, a colleague offered to dig some up for me when she carried out some divisions in the autumn. So happily I can show you this photo of Eurybia divaricata, where it is doing exactly the same transformative job in my garden just now. The hoverflies seem to love it too.
3) Blushing Pink Lavatera
You’ve got to love lavatera for its unstinting efforts to bloom all summer long. I grew tree mallow, L. ‘Barnsley’ for years, but it fell out of favour and mine eventually didn’t make it through a winter. Then I tended to stick to the annual white lavatera ‘Mont Blanc’. But this year I have tried L. trimestris ‘Dwarf Pink Blush’ and I am loving it. It manages to look continuously fresh and lush and lovely. It has certainly brighten a previously dull spot in the border.
4) Meadow Mix – A classic
I’ve planted Pictorial Meadows ‘Classic’ annual mix in a couple of awkward spots under a pair of tree with shallow roots. The seeds took a long time while to germinate with all the dry weather we’ve had, but since the beginning of August they’ve been a joy, twinkling like jewels in dappled sunlight.
5) Fluff and sparkle – Grasses and raindrops
As the ornamental grass season hots up, I have to say that there is nothing to beat walking about the garden in the sunshine after a shower and seeing the fluffy flower heads glistening with raindrops. They all do it to an extent, but annual grasses like Panicum ‘Frosted Explosions’ and perennials like Pennisetum villosum do it magnificently.
6) We don’t give a Fig!
Our ‘Brown Turkey’ fig tree begrudgingly successfully ripens only a handful of its numerous fruits each year. This year it has done a little better and I’ve managed to pick some beautiful figs before something else has nibbled them (usually the case). So once again it is a little disappointing to discover that I can’t persuade anyone else in the family to eat them. Admittedly they do have an image problem to overcome (see photo below if in doubt) and I know that we tend to eat with our eyes, but when cut into wedges, I can’t see the problem.
What do you think?