Six on Saturday – 17/07/2021

The bit of the lawn that still gets mown was cut bright and early this morning, before the temperatures started to get a bit melty. This provided a lovely velvet surface for our apples fall on to. In fact I’ve been getting a bit worried that the ‘June drop’ is going on for far too long this year and am wondering whether there will be any apples left to pick when they are ripe! Well, I’ve just discovered the real reason for the drops. While we were sitting out, having a cuppa, it became clear that the continuous fall of apples is nothing to do with climatic conditions, but rather more to do with the large numbers of blackbirds (there were several successful nests this spring) that now frequent the garden. The blackbirds are currently jumping around our Grenadier apple tree (an early cooker), pecking at the stalks and adjacent flesh, until the swelling fruit give in to the inevitable pull of gravity.

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But now it’s time for six garden things for Jonathon’s Six on Saturday.

Let’s start with a plant a friend introduced me to this spring:

1 Delphinium requienii

We planted a couple of drifts of glossy seedlings of Delphinium requienii in the borders at Wimpole towards the end of April. They were protected initially from rabbits, but grew on strongly and remained untouched. Remarkably, we also discovered that slugs DON’T make straight for the plants, in spite of the genus! Those glossy leaves are tough and grew into very attractive mounds. In June the flower spikes began to emerge. I absolutely love the dusky mauve/pink tones. They were planted up with Ammi major, but those have been slower to establish and aren’t providing quite the frothing sea I’d imagined the spires emerging from. The delphinium are definitely worth repeating though.

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2 Dianthus carthusianorum

In the same way that Lychnis coronaria provides that shot-in-the-arm pulse of magenta in any bed, this tough dianthus gives a similar burst of shocking-pink colour to the border. It also has great stamina, flowering all summer long, provided it is deadheaded. Modelling the dianthus is a brimstone butterfly, which conveniently provided good visual contrast for the photo.

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3 Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’

Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’ is making quite a picture just now … and no mildew yet either!

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4 Betony ‘Hummelo’

I’ve been contemplating some prairie planting at the edge of our wild meadow patch, so this year I’ve been trying out betony (Betonica officinalis ‘Hummelo’) to see what sort of presence it has in a mixed border. In contrast to the floppy annuals (eschscholzia, poppies, cornflowers) surrounding it, betony looks remarkably strong and upright. It’s got a nice amount of colour on each spike too. It gets a thumbs up from me and will hopefully be even bigger next year … until I split it at least.

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5 Prickly Poppy

I’ve grown these for the first time this year and have been blown away by the scale of the flower compared to the diminutive size of the actual plants. Like most poppies, they are loved by bees and, as demonstrated by the photo, hoverflies.

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6 Angel’s Fishing Rods

Dieramas always seem to add graceful movement and height to a border. This one (probably basic D. pulcherrimum) was grown from seed collected and sown several years ago, but has taken ages to get round to flowering. I don’t seem to be any good at getting them to bulk up. I have Dierama ‘Blackbird’ languishing in pots at the moment too. Not sure what I am doing wrong, ‘cos the first time I grew them I’d swear they flowered the first year.

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So that’s my six. What are yours?

Keep cool and have a good weekend!

About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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22 Responses to Six on Saturday – 17/07/2021

  1. That’s a gorgeous Monarda. Interesting plants as always, a delphinium untouched by slugs sounds too good to be true. Hope those blackbirds leave some apples for you!

    • I’ve never grown a red monarda before, but it has certainly flowered it’s socks off this year. I was also impressed by the pristine state of those delphiniums, but I am sad to find out that it is not a perennial plant (It will seed around though). P.S. Happily, we are getting plenty of apples now, even the blackbirds can’t keep up!

  2. fredgardener says:

    Nice shots of the poppy and the monarda with this background

  3. Katharine says:

    You’ve captured the betony beautifully. I have several popping up in the long grass of my meadow area and the splashes of purple look fabulous there.

  4. I’ve added the pink and the poppy to my wish list. I don’t think I’d have room for a monarda – yours is very pretty.

  5. shoreacres says:

    Your prickly poppy doesn’t seem to be our Texas native (Argemone albiflora); the stamens and pistil are different. But I’d not be surprised to learn its a cultivar, especially since our plants were being imported to European gardens by the 1700s. That’s amazing, really. It’s one of my favorite plants — which you’ve probably figured out.

  6. Cathy says:

    The Delphinium is gorgeous! I also grew Prickly Poppy this year and love the big flowers. My Mum (Northants) has had white dieramas in her garden for years and they have finally settled in this summer and are blooming profusely. They obviously need a bit of time to get established. I have never seen the pink one though. Very nice. 😃

  7. Paddy Tobin says:

    As with you, we have a big population of blackbirds and they go to great lengths to eat the soft fruit. I have watched them eating their way through netting to get to strawberries but, regularly, once inside and startled by my approach, they seem to forget where their exit is.

  8. susurrus says:

    Sorry about the apples. It’s a pity there’s no way to educate blackbirds about food waste. The monarda looks glorious with the purple tinted foliage and it’s a great shot too.

    • Thanks Susan. There are plenty of apples this year and I can scarcely keep up with supply now they are ripening. I am enjoying watching the blackbirds devour the fruit now that I know there will be enough for everyone!

  9. Pádraig says:

    I’m attempting to put together a list of perennials to grow next year. I think Betulo would be worth trying.
    A definite thumbs up from me too. I also like the interesting depth of field of the photo.

    Keeping cool. You too, a chara.

  10. Cathy says:

    Lots to interest me in this post, Allison! I recently got some of this dianthus from an NGS garden – it’s not something I have come across before and look forward to it establishing. Is betony another name for stachys, or is this something different? And if you catch my WW this week you will see that I too have a dierama in bloom too, from a plant that I must have had for over 5 years without any suggestion of a bloom!!

    • But isn’t all forgiven for the long wait when you finally get to enjoy the dierama flowers? I hope you enjoy your dianthus. It flowers continuously all summer, so it really works for its place in the garden.

      • Cathy says:

        Oh yes, although I shall need to move mine as a pink dierama in the bllue & white does not work!! I am not going to plant out the dianthus yet, as they were fairly small seedlings when I bought them, but I look forward to them doing their stuff next year

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