Six on Saturday – Hot flower spikes for midsummer

It’s got to the time of year where I find myself having to continuously empty my shoes of grass seed and brush my T-shirts down to clear off the cleavers’ seedballs. I never get them all at one go, so I find myself picking them from random bits of clothing when they irritate me later. Yes, weeding is a  >100% full-time job right now and they all seem to be stinging, scratching or stabbing kinds. Luckily, there are some nice bits in the garden too. In particular, many of our perennials are busy throwing up pretty, coloured spires. It’s hard to choose which to highlight for Six on Saturday, so I’ve decided to highlight the hot end of the spectrum this week. Visit Jonathon’s blog to see loads of other strictly-made selections of six gardening things this Saturday.

Here are some hot flower spikes from our garden on 02/07/2022:

1) Agastache aurantiaca ‘Navajo Sunset’

This beautiful apricot hyssop is serendipitously growing through some tiger-faced orange and yellow violas, surrounded by Eschscholzia ‘Red Chief’. The hyssop stems look so delicate that I never think it will make it through the winter, but it always manages it.


Agastache aurantiaca ‘Navajo Sunset’

2) Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’

I managed to split this patch of monarda earlier in the year, so in addition to the established clump, I’ve now got over a dozen smaller plants spaced through the long border.


Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’ and approaching bumblebee

3) Betony ‘Hummelo’

My two clumps of betony have stayed compact, so I had to resort to propagation using collected seed. Germination rates were good, but I’ve been having trouble getting any real growth on plants sown using Sylvagrow peat-free compost, in spite of feeding. Anybody else noticed this? I’ve found it necessary to move plants on to a mix of peat-free, top-soil and home-made compost, but the plants are still taking time to get going.


Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’

4) Salvia ‘Royal Bumble’

Royal Bumble is a real Do-er. It starts flowering early in the summer, flowers prolifically … and then keeps going until frosts cut it back. I love its glowing shade of red. I also took cuttings of Salvia ‘Jezebel’, which, quite frankly, I’m not sure I can tell apart from Royal Bumble, but this plant was taken when I only had Royal Bumble πŸ˜‰


Salvia greggii ‘Royal Bumble’

5) Purple Loosestrife

This has a reputation for being a thug, but in my dry East-Anglian garden it is perfectly well-behaved. I’ve planted it by the pond, but in the garden, not in the margins, so it is fine. It’s a very attractive plant for pollinators of all kinds. Plus, it’s purple!


Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife)

6) Rusty Foxgloves

I’ve managed to establish a small forest of these graceful foxgloves. Their colouring is pleasant rather than eye-catching, but the entire plant (including flowers) is covered in tiny hairs that catch the light. These give their tall silhouettes a lovely glowing outline. This is the first flower spike to open, but I am hoping for some serious bumblebee action in the next week or two. I know that woolly carder bees are especially fond of them. Fingers crossed!


Rusty foxglove (Digitalis ferruginea)

Well, I was wondering about cheekily sliding in a couple of extra spikes, but where would I stop? So, six it is then. That’s the brief after all and there’s always next Saturday.

Happily, there are plenty more flowers to view via The Propagator’s blog. Take a look.

Have a great weekend!


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
This entry was posted in Six on Saturday and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Six on Saturday – Hot flower spikes for midsummer

  1. linnie says:

    gasp! … the beauty.

  2. fredgardener says:

    What reds this salvia and that monarda! wow!
    Another agastache that I didn’t know…

  3. Rosie Amber says:

    How interesting, I’ve not heard of a rusty foxglove.

  4. pbmgarden says:

    Great selection of spiky blooms. I love the color of your Agastache.

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    A great six this week, Allison! Seeing your digitalis made me realize that mine in the front bed failed to return this year. I think I must have too many gardens if I didn’t notice until now!

  6. shoreacres says:

    I found myself wondering if your foxglove is related to various medicines — including digitalis. I found this fascinating article that brings together some facts about the flower and its uses. Even Van Gogh may have taken advantage of its properties!

  7. Ronnie says:

    What fabulous colours you have in your garden. I really must get some Mondarda, I grew it some years ago.

  8. Jim Stephens says:

    I’ve had the same issue with Sylvagrow, it doesn’t seem to have much feed in it and when what there is has gone plant growth is pretty much non-existent. With slower germinating seeds that point will be passed very soon after they germinate, or even before. I think some things get going again sooner than others when you start feeding them but I mostly liquid feed once or twice a week from the start and I put Osmocote into it when potting into 9cm pots or bigger.

    • Thanks for these helpful suggestions. I’ve been using liquid feed, but had come to the conclusion it was being neutralised in some way. Prills are a good idea for growing on.

  9. Cathy says:

    A lovely Monarda and I love Royal Bumble. That was the only cutting of mine that survived and it was the first to flower in spring! Happy weeding! πŸ˜‰

  10. Cathy says:

    I believe fertility is an issue in peat free composts with a high coir content, so feeding or blending will prove necessary. I must move my currently thriving Royal Bumble as it will soon ge overwhelmed by other things! How hardy do you find yours to be?

    • Royal Bumble is one of the tougher ones. It’s bounced back in the garden for the last two years with no protection whatsoever.
      The annoying thing about the peat free is that I have been feeding (liquid though) the plants as I suspected the lack of nutrients, but it hasn’t helped. I’m thinking prills are the way to go, as Jim suggested. Blending with top soil has helped a little (sadly my own compost is dreadful – been too dry I think).

      • Cathy says:

        I have never heard the term ‘prills’ before, so have learned something new – thank you! I use slow release fertiliser in all my (decorative) pots now (as well as water retention crystals) but would never have thought to use them in growing on plants…will certainly consider it for the future!

      • I think the term is used more in agriculture than gardening, but we were taught it in the level 2 RHS course.

      • Cathy says:

        Will try to add it to my vocabulary!!

      • Cathy says:

        And thanks for reassurance about Royal Bumble…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s