In the final days of summer, there’s still a huge amount flowering, but I’ll try to show plants that I haven’t already posted pictures of this season, so as not to bore you, my dear readers 🙂
Even though last winter was one of the mildest on record, the frost still managed to knock many of the so-called ‘hardy’ Salvias about, so I decided to give Agastache a trial and planted a couple of little plugs in late spring.
They have come along very nicely. These are far more cold-tolerant than most of the readily available Salvias, and so far the Agastache have been almost as long flowering & dry-tolerant as, and sharing the lovely colours and tubular inflorescences of, their better-known cousins. This makes them a great complement in the exposed areas of the garden.
Not that these similarities should be a surprise: both Agastache & Salvia belong to the massive Lamiaceæ (Mint) family.
The first one is Agastache aurantiaca ‘Salmon Pink’:
The two-tone, hot coloured flowers just epitomise the summer garden. The next Agastache is more typical of the habit normally seen of the garden Hyssops; this one being the ‘Blue Fortune’ cultivar of Agastache rugosa x fœniculum:
I’ll certainly be searching out many more of these plants as they have been really good value this summer.
But some of the other Salvias have really started to fill out. Salvia x microphylla ‘Hot Lips’, while not much to look at yet, has put on a fair bit of growth. It should fill out to be dense and bushy. This is a reasonably cold-tolerant Salvia; taking at least -15°C/8°F:
Another little Salvia that has flowered is S. greggii ‘Pink Raspberry Royal’:
This one is not as cold tolerant as S. microphylla, so it is in a north-facing enjoying all day sun and radiant warmth from the brickwork.
Moving away from hardy to quite tender is Limonium perezzi (otherwise known as Statice). This is in a protected area; it survived last winter and has given the first flowers:
Typically, this plant can’t stand frosts lower than about -7°C/20°F – here it is growing in the otherwise difficult shelter of a few large Eucalypts and the Macrocarpa Cypress, so it should be fine, and will hopefully spread. If you are in a mild area, this is a pretty good plant for the dry, dappled shade.
The Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pink Diamond’ shown in an earlier post is now living up to its name with glorious two-toned bracts:
Cuttings of the ivy-leaf pelargonium/geranium (Pelargonium peltatum) have flowered. This was taken from a clients’ garden, so I’m unsure of the cultivar.
In a warm spot, P. peltatum are amongst the most trouble-free Pelargoniums, being largely untroubled by diseases or humidity which makes them suitable in mild dry climates as well as the humid subtropical ones. The cuttings I used were almost 30cm/10″ long, pushed straight into the ground, which shows just how easily they strike.
P. peltatum is very frost tender (taking only a few degrees below freezing) so in my garden it is growing next to the lemon tree and passionfruit vine under the permanent warmth and protection of the polycarbonate roof which acts like a giant cold-frame.
It has a trailing habit and will be treated like a climber/groundcover in this area. I love the white flower and glorious leaf-shape.
The Convolvulus sabatius plug that I planted in April last year and thought was actually on a sabbatical, has finally given one flower. I can add this to a growing list of plants that others find easy to grow but struggle in my cool summers 😉
But I haven’t lost hope – these little Cosmos that I whinged about at the start of February have gone from this:
Still variable, but much, much better 🙂
I moved the little Dianthus away from a similar, but to my mind, clashingly hued Pelargonium…it is doing very well:
The last two pieces of the Achillea millefolium have finally flowered in shades of pink:
In the foreground is a recent purchase, Ptilotus exaltatus ‘Joey’. This somewhat tender perennial is a cultivar of an Australian plant whose natural habitat is in semi-desert areas. It’s low-growing:, never attaining more than about 30cm/12″, so very useful at the front of the border.
It will tolerate cold nights (about -10°C/14°F) but I’m not sure how it will go in my climate where the days often fail to get above freezing after heavy frost, so this winter will be the test. I imagine in climates like California or Southern Spain, this plant would romp away effortlessly.
It is relatively new-ish on the garden scene (it was used in a few gardens at last years’ Chelsea show): but the flowers are so unique – they look as though they belong in a Victorian era parlour!
Helenium ‘Riverton Beauty’ announces the transition from summer to autumn with vibrant yellows:
It’s a stunner, but at about 1.6m/5′ tall, it needs staking and protection from strong wind. The bees love it, and it’s nice not to have to bend down to photograph flowers!
With the shorter days of late summer, the Osteospermums are getting ready to burst into prolific flower. This is one of the first I planted, ‘Cinnamon Trade Winds’ :
Lastly, to show I can actually grow things in pots without giving the entire space over to cuttings, a Begonia tuberhybrida has flowered. These are notoriously tricky to grow as they need summer warmth, but not heat, with mild nights above 15°C, filtered light but not shade and moist but not damp, soil. Here, I have the pot sitting on the top of the hot-water heater to ensure that it survives my cool summer nights.
Once the leaves die back in autumn, the tuber needs to be lifted and stored in sawdust over the winter period away from frost.
Fiddly, but look at these flowers:
Happy Gardening 🙂