As late summer starts, for many gardens the ‘dog days’ often spell an end to much of the colour in the garden. But in a mild climate with no real heat knocking plants about, the flowering season is long.
Case in point: the nodding Hellebore flowers perfectly complement the Fuchsia. (Now there’s two plants not often in a sentence, let alone a photo together!)
Hellebore and Fuchsia…together at last.
And, given the recent rain and weeks-long low temperatures (nights of about 6°C/42°F and days of about 14°C/57°F) mismatched seasonal flowers are not an isolated event.
Here, flowers associated with late winter and late summer sit side by side:
Another side-by-side that shouldn’t normally be seen
Rosemary & Agapanthus – together at last
Or a red maple, already wearing its autumn colours despite summer….
Sorry about the quality – taken with a camera phone
But at least the flowers typically associated with summer are in bloom.
The Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) is a charming harbinger of late summer:
Astilbe chinensis ‘Vision in Pink’ is blooming. Even though I took these from the same division, I like the subtle differences between the two:
More of my mixed bag lilies have flowered, I have a pale pink, a spotty pink and a white to add to the hot pink that opened at the start of summer
The Violet-Blue of the Campanula has come in for another flush of flowers. It makes a good companion to the Nepeta cataria ‘Walkers Low’:
Campanula and Catmint
Campanula in afternoon light
Brachyscome multifida, a pretty little ground cover from Victoria & New South Wales, puts on a great display for much of the year, but is especially cheery in the height of summer. I’ve quite a number dotted around the garden:
Brachyscome multifida ‘Pacific Mist’
Brachyscome multifida ‘Pacific Cloud’
Brachyscome & Wallflower ‘Fragrant Sunshine’
Brachyscome multifida cv.
They can be a little short lived, starting to fail after about 7 years, but propagate very easily from layering (which they do naturally, much like strawberries) division or tip-cuttings in summer. It is hardy to -15°C/5°F (USDA zone 7), but demands good drainage to shake the cold.
Continuing with Australian natives, the Grevillea banksii x bipinnatifida ‘Ned Kelly’ is also giving a nice summer display:
Grevillea banksii x bipinnatifida
Grevillea banksii x bipinnatifida – summer
Grevillea banksii x bipinnatifida – winter
This one flowers continuously throughout the year. It is a little more tender than the Brachyscome, but it survives at least -10°C/14°F in my garden, although it starts to show some damage below -5°C/23°F. To keep these flowering and compact, remove all spent blooms and give it a light all-over trim with hedging shears in mid-late spring.
Despite being from opposite ends of the globe, its colours and form remind me of the fading the Oak-leaf Hydrangea:
The cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) continue to charm, as do the California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica) and the little Violas. These have been powering along since the first warm days of spring and show no signs of fading:
Cornflower and poppies
Violets and poppies
Poppies & Cornflowers
That packet of seeds certainly has been value for money, with such a long, long flowering season.
Alyssum is always a great flowerer, somewhat weedy, but the bees adore it:
It’s in the same family as Wallflowers, and like them, keeps flowering in my climate as long as it doesn’t get too hot.
But another packet of seeds isn’t quite living up to expectations.
I’m not complaining as the seed packets – ridiculously cheap to begin with – were given to me free as they were two years out-of-date. The germination rate was fine (about 75%), but the picture vs. reality doesn’t quite match:
Cosmos ‘Candy Stripe’ promise
Cosmos ‘Candy Stripe’ Reality
It would take a lot of photoshopping to even come close!
Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’ is blooming. However, I think this one has a little too much summer shade and it will need to moved in a few months to ensure it’s golden foliage stays true…
Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’
And of course, in summer, the expectation is for hot, bold, brash colours:
Nasturtium and Thuja Smaragd conifer
Few plants better capture the feeling of heat than Nasturtiums. Especially in a terracotta pot…(even though I forgot to bring the pot under cover during the winter so the frost cracked large chunks off it.) Oh well…
The Pelargonium has been belting out flowers since October.
Pelargonium domesticum ‘Solstice Lilac Star’
I know these are sold has tender bedding geraniums in the UK, but they are much cold-hardier than credited (the caveat is that the drainage must be perfect; if they have wet feet, even light frost will kill them).
This one has survived plenty of hard frosts and snow storms without even the slightest damage. After each flush of flowers, just give them a light prune, some comfrey or seaweed solution, and it will be covered in flowers again in two weeks. Best of all, the cuttings root ridiculously easily to make new plants.
Here are Pelargonium cuttings that I put in a few weeks ago, straight in the ground next to the plant. As you can see by the dead bits, I didn’t follow any of the traditional rules associated with cuttings (Eg: no flowering parts, remove lower leaves, make sure the cutting isn’t too large, etc, etc). Most of them have taken root, and it really is that easy:
Pelargonium cuttings starting to take
I usually pot these on into little tubes and give them away to neighbours and nice clients.
I do exactly the same for boxwood, but here I have at least used a pot. In truth, any pot-plant I ever have ends up being over-taken with garden cuttings, or larger seed that I am germinating. These two pots have Quercus robur and Camellia sasanqua seedlings in amongst the Buxus, Osteospermum and Erysimum cuttings….
Boxwood cuttings & two oaks
Happy Gardening 🙂