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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Cropping season


In spite of the rainy weather, some vegetables produce lots of fruit. I had a nice crop of cucumbers runner beans and courgettes. Pity, I don't know the name of the runner bean variety, the pods are very good. I prefer them as a salad, but I use them to cook a vegetable stew as well.


Soon, I will start picking up my very first tomatillo. The stems of the plants are all bend down under the weight of the fruits. I hope they won't snap before the fruits are ripe. Actually, I am not sure when are they ripe. Should they all turn dark or not? I wonder.


As the end of summer approaches, it is a time to do some tidying up in my plant nursery. I think I have washed more than 260 plastic planting pots of all shapes and sizes. I want to have them ready for spring and a new growing season. I have only washed them in water now and I do the disinfection in spring. It is essential to wash them thoroughly to avoid pathogen development on the soil remains. Before sowing, I wash all the pots and trays with fungicide to minimize the risk of so-called damping-off diseases. It is caused by several fungi, especially when sown indoors and the conditions were too wet and warm. There is nothing worse that to see the perfect little seedlings suddenly collapse and die and you have to do the sowing again.



Thursday, 21 August 2014

Anemone


Anemone hupehensis known as windflower or Japanese anemone (don't know why, they are actually from China), find it's place in a shady part of my garden growing in front of the shrubs. They spread here pretty quickly but there is plenty of space in this border and I love to see them flowering in a large number.


In my experience, once established they are pretty difficult to eradicate because they spread by means of fibrous rootstock. But they are pretty flowers and look elegant at every stage of growth. The flowers are long-lasting and flower from August to October when many other flowers has already finished the flowering season. 


Monday, 18 August 2014

The Blackberries


The 'jungle' behind my garden fence that I have already written about, has, after all, some benefits. Namely, there is a lot of brambles. I did not cut them all and now they bear lots of fruits. 


I picked up a small bowl of Blackberries today and it is only a start. The tips of the branches are full of fruits. What a nice surprise.


Friday, 15 August 2014

Heliopsis helianthoides 'Asahi'


This so called false sunflower is very valuable for their long season of bloom. It started to flower in July and is still looking good. Weren't so much rain recently, it would probably look even better. The colour is bright yellow, like a sun as it name suggests, coming from the Greek 'helios', the sun.


This cultivar forms medium-sized bush with plenty of flower heads. Dead-heading prolongs the flowering season. The plant loves sunny position but it doesn't seems to mind either heath or high humidity. 


The flower head is full of frilled single flowers making lovely pompoms. I have learned that the plant self-seeds if allowed to bare seeds so I am going to collect some in autumn.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Ricinus


My Ricinus was quick to grow because the weather was moist and warm. Though highly poisonous, it is often to be seen in the gardens. 


At the moment, the plant is in full bloom and the stems have this characteristic red colour. 


The plant needs some space but it is very attractive. As you can see, the panicle-like inflorescences bear two kinds of flowers. The one with yellow stamens are male flowers.




Friday, 8 August 2014

August


The month of August is mostly considered as enter to off season, but it doesn't have to be so. There are many plants that flower in August and September. For instance, I expect my cone flowers, rudbeckias and Helianthus to continue flowering for another ten days. Regular dead-heading will surely help it. The Japanese Anemones just started to open the buds, and there are so many of them. They will certainly flower throughout the whole month. Asters didn't even formed the buds yet so I expect to have them in late August and September. Many roses, after being pruned, flower for the second time as well. The 'Don Juan' rose has developed an interesting sport - it bears pink flowers instead of red! I think I will try to root some cuttings of this unusual kind.


As you can see, the slug control is out of control. Today is the first sunny day after a week of rain. The slug pellets were useless too. The only thing I could do is to go around and cut them in half with a knife.  But these sneaky bastards (pardon my language, but I am really angry) come out at night and do the damage on soft foliage, mostly of Hosta plantaginea. Luckily, they don't touch the other Hosta cultivars I got. The next week is supposed to be sunny so spreading the slug pellets makes sense. maybe I put some bear traps too.


August is time to divide perennials that finished the period of flowering. I had a big clump of Irises which needed some rejuvenation. I discarded all soft, old and diseased rhizomes and kept only the healthy and firm ones. The foliage needs a trim and they all go back into the ground, of course.
It should be done every few years to keep the plants vigorous. And, it is also a good opportunity to cultivate the soil where they are because it is not possible once the irises spread. The most important thing is to remove all the weeds. Once they start to grow between the iris rhizomes, they will be very hard to eradicate.


Another one late bloomer, Lilium lancifolium, Tiger Lily.


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Veronicastrum virginicum


Culver's root is an interesting plant native to the United States. It is a tall upright perennial with spikes of flowers and leaves arranged in whorls. It is pretty tall plant and adds a vertical accent to the back of the flower borders. These plants of mine are planted in the middle of the island-like flower bed that stretches out in the middle of my garden.


The flowers open firstly on the bottom side of the spike and attract lots of bees and butterflies. It requires a medium wet, well drained soil in a full sun. I have transferred my plants from the shady part of my garden 'cause they tend to flop over seeking the sun.


It takes some time to establish in the garden but it is worth waiting for it.