Previous month:
July 2012
Next month:
September 2012

August 2012

Runner beans, - pretty flowers before the food

When I was child, my parents grew fruit and vegetables. Some like the Raspberries and Apples, I was happy to help them with. Some like the Runner beans seemed to come in such abundance, that I remember with a shudder the huge sessions as a teenager of slicing and blanching beans. (to the point where my sister still can't eat them).

I love them fresh and recently picked from the plant, so I just grow a small tepee of them for end of summer Sunday veg. But now I have a dilemma

Runner beans montage for web
because instead of the plain red flowers that my father always had. There are now fantastic tasting beans with different colour flowers, that make your tepees pretty as well as productive.

The 2 tone flowers on the left are in the School garden, and are from seeds given to me by Thompson and Morgan for getting the answers right in a competition. They have the name of EXP09 (experimental?) and  they were sown by children age 5-8. Only one pot out of 45 failed to germinate. Luckily lots of them wanted to take their beans home, so it was only gardening club children that planted them out.

i'll let you know the results of the taste test next week. I'm hoping they fail abysmally. Otherwise they are so pretty that next year i'll end up growing 2 tepees of runner beans, and my son will also grow to shudder at the thought of blanching them for the freezer.

Hydrangeas - wonderful summer flowering shrubs

Because we've had a wet year, the Hydrangeas in this part of Surrey are looking fantastic.

Large shrubs in Shades of pink, purple, blue and white. Hydrangeas are showy late summer flowers.

The colour of the flower will depend on the soil,whether it is acid or alkaline, and whether it has aluminium ions that the plant can take up. Generally a soil pH of 5.5 or less will be able to keep Blue flowers blue. - Soil pH's above that will go pink. There are some trace element products that you can add to the soil to help the take up of the Aluminium Ions. I havn't found them to work in the long term, and here in Horsley, where most soil are neutral, - pink, white and slightly purple Hydrangeas are the order of the day.

Of course they are not only lovely in the summer. The Macrophylla (mophead) and Paniculata seedheads look fantastic in winter sun.Macrophylla seedhead for web

You don't need to prune off the flower heads until well into spring, because they protect the new growth, so I always wait until Wisley have pruned their Hillside Paniculata, in April, before I get out the secateurs.

After admiring clients Hydrangeas for years, I decided to take the plunge myself last year. - I'll need to water them well in my soil, - but they don't mind some shade, so this Hydrangea Annebelle, is doing wonderfully under my front garden Magnolia. This was grown from a 9cm mail order plant last year.

Hydrangea Annabelle for web


Garden Bloggers Bloom Day August 2012

While those in the US have been having major drought problems this year, here in Surrey, we've been having the opposite problem, with sooo much rain that the gardens, - even where they are on free draining chalk, are what you can describe as Lush.

We have now had some sunshine though, and August is great for bright colours

The pink Phlox and the sunny Helianthus came with the garden, and have been divided and multiplied to many places over the last 4 years. The Gladioli is the stand out bloom of the garden today, and the crocosmia that is behind it has never flowered as strongly before. The Dahlia is from a clients garden, and she lost hers when we had a severe winter a couple of year ago. - Looks like mine is now big enough to give some back.


That doesn't mean I havn't got any pale flowers blooming though.

The Hydrangea Annabelle is doing really well,  -So well it may have to be moved as it's now threatening to swamp an Acer.

The Eringium has seeded itself at the front of the border, - somthing that is going to have to be moved for next year, despite it looking fantastic, - oh well it will produce lots of seeds to start again with.

The Anemone, again from a client, is flowering earlier than normal, but holding up strongly next to the house, where more of the pink phlox, are already fading, although those in the back garden are just coming out.

I've also got Solidago (self seeded) Hostas, Penstemon Garnet, Geranium Rozane, Calendulas, Anthemis and Gaura in flower,  -plus Tomatos in the greenhouse.

Thanks as ever to Carol from May Dream Gardens, for getting together garden bloggers from all over the world to show off their blooms.


Flowers from the allotment

I'm not going to many clients gardens at the moment. - School Summer holidays and an olympics obsession are keeping me closer to home this month, but it doesn't mean i'm not gardening at all, and at last my 3 times weekly allotment visits are starting to bear fruit, - or in this case flowers.

Cut flowers from allotment

This bunch is a mixture of flowers from my favourite suppliers, and I managed to pick a similar bunch for a friend yesterday.

Black cornflowers from seeds from Higgledy garden

Wonderful Calendula from seeds from Sarah Raven

Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy from plugs from Thompson and morgan

plus wonderful Zinnias from seed, which I think were in the RHS pack from last year, but I notice are on special offer on the Sarah Raven website at the moment.

Now i'm just hoping that the slugs won't eat my second batch of Dahlias that i've planted, and i'll have wonderful auutmn flowers from them.