If you landed here expecting to find Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, sorry! Never mind, its still about an African Queen.
Perhaps not as exciting, however the Trumpet Lily (Lilium African Queen) is still a show stopper.
performance in our garden
In March of last year I potted up three of the Trumpet Lilies (African Queen).
This was when we were still living in Aberdeen. I placed the tub in a sheltered sunny position. The blooms opened in mid August, becoming a little damaged due to an unseasonal cold spell.
When I planted these bulbs little did I realise that in nine months time we would be uprooting and heading down to Cheshire.
No way was I going to leave these beauties behind, we arrived in Cheshire in early December, the tub containing African Queen sat outdoors throughout the Winter and virtually was forgotten about, whilst having a nosey around the garden in late February I noticed that growth had already started.
In the second week of July the blooms of African Queen started to open, and continued flowering well into August.
Quality of the blooms were excellent, mind you constant destruction of the Lily beetle was essential, never seen these pests in Aberdeen. It was pointless leaving Myra to dispose of them as she is unable to destroy any insect, she simply flicked them off the plant. Solution was simple, given Myras good eyesight she would point to the offending bug, I would get them between my fingers and squeeze.
We are considering introducing more Lilies to the garden for next year. However I am not too keen on using a pesticide If you know of any safe procedure in dealing with Lily beetle I would be keen to hear from you.
The Trumpet Lily African Queen has large scented blooms with a unique colour, often described as burnt orange.
Growing to a height of 120cm/4ft, often a bit taller than this.
Your bulbs can be planted between October and April, three or five bulbs together approximately 45cm apart give the best results. African Queen like most other Lilies are best planted deep, at a depth of at least 15cm. To help with drainage and to keep the slugs away from the bulbs place a little sharp sand at the base and also above each bulb when planting.
Position your Lily bulbs in part shade or full sun. Soil should be free draining and on the alkaline side. It is recommended that in the growing season you should regularly give a liquid feed high in potash. Stand back and admire the blooms in July and August.
When we planted African Queen we also placed another three varieties of Trumpet Lilies in pots. Below are pictures of them growing sucessfully in our Cheshire garden this Summer.
Trumpet Lily Pink Perfection
Pink Perfection this year was the most floriferous of the four, all of them have a fantastic fragrance.
Trumpet Lily Regale.
Regale in the first week of July was the first to open its blooms. This one has been a firm favourite with gardeners for many years.
Golden Splendour started to bloom in the last week of July a little later than the other three. Well worth the wait though, the fragrance of this one was intoxicating.
In the last week of August we decided that we would indeed go ahead and make more changes to the back garden.
I did suggest in my last post that a large chunk of the lawn had to go.. We came up with a couple of ideas, the first one would have made the garden much more formal looking. However we decided to go with our second option and create a large central herbaceous bed.
I am very happy with the result and although it is a small garden, it gives that walk around feel, with a feast of plants wherever you cast your eyes.
I really like perennials and will look forward to seeing them coming into fresh growth in early Spring.
It was hard work digging and clearing all those sods of grass. The soil in our garden is clay and very heavy so I didn’t make much attempt to clear the soil from the sods. In previous months I had been dumping unwanted material from the garden in our woodland area, which would break down and probably be advantageous. There was no way that I could do this with my unwanted grass so I had to hire a skip. I use the term (OUR woodland area very loosely)
Well, after topping up with two tons of fresh top soil, it is now, more or less fully planted, using plants purchased in 2ltr pots, at my age I make no apology for going down the route of instant gardening. Pictures below show the build up to how it is now looking in the second week of September
For some time now I have been meaning to talk about our Evergreen Honeysuckle which is in in our Cheshire garden.
Having lived in Aberdeen for an extremely long time we had never seen an Evergreen Honeysuckle, well I had seen them in the garden centres, but that’s not an indication that they thrive in the area.
To tell you the truth, when we first arrived at our new house in Cheshire, this evergreen climber interested us, and we had actually made up our minds that it was the Winter flowering evergreen Clematis.
Confirmation of this came about when a blog post in January from Helene of Graphicality uk talked of and showed pictures of Clematis Armandii.
The lack of flower buds on our Clematis brought us to the conclusion that the previous house owner had pruned it in Autumn, and therefore had cut away the shoots that may have produced buds (duh).
Come Spring, low and behold, flower buds started to appear, but they were sort of in clusters.
No way was this a clematis, it soon became clear that our climber was in fact an evergreen form of Honeysuckle.
I wont go through my usual format of plant profile with this one, well its obvious that I don’t have the knowledge
Anyway, it is indeed Honeysuckle (Lonicera Henryi)
This one covers a fair sized area climbing up a fence beside our kitchen window, as you can see in the first picture.
The lower stems are massive and give the impression that it has been here since the house was built in 1982.
The elongated leaves are a dark green, and quite attractive, with a leathery feel and appearance to them.
The flower buds developed through June, and to be quite honest looked at their best before they actually opened.
When they did open in early July they were, to be kind, rather insignificant, quite unlike the appearance of many of the deciduous forms, and although it is said to be fragrant, Myra or myself did not pick up on it.
Well that’s about all I have to say regarding our climbing Honeysuckle, which I should say, with its evergreen leaves, does add some interest to the Winter garden.
Spring and Summer has been very pleasant here in Cheshire. The warmer weather has been to our liking although it has been harder to sleep with the night temperatures being higher than we are used to.
The back garden has filled out nicely, very little of the original plants left.
The pictures below give an idea as to how the garden is looking at the moment.
In our first Summer here in Cheshire East I didn’t expect to be quite so pleased with the garden. However, we need! more plants so don’t be surprised if in my next post, very little of the lawn remains.
London Pride, I didn’t buy it or plant it, the truth is, it was (handed down to me)
Performance in our garden
In all the years we spent in Aberdeen, we never did have London Pride in the garden. Surprisingly, as it is one of the first garden plants which I can recall.
Between the age of about seven and ten I was always fascinated with my grandparents garden. The front garden was well planted up with HT Roses which my grandfather spent a lot of time tending. Round the back was a good size patch reached by going down a small flight of steps. First thing you came across was the old Rowan Tree to the left with an equally old garden bench underneath it.
Then you would come to the lawn which grandma used as her clothes drying area. The real garden lay ahead, to the right of the gravel path they had the vegetables and fruit, all in neat rows, and to the left, were the flowers also planted in rows, as or as may not have been the habit in the early fifty’s.
Well, anyway I cant remember the names of the flowers, many of them were colourful, one day whilst in the garden with grandma, I enquired as to the name of the plant which filled one of these rows, (London Pride) she told me.
She asked me if I liked it, not really I said, I guess I couldn’t see the point of this plant as everything else seemed so large and colourful. What I do know is it stuck in my head and was one of the few plants which I could name until I reached my twenties.
Here we are, now living in Cheshire and one of the handed down to me plants is (London Pride) which today I discovered was named Saxifraga x Urbium.
In the front garden it is planted at the back of both sides of the curved bed.
Guess what, I like it, looks very healthy, flowering well and evergreen, and it is here for good.
The small frothy panicles of pale pink single blooms are carried on slender stems reaching a height of about 30cm/12 inches above ground Evergreen rosettes of glossy foliage are an added attraction.
The flowers started to open in early May and now on the 7th of June are still looking good but reaching the end of the flowering period.
Position and soil type
London Pride performs best in full sun and will tolerate light shade. Grows in any reasonable soil that is free draining. Having said that the soil in our garden is heavy and not all that free draining. However they are planted in a slightly raised border where the soil seems to have been improved.
We have been here for six months now and its beginning to feel like we are finally getting settled in. The garden is starting to take shape although the interior of the house is still like a battle field. Here below is a little of what’s been going on
New paving slabs have been fitted to the paths at the front, and also patio areas in the back garden. The rickety old arch fell to bits, as was expected, and we put up this new sturdy metal one in its place. The white Clematis Montana on the right hand side had to be cut right back, however its making fresh growth and I expect it will benefit from this rejuvenation.
My mini garden shed arrived flat pack a few weeks ago. Reasonably easy to assemble although I am not all that happy with my fitting of the doors.
The main patio area is just outside the back door, this small seating area above, we have just finished feeking up, and I am very pleased with it. At the top of the garden it catches the sun for the best part of the day.
The back garden has been receiving a lot of attention this past couple of weeks. We have reshaped the lawn, making the borders a fair bit wider. Loads of planting has been going on with many perennials, Roses, and shrubs. Not quite finished as yet but I am happy with the progress.