I know I have said it before, but the Begonias really have given an exceptional display this summer. The Semperflorens which are grown as half hardy annuals, and do not develop a tuber have been exceptional, also outstanding have been the Non Stops, the tubers of these ones will be stored for next year. The Red Flamboyants of which I continually sing praise of have never been better, in spite of the fact that we are still using the same tubers which we purchased ten years ago. The very decorative ones including the trailing varieties have also done as well as all the rest, despite losing a good few of these to the dreaded vine weevil whilst storing over winter.
Of the more decorative ones, check out this one called firecracker, a real show stopper, with shades of red, orange apricot and yellow.
Do you also find it difficult knowing just when to remove your bedding plants. If like us you plant out spring bedding to follow on from your summer display, and also not to leave a completely bare looking garden over the winter.
Very often, even come mid September the summer bedding can still be looking good enough for another couple of weeks, however if you want those wallflower, pansies, and forget me nots to get a good hold, it really is best to get the job done by the middle of September.
Begonias which you will be storing , don’t be tempted to snap off the stems too soon. Lift them carefully ,place them in pots and remove the stems when they are ready to come away with little effort. When the tubers have completely dried off, wrap them in newspaper and store them over winter, we find the loft is ideal for this.
Before the weather gets too cold, now would be a good time to get the greenhouse thoroughly cleaned inside and out.
If you heat the greenhouse or even just like to keep it frost free, save on the heating bills by putting up pollybubble on the inside. The large bubble type is the most effective.
Also if you have an Alton greenhouse, or any other hardwood type, it would be wise to protect it now with either teak oil or any suitable preservative.
Now would be a good time to increase your Hardy Perennial plants, by preparing even a small bed and sowing seeds of any favourites that you may have. Watch for them coming through in the spring, and when large enough, pot them up and grow them on until they are ready to plant out.
Winter flowering Pansies, Wallflower and also the spring bulbs are starting to come into the garden centres. No mad rush though, still a good couple of weeks left in the summer bedding yet. Also noticed signs of the major garden centres starting to display Christmas items. I really would not wish to comment further on this at the moment.
Gardening to someone who is absolutely not interested can be like torture, we would find this hard to comprehend. Personally, I feel like this when it comes to washing my car.
Three weeks ago on a glorious warm morning I decided to wash the car in my front drive, I was converted, no more driving through the car wash. Something that I had been doing for the last thirty years on a weekly basis. No more wasting money, no more laziness, I would do this every week from now on, wash the car that is.
Well that was three weeks ago, honest I was definitely going to do it today, but the hedge in the west border had to be cut, the front grass was a bit long, and I just had to remove that bamboo in the round garden which Myra felt was out of place in the position that it was planted.
Now I am not lazy, I will wash the car tomorrow, but come to think of it, the cold days will soon be here, who in there right mind would wash a car in temperature less than ten degrees.
To continue Perennial plants at their best late summer and autumn, here is another beauty, Aster Fricartii Monch. Comes into flower a little earlier than a lot of the Asters. This one is a beautiful pale blue, masses of individual flowers two inches across. Doesn’t like to be crowded out. Plant three together for more impact.
Aster Fricartii Monch
Lobelia Hadspen Purple, introduced three years ago, is proving to be a very valuable late summer/autumn flowering Perennial.
Similar in habit to the red Cardinalis variety, except this one is fully hardy and also with purple flowers of an unusual shade.This is truly a lush lobelia with vivid plum purple flowers held along the length of sturdy upright flowering stems. Long rather lance shaped mid green leaves arch out from the flowering stem.
The plant stands around 60cm (2ft) high with a 30cm (1ft) spread. This is the plants third year in our garden, and it has grown stronger since planting, so no concern about its hardiness. Must be regarded as one of the best recent introductions.
Today I collected loads of cuttings from our Blue Abutilon, hopefully there will be plenty young plants to share out next summer, as this one is always a talking point in our garden when the parent plant is in flower June early July.
Lobelia Hadspen Purple
Although, my favourite time of year, and probably most other peoples, is the spring, when all the plants are pushing through the soil, and all the leaves and shrubs have fresh leaves, knowing that we have six months ahead to enjoy all that is good about gardening.
Lets focus on the present time of year, and appreciate late summer and autumn, too often our attention is fixed on the winter ahead.
The end of August, and September the early mornings can be a little chillier, very often followed by a warmer day come noon.
A good time to stand back and check those Perennials, just to see if you can make any improvements in the borders for next year, perhaps your Monardas would look better, placed behind the Phlox, or maybe a better effect would be achieved if you were to leave a wider space at the front of the Herbaceous border for annual flowering plants. Don’t start dividing the Perennials yet, wait till Autumn or spring.
Also, check out the Autumn colour which will make your garden come alive again, especially those Japanese Acers, not to forget the beauty of the very late flowering Chrysanths, and Dahlias which will flower till the first hard frost. After which we will talk about clearing the garden of annuals and cutting back the Perennials, but for the meantime lets just enjoy the garden.