I have been away from the garden for ten days and things have moved apace in my absence. Some good, some bad. There has been a little rain but you would never guess on inspection of the soil/dust. There is a general air of dessication, the plants are looking little less than lush and this was not helped by the heavy heat of today. I am resisting watering anything but pots and the most needy, such as the newly planted and teacher’s pets. Hopefully the rest are pushing their roots are deeper as the days go by, delving into the moist layer that is bound to lie just a few inches below. Of course this is wishful thinking but I have to get to sleep at night somehow. The jobometer has notably swung from planting out and potting on, to cutting back and dead-heading. Of course the weed thing hasn’t changed much, still popping up to taunt, it may be my imagination but even they looked a little gaunt and parched. All this warm weather has given Bambi an appetite, it appears that on the menu last week was a starter of Geranium psilostemon (how many Chelsea chops can this take I wonder?) a main course of Hydrangea quercifolia with a side order of geum and potentilla and to finish some fragrant sidalcea with a coreopsis garnish. However things have grown, fruit is ripening, flowers blooming. Time passes. They say a week in politics is a long time but in a garden ten days is even longer.
Today I had the absolute blooming pleasure of visiting Burrow Farm Gardens near Axminster. Due to tiredness brought on by a combination of the A361 and over-excitement I am at present unable to string a sentence together (oi! quiet in the cheap seats, I even stretch to paragraphs on the odd occasion!). Therefore I offer you a word map of my experience. Welcome, orchids, vision, Romans, acers, erigeron, views, foresight, grasses, butterflies, ducks, taxodium, skunk cabbage, sculpture, ha ha, millennium, roses, eucalpytus, family, sun, slate, collies, field maple, future, millionaires shortbread, hypericum, new friends. I rest my case.
Dodonaea viscosa v. purpurea or the Purple Hop Bush has flowered (and subsequently fruited) for the first time this year. A few of our Softy Walters have performed exceptionally well this year, this one included. The reasons are undoubtedly complex but I would guess it is a combination of the extremely mild winter and the fact they are becoming established and have acclimatised to our unique environment. And my singing, that would definitely have helped.
This magnificent Impatiens tinctoria was a gift from The Kernow Kid. What is indisputable from this photo is the beauty of the butterfly flowers, exotic and fragrant, purest white blotched ominously with venous scarlet. What is not so obvious is that at present this tuberous perennial is 2m tall. Basically it is a Busy Lizzy on steroids. In ideal conditions, in the high altitude of African rainforests, its bamboo like stems can reach a staggering 4m. It is much hardier here that its appearance would suggest, supposedly taking -6C, although a contingency cutting in the greenhouse and a mulch in winter is probably advisable. It does not have the thuggish nature of its relative, the onward marching Himalayan Balsam, in fact it does not set seed readily. In Ethiopia red dye is made from the root, hence its species name tinctoria. It is a great addition to the dappled shade in the Cherry Tree border, where hopefully it will remain for many years. Unless we have an urgent need for red dye of course.