Six on Saturday: 05 June 2021: vibrant vibes

We’ve had a week of warmth and sunshine, though a big thunderstorm yesterday and lots of rain overnight means that there are a lot of floppy plants out in the garden now, being merrily slithered over by slugs. Luckily I took my photos before the storm, so it’s a summery feel here for Six on Saturday, hosted by The Propagator and bringing together gardening aficionados from far and wide.

1 The vibrant border is doing its thing, being obligingly vibrant. While I’m sorry to see the alliums going over, over the last week the salvias and oriental poppies have burst into flower, and the geums continue to bloom away cheerfully. I like how this works as a whole right now, though I know the poppies won’t last long (sob!). The plan is that the daylillies and echinaceas will then take over, and that the sunflowers, heleniums and tithonias that I planted at the back will get going in late summer if the slugs don’t get to them first. I have really enjoyed the process of planning this border and trying to get the continuity of flowering from spring through to autumn. Let’s take a closer look at some of the plants here.

2 Oriental Poppies. What a plant! I absolutely adore it. It’s got impact, it’s got class, it’s got pollinator-friendly credentials. What is blooming here now came from one plant that I bought last summer, and then divided into three in the autumn and planted into the new vibrant border. Like a lot of the plants here, it has a definite lean towards to the sun but you don’t really notice it from afar. The bumblebees like to pop in and do their buzzy vibrations.

3 Salvia nemerosa ‘May Night’ and Salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna’. The good thing about planting these two together is that the May Night comes into flower first, but makes a good match with those lovely dark purple stems of Caradonna. I think the flowers of May Night have more impact because they are fatter and the deep blue colour is a very good contrast with the other vibrant shades in the border. The spikiness is also fab against the roundness of the allium flowerheads.

4 Allium ‘Purple Sensation’. Regulars will know that this is not the first time it’s been featured recently, but even going over as it is, it just adds an excellent element of vertical and straight rather than floppy height to the area. I will be sorry to see the purple element fade but the seedheads are still looking good. I am just wondering if I can squeeze some echinacea between the bulbs without damaging them, to bring some extra interest later this summer.

5 Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’. I like the way this is adding an orange understorey and long-lasting colour. When the tulips had gone over in the border, I felt that on its own it dominated too much, but now it’s got company it’s back in my good books. Also, in good news, it seems that contrary to what was happening in May, the bees are visiting this plant too. I was concerned enough about the lack of pollinator activity to contact Professor Dave Goulson, author of Gardening for Bumblebees, to ask him if geums really are pollinator-friendly, as often advertised. He very kindly wrote an email back to me, and said: “Many lists of good plants for pollinators are not accurate. I have never tried either of these [G. Scarlet Tempest and G. Mrs J Bradshaw], but have rarely noticed many insects on garden geums. If nothing visits them in your garden then they can’t be very good!”. The only thing he forgot to consider was the weather: it was so cold in May that few bees were about, and now that’s changed, the bees do visit them, though perhaps not as enthusiastically as some of the other plants here.

6 No-Mow-May leftover. Not strictly part of the vibrant border, but facing it, is the remnants of our unmown lawn, vaguely in the shape of a UFO. This lozenge stays for a little longer, a visual representation of marital compromise (there was some debate with OH about how long no-mow-may should extend into June, so this is the result after I got my hands on the mower!).

I now feel like I need to write another Six on Saturday to show you the front path, which is a pastel heaven, very different to the vibrant border, but I think that will have to be in another post. For today’s tasks, I’ve got sweetcorn plants that could do with being planted, but the space is still being occupied by peas, so I think I’ll have to pot the sweetcorn on and just wait. It’s really the time to sit back and enjoy our gardens now after all the hard work earlier.

39 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 05 June 2021: vibrant vibes

  1. The Vibrant Border is indeed vibrant – and all the better for it! All the plants knit together really well.

    A client of mine did no-mow May (or I did on their behalf), and we’ve done a similar thing to you – mowed around the edges and left some in the middle. It’ll be interesting to see what crops up!

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    • Thanks Andrew. It will indeed be interesting to see what happens to that bit of unmown lawn. My husband is worried that I have plans for it. I’ve already started calling it ‘the island bed’. Gradual acclimatisation is best in these situations, I find. 😉

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  2. I have obviously become tired of salvias for I admired the beautiful blue in an early photograph and then dismissed it when you showed it in more detail, revealing it was a salvia. I had thought it was a veronica at first. I suppose that’s how fashions change. People become tired of hearing of a plant regardless of how good it is. Salvia demand more work than Veronicas and I like plants that do the work for me – a lazy gardener! I don’t have Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’ but like geums very much. I lifted Geum ‘Dolly North’ earlier in the week and made 15 plants from it, now replanted and growing away wonderfully – now, that’s a good plant!

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    • I agree wholeheartedly, a plant that makes 15 new ones for free is a winner! I don’t find the Salvias too high maintenance, I was a bit worried they wouldn’t survive -11 degrees this winter, but here they are, on great form!

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      • We had loads and loads of different ones a few years ago. A friend is head gardener at a local big garden with excellent propagation facilities and he is VERY enthusiastic about trying new things and propagating them. Of course, he propagates much more than he needs and then loves to find homes for them so he gave umpteen different salvias to Mary! Some were excellent; others not so.

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  3. I love a vibrant border and I love your vibrant border. I agree with you about the poppies, I just can’t get enough of them, wonderful from bud to seedpod! I’ve not heard of May Night, one to look out for. And good for DG to correspond with you, much respect there. I’ve read (and loved) The Garden Jungle, but not the bumblebee one. Now on the list. Have a great week Sel.

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  4. Well the rain was welcomed and now thank heaven the sun is out. I have the pink poppies instead of red they are amazing close inspection. Give me more colours but dont forget whites.🥰🚲🌄

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  5. The vibrant border is certainly living up to its name. It looks fantastic. It sounds well planned too. Alas, I was so chuffed a helenium I bought last year had survived the winter I planted it out not giving a second thought to slugs and snails. What remains of it has been dug up and plonked back in a pot.

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  6. I love the vibrant border! Reds/oranges and purples are a great combination. I want some oriental poppies for my extended gravel garden, but will wait until next year now. Pinks and purples were on my list. But I have just bought three new Geums in yellow and red! So maybe red is the way to go. I haven’t had much success with Heleniums, they last a couple of years and then disappear. Saying that I have two new ones so we’ll see how they fare!

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    • Oh oriental poppies would look fab in gravel – I think they look gorgeous in any colour. I seem to remember that I had some heleniums a few years back that never reappeared, slug attack I fear!

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  7. You’ve clearly got a fantastic eye Sel because your planting combinations are really beautiful and you’ve captured them so beautifully on camera too. My big oriental poppies are also flowering this week. You’re right, they really do have impact.

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  8. The poppies are fab and your caradonna salvias are way ahead of mine. Lovely when a border comes together. The geum is a good colour too. We have had bees galore, mostly enjoying the ‘Mount Everest ‘ alliums and the geranium phaeums.

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  9. That border is looking really great Sel! I love scarlet and purple together, and the contrast of the Allium with the Salvia spikes is impressive too. Love the Geum. I have been looking for Geum seed but now that the big UK seed merchants aren’t exporting it is hard to find. Any EU seed supplier recommendations? My poppies should start opening this week. I have never tried dividing them, so that isn’t a bad idea… easier then sowing and caring for seedlings.

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  10. What beautiful banances and contrasts you’ve got in the vibrant border, akin to marital compromise! I love all of it. Geum is on my seed list for next year.
    Query: is the vibrant border still so called when floppy?

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