Six on Saturday: 24 July 21: summer’s here

Summer days are here, the living is pretty easy, especially now that work has slowed right down and the sun has come out to play. After all the rain we had here, I’m relieved, and cat-like, I enjoy basking in the dry heat. The deckchairs are out and the BBQ is in use.

Morning sun, full of promise

For Six on Saturday, I’m going to start with a dazzling dahlia:

1 Dahlia ‘Bora Bora’. I featured this last week, but look how it’s changed to the most unusual sea urchin! I love it. This almost makes up for the slug decimation of Chat Noir and other dahlias that were supposed to be on parade.

2 Blight on tomatoes. OK, let’s get this one over with. As mentioned earlier this week, we’ve got blight for the first time ever. Everyone seems to have it round here this year. I was really hoping I could save these tomatoes by stripping off the bad leaves and letting them ripen in the sun, but it’s not looking too good, is it?

Veg-bed tomatoes

What to do now? I noticed that the ones I’ve got growing in pots against the back wall are looking a bit better, although the leaves aren’t too good. It will be a poorer summer indeed without tomatoes, or courgettes – these have been destroyed by slugs of course.

Wall tomatoes

3 Begonia in a big blue pot. Onto better things. I mentioned that I felt Geranium Rozanne was lacking a little je ne sais pas quoi in this corner near the back door, perhaps a bit too dominant in pale blue. So I’ve added some white to draw the eye with this begonia (which I found in the garden centre, no label: does anyone know it?).

4 Daylily ‘Stafford’. Another one that’s been featured recently, for those who may remember, but it’s adding such great impact now with those warm, spicey tones and I’ve also figured out its name: Stafford. Seems too traditional for it. Daylilies do very well on our Belgian clay, so naturally I am tempted to try a few more.

5 Lantana camara ‘Orange’. I had an unusual, somewhat unsettled childhood, with expat parents who were very adventurous and moved around the place a lot. So when I was seven years old, I found myself in Jordan. My Dad worked at a university outside a small town, and so we lived on campus and my friends and I had free reign to play outside within its perimeter all day long. The almost traffic-free roads were lined with Lantana camara, so this takes me right back. I love the intensely aromatic leaves (the oils of the plant are used in insect repellents) and the tiny florets which always fascinated me (seven-year-old me liked to unpick each little flower from the main floret). For the first time, I managed to get this plant through a European winter – it sulked in the cellar in front of a south-facing window, but has really picked up now.

6 Hypericum kalmianum ‘Gemo’. I prefer this compact but showy little shrub to the larger Hypericums. It stays quite small but flowers enthusiastically from now through to September within minimum fuss, and adds a cheerful note right by the front steps. It looks good pretty much all year round, retaining its dark seed pods and a nice woody structure in winter, so that’s not bad for the front of house.

Well, I was hoping the sun would stay with us a little longer so that I could lounge in my deckchair and read a good book, but today starts overcast. I’ve sown some biennials for flowers next year (foxgloves, wallflowers and sweet williams) and pulled some more bindweed out here and there. The garlic is ready to harvest, and the blackberries are starting to come in, I might sow some radicchio. It’s a nice time of year, without too many urgent tasks.

For more delightful Six on Saturday posts from gardeners far and wide, see The Propagator’s site.

31 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 24 July 21: summer’s here

  1. I don’t have any suggestions for dealing with the blight, but you could pick all the tomatoes that are showing any red – they will ripen off the vine, and at least you’ll get some fruit! Your white begonia is pretty, and really does brighten up that area.

    1. Many thanks! At the moment I’ve just got that one cherry tomato that’s red, but I will urge the others on so that I can at least have a few (I was able to pick three or four last week). Such a difference though from last year when I had enough tomatoes to make loads of sauce to freeze.

  2. I’m sorry about your tomatoes – they look like they were coming on a treat too. Such are the trials of gardening!

    I really like Lantana, well done on getting it through the winter. Hopefully you can repeat that in the future. I know someone who has some fairly substantial plants which he has kept for some time. I believe you can grow them as standards too, if you have the means and patience!

    1. Yep, good years and bad years! The Lantana can get to hedge size, and I think it’s considered invasive in some parts of the world…I will need a bigger cellar to house the standards!

      1. It’s funny how plants are thought of in different parts of the world. I work for a lady from Zimbabwe (Rhodesia at the time), and she often bemoans how various things struggle along here that grew like weeds ‘back home’!

  3. ‘Bora Bora’ is very striking indeed and the daylily is making me wonder why I don’t have any. It’s funny how plants can take you back in time. The fragrance of philadelphus and privet flowers always reminds me of childhood and hedge-cutting time. Sorry to hear about your tomatoes. I hope some make it.

  4. Lovely lantana such lovely smell it has it is almost wild in Jordan and middle east generally. I was fascinated as a child with passion flower which I have near my window in the front garden.
    Dont worry about tomatoes Monty said you must feed and water the same day each week not more so I suppose it got too much water. Move the bad one and use in sauce with good ones love the front yellow flowers great work.

  5. The deck chairs on the lawn look very inviting (it’s cold here!) and I can almost feel the warmth of the sun. Wow! The dahlia is stunning! What a beauty! As is the daylily with its warm tones. Day lilies grow well for me and funnily enough I also have predominantly clay soil too. Such a pity about the tomatoes. I just hope that you get some good tomatoes.

  6. Bloomin’ blight! Turn your head and enjoy your other lovelies. Beautiful Stafford, looks even better this week. I love the lantana too, I thought I had one, but perhaps it didn’t make it. Hope you get more basking on the loungers. Have a good one. 🙂

  7. Happy to see that you welcomed the good weather with holding a BBQ. Unfess the problems with the tomatoes, you have a wonderful decor of flowers for a garden party 🙂

  8. Lantana is a delight. I love how it has so many different colours on one flower head. And your daylilies are fab they thoroughly deserve another outing on the blog. Enjoy your lounging. 🙂

  9. Lovely day-lily, such an unusual, strong colour. If you end up with lots of green tomatoes, Granny’s Tomato Chutney (nothing to do with me!) is very tasty.

  10. Around here too all the gardeners have had their potatoes and tomatoes hit by blight. Fortunately I harvested them ( (potatoes) before and the tomatoes are in the greenhouse (but I have powdery mildew on the cucumbers…. )
    I do like lantana flowers. I grew them the 2 past summers but not this year. Note to myself : I must get them for next year

    1. Yes a bad year for blight, that’s life I suppose, next year might be better. I always have a lantana, but this year it’s so nice and big because I did manage to get it though winter – yay!

  11. Sorry to hear about the blight. What a pain.
    I loved your flower choices this week. The complex warm shades of that Dahlia are really unusual and the day lily and the lantana are also really rich.

  12. These very pleasant evening have had me sitting in the garden far more than usual. I rarely sit in the garden during the day, though I have a nice shady spot which I like very much. Dinner in the garden these days seems to last and last as they chat goes on for ages afterwards. It is a time of day I enjoy very much.

  13. The day lilies are stunning and I like the begonia. Well done with the lantana, lovely to have a plant with such memories linked to it. Blight is such a pain, you know to pull up the plants immediately in an attempt to stop it spreading (fat chance!) and don’t compost them. I hope you can salvage some toms🤞. But enjoy your summers days anyway.

  14. I like the look of your little Hypericum. I love them all but am always looking for new ones to fill gaps. The Begonia does make a nice contrast to the blue. And in a blue pot too. 😃 Very nice.

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