High time for Six on Saturday: 10 Sep 2022

This is shameful, it’s been just over a month since I last put out a post. There have been multiple distractions, upheavals, a holiday and a new school to fit in to that bumpy thing called life. Now it feels like a new chapter, both with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, feted as ‘Une grande Dame‘ by the Belgians and admired it seems the world over, and a definite change in the seasons – the summer drought already feels like an age ago, and we are thoroughly and thankfully saturated with rain.

If there ever was a plant for heralding autumn, in my view it would be a Japanese anemone, Anemone hupehensis. Perhaps not for its fresh pink colour, but this is just their moment. I don’t have a great big clump, as I would like to, but still, a few of these blooms bobbing along their spindly stems is an uplifting sight.

The blackberries have been incredible this year. I pop out most mornings to pick a few for topping my muesli, their tartness is a welcome treat. We’re now at the end of their season, so I’m grateful for these remaining few berries. It’s a monstrous wild and spiky bush though, and pruning it is probably the worst and most dangerous job in the garden.

Less vicious is the crab apple, Malus ‘Evereste’, which has had a good crop in its second year here. I am not yet sure if I’ll make crab apple jelly, which would inevitably linger in the cellar, or just leave these for the birds to enjoy.

The plants in my garden that suffered the most from this summer’s drought and heat were the ferns, especially these shuttlecock ferns, also known as ostrich ferns or Matteuccia struthiopteris, whose lovely fronds were well and truly burnt to a crisp. Heartening to see we have life, with a new fresh frond poking through! Well done them on their resilience.

By contrast, the sweet alyssum, lobularia maritima, isn’t in the least troubled by drought. What a trouper, it just flowered its socks off all summer and couldn’t be easier to grow. I just scatter a few seeds along this sunny edge of the front path, and off it goes. It also lightly self-seeds each year, but tends to revert to white if I don’t resow.

I’ll end this week’s six with a splash of colour from a plant I mentioned in my early August post, when it was coming into flower. Now identified as Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ with the help of One Man And His Garden Trowel, this perennial sunflower has two main characteristics: it’s very, very tall, and it simply doesn’t stop. The bees absolutely love it. I had no idea it would get so big, so it’s currently towering in front of several shorter plants, and it’s flopping ever more precariously with each rain storm. Really lights up the garden though.

Hopefully as things settle down you’ll hear from me a bit more regularly now, looking forward to seeing what The Propagator and the gardening crowd have been up to. Happy gardening.

23 thoughts on “High time for Six on Saturday: 10 Sep 2022

  1. It is lovely to see what is in the garden fruits did well here in Kent they loved the wet spring and sunshine summer bees been active here aswell thanks to everything. Very sad for the loss of our great 👸 queen nobody will ever be like her I trully liked her style in everything from handbags to hats and above all her smile. God save the king

  2. Here too there are a lot of blackberries along the roads and it’s a good time to make jams! And pies… And crumble… 😋 Superb this Helianthus “Lemon Queen”!

  3. There is certainly no need for apologies Sel, I myself also took a break on July 15 and it will run until August 15. Partly due to the fact that I was on vacation and partly to give myself the necessary time to edit my pictures sorting (which is still not luck so far… ha ha ha).
    I think the Japanese anemone is very beautiful and I didn’t know this plant at all. Blackberries did indeed do very well and I ate a lot of them 😉
    The drought was indeed extremely extreme this year with all its consequences. It was therefore very pleasant to get some heavy rain showers over me on holiday (in the Austrian Alps). Luckily it rained here the past few days… a true relief!
    Hopefully the ferns in your garden will survive because they like humidity….
    Here too we were shocked by the death of The Queen. Another iconic and charismatic person who has left our world….. May she rest in peace.
    Nice to read you again Sel.

  4. I keep meaning to buy some alyssum as it seems to flower all year down here! I am fortunate to have a thornless blackberry, though I also have the wild brambles creeping into my garden! Blackberry and apple crumble (I am too lazy to make pastry any more) is definitely a highlight of autumn.

  5. I adore Japanese anemone, but ours have suffered badly in the drought, withered and very short, so it’s nice to enjoy yours. I must look into getting some sweet alyssum seed, to see if copes as well here. It’s interesting to note what’s been doing well for everyone this year.

  6. Nowhere near as shameful as me Sel. Two and a half months since my last article ! Those helianthus Lemon Queen are fabulous. do they tend to crowd out other plants or do they behave ?

    1. Glad I’m not the only one 😉 The LQ are fab but they do flop about, I am trying to stake them but haven’t been v successful. They would be great at the back of a sunny border if you have that situation.

  7. How lovely to be able to pick blackberries from your garden. I planted some many years ago but they “wandered” too much both above and below ground with very little fruit. I hope the birds enjoy the crabapples, I’m leaving mine on the tree this year as well.

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