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.