Tales from the Garden – August Displays

 In Anna Buxton, Blog

Visiting Neil Woodcock’s Edinburgh garden, open recently for Caley members, has made me realise that we are a bit short of colour at this time of year. He had a beautiful display of Dahlias, Agapanthus, Agastache, a lovely red Monarda (no mildew there), a white Lysimachia, and several Salvias. Some of these are in containers and he arranges them in close clusters which make a very good display.

Our pots, displayed very differently to Neil’s, play an important part here all year round and these are some of the best just now:In our very dark, shady yard where we have tulips in Spring, this grass, Hakonechloa macra  ‘Aureola’, provides a splash of colour which can be seen from the road. There are five pots of it and I like the way they grow, rather like a dishevelled fringe.  The grass retains this bright green until it gets a more autumnal colour in late September.  It is a very good grass and is useful for shady areas in the garden. In the window box is Begonia ‘Glowing Embers’, doing well and very neat and tidy but I had thought it was a trailer!

Over the years I have tried various combinations in these planters on our patio but I always come back to Argyranthemums.   I have sometimes put in Diascias or Petunias to fill out the base of the planting but I don’t think they add much. These daisies are high maintenance. They hate being too dry and they need feeding and dead-heading. Mine are also prone to a horrid leaf miner and the affected leaves have to be picked off.  In this pot I planted five cuttings in May and kept it in the greenhouse for a few weeks and staked it from an early stage with flat, circular, grow-through supports.

It was these Eucomis bicolor that made me think about these pots. The plants have looked good for a while – full and healthy which is what I want – and the strange flowers have recently opened. It has one great disadvantage though, it has a bad scent.

I don’t think this Tulbaghia is all that fragrant either but luckily it is close to three pots of lilies, now almost over, which spread beautiful scent. The lilies are very tall pink ‘Bellsong’, and ‘Kushi  Maya’, which is cream with a red centre.  But the Tulbaghia has its own charm.  A member of the Allium family from South Africa, it has flowered for many weeks and because the stems are so thin it has this beautiful way of arranging itself,  like a piece of floral art. I have another Tulbaghia, prettier perhaps with a combination of striped leaves and lavender flowers, but the stems are stiff and this year they have few flowers. I think it needs dividing.

Hydrangea quadricolor (the colours are pale pink flowers with green, cream and grey leaves) is a star. It has been in this pot for a while and it could be a better shape. It would probably be fine in the garden but I can’t think where to plant it and I like to be able to move it around.

We have had very good gardening conditions lately with both rain and sun in plentiful supply and all the shrubs look healthy. We have had masses of bumble bees and some of the Painted Lady butterflies as well as some white butterflies and masses of small moths.  We seem to have more baby frogs than usual too – usually the ducks and herons eat most of the frogs spawn.  We are trying to leave more grass long and to spray sparingly so perhaps that is helping to provide a good habitat.

Anna Buxton, 5th August 2019

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