I love florist chrysanthemums, I love their willing flowers, spicey scent, tough-as-old-boots demands, ease of propagation, long vase life and the wonderful way they are starting to flower right now as I’m watching those other suburban garden stalwarts, the dahlias, power down (or should that be ” powder down” — this year they have fallen victim to an unseemly amount of downy mildew)
I was sorely tempted at Chandlers by a tight bunch of creamy beauties in their little pots ready for Mother’s day sales. It strikes me as slightly odd that the major means of purchasing Dendranthema x morifolium is in those little forced pots that suddenly adorn the plant stands for a couple of weeks in May once a year. It’s sad to think of the number that must end up up-ended in the rubbish after they’ve done their duty flowering on the recipient’s doorstep. Of course the bushy dome varieties are available from the big chain retail nurseries all year but not the gangly go-to-sleep-over-winter ones.
Sadly I have very few in the garden and I suspect that there are plenty of show cultivars out there that are too garish or weirdly shaped to appeal to me. A quick click through the Ronlynn Gardens site (yes, Ron and Lynn) reveals some charmers though. Despite my protestations regarding the weirdly shaped I rather like the ‘Fantasies’. I had a gorgeous spiky deep crimson at Mount Stuart, pity I hadn’t kept that in a pot…..
I still grow two tough veterans that have travelled with me from my mother’s garden, a dusky double pink and a bright gold yellow, both with simple medium sized daisy flowers.
My favourite (of my grand total of four varieties) is a pale creamy spidery fellow, very gangly with disreputable legs but such charmingly untidy blooms. He may do better with more sun so perhaps some splitting and replanting is on the agenda
The two birches that were glowing golden last week (‘Jermyns’ and ‘everyday-common-bought-on-a-whim-in-a-sale’) are suddenly bare branched and I’m looking through them to the dappling yellow leaves of the Gingko behind.
Meanwhile their companions, the two very young Betula “Moss Whites”, are still clothed in green — curious. The stripling Gleditsia is half and half, some pinnate leaves completely yellow while others are green. Inspired by a beautiful bright lime yellow specimen poised against a grey building in Barrack Street I was hoping that the Gleditsia’s lime green canopy would light up the shady creek end of the garden over summer. However that area has proven to be just too shady resulting in light spring and autumn colour but deeper green all summer.
The deciduous prairie grass Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy metal’ has passed through its steely blue leaved summer stage and is turning tawny, I’ll leave it till late winter and then cut these stems away as the new growth is coming through. The very dry weather has caused the sibirica irises to flop early, they’ve been laying about panting since mid summer.
The crimsons are moving in, the Cotinius ‘Grace’ has been hailing everyone from above the birches with her sombre red paddle leaves,
and the three dogwoods are showing off their warm affiliations, ‘Eddies White wonder’ being especially appealing clothed in coral and amber
Only a couple of leaves of the small Euonymus europaeus “Red cascade” nestling between the birches have started to change, disappointingly I’ve not had any of the brilliant 1960s pink and orange colour combination berries yet — maybe next year
Rosa virginiana, she of the shiny little red hips, is showing off harlequin red, yellow and orange leaves and the delightful little double white flowered spirea, Spiraea prunifolia that arrived as an Irish cutting this spring (thank you Joan) has settled in nicely and its neat little leaves are turning orangey red on one of its two arching branches. I’m really fond of this shrub, masses of wee snowy blossoms in spring, nicely arching branches, gorgeous tawny foliage colour in autumn — bit boring over winter and is inclined to walk when happy, but no one’s perfect.
An unknown tree peony (maybe Alice Harding?) living in a black pot on the Lower deck
has been showing off gorgeous dark crimson fingers for a while, but the autumn leaves of its mate in the garden, also unknown but producing identical soft yellow double flowers are more of a raggedly tawny beigey mix, another mystery. The magnificently flowered ‘Marchioness’ also colours well, although, despite my tender loving care, the plant is going backwards
Brilliant red from a purple cut leaf acer that lives in a pot under the purple leaved plum (we have a theme going) that really deserves a better stage to show itself off. Regrettably I lost its label 😦
Not to be outdone the golds are continuing on, the young pomegranates either side of the step down from the Lower deck are gleaming with shiny buttery yellow leaves. They are also currently providing foliage backup for a vase of the pale spidery chrysanthemum pictured below
Paeonia emodi still upstanding in lime yellow when the other herbaceous peonies have dried off and keeled over.
Amsonia illustris glowing behind Stipa arundinacea. The grass is marked to be moved over winter, it’s grown and performed beautifully but its goldie green colouring and solid mass is wrong for this position where blue green foliage and pink roses predominate
A precious bloom from Cyclamen rhodium ssp. pelopponesiacum grown from seed from Kardamili Gorge has popped up, triggering memories of a happy time spent walking along the side of the gorge in spring, enjoying perfect juicy oranges while resting hot and sweaty outside one of the abandoned monasteries, blissfully botanising all the way. Apparently it shouldn’t be flowering in autumn, and it did flower in early spring, see the photo below
No gardening activities other than observation are happening on my part at the moment due to the recent retinal detachment repair operation. Even observation isn’t too good as I’m looking through a fish bowl with my right eye and that effect passes over to my left eye even when the right eye is closed.
However I did notice these little chaps clambering about the scarlet runners,
A week of indoor living and little garden activity to supervise produced an extremely bored Spotted dog
Notes to myself about things to be done:
Move Myrtus back against the fence because one day out will be a tree and will eventually shade out that part of the border
Remove tortured willow
Reduce Pyrus calleryana (purchased as a Manchurian pear so inappropriately planted)
Reduce purple plum near the deck
Swop potted maples to feature the purple leaved specimen
Lop Photinia, move Stipa, find cowichans