Holding a Torch

IMG_2959I am grateful to Anna of Green Tapestry for introducing me to tithonia or Mexican sunflower, this one being Tithonia rotundifolia ‘Torch’ when she suggested last year it would be a useful contender for my bold borders. Up till then it was not a plant I had heard of, but I duly bought seed which suffered like many other seeds in its first sowing from the poor compost but was successful in a later sowing in different compost. Later sowing meant later flowers, but here the first later flower is – in the cutting bed not to the bold borders, but there  are a few to come in the latter as long as they have not left it to late. With its long and upright furry stem and striking flowers I will definitely grow these again but you won’t be seeing this one in a vase on Monday , not unless it has a few neighbours!

In a similar situation is the first Zinnia ‘Purple Prince’ shown below left – I am not sure whether it’s too late in the year to expect many flowers from this relatively late sowing either. Another one for next year though….

Sept.charmersWhilst I have been watching and waiting for the buds on these two to open, the clematis above right was a huge surprise today and something I got very excited about. My first ‘Freckles’ (C cirrhosa), planted over ten years ago flowered non-stop for three years and then expired (with exhaustion?) – since then I have not managed to get a replacement to flowering stage. It may not be the time of year to expect flowers on a winter flowering clematis, but I am not complaining – nor will I complain about the sudden appearance of those harbingers of autumn, colchicum, C autumnale album and C ‘Water Lily’. I nearly added more to my bulb list, but when I totted up the final count it was one of the things that got struck off as a frivolous extra…


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19 Responses to Holding a Torch

  1. bittster says:

    Ahhhh, you have quite the goodies to show off this week, several of my favorites.
    I prefer a late sowing of annuals, they’re a nice, refreshing show at a time of year when most everything else is beginning to brown around the edges and take on the mildewed look of the walking dead 🙂

  2. Anna says:

    You are more than welcome Cathy. I only wish that I had remembered to sow some this year. I like the look of the zinnia. All the advice seems to suggest that you show sow zinnias late so you could well get another good few weeks of flowers before we get any frost 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      That’s good news about late sowing of zinnias – but I saw some flowering locally in May but perhaps they will have fizzled out by now.

  3. The flowers keep coming! I know I said autumn seemed to be early this year, but not early enough, for “Freckles” there, to be flowering. How unusual! Your colchicums are beautiful! Mine just seem to collapse and get eaten. 😦 Maybe I’ll try them in another spot.

    • Cathy says:

      I am sure my colchicums won’t look pretty for long – the Water Lily ones are so floriferous and perhaps have too many petals for their own good!

  4. My zinnias (Fruit Smoothie Mix) are always late because I direct sow them in my vegetable garden after I’ve done everything else. It’s OK, though, because by late August and early September, I’m ready for something new! ‘Purple Prince’ is pretty! I like the Mexican sunflower as well–have never tried them, but may next year!

  5. AnnetteM says:

    Your Mexican sunflowers is really eye catching. I am wondering where I could try it….

    • Cathy says:

      This one has a branched stem with more buds forming – I don’t know how many flowers I can expect on each plant as it is new to me.

  6. Some exceptional specimens in your garden, love the naked ladies and the soft colors you captured.

  7. Christina says:

    Tithonia is also on my list for next year, although I don’t have the seeds yet so will have to hope I find some when I’m in the UK around Christmas time (oops! did I say the dreaded word?). It should grow well here I think and will be perfect for the cuttings bed.

    • Cathy says:

      Shall I look out for some for you just in case? I don’t know how easily they set seed otherwise I could offer to save you some. I am pleased to see that the plants are branching nicely and should have several flowers on each so maybe they will make a vase this year…;)

  8. Chloris says:

    I grew some Tithonia this year but I neglected them and I only have a few plants. They are gorgeous, next year I want to grow masses of them.
    Colchicums are lovely now but I always find their large leaves a bit of a nuisance in Spring.

  9. At least you managed to get some zinnias to flower! Mine all died… I find it really interesting that so many of us have had bad experiences with compost this year. I was talking to another blogger who confessed she has returned to peat-based compost, fed up with so many failures. Tithonia is a realy beauty, I am hoping to sow both it and cleome next year. If I can work out where I can cram them in…

    • Cathy says:

      Which? Gardening are trying to get the compist producers to clearly date mark their composts as the believe they can degenerate – like others I used a Best Buy compost. For my autumn sowing I too have bought a wholly peat based compost 😦

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