Don’t worry, I shan’t be culling my little Hamamelis vernalis ‘Amethyst’, the tree I am watching for Lucy of Loose and Leafy‘s tree watching meme. Unlike many of the other trees that people have been watching, my tree’s main period of interest is from autumn to spring – with its leaf colour, flower bud formation, the flowers themselves and then, finally, the emergent new leaves. For the rest of the year, as a young tree, there is not a lot happening, as it is not large enough to attract interest from most wildlife – not even a tiny nibble yet! However, it is sitting happily, dutifully putting out terminal leaves at the end of every stem and growing a further 7cms since last month to reach the grand height of 1.02 metres.
Elsewhere in the garden, as plants wax and wane through the summer I have been noting on my rambles that there are some which have served their time and could be culled in favour of alternative and more deserving specimens. Some like the astrantia, Geranium thurstonianum and the other sprawling geranium are duplicates which plugged gaps temporarily, but what about the acanthus which suffers this same fate year after year?
It’s not just herbaceous plants that are being threatened with eviction – even one of the roses is not safe. Having been pleased to have found more than a couple of dozen buds on climbing rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ this year they were a complete and utter let down as none of them opened to the ‘beautifully proportioned flat quartered’ blooms they are meant to be (a recognisable and notorious state of affairs). Well, I could replace it with something more reliable – how exciting, another rose to choose! What should it be I wonder…?
Things like centaurea, tradescantia and crocosmia are regularly taken in hand and clumps reduced, but I wouldn’t be without them altogether. However, there are some cutting bed lodgers that might not get their tenancies renewed – is it worth the effort with zinnia when results are so variable? The not surprisingly dwarfish ‘Seven Dwarves’ larkspur will be replaced with a taller and more grown up variety next year, and I shan’t be autumn sowing cornflower for the benefit of lanky and leggy plants again, with a sowing in mid May flowering in six weeks and an acceptably compact size.
I have enjoyed the blooms of the poppies, both the self seeded ones and those I have chosen to grow, especially the huge white heads of ‘Apple Green’ (larger and prettier even than the earlier flowering ‘Swansdown’ – but their short flowering season would make them more at home in the other borders, where they could be supported by other plants, instead of the cutting beds. They haven’t made it to a vase as the time was never right and before you know it their petals tend to be shed in a heap at their feet, like the clothes of an eager lover.