I am a bit late recording my best October blooms, but the fact they are still blooming at such a late point in the month says a lot about their stickability, especially as many of them have featured a number of times in this informal meme hosted by Chloris at the aptly named The Blooming Garden blog. The next few days will test them further, with temperatures last night close to 0°C and several similar nights forecast. Despite its untidy sprawling and my grumbles at its excessive height Cosmos Dazzler (above) has done exactly that, but I shall not be as sorry to remove them from the cutting beds as I will be when the dahlias have to be lifted, which is likely to be very soon. Below we have Willo’s Violet, Dorothy Rose, Nuit Été, Happy Halloween and an unnamed and variable single yellow one, most of which are currently flowering at their absolute maximum:
This fuchsia, F ‘Voodoo’ is one of four hanging from the walls bordering two of the bold borders and all four will need to be potted up and brought inside soon to avoid the winter cold. The baskets were barely noticeable during the summer months, partly overshadowed by the contents of the borders but also because they struggled in the heat and have only begun performing in the last few weeks. I spent ages deciding what to put in these baskets that would be appropriately neighbourly in these bold borders and it is a shame that their boldness has been out of sync with everything else.
Appearing numerous times in these monthly round-ups, indicating just how much of an impact they make in the garden, are Salvia ‘Neon’, Persicaria ‘Blackfield’ and Persicaria ‘Inverleith’, superstars all of them. This salvia was the first I had any real success with, and by the time I realised how hardy it was it had grown both leggy and woody; last spring I cut it back to lower new leaf buds but I think I can afford to cut it to the very lowest signs of life to help keep it more compact – and of course I have now learned not to let other salvias get out of shape like this. I do already take cuttings and if need be I could start afresh with Neon. The two persicaria have formed such delightfully attractive clumps, unlike varieties in other borders where I am trying to improve conditions in the hope of achieving similarly successful clumps.
To the right of Blackfield are the lanky stems of Rosa ‘Falstaff’, one of a pair either side of a bench on the paved area; these were planted as bare root roses a year ago and were slow to get going, struggling as many new plants did with the heat and lack of rain. Damper conditions since then have boosted their growth and although lanky they have produced both more stems and a late flush of blooms and should respond to pruning early next year by producing bushy plants for the new season.
Also tall and responding to the end of the drought is Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’, bought as a small plant in a 9cm pot this time last year, and now towering over me at the back of one of the main borders. I don’t yet know how hardy she will prove to be, but she will be mulched generously and then cut back as low as possible in the spring to encourage bushiness. With a supposed flowering period of July to November hopefully she will deign to flower rather earlier for me next year, but I suspect she will not waver much from her maximum height of 2 metres.
Finally, but as an afterthought as I had just cut the last of them, is Helichrysum ‘Bright Rose’ which must have been flowering from June onwards in the borders as well as the cutting beds. This is the first time I have grown any ‘everlasting’ flowers and regardless of the longevity of the blooms this has been a fantastic and effortless annual to grow and I shall seek out additional varieties to grow next year when I shall find out if our exceptional summer contributed to its success.
Assessing this year’s seed sowing will be a job for a wet day in the coming weeks, but I shall be reducing the number of varieties I grow and concentrating on those I know to be reliable and garden worthy – or at least that is the plan! In the meantime, thank you to Chloris for giving us the platform to share our monthly stars and do pop over to her blog where she has been sharing her lovely dahlias this week before they get nobbled by the frost.