Most visitors this year seemed to comment not just on the roses but on the clematis too, although in fact there are a number which were not yet flowering, like ‘John Huxtable’, above. I have to agree that all those that are now in bloom do seem to be more floriferous this year, which I am guessing may be down to the fact that I actively fed them earlier in the year, following the feeding regime recommended by Thorncroft, my favourite supplier. If this was the reason, then the effort and cost involved was certainly worth it.
The ‘Étoile Violette’ either side of the bus shelter is putting on a show even greater than usual, and another of this variety outside the front door, climbing through Rosa ‘Phyllis Bide’ and usually blooming only sporadically, is looking stunning:
I could show several more examples, but this would be stretching the Six on Saturday rules too much, so will just share the exuberant ‘Little Bas’ on the clematis colonnade, with a bloom of ‘Princess Kate’ hiding in the middle of the picture, and one of the herbaceous scrambling varieties (alongside the striking scarlet Lychnis chalcedonica), its label hidden amongst some very damp foliage:
I was thrilled recently to discover a big fat bud on an agapanthus grown from a seedling from blogging friend Chloris’ garden; I had no idea what colour it would be but now that it is opening I can be fairly sure that it will be blue. I have grown agapanthus from seed myself, but my oldest seedlings haven’t yet flowered, despite one sold to a friend at one of our openings having flowered every year since 2020! I did, however, have a bloom last year on white agapanthus grown from RHS seed whilst still in its 9cm pot: now potted on, it is clearly not planning on flowering again yet…
I am also well-pleased with the phoenix-like rising from the ashes of Hardenbergia violacea in the Coop. Having grown from the original small plant into one clambering 3 or 4 feet up its support and flowering in each of its first three winters, I decided it would probably like to be repotted – sadly, repotting rewarded me not with a newly-invigorated plant but with one that looked distinctly unhappy and dropping its leaves… Not expecting anything positive, I contacted the supplier Fibrex to establish what might have gone wrong; they suggested replanting it in a specific brand of peat free compost, one they used throughout their nursery, and decreed that it should recover fairly quickly, albeit losing the remainder of its leaves before it did so. Astonishingly, this is exactly what happened and barely three months later not only has it a wealth of fresh new shoots at the base but along the seemingly dead stems there are tiny specks of green, growing into new leaves! Without the advice of Fibrex I would have cut these stems right back…
I have managed to restrict my gardening activities this week to gentle deadheading and a little repotting, but today decided to face up to the Rector, the rambling rose above the arbour. For some years we have cut back all the flowering stems soon after flowering and this has certainly helped keep him in a shape suitable for his profession. Not a difficult task, other than facing the numerous sharp thorns, it just involves wholesale lopping followed by tackling the mountain of prunings and in due course tying the new shoots to the wooden framework, although only the first of these was achieved today.
Finally, for the sixth of my stretched Six on Saturday for Jon the Propagator’s weekly meme, and not as pretty or exciting or impactful as the others, we have the tomatoes finally making it into the greenhouse border after the removal of the Winter Sunshine sweet peas. It’s hard to believe I usually leave it till the last of our group visits, which are often well into July, as they were in desperate need of escaping the confines of their pots! Do now visit Jon’s blog to catch up on other sixes.