Our week has been dominated by the weather. Of course, the gardener’s week is normally influenced by the weather at any rate but when you add a storm to the mix matters can be significantly more dramatic. Storm Ellen arrived late on Wednesday evening and passed quickly but dramatically. We were very fortunate as we didn’t have any great damage while there was an amount of disruption to life from flooding to the west of us. In the garden, it simply lead to a carpet of broken twigs and fallen leaves while others elsewhere suffered structural damage, loss of electrical supply and flood damage to roads and homes. Knocked trees were simply scattered about, blocking roads and damaging electricity cables and the clean-up operation made extensive demands on public services. Thankfully, I have heard of no loss of life as a result of the storm.
These reports from around the country put our little grievances in perspective. We prepared for the storm by putting potted plants into sheltered positions, grouping some together (strength in number!) and by moving others into the glasshouses. Although the storm has passed, wet and windy conditions have continued and we haven’t completed the clean-up here in the garden yet. We made a start on it on Thursday and continued yesterday, picking up fallen twigs, cutting down a lot of plants which had been battered and knocked about and doing a general bit of tidying up. The pots have been left where we put them for safety as the winds are still quite strong. The ground is absolutely saturated so working on flower beds and borders is out of the question until they dry out a little.
One of Aesop’s fables tells of the tree and the reed; the tree mocking the reed for its weakness but it was the reed’s ability to bend with the wind which saved it in the storm while the oak tree was lost. So it was with many of the garden plants; those of a more flexible nature, while a little battered, have come through the storm reasonably well. Clematis, despite having their heads in the air, fared well:
Crocosmias and Japanese Anemones are the toughest of old things, at times so tough as to become thugs in the garden. At one time we had a large number of crocosmias but got rid of many of them the worst offenders, those with designs on garden domination at the expense of all which stood in their way. The anemones can be similarly bothersome but they are so very pretty that I am inclined to be more tolerant of their wayward behaviour while also taking the precaution of only planting them in places where their habits will be curtailed by their surroundings, conditions and their neighbours. Of the crocosmias, we have added a few in the last few years having missed them a little in the garden – a case of a lesson not learned? – but these two are my firm favourites, ‘Solfatare’ and ‘Severn Sunrise’
The Japanese anemones have always struck me as the most photogenic of flowers and, despite their at times unruly nature, I wouldn’t be without them. The plain white ‘Honorine Jobert’ remains a firm favourite but the strong colour of ‘Prinz Heinrick’ is very striking while ‘September Charm’ and ‘Lorelei’ are more delicately coloured
Recent rains, and we have plenty of them, have brought a spurt of growth to many plants and have prompted those which respond to autumn rain into flower a little earlier than normal. Nerines have suddenly broken into growth though not yet into flower – naked ladies, flowers without foliage. Likewise, the pink snouts of Colchicums are peeping through and will be in flower shortly. Sternbergia lutea has begun to flower, in a pot in the glasshouse, without having a drop of water for several months. I have since watered the pot and also the dozen or so pots of autumn-flowering snowdrops, Galanthus reginae-olgae, which I keep dry and baking in the glasshouse all summer. These snowdrops don’t enjoy wet, or even damp, ground in the summer and have never done well in the open garden with me. They have been watered now and will flower in a month’s time, the first of the snowdrops will soon be with us! However, the best display at the moment is from Cyclamen hederifolium:
A man who used walk our road about twenty five years ago, unfortunately he is now deceased, called in to us one day and gave us two bulbs for the garden, one a white Crinum x powellii and the other pink. He told us he had come upon them in Cork and thought they would do well for us – what a kind person, so thoughtful! Seán’s crinums were given good positions in the garden, planted a foot deep on top of a foot of manure for such were the directions I had read. In the intervening years they have thrived and give a good display every year. The one bulb of each has now multiplied well and I have had to construct plant supports to keep them from swamping neighbouring plants.
Finally, a random selection of other blooms from the garden this week, odds and ends:
To read more Six on Saturday blogs go to The Propagator’s entry for today: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2020/08/22/six-on-saturday-22-08-2020/ ,scroll down to the comments and you will find other bloggers have posted links to their Saturday entry there. Lots to read!