Friday, 13 September 2019

Sky Blue Delphiniums

There's something rather special about sky-blue flowers, and a towering delphinium brings a concentrated hit of this most elevating colour up to eye level.  Caught against a blue sky in summer or autumn, they're breathtaking.

Pacific Giant Seedling of Summer Skies, first year flowering in July from Feb sown seeds 2019.
Summer Skies - Sky Blue seedling
Just look at that blue! I was amazed at how truly sky-blue this summer skies seedling is. No Photoshopping the colours here! That's the colour of the sky and the colour of the flowers; an almost perfect match in tone and intensity. for the week this was in flower I steered all visitors to my garden to these flowers, with a whispered "just look at those flowers against the sky." After the flower spike formed Summer Skies picked it up mildew on the leaves, but cut back to the base after most of the flower spikes were spent, the trio of summer skies planted together in an ericaceous pot (for the lilies, not the delphs) have formed flowers almost ready to open this week (sept 14th). Just in time to compare themselves to clear autumn skies.

Glowing light blue flowers of delphinium elatum Pandora in 2019
The darker blue of Pandora if enhanced by a beautiful eye: black striped with blue. A nice pyramid shape too.

Delphinium Elatum Blue Lagoon 2019
Blue Lagoon

A mauve and and pale blue seedling of summer skies
Summer Skies
Blue Lagoon: Sky blue with hints of mauve and below, a similar colouring from a summer skies seedling. Note the pinked petal tips on the summer skies vs smooth points of Blue Lagoon.  

This Summer skies was chunkier and more well filled than Lagoons first flowering.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Lifting an overgrown conifer hedge

We inherited a an overgrown conifer hedge that made it difficult to get down the drive and out of the car.  We considered taking it down, but the tall trees provide useful screening between ourselves and our neighbour's windows - an really expensive thing to replace. So, we're lifting the canopy to create trees! 
Conifer canopy lift (or murder) underway

Conifers starting to show their trunks. New fencing put in plank by plank!

Optimistic planting underway underneath the conifers
Now we can walk underneath the hedge and we can both get out of the car at once. There's a new challenge of planting under the conifers. I've got a range of tiny plants getting ready to go in. When in doubt plant a geranium (or a foxglove). Hopefully at least some will cope in the dry partial shade if I help them get established with plenty of water. 

The toughies being tested are: 
Geranium Rozanne - mostly because it's lovely and I had so many spares it seemed worth a try! 
Foxgloves - mostly seedlings of Excelsior mixed from packet seeds and saved seeds.
Vinca Minor - white flowered
3 types of Heuchera
Euphorbia: Robbiae, Martinii, and Purpurea. The Robbiae should do just fine, I've got that in similar conditions elsewhere (the former owners of our plot really really liked conifers), and the purpurea should cope, but be a bit less colourful, Martinii is a punt.
Festuca Glauca, which is supposed to cope with any kind of condition. First time with this, so we'll see.
A nice yellow leaved grass grown from seed who's name I've forgotten, Bowles something.
Convallaria majalis
Euonymous Emerald Gaeity

Delphinium Black Knight Group (Pacific Giants)

Intense purple Pacific Giant Black Knight Group delphinium with well filled flower spikes, flowering first year from seed.
Chunky well filled Black Knight Group
A beautiful well filled Black Knight's first flowering from seed sown in Feb 2019. This one produced 3 flower spikes in late August (initial growth was cut back so that more flowers would be produced, but later). About 3ft tall this year and at that height survived 20mph winds and rain without support. The lack of support was carelessness rather than intention! 

Some mildew after a dry but humid summer.

Have labelled this one "M" and will see if it comes back next year with the same vigour.

I don't think anyone could complain about the first year performance of this Black Knight from seed.