The jet stream has a lot to answer for, says John Stoa as he sorts his summer flowers
After last year’s brilliant summer we gardeners were hoping for a repeat performance just like with the hot summer of 1975 followed by 1976 which was even better.
We are getting plenty good temperatures, (a record breaking hot spell) but the continual rain coming in thunderstorms is way over the top.
This year the garden hose is gathering dust lying in a corner.
Early summer gave the flowers a great start, as we had warmth, and just enough water to keep them happy.
However there is always the negative side in gardening where mildews, rust, rose blackspot, slugs, snails and greenfly thinking the garden belonged to them.
Roses struggled the most as disease attacked the leaves, but bedding plants just loved it. Hanging baskets looked great with geraniums, petunias, French marigolds and Impatiens all in great form, though geraniums almost flowered themselves to death as they ran to seed and growth got held back.
Hopefully they will recover once normality resumes with the late summer weather. That jet stream has a lot to answer for.
Oriental lilies loved the weather, though gales blew a few over.
However these were cut and brought indoors and we had a fortnight of their glorious scent through out the house.
Every year I have bought in another fifty or so and now they are quite eye catching in large drifts where ever I find a dry sunny spot.
They are quite happy with spring bulbs at their feet so I get the snowdrops, crocus, then tulips and grape hyacinths in display over the spring months before the Oriental poppies need the space.
Annual flowers of Godetia, Candytuft and a variety of Poppies have all naturalised over different parts of the garden and as long as nothing else is suffering we just let them get on with it.
The Californian poppies as well as poppy Ladybird have been terrific and this year a new Poppy Ladybird appeared with larger than normal flowers, so seed is being kept from it for next year.
Seed is also being saved from pansies and wallflower Golden Monarch which both have been fantastic up at City Road allotments.
The show has been so good that several plot holders are now dead heading the pansies to keep them flowering and at the same time providing fresh seed for young plants for flowering next year.
Fuchsia Mrs Popple never lets us down so new plants from cuttings were planted in the new flower border at City Road allotments and continues to flower well into autumn.
This flower border is also planted up with lilies, Houttuynia, Cistus and Lamium White Nancy as well as numerous bush roses all from cuttings.
The border has been great this year, but hopefully next year it will be even better as plants mature, and with more spring bulb planting.
Dahlias, gladioli and Chrysanthemums are now all in full flower, but growing conditions have been so good that staking and tying has been problematic as they are all so much bigger than normal.
There have been plenty of flowers for the house, though I need to keep some vases for my oriental lilies for their scent.
Verbena and Osteospermum however have just grown normally but with a greater show of flowers than in previous years.
Hydrangea Charme had a poor display last year and was getting ready for the chop, but we relented and gave it another year, but with a severe verbal warning.
Must have given it a fright, as it has been great this year, so it lives to flower a few more years.
Calluna H E Beale is always a show stopping heather towards the end of August and is well budded up at present. It has grown really well in the hot clammy moist summer climate.
Wee jobs to do this week
Check over grapes in the greenhouse and remove any showing signs of botrytis rot before it spreads.
Remove some leaves to let sunshine penetrate the ripening bunches and keep the doors and windows open as much as possible to improve air circulation and keep temperatures down. This is a bad year for botrytis with high temperatures and too much rainfall.