Late Summer Flowers
On the allotment the flowers of both the wild marjoram, Origanum vulgare above and the golden marjoram Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’ below are looking gorgeous and awash with bee activity. I lifted a plant of the wild one to divide up for the main flower bed here since the colours will work well with the grey santolinas, helicrysums and sages and as a hardy perennial will provide colour in late summer for years to come.
It’s a herbaceous perennial but not clump forming instead each stem lifted out of the soil in quite separate pieces with roots at the base. I cut the stems back to 10cm and put eight of them in 8 small pots of commercial compost. These I watered and put in the cold frame until I see signs of life probably next Spring. Here it is cut with dill and the exceptionally pretty deep magenta flowers look great with the mustard yellow of the dill.
I am emptying the terracotta pots outside the kitchen door in anticipation of some bulb purchasing and have lifted and eased apart a clump of chives and made eight small plants and these I have planted in a flower bed. With the warm weather they should put down a good root system and provide chives for the winter but if not they’ll at least have a head start next spring and they’ll clump up to make substantial plants.
The allotments were looking wonderful today with nasturtiums and marigolds edging many of the plots. Both self-seed and return year after year and whilst I have lots of nasturtiums I want marigolds next year and I want lots of them and for ever more. I bought a packet of seeds of Calendula Candyman Orange which is the longest flowering and best double-flowered marigold. I shall sow direct on the edge of two beds since it’s a hardy annual and can be sown now.
Another hardy annual that can be sown now direct in a cutting garden or on the allotment is Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ here below. It’s an exotic looking plant with sea-blue leaves and rich purple-blue flowers loved by bees. The large black seeds produced in autumn can be saved and sown again in spring or allowed to drop and if the winter isn’t too severe the flowers will re-appear the following spring.
I had intended picking a bunch of sunflowers for the house but the four that were in bloom were so full of bee activity I thought it would be too mean so I’ve left them.
And talking of bees there’s a Bee and Pollination Festival at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden on Saturday and Sunday this weekend http://bristol.ac.uk/botanic-garden/ There will be a host of ideas to improve productivity on allotments I shall be attending those-and displays and demonstrations on the importance and pleasure of keeping bees.