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Mid-Summer Flowers

July 20, 2016

Lavender tends to get over-watered here in the garden and ends up leggy and loose and then outgrows the space. It’s now re-planted in full sun in window boxes on the two balconies outside the sitting room windows.  Centranthus ruber ‘Alba’ a perennial plant that tolerates drought and relies on nothing more than rain water to thrive is in the mix too.


A row of 3 m high Hydrangea aspera villosa are towering over the garden shed with a huge evergreen bay tree forming the backdrop. It’s lovely and will flower for weeks and I’ll save the flowers to spray silver for Christmas decorations.


Other hydrangeas are in bloom as the garden enters mid-summer.  This is H. Madame Emile Mouillere which looks great in the bed but also makes a fabulous cut flower.


All areas are changing as summer moves on with groups of the Japanese anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ flowering and standing in where roses have finished.DSCN7029

On the allotment the last sowing of beetroot has been made and lots of dwarf French beans sown directly in the ground. I never have huge success with this crop but I’m trying again and have put lots of spent coffee grounds over the bed to deter slugs. Strangely they ignore beetroot, flat-leaf parsley and fennel all sown directly in the ground and the emerging young leaves never get touched.


The Rainbow chard and Ruby chard is flowering so it’s been cut hard back to re-sprout and a new row of Swiss chard seeds sown to get more leaves in Autumn. This was it at its peak about six weeks ago.

silver chard 2

Curly Kale is looking good and will stand in for leaves whilst the chard re-grows and there’s lots of summer Brocolli ‘Marathon’ producing florets now. Here it is steamed for 2 minutes and griddled for 5 minutes before adding to char-grilled courgettes in a salad dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, soya sauce, garlic and honey.DSCN7042

I wouldn’t normally pick Verbena bonariensis in quantity but I needed to move a few clumps when it grew to tall for the bed.  Inevitably since it was 1.80 cm the brittle stems broke so I cut back Stipa tenuissima and alliums to put with it and it’s a meadow in a vase.DSCN7033

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2016 9:52 am

    Wow! Your chard looks amazing; the vase is stunning, you’ll have to let me know how long the V. bonariensis last in your vase, they don’t usually last well for me.

    • July 20, 2016 11:00 am

      This is day four of the vase and really the last but it’s such a pretty combination and the exercise of re-locating the verbenas has inspired a plan. I shall plant tall summer flowering allium bulbs in and around the base of the plants this autumn. The bed is part of the first parterre and it’s what you see when you enter the garden so it should look rather cool. I love working with existing plants to change vistas-do you find that you do much of that?

      • July 20, 2016 11:02 am

        Once I find plants that thrive (survive) here I often try to use them in different ways to create different effects.

  2. July 25, 2016 12:59 pm

    Plants–thank you for those photos!

  3. July 25, 2016 1:36 pm

    You are welcome.

  4. July 31, 2016 4:59 pm

    I think you’ve solved a mystery here, Sue. My lavender was cut back to a lovely dome shape last winter but has become very leggy with massively long flower stems; I didn’t know that over-watering would have that effect but I guess that’s the effect of all the rainfall we’ve had. It seems odd to be thinking of autumn flowers when summer seems to have hardly started but at least it’s been a good year (so far) for beans and broccoli. Absolutely love your meadow in a vase – it’s inspirational!

  5. July 31, 2016 6:16 pm

    Yes I’m sure that lavenders like to bake in a hot Mediterranean sun to be at their very best.

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