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Touch of autumn in the air


By kowhai


Whatever happened to summer? It seems to have passed in so quickly and so damply that it’s almost impossible to believe we’ve pretty well had it. Let’s hope for an Indian summer next month, i.e. September.

I’ve been looking back over the last couple of months. The south facing border was looking like this about a month ago.

Prominent in the foreground are the day lilies which produced around six dozen flowers this year. However, they are very crowded, having expanded in the very large pot that they’re in, so I really will have to divide them up in the down season.

Further down the border there are some white lilies. These were very successful, but two other pots of lilies that I tried were less so. In fact, one — the most expensive one of course — has totally failed to produce any flowers at all. Still, mustn’t complain: I moved these white ones up onto the patio just outside the dining area door, so whenever we opened the door or went outside, we enjoyed their wonderful scent.

Fortunately, the other faithful border plants have kept on flowering, although some of them flopped instead of staying upright.

And the non hardy hibiscus has, at last flowered, quite abundantly. It spends the summer outside on the patio but has to be taken in for the winter.

This year the crocosmia lucifer performed well. I potted some corms last year, and they produced a very few flowers. So this year I put them all into the sunniest spot in the garden, and they obviously liked it. This isn’t the most abundant display, I know, but it’s quite a triumph in my garden!

Two faithfuls are the teazles and the cosmos. The former are self seeded and pop up in odd places. The latter I grew from seed and gave lots away. I’ve grown a lot on in pots and distributed these in parts of the border once they’ve been mature enough to compete with the surrounding hardy geraniums.

In fact, growing things on in pots isn’t a bad idea, as the plants can be moved around. Some of the cosmos were out the front in the east facing border where they thrived in the afternoon sun. (They have to be kept watered well, of course.) Having started to flower there, I then brought them into the back garden where I’d cut back the tall hardy geranium so as to give them space. Also, it means that the cosmos are filling in what is now a bit sparse.

We’re also getting a late flowering from an inherited rose. It makes up in brightness what it lacks in scent.

One flower which is good for late summer is the salvia. Some flower pretty well all summer. Recently we bought a few new ones, and they look wonderful in the morning sunshine. This is Salvia Amistad.

Last week, on a trip to the Cotswold’s for our daughter’s wedding, we bought some other ones at Kiftsgate. This is Salvia involucrata ‘Bethellii’, which is late flowering and also has lovely, velvety foliage.

At Kiftsgate — home of the rambler rose which we inherited — we also bought a late flowering climber, Rosa Phyllis Bide. The flowers change colour, starting out a kind of peachy-apricot shade, which then becomes light pink. She will go into the south facing border to replace the chaenomeles which died.

Kiftsgate is very hear to Hidcote and is, in our view, much the nicer garden. It is presided over by the Anne Chambers, who continues the gardening tradition begun by her grandmother. One of her guiding principles is to maintain planting which will provide colour right through the year, and in this she is very successful. She also sells plants that are grown in the garden, so unlike NT gardens (e.g. nearby Hidcote), it’s actually possible to obtain plants that you see in the gardens.

And, as with any good garden, it provides ideas for new plans for next year, such as this wonderful lobelia.

Kiftsgate isn’t just a wonderful series of romantic gardens, though. It also has an imaginative touch of modernity in this wonderful water feature which was created in the former tennis court about twelve years ago.

Water is something that we haven’t been short of this summer, which probably accounts for the very lush growth everywhere. It won’t be long before it’s the back end of the year and we’re cutting back, and thinking of altering planting and doing the slog work in preparation for next season. I’ve already got some projects in mind. The end of summer also means the start of heavy work in the garden!

More blog posts by kowhai

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thank you for this, kiftsgate isnt far from here but i have never been, i love that pool!

31 Aug, 2012


Kiftsgate looks like a beautiful garden - I like that small water feature particularly - prefer it to the modern one, must be because I'm getting on a bit myself!

Your garden's lovely too, and what a great shot of the bee on the teasel!

31 Aug, 2012

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