This is my first contribution to the Six on Saturday gardening conversation that started on the Propagator’s blog.
As I reflected on what I could contribute, I looked around the garden and realised it was the red plants that were jumping out at me, calling for my attention.
Red plants are not hugely abundant in my garden, but this is the time of year when the come to the fore. They punctuate the borders forcefully amongst the pastel achilleas, the yellow dahlias, and the green foliage of the Euphorbias.
So here are the red stars of my garden.
These Dianthus have surprised me. They came in a pack of cheap plug plants, without much to recommend them or cause me much excitement. But they have have performed superbly; thickening up, producing multiple stems and flowering for weeks on end. I think they are called Dianthus barbatus ‘Rockin Red’, but I’m open to correction if I’m wrong.
These new guinea Impatiens are still settling in, but they’ve found an effective place at the border’s edge, nestling at the feet of the bamboo, Phyllostachis aureosulcata spectabilis. They light up this semi-shady spot and contrast nicely withe stems of the bamboo.
Another over-performer, this Nicotiana is an F1 half-hardy annual from the same cheap pack of plug plants as the Dianthus. If I’m honest, I’ve always been a bit sniffy about mass produced mail order bedding, but they’ve certainly done a job in brightening up my new garden as it fills out with some of my longer term choices.
I’ve been growing strawberries in a hanging basket for the first time and they’ve done pretty well. I’ve fed them with liquid seaweed and tomato feed and they’ve fruited nicely. Surprisingly and fortunately, the birds haven’t got to them – but my kids have, so none have made it to a bowl in the kitchen yet.
More bedding – begonias this time – surprising me with their performance and longevity. These have flowered and flowered and there is no sign of them stopping yet. Like the impatiens, they lighten the shadiness of the border when the sun goes behind the house.
And finally, Londinium gloria, bred on the banks of the Thames at Chiswick, by the Fullers brewery nursery is always a welcome sight – usually on a Friday night in the greenhouse. A rather short lived perennial, but there is usually another one in the fridge if needed.
Martin Cole has been an avid gardener for more than 20 years and loves to talk and write about gardening. In 2006 he was a finalist in the BBC Gardener of the Year competition.
He previously lived in London and Sydney, Australia, where he took a diploma course in Horticultural studies and is now based in North Berwick in Scotland. He founded GardeningStepbyStep.com in 2012. The website is aimed at everybody who has been bitten by the gardening bug and wants to know more.
Gardening Step by Step has been cited by Thompson and Morgan, the UK’s largest mail order plant retailer, as a website that publishes expert gardening content.
Check out my comprehensive step by step guide, with plain language explanations and ultra-useful images and illustrations. This is for you if you love dahlias and want to the best out of the dahlias you grow.