14.7.18 High Summer in St Mary’s Border


  1. I am focusing this week on the long border begun in March at St Mary’s church, Walthamstow. Far from perfect and very much a work in progress, there are nevertheless some pleasing highlights. The seed sowing of early to late Spring is paying off now with the rise of several tender annuals. Ammi visagna has risen to about three feet giving rounded, billowing mounds of fresh white, against a backdrop of Helenium.Cleome hassleriana has emerged from Cannabis-like foliage to give a luxuriant, whiskery, complex flowering in white and deep pink. Tiphonia rotundiflora has just popped out with glorious orange trumpets. Trachymene coerulea brings an unusual blue umbel to proceedings. Finally, Nicotiana mutabilis (which gave me scores of plants from seed) has finally grown from the rather dull cabbagey clump of fat leaves to produce delicate white, pink and darker pink trumpet flowers.



2. Rudbeckia lacinata ” Razzle Dazzle”. A plant given to me by the Essex HPS, is now coming into its own. It has needed a bit of watering to stop it drooping (quite tall at about 1.2M and so noticeable if unhappy!) and early on,in the days when we still had rain, it suffered from slug and snail attack, but now it is a really sturdy and handsome thing if you have space to fill.


3. Phlox paniculata “Hampton Court”. Right on cue given the festival it is named after, this Phlox, another HPS gift, is putting on an eye catching display. Rather too garish for my tastes, it nevertheless is a good performer with no sign of mildew whatsoever. Might have to find another home for this next year because there is a nasty clash with Razzle Dazzle behind it.


4. Miscanthus sinensis “Morning Light”. Not much to look at you might think. But the three clumps of this in the border are vital to hold it together and provide excellent foliage contrast. I love this plant for its poise, its ease of care and long season of interest. The first plumes are emerging now and will stand long into Winter, I hope.


5. Combination of Salvia Nachtvlinder and Gaura lindheimeri “Whirling Butterflies. I thought these two would like the sunniest part of the bed, hoped they would look good together, but have been really pleased that they associate so well. The Gaura has stayed low in the drought and gently eased through the salvia. Satisfying.


6. Blue and yellow is one of my favourite colour combinations. Eryngium x tripartitum and Ferula communis have intertwined at a good height to give a colour/texture contrast that will hopefully stand a long time.



17 thoughts on “14.7.18 High Summer in St Mary’s Border

  1. I don’t know if it’s just me but I find your blog hard to read as I’m seeing black text on a very dark grey background. I get round it by highlighting the text which makes it white on a blue background. That aside, this post is very frustrating, being full of plants I’ve tried and failed with over the years. Love ammi but ammi doesn’t love me! I can at best get gaura to grow as a low annual. Don’t mention cleome. The list goes on. At least I’ve managed to get Eryngium going here this year but will have to see whether it returns next year. And I can grow phlox, as long as it’s white and smelly! At least I can oggle your successes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tithonia and cleome are 2 flowers that I didn’t succed this year. Tithonia were eaten by slugs and cleome seeds didn’t sprout… Yours are very pretty. Lovely mix of flowers in this post.

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  3. Our Miscanthus just got roasted! We missed most of the heat, and it still has not gotten too terribly hot, but the heat that we did get came on too suddenly for what we just planted. It will recover, but will look tired through the process.

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    1. We are so unused to it, Tony, but in London it has not rained for nearly three months and with temperatures of 24-33 degrees a lot of plants are now getting frazzled. All I can do is water well and mulch, but it is a good test of drought tolerance.

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      1. It is hard to imagine that your bad weather is milder than our mild weather. We have not had rain since the beginning of April, and the temperatures are warmer (I translated to what I know), but such weather is normal for us. It typically gets even warmer, and we do not expect rain until autumn. But then, we must water our landscapes regularly.

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  4. Another reader here who’s finding all these fellas quite attractive. You’ve done some wonderful combinations that give such interest to both plants involved – contrasts in colour, texture, height, etc. If my beds looked like this, I wouldn’t consider them a work in progress at all! (How’s them cucumelons comoing along?)

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    1. Lora, the Cucamelon is a mess of a plant. I thought cucumbers sprawled about in a shapeless, rambling state, until I met these fellas. Still, mine are vigorous and have tiny fruits forming. How are yours? Are we still having a competition? Biggest fruit? Most fruit? Most shambolic?


      1. My cucumelons are growing very tidily up the bed spring trellis, thank you very much. Except for the one that’s decided to climb the sycamore tree, eek! So let’s go for most shambolic. I’ve started test-eating them, trying to figure out when they’re ripe. They say if you let them get soft, they’re bitter, so I think I’ve picked mine too soon.because they don’t have much flavour. Fred the FG says his taste like cucumber w/a hint of lime. That sounds nice, eh?


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