Life in a Cottage Garden with Carol Kleine episode 4 – High Summer: In July and August the garden is building to a peak. Flowers are at their very brightest and most beautiful with geraniums abounding and the fragrance of lilies pervading the garden. To keep the garden looking glorious, there is staking to be done, roses to deadhead and cuttings of asters to take.
Carol sets to work in her hot borders. She plants out the castor oil plants, grown from seed, and places cannas, gingers and dahlias to create an exotic, hot, explosion of colour.
Carol also takes a walk along the dunes of her local beach, Braunton Burrows to seek out the native sea holly, a plant she would dearly love to grow in her own garden. Plantswoman Carol Klein shares with us a year in her garden at Glebe Cottage in north Devon.
Life in a Cottage Garden with Carol Kleine episode 4 – High Summer
Flowering throughout summer, pelargoniums are essential in borders and containers alike. Flowers are white, pink, orange, red or mauve, with some double varieties. They are not hardy, but can overwinter in frost-free conditions. On a sunny windowsill or in a heated conservatory, these evergreen perennials and shrubs can flower virtually year round.
Pelargonium are plants that evoke a holiday in the sun, with their rounded clusters of vivid red or orange flowers and bushy leaves, often strongly marked with purple or red. Trailing types have green ivy-shaped leaves and others are wavy-margined. Some even have scented leaves. Flowers also may vary from pure white through to pinks, mauves and deep purples, sometimes with a contrasting dark blotch.
All pelargoniums love a warm spot, in a pot or the ground. They prefer free-draining, even stony soil or an open compost. Most flower best with a some applications of potassium-rich fertiliser. Pelargoniums will not survive the frost so give some thought as to how to overwinter them or whether to buy fresh plants each year.
The pictures of lilies on garden centre racks look glorious – and, for once, the pictures don’t lie. Lilies are glorious. And, if you’re tempted by those garden centre packs, that’s a great way to start.
As a simple rule of thumb, those lilies on garden centre racks are likely to be easy to grow – the bulb companies only put out the easy ones this way. Take a look at the instructions on the back of the ones you especially like the look of, and see if they need acid soil (which is what you have if you can grow rhododendrons) or alkaline soil – and pick the ones that suit your conditions.
Plant the bulbs any time from now until March (autumn is preferred), in sun or partial shade, with 15cm (6in) of soil above them in rich, fertile but well-drained conditions. I feed mine every two weeks from flowering until they start to deteriorate. Don’t forget to deadhead.
As to looking after them… My tips are: don’t let them dry out, feed them regularly, keep them free of aphids (aphids spread debilitating virus diseases) and if you see any red beetles on the plants – squash them.