Somersaulting into summer

Counting days of July won’t help unless you spend that time with even small achievements each day.” – Anonymous

Each Spring now seems fleeter even than the visitation of cuckoos. The birds are back in Africa now and some sizzling summer temperatures are forecast here, enough to make our temperate plants flag and bring on a hose pipe ban.

African Aztec marigolds for the summer stolstice

But of course many of our garden plants hale from the African continent – African marigolds (Tagetes erecta) however do not being Mexican in origin. Some I had growing in pots mildewed and were discarded; the best of which I picked to make a vase for the Summer solstice (goodness that was already 2 weeks ago) Meanwhile those growing in poor garden soil are flourishing

Gazanias – midsummer treasures out of Africa

This has made me consider just how many plants i do have that originate from Africa. Last year I purchased an end of season pot of Gazania rignes in a plant sale. Before now I had disliked their bold brash blooms but having decided on a potted front garden of citrus and pink palettes they fitted in very well. Actually I was expecting them to be annual and despite being left unprotected through our last rather cold winter the plants have popped back better than ever. Also known as the Treasure plant, I really do value them

Another classic from Africa are of-course the pelargoniums, often misnamed as geraniums, though the latter are hardy cranesbills whilst these are frost tender storksbills (Pelargos is Ancient Greek for Stork). Too often grown as ubiquitous annual bedding plants, these lovely plants are worthy of more individual care and attention.

Meanwhile, I lost 2 of my scented leaved pelargoniums over winter in the greenhouse. Growing these is not as practical, living now in a much colder zone than London. However, the cuttings I took of a rose scented one and the species P. sidoides all survived as well as the parent of sidoides – also known as The African geranium!

Pelargonium ‘attar of roses’

Also fragrant but frost tender are the Nemesias from South Africa. A fact I forgot and hence lost my first batch of ‘Wisley Vanilla’ a while back – this year I purchased more and will move the pot into the greenhouse. These, along with a few others, are now registered under a tender perennial category of the plant index. A necessary prompt for the gardener!

And now for something completely different – from a mystery packet of mixed perennial seeds I am now stumped as to what it is that grew (the same goes for some seeds I pulled from a seedhead on a garden visit.) Even the plant ID app PictureThis is unsure. I’m only certain of the Stachys but others I will just have to wait and see what flowers. The drawback to mystery seeds is not knowing what environs the plant would prefer in order to bloom! Surprise, surprise!

Take a leisurely scrolling view through the garden in July

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