The end of July has been trumpeted in with the opening of the in your face colour of the oriental lily 'Robina' and with much welcome rain. We've been away for a good part of the month so garden and allotment have been left to do their own thing although the allotment had the attention of a good fairy in the shape of my plot neighbour. Before we left I jokingly asked her if she would water in the event of a drought not knowing what would transpire in our absence.
The garden looked rather forlorn and frazzled on our return. In fact I thought we had leapt into August with some plants having flowered and gone over with indecent haste. I'm hoping that some of them such as the penstemons will throw up more flowering stems. Others though such as the day lilies have been revelling in the heat ~
The new border though is not a pretty site. I was dismayed to see the appearance of the dreaded horsetail as well as a myriad of annual weeds. I went to work clearing the area with many dark mutterings and then a couple of days ago further havoc was caused by some heavy rain. This caused some of the annuals to snap off before they even reached their prime. I have also noticed that most of the planting lists to one side. I have concluded that this is because there are trees overhanging the area. Now this will not be a problem in spring where I am hoping that the hellebores and snowdrops will thrive but I need to do some more thinking about what will be happy there later in the season. On the plus side the newly planted sedums on top of the gabion wall are beginning to establish themselves and seem most happy. They were coming into flower as we left - mainly white flowers tinged with pink but a few (fortunately just a few) yellow ones too. The most exciting development is that they are now slowly but surely starting to creep over the edge of the wall ~
I thought that I may have completely missed out on strawberries at the allotment this year. I cleared the two strawberry beds last year and now just have the one newly planted bed. I was so pleased that some were considerate enough to wait to be eaten. I'm more than happy with 'Cambridge Favourite' but have not been impressed with the growth or taste of 'Albion.' Maybe the latter will improve with age so will reserve judgement until next year. The summer fruiting raspberries were almost completely dessicated though so no jam this year. Autumn fruiting 'Polka' has made a head start and there have been delicious pickings to decorate my morning bowl of porridge. The currants have thrived and the apples look set for a good harvest. Before we left I nipped off small courgettes that were just forming so did not come home to any real monsters. The peas looked rather frayed round the edges but I have been able to enjoy some more along with broad beans. Now is the turn of the French beans to be harvested - this year I planted a climbing trio of purple 'Blauhilde', green 'Cobra' and speckled 'Borlotti'. The latter however does not appear to be climbing as yet. As in the garden weeds have mushroomed overnight so I'm waiting for a cooler and dry day for a marathon weed in.
For once a whole month has gone by without me buying a single plant but I will have a chance to remedy that now that the bulb catalogues have arrived in the post!
Thanks as always to Helen over at 'The Patient Gardener's Weblog' for giving us the opportunity to share our end of month views.