I really like green flowers – not sure why, to be honest, perhaps it’s just the novelty. I was a little disappointed with my ‘Laguna’ gladioli last year (and this) in that they were really more of a pale yellow once open and had a lot of pink to them, too. This variety, though, ‘Green Star’ is absolutely and positively green. Four of this year’s gladis have come up so far – ‘Green Star’, ‘Espresso’, ‘White Prosperity’ and ‘Laguna’. Of them, I admit both Green star and White Prosperity are favourites – though the ‘Laguna’ are rather sweet simply by contrast as they’re a small variety planted amongst giants. I’d never grown large or even standard sized gladioli before – always little butterfly or nanus varieties – so I wasn’t entirely prepared for the spectacular spikes on some of these plants.
‘White Prosperity’ in particular has given me some spectacularly tall spikes – around 7 and 1/2 feet tall! Both it and ‘Green Star’ have also given well spaced flowers and, unlike ‘Espresso’ (which didn’t turn out nearly as dark as the packaging suggested) the blooms last a while so that the spike isn’t completely bare and ugly at the bottom by the time the top flowers are emerging. ‘Espresso’ flowers died very quickly, were too closely spaces on the spike. So far, I’ve somehow managed to be quite lucky and haven’t seen signs of any thrips damage. I have, however, spied quite a few pollen beetles. They seem to be really common this year, though I suspect I’m simply seeing more because I have more flowers growing.
Also looking very green at the moment are the couple of cabbages which were members of the ‘misc brassica’ section until recently. They’re hearting up, but also attracting a lot of attention from small, white, fluttering menaces and their spawn… Next year I really, really need to get some netting for my brassicas.
One the ‘other large flowers’ side, we have these ‘Velvet Queen’ sunflowers. I wasn’t expecting these to be a tall type – I had assumed, since I knew they were multi-headed, that they’d be smaller bush types but apparently not! Serves me right for not reading the pack more carefully. Still, I think they’re amazing – they range from deep red to a burnt copper-bronze, each plant has produced a pile of flower heads and they stand 5-6 feet in height – not the tallest, but a fairly good backdrop height.
A quick update on the ‘Way Back There’ garden – I’ve done some temporary and some ‘semi-permanent’ planting. The buddleja, hydrangea, dahlias and carex are there to stay (hopefully) and the rest are former denizens of the patio and one of the greenhouses. The dahlias will, of course, need to be lifted – the ground here is way too cold and wet in winter to leave them in the ground and the rest of the temporary planting are all annuals which won’t survive the winter. Since a lot of the planting I’m planning on won’t go in until next year anyway it seemed like a good idea to plant these excess, temporary plants. First off, it’ll let me see quickly if there are nutrient deficiencies that I’ll need to address before next years’ annuals go in, secondly it’ll allow for, hopefully, better growth for the ones which are to make it their permanent home – especially the buddleja and hydrangea. It will also, hopefully, make it look a little less bare and give a splash of colour into the autumn months.
The tiles have turned out to be really valuable for moving about in the bed – reducing the amount of soil compacted by heavy trudging. I’m excited to see what colour the buddleja is – it’s a bit of a lottery given I sowed mixed seed. Given that it has red stems I’m guessing it might be one of the more pink-red stemmed varieties as these are the only ones I can find pictures of which have reddish stems – the rest having silvery or silvery-brown stems. I’d love a white buddleja but I’m guessing the likelihood of that is slim in a random mixed-seed batch.