This week I have heard several complaints about this summer in the UK. Whilst I agree that it wasn’t a patch on last year regarding high temperatures I can’t agree that it’s been a bad year for gardens. Here’s why:
My shrubs and perennials have performed exactly as I expected. We have had loads of flowers and now the fruits are ripening. There are apples, damsons and blackberries for us plus rose hips and all manner of seeds for the wildlife. The fruit is lovely but without doubt the stars of our garden this year have been the annuals, some hardy, others tender.
I’ve been taking a few photos in the sunshine this morning and the colours are still vibrant and summery.
To say that I am thrilled to bits with my annual flowers is an understatement. They have been brilliant all summer and now autumn is almost here some of them are still going strong. Last week several people asked me how on earth I still had Sweet Peas in bloom.
So what’s the secret?
Successional Sowing. That’s what does the trick!
- Sow in autumn for early flowers in spring.
- Sow again in early spring (March) to fill any gaps.
- Sow again in May for flowers later on in the year.
It doesn’t have to be hard work. There are many hardy annuals that you can sow directly into the soil this autumn and they will look after themselves. As long as they have the right growing conditions in a sunny spot then a few plants will produce hundreds of flowers for you next year.
Don’t just take my word for it. Garden bloggers all over the UK are singing the benefits of autumn sowing. Plants produce good root systems in autumn and winter then as soon as temperatures rise and days lengthen in spring wooosh the plants start sending out shoots and beautiful flowers.
Some annuals are particularly lovely at this time of year. Dahlias for instance and my current favourite Scabiosa atropurpurea. (Which is actually a short lived perennial grown as an annual) It’s great to have plants to extend the flowering season. Summer is drawing to a close but we don’t have to say goodbye to our flowers just yet. Woo Hoo!
I’ve cut some Scabiosa atropurpurea (actually Tall Mixed – but I just wanted the blue flowers today) to go with some Ammi visnaga in a little vase for the house. Heaven.
I hope the sun is shining wherever you are. Happy Gardening.
16 thoughts on “A good year in the garden”
Gardeners’ glasses tend to be half full, don’t they? I think it’s been a perfectly good summer and, to be honest, my patch has benefitted from the wetter weather over the last few weeks.
Yes they do Matt! I find it amazing that we all look at the same thing from different perspectives. That’s what makes us unique and life interesting though.
I agree with you on annuals. Normally I have shrubs and perennials, but almost by accident this year I grew a few nasturtiums. I also have received my annual seeds from Sarah Raven, so will try just a few this autumn, and sow again twice next year as you suggest. What a great idea, thanks for sharing.
You are welcome Noelle. I’m looking forward to seeing your photos already!
Love the color!
Thanks very much MaryLou.
Beautiful scabiosa bouquet, Gillian! Such a lovely flower. Great ‘baby boy’ arrangement for some new mother. 🙂
Oh yes Eliza. That’s a lovely idea.
I think it’ s been a great summer with plenty of sun. As you say the fruit is amazing. I have grown lots of annuals this year, I think they are really good value, giving you masses of flowers for a long period.
I’m glad you had a great summer too! Annuals are brilliant value, inexpensive and easy. Another thing I love about them is that each year you can choose a completely new colour scheme.
A timely tip regarding autumn sowing, true for many naturalistic biennials too and for many perennial ornamental grasses. Beautiful images, thank you.
Yes you’re right Kate. Now is the time! Do you have plans for growing some plants this autumn/winter?
Yes, lots of good intentions! From what I’ve read in other people’s posts I shall try autumn sowing sweet peas. Then there’s the usual batch of annual/half hardy grasses and flowers for stock plants next year and maybe a few new ones … Periscaria orientale sounds a useful filler for my sort of garden.
That sound great Kate. I am looking forward to reading all about it!
Oh dear, my experience here in South Ayrshire has been quite mixed this year. On the down side, no blossom on our two apple trees, therefore no apples to harvest. The annuals sown last autumn either drowned or froze to death because they certainly didn’t make an appearance. On the plus side, our cherry trees were smothered in blossoms and we had a bumper crop of cherries. The roses were better than ever and the annuals sown in late spring made an amazing display – all are still flowering away even now. Having learned from this year, I won’t be sowing in the annual patch until spring. Instead, I will sow some into pots to overwinter in the cold frame in the hope of an early start and maybe, just maybe, we will have a return to a more normal weather pattern.
I am so sorry you have no apples this year Elizabeth. It sounds like you really had some rough weather. The brilliant thing about gardening for me is …there’s always next year to have another go. Fingers crossed for 2016 for you!
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