There’s not a lot in flower this month so I thought I’d take a look at October birth flowers which are Calendula and Cosmos. I have already featured the lovely Cosmos so I have dipped into my garden files to find some of my Calendula photos.
Marigolds and Borage
Calendula officinalis, the common or pot marigold, is a popular annual plant with yellow to orange daisy- or chrysanthemum-like flowers. The common marigold is still widely used around the world to heal cuts and bruises. Its flowers and leaves are edible, and can be used in soups, salads, and other dishes. It also makes a spectacularly eye-catching garnish.
Because of its resemblance to the sun, it is associated with warmth, love, and creativity.
This is the month of the Michaelmas Daisy, or Aster or Symphyotrichum or whatever name has been decided upon this year. I mean who is going to remember Symphywhotsit! The feast day of St Michael the Archangel on the 29th September coincides with the peak flowering season of autumn flowering Asters. Which is how they come by their common name, Michaelmas Daisy.
There’s a colour to suit every garden – they come in shades of white, blue, purple and pink and they can flower for weeks beginning late summer and into autumn.
They look great in cottage gardens but also work in more contemporary schemes – they associate well with ornamental grasses. They’re extremely popular with bees and butterflies, too.
Some are compact and clump-forming and suited to the front of a border or a container, others are taller statuesque specimens reaching 2 metres and look best at the back of a border where they can waft over the other plants.
One of the best places to see these plants is in Worcestershire, close to the beautiful Malvern Hills. The Picton Garden is a plantsman’s garden that holds the National Plant Collection of more than 400 varieties of Michaelmas Daisies creating a jewel-like tapestry from mid-September. I published a post about this beautiful garden in 2014 so please click on the link and head over there for a visual treat.
Looking around the lanes and gardens in August you can’t fail to notice the number of Hydrangeas that are in flower. Here in Cornwall where the temperatures are mild all year round and where there is plenty of moisture they grow into enormous shrubs in colours ranging from the purest white to the darkest purple.
The one place to visit to see these flowers en masse is Trebah Garden on the Helford River. This is when they take centre stage. The plants here are hand pruned in early spring which helps promote the abundance of flowers that remain until long into the autumn. The majority of these were planted in 1949.
Included in the species are H. aspera which has soft velvety leaves. Bees collecting pollen from this plant accumulate a blue sac on each leg rather than the usual yellow.
H. quercifolia has large oak-like leaves which develop burnished tinges in autumn.
H. paniculata “Vanille Fraise” (Strawberry Vanilla) has large panicles of white flowers that turn pink as the summer progresses. This one I have in my own garden.
Hydrangea Valley is filled with plants of all shapes and colours. The pretty ‘Monet’ style bridge provides the perfect place to see them with reflections in the Mallard Pond.
If you want to see more of this lovely garden then please click on this link to my other blog: Cornwall in Colours
July in Cornwall = Agapanthus commonly referred to as the Lily-of-the-Nile or the African lily plant. You will see them everywhere. In planters, alongside the footpaths, in gardens. They instantly take me back to South Africa where they are from and provide an exotic look to a place. I bought some new ones at the beginning of the year, but it will take time before they are big enough to flower and for some reason my variegated leaved agapanthus ‘Silver Moon’ has no flower stems at all this year. Apparently that is not unusual for this variety. Fortunately the strap shaped green leaves with creamy variegation are rather beautiful anyway.
Agapanthus create displays of large masses of striking flowers. They come in a huge range of colours and heights from almost-black through to purple, from French navy to royal blue through to subtle lilac, grey and white and even bicolour ones like ‘Twister’ and ‘Fireworks’.
The name, agapanthus, translates as ‘love flower’ and some are evergreen (Agapanthus africanus and Agapanthus praecox) and others deciduous, depending on which side of the Cape they grow on. The western Cape has a Mediterranean climate with moist damp winters, between May and August, followed by a dry summer between November and January. Agapanthus species on the western side grow in winter when moisture and warmth is available so they like to keep their foliage in winter. These are tender and may need taking into a greenhouse over winter.
The eastern Cape has a wet summer season lasting four months, between November and February, when rainfall averages 5 inches per month (125m). The winters, between May and August, are dry and cool however. As a result agapanthus species found on the eastern side of the Cape tend to do their growing in the summer and then die down in winter.
They respond to both water and food and a liquid high-potash tomato food applied every two weeks will pay dividends and don’t forget that agapanthus needs a sunny position that gets maximum daylight. The flowers, which are bee-friendly, last many weeks and they cut well. Don’t allow them to run to seed, always cut the spent flower heads off.
June just has to be roses, doesn’t it? Though Cornwall is not known for growing roses. The damp climate reeks havoc on the leaves (black spot) and flowers (balling buds, browning petals) so roses are not that popular. Saying that I have seven of my own (three inherited), two from my previous container garden and two new ones which are supposed to be disease resistant.
However, black spot is the most serious disease of roses. It is caused by a fungus, Diplocarpon rosae, which infects the leaves and greatly reduces plant vigour, the fungus is genetically very diverse and new strains arise rapidly. Unfortunately, this means that the resistance bred into new varieties usually fails to last because new strains of the fungus arise to overcome it. (Source: RHS)
There is something quintessentially English about a rose though. Childhood memories of picking highly scented petals and soaking them in water to produce a rather brown, but fragrant ‘rose perfume’. The beautiful jewel-like colours, the silky blooms and the myriad of scents. There is nothing quite like a rose garden. In summer. In the sun.
All these images were taken at Godolphin Gardens on 19 June 2019.