Sunday 5 August 2012

Start of the month: August 2012

2nd August 2012

So, anyone notice the slight change to the title of these posts? I'm clearly struggling to always publish on the 1st day of the month, so decided changing the title was better than apologising yet again, for missing the date.

Welcome to the August 2012 start of the month blog post for the front garden!

July was a bit of a roller coaster. Started dull & wet, then we had a week of glorious sun, then back to dull & wet. It was a bit sunnier and warmer between the showers through July, and the Heleniums are now in full flower. I've already picked a couple of big bunches for the house so I have their lovely brightness inside and out.
Helenium 'Sahin's Early Flowerer'

Sadly almost all of the nasturtiums that were in flower last month have now been destroyed by the black fly. Very good weather for blackfly. Though I beat the blackfly to the last of the broad beans, which I finished picking and plants now pulled up (roots left in ground to rot and let nutrients stay in soil).

I also finally picked some garlic. This is Metechi freshly dug up.

The bulbs are much smaller this year than previous years. Metechi is usually known as a garlic with larger (and hot) cloves, but it seems all the rain has really effected the bulb size. From the couple of others at the lottie I dug up (i.e. Susan Delafield) it looks like the whole crop may be smaller than usual. I'll save the absolute best ones of each variety (I have about 13 or so varieties this year) and hope they will revert to form next year.

The tomato plants, who were shying away last month, are finally getting into their stride. Shows just what a week of sun and warmth can do. Lots of flowers and tomatoes now forming on my heritage variety Estonian Yellow Mini Cherry.

Tomato 'Estonian Yellow Mini Cherry'

The other heritage tomato I'm trying, Porter, is coming along and has quite a few tomatoes that need just a bit of sun to go red. Please come back sun....

Tomato 'Porter'

The Daubenton Kale is finally growing after I took the advice of @AlysFowler and pinched out the tips.

My plants just were not growing beyond seedlings, and after seeing Alys's amazing plant on Twitter, and experiencing Kale envy, I asked her how she got hers to grow, and she advised to pinch out the tips. Advice duly followed and now they are growing really well. Though might be another couple of months before they are the handsome studs that Alys has!

The teasels are now flowering and attracting lots of bees; here is one dashing in for some pollen before the next burst of rain.

Perhaps my favourite success is having grown Pennisetum thunbergii 'Red Buttons' from seed, and having it now flower. This was an easy grass to grow from seed and this plant is a good size after just six months.

Pennisetum thunbergii 'Red Buttons'

Despite the weather, the front garden is coming along ok. I lost a large amount of my strawberries to the deluge and slugs, but have had a good crop of broad beans. The nasturtiums were 'black flyed', but the Heleniums are doing wonderfully and I hope to show my new Helenium, 'Rubinzwerg' in flower next month.