Positive aspects of a showery summer
Every year brings different challenges to gardeners. This year our cold April and wet May have been followed by further sunshine, showers and heavy rain in June and July. While many bedding plants have needed more dead-heading than usual, especially the dry-loving petunias and geraniums, the changeable conditions have given us green lawns, lush foliage, and healthy-looking summer flowering shrubs. Perhaps top spot goes to hydrangeas which are happiest with warm sunshine and regular showers.
Herbaceous perennials have also produced a wonderful show. Many will need support as the rain and strong growth can make the taller specimens top-heavy. Some have already provided their displays, such as nepeta, eryngium, and aquilegia. Later in the summer, there is still colour to enjoy from echinacea and rudbeckia. Penstemon are superb performers throughout the summer and beyond, and with so many varieties you have plenty of choice.
Alpines have also seen a resurgence this year: dianthus, erigeron, creeping phlox and carpet campanula will all provide a burst of low-growing colour. Sedum “Atlantis” is one to look out for if you are after a vibrant, hardy alpine. It has variegated leaves, bright yellow flowers in summer, and good autumn colour: stunning, but so easy to grow.
In the vegetable garden, harvesting will be at full pace now. There is still time to sow a few late lettuce and radish which, given favourable weather, can give you fresh salad into early autumn.
David Hogg Buckland Nurseries