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Starting to plan ahead for next year already

Campanula persicifolia in flower

Although the Summer is hardly over - in fact the recent hot spell has provided some of the warmest weather of the year - however it is already time to look forward to next season.

One great benefit of always having a camera to hand when you are in the garden is that it allows you to capture ideas and plant combinations that you may wish to repeat - and indeed the odd mishap that needs to be avoided.

Earlier in the year I saw this combination of Campanula persicifolia with Allium cristophii which was I suspect self seeded.  Am definitely tempted to try this again!



Sublime Selinum

Selinum wallichianum in flower

Talking of plants that I have really enjoyed this year - I have seen a number of really fine specimens of Selinum wallichianum, the Queen of Umbellifers - a name it richley deserves as it is a fabulous plant!




The joy of Shasta daisies.

Leucanthemum superbum

One of the border plants that I have particularly enjoyed this year is Leucanthemum superbum - the Shasta daisy.

A well established stand can produce a wonderful display of ragged rayed daisy flowers long through the summer and sometimes into early autumn.  They are an elegant daisy - not far removed from L. vulgare - our native Ox Eye Daisy.  I particularly love the more more ragged headed cultivars - and am quite taken by some which have a hint of green in centre.  Undoubtedly a border classic!



Grasses giving the feel of the ending of summer.

Grasses in late summer / early autumn

I am really fond of grasses in gardens - they provide amazing movement, texture and even an element of sound as they move in the wind.

They also help mark the changing seasons.  Just as the ripening fields of golden wheat let you know that summer is soon to give way to autumn, so the seed heads of the grasses let you know that things are moving on in the garden year.



Cyathea brownii flourishing a year after its move.

Cyathea brownii

One further bit of adverting for Patrick' garden - not that it needs it!  - he has a stunning specimen of Cyathea brownii which we put in last autumn.  When I visited the garden recently the C. brownii like all the other plants was flourishing - and at 14 feet high you are unlikely to see another as good in any garden in the UK!



A little bit of New Zealand in Camberwell!

Mixed tree ferns

Along with his fabulous specimen of a Cycas revoluta, our customer and friend Patrick has what must be the finest tree fern garden in London - and I suspect one of the best in the UK.

Having started with Dicksonia antarctica he now has a wonderful collection of D. antarctica, fibrosa and squarrosa, as well as Cyathea australis, medullaris, cooperi, cunninghamii and brownii.  They are all thriving and looking amazing - underplanted by a carpet of Soleirolia soleirolii - the whole effect feels just like a damp fern forest.

Patrick's garden will be open under the National Garden scheme on the first Sunday of September

It is very well worth a visit!



Stunning Cycad

Cycas revoluta with male cone

While visiting one of our best customer's gardens a week or so ago I spotted this wonderful specimen of a Cycas revoluta - the Japanese Sago palm.

While as a plant it is common in cultivation - so many of the examples you see are poor suffering specimens - with a handful of bleached leaves.

This is a very different beast.  Thanks to Patrick's care regime of frequent feeding he has a truly stunning specimen which is currently flowering.  This is a male with its distinctive cone producing pollen.



Black Aeoniums

Aeonium arboreum 'Zwartkop'

One final photo from that garden on the Costa Brava.

Here in the UK our summers are more often more mild and wet rather than than properly hot.  Given this our black Aeoniums never really get their suntans.

Aeonium arboreum 'Zwartkop' (Schwarzkopf) or 'Blackhead' needs really intense dry and light to develop a really dark colour - in the UK it is often more green that black.

However here in the Mediterranean it has reached a really dark colour, and is loving the heat!



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