Hemerocallis -- day lilies
Before I get on to the subject of day lilies, I’ll comment on a delightful village between Royston and Baldock on the A505, Ashwell, where I usually have a break when driving to or from Cambridge. It’s within a couple of miles of the Baldock services on the A1, and is worth a detour if you’re traveling north or south on the A1, and need a break. Drop in to the Baldock services, and if it’s lunch or snack time, pick up something at M&S Simply Food, and then head off towards Baldock, taking the left turn to Ashwell about 100 yards from the services roundabout. The road, at this time of year, takes you across gently rolling countryside covered with grain fields.
Ashwell is a quiet, picture perfect village (though now a dormitory to Cambridge and other surrounding towns) which, among other things, contains a handsome church (in whose grounds you can eat your sandwiches) and, for gardeners, a cottage garden created on the site of a demolished cottage.(Turn right and then immediately left at the village store).
Evidently, some years ago, interested people got together and raised funds (even the late Queen Mother contributed) and an old fashioned cottage garden was created on the site. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me, so you’ll have to take it on trust that the place is worth a visit (and there’s a seat where you can eat your snack). There’s also a small local museum next door, and the village itself is a lovely place to have a short break on a long journey.
Meanwhile, in my absence in Cambridge, the hermerocallis have come into bloom. Everyone else’s have been in flower for weeks, such is the time lag in my garden. These are among our ‘legacy’ plants. Formerly, they were located in the south facing border, but didn’t really thrive, so a few years ago, in a fit of enthusiasm when attacking the border, I dug them all up and put them in a pot, and as they’ve grown, they’ve been potted on to a Really Big Pot.
This year, we’ve been rewarded with nine flower spikes, and they’re now flowering away fit to bust. As a bonus, they’re a double flower, so the blooms are quite splendid, and they provide a pretty dramatic splash of orange in the border, as well as a contrast to the acanthus flowers which are likewise exceptional this year.
Before going to Cambridge, I decided to dig up and pot on some of ’Pauline’s’ hardy geranium from further down the border. This is probably not something which a proper gardner would do in the middle of the summer, but I decided that it was worth the effort as I wanted to have at least a couple of good plants to donate to my daughter in law’s ‘new’ garden.
Removing these geraniums left a bald spot. How to fill it? A visit to our local garden centre, Toad Hall, gave us the solution: some (relatively) cheap non hardy geraniums. My wife liked the pink, so we bought three white and three pink, and they now seem quite pleased to be in the former bald spot. Problem solved.
What isn’t solved, of course, is the hot dry period that we’re experiencing at the moment. I know that mulching is part of the answer, but I didn’t mulch, so it’s out with the hose in the evenings. Fortunately, and unlike or Friends in the North, we aren’t yet subject to a hose pipe ban. Even so, I always feel guilty when squandering so much water on the garden (the water butt is not equal to demand). I wonder how many other gardeners are similarly guilt ridden as they turn on the hose pipe and drench their precious borders?
- 10 Jul, 2010
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