I must look on the bright side - at least the outdoor plants probably won't need watering this weekend.
|Hostas, ivy, hydrangeas and box - shades of green in a selection of Whichford pots|
Rain can lull you into a false sense of security: pots close to buildings (such as those above, which are on the northern side of the Octagon) may not receive much water, so we will still have to check them carefully even if it carries on raining.
The last week or so has been mainly warm and quite sunny, so flowers and growth have been plentiful, the plantings are developing nicely. The alpines are fighting it out between themselves, growing far too lushly and crowdedly for a purist no doubt, but delightful nevertheless.
|A happy jumble of alpines in a Whichford Orange Pot|
|Succulents in the Kew Gardens pots|
|One of a pair of Pastry Pots by the entrance path|
planted with a box ball surrounded by zonal
pelargoniums, Lobelia 'Monsoon' and
Begonia 'Non-stop White'
By the entrance arch on the path I was glad to see that one of my all-time favourite flowers, Anagallis monelli 'Skylover' has begun to produce its intense blue blooms
|Anagallis monelli 'Skylover' begins to flower by the entrance to Whichford Pottery|
|Agapanthus add impact|
|Mixed plantings flourish in large Italianate pots, accompanied by|
Agapanthus in Icicle Pots
|Crinkly Salvia corrugata contrasts with smooth Nicotiana glauca|
I know I haven't photographed this brilliantly but if you bear with me and look closely at this photograph you will see that the creamy-smooth leaves of Nicotiana glauca and Salvia corrugata (there are clues in the names) have a similar colour but sharply contrasting texture. Salvia corrugata is a miserly producer of dark blue flowers and I grow it mainly for its crinkly foliage which has a tawny indumentum (covering of fine hairs) on the underside.
The textural effect can be in individual leaves or it can be the character of a whole plant. There are plants I think of as smooth (eg Nicotiana glauca), fluffy (Kochia trichophylla), crunchy (Pelargonium sidoides), furry (Cineraria maritima), shiny/metallic (Convolvulus cneorum) or spiky (Cordyline, Phormium).
It may seem eccentric to give these plants texture personalities - but it all helps in effective plant choice. That's my excuse anyway.
|Fluffy Kochia trichophylla and Nemesia 'St George'|
anchored by smooth Eucomis bicolor foliage
(with the added bonus of crunchy Eucomis flowers)
The visual effect usually tallies with the tactile sensation, but not always so. Keen gardeners are often to be seen feeling the foliage like a dressmaker assessing fabric - something I encourage but with the proviso that you wash your hands afterwards! It is worth encouraging children to do the same with plants you know to be safe - and even then it is worth teaching them not to put their hands in their mouths afterwards and to develop the habit of washing hands after playing in the garden. A surprising number of common garden plants can cause allergic reactions, especially in strong sunshine.
|Metallic Convolvulus cneorum with soft, furry|
Cineraria maritima 'Cirrus'. Both feel soft and velvety.
|Pelargonium sidoides - definitely a crunchy plant.|
|Echeveria secunda var. glauca - shown off so much better in Whichford terracotta!|
|Male Gatekeeper basking on the long grass in the walnut field at Whichford Pottery on Monday this week|