Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Hot colours for July

Well, you might expect it to be hot in July, but just remember this is England I live in, and English summers (and British ones, generally, I suppose) are notorious for their reliably "changeable" weather as the forecasters like to refer to it - cold and breezy one minute; wet and dull the next! No, I didn't mention sunshine...

In the absence of hot sunny conditions, we gardeners need to use flowers to make our own brightness and lighten the post #Brexit gloom. Top of my list at present is the Calendula. All the ones in my garden come from a batch of seeds kindly given to me by Mike Rogers who writes the blog Flighty's Plot. Mike's "signature flower" is the Calendula, and I can see why he likes them so much. They come in a big range of different types, although the majority of them are oranges and yellows of some sort.

Calendulas produce a lot of flowers per plant, and self-seed copiously, so they are easy to keep going in your garden from year to year. Rather like Aquilegias, they hybridise freely and therefore you never know exactly what they will be like the following year.

The ones I like best are the so-called "biscuit" ones, which have tinges of brown.

Another hot-coloured plant that is flowering at present is the Geum "Mrs. Bradshaw", whose colour is somewhere between red and orange:

I only have one Geum plant, in a pot, but it is a prolific flowerer. This is its second flush of flowers this year. The first ones came out in May. Although it is a small plant, it puts up tall stems, so that it really gets noticed, and the bees seem to love it. A definite asset to my garden!

I'm sure almost every garden in Britain will have some scarlet Pelargoniums (aka Geraniums) in it at present, and you can see why:

This is a plant that will tolerate some neglect - it doesn't require fancy site or soil conditions, and will survive many days without watering, whilst at the same time delivering a seemingly never-ending succession of brightly-coloured flowers. Like many other plants, it responds well to dead-heading. The removal of the old flowers stimulates the production of new ones.

Now what colour would you say this Rose is? Is it red? Is it pink?

This Rose is "Sunset Boulevard", and just like most sunsets, it changes colour as it matures. When in tight bud as in my photo, it definitely looks a reddish-pink, but when  the flowers are fully open they take on a more peachy / apricot colour. I can't show you one right now, because there are none fully open.

I'm adding to my list of hot colours some Runner Bean flowers too, because although they are individually short-lived, they collectively adorn the bean plants for several weeks, and couldn't be much more "hot". I have two varieties this year, "Streamline" and "Tenderstar". The former has plain red flowers, but the latter has red-and-white ones.



Soon I'll have Helenium, Rudbeckia, and Crocosmia to add to the display, but none of them have flowers just yet.


  1. I noticed my first ever calendula bloom in the garden yesterday. I'm glad that you gave a bit of a description of what to expect; it would be lovely if they self-seeded and gave me surprise blooms in future.

  2. You really have quite a lot of flowers haven't you?

  3. I love the runner bean flowers. I planted some this year, but a little rabbit chewed them down.

  4. I love the look of the biscuit calendular. I'll have to keep a look out for some.

  5. Lovely bright colours in your garden! We bought a bright red geum plant last weekend we have only had pink ones before. Sarah X

  6. I think vegetable flowers, and indeed the plants, are very under rated and far too ignored for their looks. A wall of runner beans can be a fantastic sight, Globe artichoke has a wonderful flower, as does Courgette, A row of lush green potato leaves with the excellent nightshade family purple and yellow flower.

    I'm not one for ornamental flowers, edible plants also have nice flowers. Also nothing better than a few Purple sprouting Broccoli left to go to seed, you get the physical size of big green leaves, with the young purple edible flower which then leads to a tall spikes of showy yellow flowers.


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