Kingswood Gardening News – July 2017

Midsummer Jottings
By Sarah Wilson
July and August colour

I was anxious that for my open garden on Sunday there wouldn’t be much colour in the garden as I rely on shrubs and perennials for colour and only had a few non-hardy plants such as scented Pelargonium in pots. I needn’t have worried because I had forgotten about all the July and August plants with orange, yellow, dark blue and purple flowers.

Rudbeckia fulgida

Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’

The reason that this colour scheme works so well is that orange and yellow and purple and indigo are on opposite sides of the colour wheel and as such are complementary colours.

Some of the best plants in flower at the moment are:
Crocosmia, Helenium, blue Agapanthus, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and ‘Orion’, Campanula lactiflora, Hosta, Rudbeckia, Verbena rigida (rather than the very tall V. bonariensis) and Liatris spicata. All are very easy to grow, don’t need staking and seem to be very disease resistant and long-lived.

A couple of pests

This month I thought I would highlight a couple of pests which you may see in your garden – so here goes –
The Horse Chestnut leaf-mining moth – Cameraria ohridella, now affects nearly all the Horse Chestnut trees in Surrey. In June the leaves of the tree begin to go orange and look “crispy” because the caterpillars of the moth eat the leaf, starting at the leaf vein and working outwards. The leaf drops early and contains the eggs of the moth so that the caterpillar comes back in spring to eat the new leaves. If you have an affected tree it will survive and one day the trees may develop resistance. As the leaves fall do not compost them but burn them, as this will kill the pupae. Alternatively put the leaves in a plastic bag, seal it and leave until July next year when it is safe to compost/leaf mould.

Leaves of affected horse chestnut tree

The other pest in my garden this year is the ‘Viburnum beetle’ – Pyrrhalta viburnii. This has been widespread in the UK since 2010 and can affect the leaves of both the evergreen Viburnum tinus and the deciduous Viburnum Opulis. I had all the leaves on my V. opulis shredded in May and was pleased to see the shrub produce new leaves in June but now they are in tatters too!

Leaves of affected Viburnum Opulis

There is no effective control but fortunately the many other species of Viburnum – Plicatum, Bodnantense and Davidii seem to be resistant, so there is no reason not to have a few Viburnums in your garden.

A very low maintenance garden border.

Between our front garden and the road we have a border which I am happy to recommend to you as a ‘Very Low Maintenance ” border. This year I have only been able to look after it when the road was empty of parked cars and vans, so it has not had a lot of care. Despite that it has looked very good and has even withstood the destruction of the front plants by lorries and vans driving over them. Here is the ‘indestructible plant’ list: In order of flowering –
Narcissi, Azalea, Hellebores, Euphorbia Wulfenii, Alchemilla mollis, Hosta (no slug pellets required), Epimedium, Anaphalis, Rodgersia, Achillea, Fuchsia, Crocosmia, Japanese Anemones Potentilla, Clerodendron bungei, Viburnum Davidii and Hesperantha coccinea.

If all these plants can thrive in this inhospitable site, north facing, dry, visited by dogs and foxes, driven over by lorries and only tended three times a year, they can thrive anywhere!

Dr Sarah Wilson, a long time resident in The Warren, regularly opens her garden in the summer months with the National Garden Scheme.

To contact Sarah please click here

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