There’s always something to do in the garden and as the school holidays have started I fit in short bursts of gardening in between family duties.  My garden is full of colour in July and August but this week I’ve also been prepping snowdrops for winter flowering.

Thinking ahead to the jewels of cold weather

July, as we’ll see later, is a month for full colour and big blooms.  Yet it’s also the time of year that snowdrop collectors do all they can to prepare for a great display of their favourite white flowers in the long miserable months of winter. Snowdrop bulb

My late friend, Mr Snowdrop, introduced me to some suppliers of high quality dormant snowdrops.  Each year in June I receive lists of collectors’ snowdrops for sale.  I queried why this was the time of year to receive snowdrops given that the advice is usually to plant them in the green.  The answer came that this was the time of year that the suppliers repotted their bulbs and could send out good quality bulbs in perfect dormant state. A second chance to buy, in flower or in the green would come at flowering time.

I received some new bulbs last week and so spent a lovely afternoon planting these and repotting my existing bulbs.  The pots were then sunk into my cold frame sand plunges, which I’d tidied up and smoothed over.  Who needs the beach?!

For potting up I used a new potting mix of 50:50 Dalefoot Peat Free Bulb Fibre and Dalefoot Peat Free Lakeland Gold growing medium.  I’m keen to minimise my use of peat and this mix has been used successfully by snowdrop collectors elsewhere.

Compost for snowdrops

I’ve potted 2 bulbs of one variety, Galanthus ‘Diggory’, in two pots, one with this mix and one with a gritty John Innes 3 compost.  I’m interested to see if there’s any difference in how they flower.

Antirrhinum ‘Circus Clowns Mix’Antirrhinum Circus Clowns Mix

Right, back to the warmth of summer and bright party colours.  Here are four of the five colour variations that came out of a single packet of snap dragon seeds.  I find these easy to germinate and very long flowering in pots and borders.  In more sheltered parts of the garden they even last the winter.  What great value plants.

Brugmansia ‘Charles Grimaldi’Brugmansia Charles Grimaldi

Last week I shared pictures of my new exotic border.  It continues to grow well and I’m pleased to report that the first kniphofia flower is developing.  The star of the show right now is this Brugmansia which I’ve removed from its pot and plated out in the soil. It’s greened up since then and is having a second flush of flowering.  The trumpets are 25cm long and have a sweet fragrance, especially noticeable in the evening. Brugmansia Charles Grimaldi

A cutting taken in early spring is planted alongside and growing fast and I have also planted out my pink variety ‘Frosty Pink’ in the hope that it will follow the yellow one and flower soon.

These were bought as rooted cuttings from Exotic Earth Plants.  They are unlikely to be hardy where I live so I will pot them up and move then to the greenhouse for the winter.

Pink hydrangea

Pink hydrangea

Not as exotic as the Brugmansia, this hydrangea is a mainstream UK plant but is a main attraction in the garden at the moment.  I can’t help but smile when I see it.  I’m lucky that as well as being a brightener for the lawn border, it also provides a fabulous backdrop for the rock garden.

All green in the woodlandWoodland garden

I’m addicted to bright colours but every now and again I like to head down to the woodland garden for a bit of calming emerald green.  The shuttlecock ferns, gunnera maniculata and leaves of the bog primula, primula wilsonii var wilsonii look really great together against the background of these fallen stumps.

Elsewhere in the woodland are, Ive planted this interesting ivy near these two stumps.  The name of this ivy makes my family snigger, hedera erecta.  It’s a non climbing ivy which grows instead into a dense shrub.  The leaves are dark glossy green and should provide year-round interest in this area.

Hedera 'Erecta'

Pelargonium ‘Surcouf”Pelargonium surcouf

My little potted pelargonium collection continues to grow thanks to some successful cuttings I took in spring.  One of the cuttings is this crazy magenta pink trailing variety.  The flowers demand to be noticed and whilst I still prefer the more varied flower forms of some of the other in my collection, this one has really grown on me.


This seasonal diary is part of a weekly link-up of garden bloggers from around the world, called Six on Saturday.  For more information and links to other blogs crammed with gardening activity, check the blog of host The Propagator.