The July Garden

Despite the rain and wind, clematis, water lilies and primrose are thriving in July. By Liz Knowles

July 12, 2010 | | Blogs

Despite the rain and wind, clematis, water lilies and primrose are thriving in July.

By Liz Knowles

The three inches of rain last Friday morning may have swamped the garden temporarily and the high winds battered the delphiniums, but the clematis came through looking better than ever.

See Liz Knowles’ photo gallery below.

As they belong to the Ranunculaceae family, clematis are partial to some moisture in the soil. This year I managed to keep the 20 or more clematis tied up to trellis, tripods or whatever other form of support I have come up with (some of the herbaceous forms like Clematis durandii grow up through tomato cages, then I give some additional support with bamboo or miscanthus canes). As the vines may put on 25cm or more of growth a week, tying up with string or Velcro becomes a weekly task. The rewards are up to six weeks of bloom on any single plant.

Some of my favourites are featured in the photos below.

The two small ponds on the property are home to several water lilies. When we created the water feature 20 years ago I specified that one of the ponds should be no more than 60cm deep as I wanted to grow water lilies. A single plant that a friend gave me in 1991 went wild and within two seasons became as large as her entire ornamental pool. The secret seems to be that I planted it directly into the clay base of the pool, rather than keeping it in a planting basket, so there were lots of nutrients available. That single white-flowered water lily now covers a quarter of the 6 by 6 metre pond, while three others, pink, yellow and red, fill up most of the remaining space. They bloom from early June until frost and require no maintenance at all. The perfect plant!

Evening primroses come in all forms and colours. The best known is probably the yellow-flowered North American native Oenothera tetragona that flowers in July and spreads through the garden with a vengeance. Beware the friend who gives you some of these thugs for your garden! Oenothera Berlandieri Siskiyou is an altogether different kettle of fish. It too blooms in July but continues intermittently through to the frost, and though it spreads gently, it is easy to control. The plant produces light pink blooms on 20cm stalks.  It’s a real eye catcher at the front of the border and combines well with the burgundy bottlebrush blooms of Sanguisorba menziesii, shown in the photo.

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Liz Knowles gardens at Larkspur Hollow in Hockley Valley.

About the Author More by Liz Knowles

Liz Knowles has been gardening in the Hockley Valley for more than 25 years.

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