• Sofias Country Gardens

Late summer perennials


Suddenly a late summer heatwave is upon us, and I find myself sweltering in it like my plants. Most of the flowers have gone to seed, and only a few late summer troopers are still putting on a show. I think my favourite is the self seeded marjoram that has been happily spreading throughout the gardens at Stensund for many years. It is an amazing herb, flowering for months at end and feeding butterflies and insects like a never ending buffet, and it is clearly enjoying the sudden Mediterranean climate that is visiting us. The Alchemilla mollis is on its last leggs, starting to form seeds in the flowers and looking generally untidy, and although geraniums Johnsons Blue and Rosanne are still valiantly producing flowers they too are looking a bit dishevelled. The deer have been in and nibbled the flowers of most of my Sedums, so my plan for early autumn blooms have failed.

As the evening approaches I find myself needing to water not only the vegetable gardens, but also the borders I planted last year. Although the sun still raises early at six am, the days are noticeably shorter with a soft dusky evening starting around seven o'clock and darkness descending around nine pm. As usual at this time of the year I find my evenings are filled with harvesting vegetables for the family, but I still take the time to enjoy my late summer blooms. Next to the house where we had to take down an old apple tree last winter I have dug another border, and here in the shade the tiger lilies (Lilium lancifolium) are absolutely thriving! I have tried to grow these favourites of mine for many years, but clearly I have been doing it all wrong. The seem to like the partial shade and moister ground of the new bed, as opposed to the sunnier more well drained places where I have tried to grow them earlier.

Last year was a year of winter storms that brought down so many trees, that I decided to prevent possible future damage to the house and preemptively took down three large birches and a maple which were growing way too close to the house. I would have left them if I could have, but the maple had fungus weakening its base and the birches were already showing clear signs of decay, so I thought better not to risk it. With climate change the storms are growing fiercer by each year, and there is nothing I could do about the trees being old and fragile. Sad as it was, it turned out to have a wonderful upside. Suddenly the back of the kitchen has evening sun, and as I pause in my evening chores I often sit there enjoying this new aspect of the garden. Life in the slow lane is wonderful; I get everything done but things are allowed to take as much time as they do so I can enjoy the moment as well. Soon enough darkness and rain will keep me inside, so every second outside enjoying the sun is like a jewel.



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