Simply Beautiful -12

Pelargonium Ardens is surely one of the most beautiful and at the same time subtlest of Pelargoniums, a family of plants normally associated with bright gaudy reds and pinks. Ardens is so different. Simply beautiful!

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My Garden Journal – July

So it is already time to share my July entries in my garden journal. This year in the garden seems to be moving on so quickly. I began my July report by writing, “The arrival of July moves us into the second half of the year and the summer is well established. Colours seem extra rich on bright days as petals shine glossily.”

“One family with flowers that glow are the Lychnis family. Below are two members of Lychnis, the variety L. chalcedonica and another variety L. coronaria.”

“Lychnis chalcedonica “Dusky Pink”


“Lychnis chalcedonica “Vesuvius” and Lychnis chalcedonica “Maltese Cross”


“Lychnis coronaria”


Over the page I move on to look at an unusual Foxglove, Digitalis parviflora “Milk Chocolate” and a berried shrub, Hypericum x inodorum.

“Plant of the month, July, is a special Foxglove or Digitalis, Digitalis parviflora Milk Chocolate.”

“No two flower heads are the same.”


“Densely packed flowers.”

“Most berrying shrubs begin to show colour in their berries in late summer through the autumn, but already by July our various cultivars of Hypericum x inodorum have brightly coloured and very glossy berries.”


The next plant family I feature in July is Linaria, of which we grow many varied cultivars.

“Members of the Linaria family are always welcome in our garden. We love the way they self seed and hybridise. They display a huge range of colours and petal markings. Linaria purpurea is much loved by bees and hoverflies.”


“Our garden is home to other more unusual Linarias too, all with their recognisable flower structure.”


“We also grow our native Toadflax, Linaria vulgaris, commonly known as “Butter and Eggs” because of the two shades of yellow that make up its flowers. Bees and butterflies love it!”

Next I looked at plants that are spiky in texture, of which we grow many in our patch as they seem to like our sunny aspect.

“Plants with spikes enjoyed warm, sunny summer days. We grow many eryngium family, the Sea Hollies, with bracts from the palest silver to the deepest metallic blues, of which E. Picos Blue is the bluest of all.”


Not all of our spiky plants are Eryngiums however. We also grow Silybum marianum and Echinops ritro.


One of the Eryngium family is a biennial and luckily a strong self seeder, E. giganteum Miss Wilmott’s Ghost.

Turning over the page we move on from spiky plants to two much softer more delicate looking plants.


“Seed heads are an important element of the Autumn and Winter garden, but this little beauty I found this week while working in the Spring Garden. They are Fritillaria meleagris seed pods. I painted them in watercolours using Japanese wolf hair brushes and fine tipped fibre tips.”

“July sees many of our Salvias coming into their own. We grow most in pots so they can be moved inside for the winter.” I used pencil crayons to draw Salvia Silkes Dream and Salvia x African Sky.

Bright pinks and reds dominate over the page where I featured Begonias and Pelargoniums. Enjoy the colours!

“Begonias and Pelargoniums also have to over-winter under cover so go into the cool end of the greenhouse.”

“Brightest of flowers.”


“Textured, marked and coloured foliage.”

Pelargoniums – “Crazy reds and pinks!”



And that is it for my garden journal for July. My next visit to my journal will be at the end of August, a month when keeping you garden looking good is pretty difficult so we shall see how we get on in our Avocet garden.


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Scented Pelargoniums

When we visited the wonderful Herefordshire garden, Hergest Croft, we entered the garden by taking a route that took us through an old conservatory to find it full of one of our favourite families of plants, the scented Pelargoniums.

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We have a small collection at home which we display on a set of old library steps at the side of the woodstore so that we can rub their leaves as we collect logs or as we pass to go to the back garden.

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The collection at Hergest Croft was much bigger and more varied. It took a long time to rub a leaf of each and savour the scents reminiscent of mints and fruits. But there was great variety in the texture of the leaves too, from the softest velvet, through soft and waxy to rough and coarse.

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These two were so heavily scented and their leaves so textured it hardly mattered that they had such insignificant blooms.

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There were a few Pelargoniums which were from a different family, I think they are Regals but I can’t be sure. The dark flowered one is “Lord Bute”. We were fascinated by the one pink petal on the one flower of the white bloom presumably caused by a virus. A great collection and a most welcoming start to a garden visit. We left the conservatory to discover the delights of Hergest Croft especially its rare and champion trees.

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Pelargoniums at Clumber Park

The beautiful, immensely long renovated Victorian greenhouse at Clumber Park never ceases to amaze. When we first visited Clumber the greenhouse looked sad and neglected but we discovered that plans were afoot to return it to its former glory. We were delighted to find one section which now housed an amazingly varied collection of Pelargoniums. Shades of pink. Fruity scents. Textured and patterned foliage. I can share these with you through my photographs.

A word of warning – if you have a total aversion to pink look no further!