Sunday, 21 August 2011

Dry and Crispy

Sunday afternoon being one of the (numerous) dead spots of my life, and it being dry and warm, I thought I'd have a go at some much needed dead-heading.

Starting with my (despite Thursday's all day downpour) poor dried roses, only the few well in the shade are still fresh. I was drawn as if by a magnet to my lovely blue hibiscus.

Many of the royal blue buds which should have opened into spectacular pale blue with darker centre, have been turned, first by the downpour into slime and then by the never-ending winds and too-close semi-sunshine into a handfull of dry, crisp, greyish paper-like crumbs.

I love this hibiscus, which is not only fully hardy, at least 20 years old and in a good season covered in hundreds of 4 inch diameter blooms of a true blue.  The photograph makes it appear to be mauve or lilac, but in a country where blue flowers are rare as hens' teeth, it is a wonderful ornament in any garden.

My late sister-in-law gave me a white one with a maroon centre, which is in poor health and in any case never produces blooms of the size of the blue one, but it has hybridised and seeded itself all around my small front garden with a profusion of lilac shrubs with a purple centre.

More surprisingly, one year, about 10 years ago, a pure white bush appeared next to my blue one.  How and from what accident of nature/pollination no-one (including Wisley RHS) is able to explain.

The combination of the two side-by-side in a good season is quite breath taking.

This year however, it has been a constant fight, little bits of judicious out of season pruning to conserve moisture, constant dead-heading to save the existing buds and give them at least a chance of survival and watering when all else failed.

Needless to say, with all this attention and so little time and energy being dedicated to the growing jungle of weeds, the rest of the garden has as they say, gone to pot.

What is it about gardeners that gives them the optimism to grow what they choose despite the vagaries of the English climate.

The choice appears to be squishy, soggy and slimy or crisp and dry.


  1. And you are forgetting about the challenge of aphids, slugs and snails!

  2. Oh yes Freda, I had completely forgotten those little charmers. Yuk!

  3. Hibiscus, my favourite type of flower in the whole world. What a lovely picture. I would love to see the white one too.

  4. Jane, I'll try to photograph the white one before it finishes this season.
    They are lovely when the weather treats them kindly aren't they?

  5. Hibiscus grows wild in Malaysia where the weather is hot all year round. It amazes me how it manages to grow in the UK. I look forward to seeing the white one.