The Garden in July19th June 2009 • In The Garden • Stephanie Donaldson
The tulip tree is covered in thousands of flowers right now. To appreciate their full beauty it is best to pick one and examine it closely. With each flower measuring about 8cm across, the tree is quite a spectacle.
Having bided their time while most of the other alliums flowered early, Allium christophii blooms are exploding from the surrounding foliage in the borders, their shooting-star flowerheads making the wait worthwhile.
Fox & Cubs is the common name for a rather glamorous weed Hieracium aurantiacum. A hawkweed, it was originally a garden escape, but has now naturalised in the wild. It is easy to grow from seed and will grow readily on a dry bank.
The tomatoes in the green house are now up to their third flower trusses. The jury is still out on the spiral ‘Veggie Cages’ – it will be easier to tell how effective they are once the fruit sets.
The strawberries are cropping prolifically. The early varieties are coming to an end but Mara de Bois is beginning to ripen. This is a cross between the wild strawberry and its cultivated cousins with good size very intensely flavoured fruit.
The Texas Rose Rustlers
I first heard about this wonderfully eccentric organisation when I read one of my favourite gardening books ever ‘People with Dirty Hands’ by Robin Chotzinoff (available from Amazon). In it she writes about Americans with a passion for gardening that goes way beyond enthusiasm. The rose rustlers are a group of Texan women who visit old graveyards, abandoned gardens or country lanes looking for old-fashioned roses that may no longer be commercially available – and then propagate them. To find out more about them go to www.texasroserustlers.com . I have followed their fine example and successfully taken cuttings from our local churchyard –with the vicar’s permission!