During the summer months, I really appreciate and enjoy spending time in my garden, as it is somewhere I can relax after a hard day's work to plan future activities, as well as being a place for my children to play in safety.
In July, the wonderful aromas from the many plants that make their flowering debut this month enrich the warm evening air in my garden. These include Cottage Garden Roses, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Lavender, CatMint and Sweet Peas to name but a few.
Many of the herbaceous perennial plants that I planted in the Spring are also starting to reach their flowering peak, and include Echinops, Knautia, Verbascum, Verbena, Linaria and Achillea, which will give a continuous display of colour for weeks. The perennial plant Hemerocallis, which is commonly known as the 'Day Lily,' is looking particularly stunning at the moment, with its trumpet shaped large flowers that open in shades of yellow, orange and red.
Many wonderful shrubs will also be coming into their full flowering glory during the next few weeks. These include Lavatera, Hydrangea, Potentilla, Spirea and Hebes, as well as the shrub Philadelphus, otherwise known as the 'Mock Orange', which is grown for its citrus scented flowers. The white flowers are a stunning addition to any summer garden and can either be single or double flowered. The foliage can be green, golden or variegated, depending on the variety you choose. Most Philadelphus prefer to be grown in full sun or light shade, in any soil. Popular varieties include 'Belle Etoile' and 'Virginal'.
Buddlea davidii, commonly known as the 'Butterfly Bush', is a strong growing hardy, deciduous shrub, which can grow to a height of three metres, if left unpruned. This is a lovely shrub for the back of a border and will produce a profusion of fragrant, plume shaped clusters of flowers from July to October. My own children particularly enjoy this shrub as it attracts many different types of brightly coloured butterflies, which are drawn to the highly scented, bright coloured flowers. 'Black Knight' is a stunning variety with dark purple-blue flowers. 'Royal Red' has vivid magenta blooms and 'White Bouquet' has striking snow-white flowers.
A plant that I would certainly not be without in my garden at the moment is the modern garden pinks. These plants have all the charm of old fashioned pinks, but with the advantage of being repeat flowering, which will give two or three flushes of flowers throughout the summer. Pinks grow best when positioned in full sun, in a slightly alkaline, well-drained soil. Choose the New Devon Hybrids, which come in a range of attractive colours ranging from creamy whites to pale pinks, all deliciously scented with a clove-like fragrance.
Kim's tip of the week
If you are growing Sweet Peas, remember to pick the flowers regularly to encourage a succession of new blooms to form. The scented flowers that you have picked are great for positioning in a vase indoors and will fill your home with beautiful fragrance.