July, post summer solstice, is – dare I say it – on the downward spiral to winter but, not all is doom and gloom. This is the best month for the greatest variety of flowering plants in Scotland.
There is anÂ abundance of colour from flowers such as lupins, penstemon, roses and geraniums. Geranium sanguineum v striatum is my favourite but for that shady area, G. macrorrhizum ‘ Ingwersen’s variety’ is ideal with scented leaves.
Geraniums are so long-flowering that they are the ‘must have’ plants and probably everyone has at least one variety in their garden. Roses are at their peak just now, such variety and scent in all forms from climbing, standards to small patio and everything in between.
There are a number of summer flowering bulbs including iris and lilies, my favourite plants of all – with their exquisite scents and wonderful colours. There are lilies even for shade and the giant Himalayan lily, Cardiocrinum giganteum, is super at over three metres high, and tolerates shade and a woodland situation.
Irises, such as the lovely scented, Jane Phillips (colour and scent like parmaviolet) but also the profusely flowering types such as Blue King, prefer the sunny aspect. Lilies, such as the scented L.Regale and tiger lily like the sun; the pretty turk’s caps and L.nepaulensis tolerates shade. There are also the alliums, particularly the beautiful tall Purple Sensation and low growing A.karataviense looks like a huge star-shaped pink firework display in the border but even common chives are beautiful.
There is so much choice out there in the garden just now, I don’t know which way to turn or which plant to choose as the plant of the month. Candelabra primulas are wonderful and in swaths are spectacular in the border, the more unusual arisaema, the Cobra lily, has unusual markings and spathes that can make a statement in any shady border. The fuchsia comes in various colours and sizes but is making a comeback in the summer garden, not only in the borders but in hanging baskets and planters.
The plant of the month, then, has to be the Rodgersia that prefers damp and a woodland or pond edge situation and comes in a variety of flower colours and sizes, and are architectural with their prominent leaf shapes, my favourite being Rodgersia ‘chocolate wings‘.
My favourite trees just now areÂ the Crinodendron hookerianum, the Chilean Lantern tree, with its profuse red hanging lantern shaped flowers and the Eucrythia X nymansensis or E.glutinosa with their delicate white cup-shaped and scented flowers that also attract bees and butterflies. The Sambucus nigra, the black elder, is also spectacular with it’s red/black dissected leaves and the huge umbels of pink flowers.
The climbers are showing off in the garden, particularly clematis, honeysuckle and tropaeolum, the Scottish flame flower making welcome additions to any garden.