Summer shrub that is full of colour

Phyl Boyce


Phyl Boyce

Summer shrub that is full of colour

This Philadelphys coronarius 'Aureus' has golden yellow leaves

Philadelphus or “mock-orange" is a shrub in full flower now. In July the branches of this hardy, deciduous shrub are weighed down with sprays of fragrant flowers which are white with a pale cerise blush at the base of each petal.

The shrub is easily grown in any type of well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. An occasional mulch of leaf-mould or rotted compost is beneficial. After flowering cut back the shoots that flowered, on established plants cut back about one-quarter of the old shoots to the base to promote new replacement growth. Philadelphus coronarius ‘Aureus’ has golden yellow leaves which needs shade from the sun to prevent the leaves burning. Philadelphus coronarius ‘Variegatus’ has leaves with broad white margins. Philadelphus species vary in size, most are medium-sized shrubs that grow about 10 feet tall. Philadelphus ‘Beauclerk’ is a slightly arching shrub that grows to 8 feet tall and produces white flowers with a slight pink-flush centre.

Bulb of the week

Triteleia is a bulb in flower now producing masses of purple-blue flowers. The plant is grown for its funnel shaped flowers which are produced on leafless stems, the leaves usually die away by flowering time. The plant is suitable for a warm sunny bed or herbaceous bed, it will not survive severe frost. Plant the bulbs in the autumn, 3 inches deep, in a light sandy fertile soil in full sun.

Eremurus (Foxtail Lily) is a plant grown for its enormously tall flower clusters, its average height can be 4 to 8 feet tall, depending on the species.

The flowers are produced in July. The tuberous roots have a very strange shape – thick, fleshy roots fan out in all directions from a central hub. Grow the tubers in fertile, sandy, well-drained soil in full sun. Mulch with a layer of compost in winter.

The leaves of the plant wither back during the flowering period so plant the tubers among low-growing shrubs to cover the decaying foliage. The Ruiter and Shelford hybrids of eremurus produce flowers in shades of salmon, yellow and orange on flower stems up to 4 feet tall. Eremurus robustus has pink flower clusters up to 3 feet long on stems 7feet tall.

Herbaceous plants of the week

Some herbaceous plants that like damp conditions, like astilbes, are enjoying the recent rainfall. Filipendula is a hardy clump forming perennial with large palmate leaves that grows 3 to 8 feet tall. Plumes of tiny, fluffy, red, pink or white flowers are produced from late spring to late summer on single or branched stems well above the foliage. The plant likes a moist humus-rich soil. Filipendula purpurea is a pretty plant that produces pink flowers. These plants look great around a garden pool, where they love the boggy soil

Vegetable garden

Peppers, chillies and aubergines are not the easiest or most economical of crops to grow but the fruits are beautiful when they ripen and the range of flavours are most rewarding. They are relatives of the tomato and need similar conditions so grow them in the greenhouse.

The seeds are sown in spring and transplanted into 9 inch pots or grower bags. Support each plant with a 3 foot cane and tie the plants onto the cane with a string. Apply a liquid fertiliser every two weeks after the first fruits appear. Green peppers are ready for picking in late summer or you can wait until they ripen to red. ‘Jumbo Sweet’is an F1 hybrid that produces giant peppers. ‘Inferno’ is a moderately hot chilli that produces a big crop over a long season. Keep an eye out for aphids, red spider mites and whitefly.

Jobs for the week

The lower leaves on tomato plants tend to die at this time of the year, these can be removed to allow more air circulation around the plant.