Last of the summer colour – plus volcano update

There’s still a little colour left in the garden, but only in patches. Crocosmia is a mainstay at this time of year. Here it is with a very old yellow potentilla providing the background:Then there’s the willow gentian, gentiana asclepiadea.  The reason you have a close-up of this is that it is one of the floppiest plants around, and the clump actually looks a complete mess. Garden catalogues describe it as having elegant arching stems. What they mean is that it falls flat on its face at the first breath of wind. I’ve tried giving it one of those wire zimmer frames, but that just makes it look like an unhappy animal in a cage. If you tie string round it instead, it takes on the pathetic aspect of a beautiful girl forced into a corset. So I just let it flop.This is primula capitata, one of the last primulas to flower, and a wonderful dark violet. It’s normally a little earlier than this, but I found an overgrown plant in a garden centre and managed to split it into six separate offshoots. This held back the flowering a bit. P. capitata is a nice easy primula – largely evergreen, and shallow rooted, so you need to watch it in frost. Like most primulas, it can disappear without warning, but usually doesn’t.

On Other fronts:

The bank is now halfway cut. Overnight, the volcano opened up a new fumarole. Here is a view into the crater:This inevitably happens with a grass smother, but the hole needs to be filled as soon as possible, or else significant amounts of heat are lost. It has rained heavily in the past 24 hours, so the grass is wetter than is ideal, and I am cutting it faster than it burns. I’ve added a second fire adjacent to the first to cut the backlog, so I now have twin active volcanoes. At night, there are eerie spurts of flame.

12 thoughts on “Last of the summer colour – plus volcano update

  1. Our willow gentian is the same. Flop,flop,flop. But it looks superb in your photo. I can’t believe how much work you have to do to get your bank into shape.

  2. Your clump of crocosmia is wonderful. I am impressed by your polemonium: it flowers in springs around here… how is that possible?!

    The volcanoes must be a show at night, and the picture of the crater is very pretty!

    • Hi Alberto – sure the polemonium flowers in Spring, but if I remember to cut it hard back once it has finished, it usually repeats the performance in summer. Why not try it?

  3. I loved “elegant arching stems” — it reminded me of a car I had once, with “stately acceleration.” But what a beautiful bloom.

    Good heavens that image of the crater is like something from a horror movie! And now there are two! I just hope you don’t get up in the morning to find there are four, and then six…

    • The willow gentian would indeed be beautiful if it wasn’t lying flat on the ground. I had to prop a stem up on a stick to get that photo. I’m sure it can’t do this in the wild…it would be Darwinian suicide

  4. Sorry no solutions for keeping the gentian upright elegant or otherwise. I must tell you that I saw it growing the other day at House of Dun. It looked exactly as you described it with elegant arching stems. It is in a sheltered spot. I may move ours somewhere else…

  5. I have floppy gentian too. No remedy for it, but I do like the blue flowers, so it stays. Wow on the volcano. So strange to see that. I Costa Rica I went to the top of an active volcano and that was some experience to see the top of the mountain bubbling.

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