This is really the longest evening

Blogs everywhere on Midsummer day proclaim that from then on the evenings will be getting shorter - not true!

The evenings continue getting a little longer for several days afterwards, and conversely the earliest morning occurs a few days before midsummer's day.

In Newcastle it doesn't quite get dark at this time of year, nautical twilight does not end. Nautical twilight corresponds to when there is still enough light to see the horizon even when there is no moon so that mariners could still reliably navigate by the stars.

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Mystery plant flowers

The mystery plant that I grew from seed, that was supposed to be Salvia × superba has now flowered. There was little reason to suppose that it was any kind of Salvia although I had come to suspect that it was. I've looked through many pictures of different species and of course it is much easier with flowers open as most pictures focus on the flowers.

Anyway the attractive distinctive blue pattern on the flower lead me to Salvia forsskaolii. All the other attributes of the plant match up, in particular the large basal leaves which are quite unusual for a Salvia, and look quite foxglove like on the young plant.

The way the flowers open is quite strange. On the lowest whorl of flowers two flowers on opposite sides of the stem open. The next whorl up two more flowers open, again opposite, but at right angles to the ones …

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The Roscoea lives!

I had given up on this plant and marked it as died over winter in my plant list.

But today I noticed it had returned. There are a few plants that are well behind where I expected them to be, but at least there has been some sign of them.

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The cordyline flowers

This is the fourth summer season I've been here and this is the first time that the Cordyline has flowered. It is very much bigger that it was when I arrived and I was thinking of cutting down the tallest trunk. Glad I didn't get around to it!

Strangely there is a much smaller Cordyline nearby that is also flowering, I've never noticed any in flower before.

Unfortunately the flower was positioned so that it was somewhat hidden from me. The flowers didn't last all that long, but while they did they were swarming with bees.

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Six on the Sixth day of the Sixth month

Did I say last week that no rain was forecast? Yes I did but the very next day the forecast changed and now we've had more rain during the week that the whole of April and May combined and a good chunk of March if not all of it.

Anyway the plants are now smiling and very happy.

So time for Six on Saturday hosted by The Propagator.


This is the orchid by the back door that has been here since before I moved here.

I've just looked back on pictures from the first year and it was quite a small flower head back then. I think it is not as large as last year.

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This geranium came with the garden, I believe it to be Geranium × magnificum. This is a division of the original that I made a couple of years ago. It is now much bigger …

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End of May round up

You can compare with last year.


The average temperature was 12.3C with a minimum of 0.1C and maximum of 27.3C. So no frost days, and there were days that were very warm for the time of year.

Another very dry month with only 8mm of rain all month. Surprisingly that was spread over 10 separate days. For comparison, last year there was 55mm of rain. There was even less rain last month.

The month started out with the tulips and daffodils being the main points of interest and they were all finished by the end of the month.

The forget-me-not's are great at providing some early colour but there were far too many this year and I started removing them much earlier than usual.

The Ligularia 'Zepter' that I moved from the back to the front to replace the L. przewalskii that died over the winter …

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Six on Saturday - 30th May

There has been hardly any rain for two months now, and no rain forecast for next week either. I have heavy clay soil so it is usually very damp, but there are now some cracks which I've not seen here before.

Here are six things from the garden today.


I Have a few foxgloves that seed around, this is a particularly fine example.

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I have three Lupins in this patch. The large purple one at the back is a random Russell hybrid from Aldi. The red one is L. 'My castle' (brick red) and the blue one is L. 'Persian slipper'.

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Very excited to see three new orchids appear this year. They are all reasonably close together in the left back corner area, so no where near either of the other two orchids that I have.

I didn't notice anything here last year, but as they take …

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Geum 'Cosmopolitan'

This has now grown to a good size and is covered in flowers. In contrast to the other Geums that I have this is low growing and so doesn't flop over everything else.

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