Gardener's Bloom Day again - I'm a day late but I took the photos yesterday so I hope it counts. Not much to report this month. I have to admit that I planted almost exclusively for spring this year. I'd thought that I'd be spending the whole summer away from Milan, and so there was no point focusing on the later months. But plans changed, and I'm still here. Plus the devastation that's been wreaked by caterpillars this year - it's left me a bit flowerless. So you'll notice a decided lack of wide angled shots in the pictures. I admit to having chosen the best bits.
The best thing at the moment is the plumbago (top picture), which is an execption to what I've just said. As are the ivy-leaved pelargoniums. A second group of nasturtiums are now out, and the surfinia and antirhinums are hanging on well - boosted by the marigolds which are just starting to flower.
But the surfinia and marigolds are nothing like the ones I had last year. The surfinia (bought) are a different variety - I couldn't get the same ones as last summer - with smaller leaves and flowers. But they're also growing far less enthusiastically and look weak and spindly. The marigolds are suffering too, and lots haven't made it.
Odd, when I've treated them exactly the same as before and last year got such great results. The same is true for some of the other stuff I've sown this year, especially the zinnias and hollyhocks which were my pride and joy in 2006 and this year look considerably stunted. as far as the zinnias are concerned, I wonder if it's because I tried growing them in eggshells? It's not worked well for anything, which with some things I put down to too much calcium in the shells. But zinnias are calcium lovers, so I was hoping they'd do well. Oh well, chalk one up for experience.
And then there are these rather weedy sunflowers, which is what you get if you steal seeds out of the hamster's food box rather than going and buying some decent ones. They're pretty but a bit straggly.
The seedlings which are doing well this year are the white and purple surfinia which I sowed with last year's seeds. They're not flowering yet, but look healthy and happy. With the plumbago and the ivy-leaved pelargoniums, they're more or less the only thing that does at the moment. Watch this space next month!