Well, it doesn’t seem possible but today marks my Golden Anniversary! No – I haven’t been married for 50 years, and I saw my 50th birthday some years back – no, this is my 50th blog post. I started this blog back in March and since then I have had an amazing response – thank you to everyone who has liked, signed up or simply read my posts.
At the end of this post you will find a super give-away to mark the occasion.
Without further ado, as they say, let’s look at some golden things in the garden to celebrate the occasion.
First of course, are plants which bear the name golden or gold – there are dozens out there, but I’m going to choose just five which are favourites of mine, in no particular order.
First is a rose, Rosa ‘Goldfinch’. I know there are perhaps other roses which tie-in more closely with my theme, but this rose is one of my all-time favourites. It’s a multiflora rose and despite being a rambler it only grows to about 3m so it’s ideal for a pergola or archway. It has semi-double fragrant flowers which open a buttery-yellow colour and then fade to almost milk-white. Although it doesn’t repeat flower, it keeps going for the greater part of the summer. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s attractive to bees, too, as you can see from the not-quite-in-focus picture!
Second is Geum ‘Golden Joy’. I have a feeling that Geum don’t make it into everyone’s top ten garden plants list, which is a shame because they have a lot going for them: they are ‘good do-ers’ as the saying goes. They provide splashes of colour mainly in early summer when other, more flamboyant, perennials haven’t really got their act together yet; most are well-behaved, forming fairly neat clumps; and a large number of them are good for pollinating insects, especially bees. But let's look at my specific choice. G. ‘Golden Joy’ has, as its name suggests, golden petals but with a touch of extra gilding of coppery peach; it’s well-behaved, too, reaching only about 30cm with the same spread; it blossoms fairly early on, but if you keep dead-heading it will produce flowers well into the late summer or early autumn. A real (golden) joy!
Third is Buddleja x weyeriana ‘Golden Glow’. I just love the colour of this buddleja: it’s a warm, sunny, nectarine-flesh yellow, with a hint of apricot at the centre of each tiny flower. Good enough to eat. Which is apt in a way because it provides a good food-source for butterflies (like the Peacock butterfly in the picture) which sup the nectar deposited deep in the corolla tube – buddleja isn’t called butterfly bush for nothing!
Like other buddleja it relishes full sun, but isn’t over-fussy about the soil as long as it isn’t too acidic; it also produces flowers on the current season’s growth so prune it during spring.
This buddleja has an interesting heritage: it’s a hybrid of B. davidii var. magnifica and B. globosa which was produced by a certain Major William John Bates van de Weyer (hence weyeriana) when he was on leave during the World War I.
My fourth gold is Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm'. It seems to me that this plant really comes into its own when you see it in great swathes, like this ‘plantation’ that I saw when I visited the RHS garden Harlow Carr a couple of years back. That’s not to say it doesn’t look good in smaller clumps – it does, especially alongside grasses and other so-called ‘prairie’ plants like Achillea, Echinacea, Monarda, Symphyotrichum, or Verbena bonariensis.
I love the brightness of its sunshine-yellow offset by the dark cone: it cheers up a border no end, and it makes a great cut flower too. Oh, and bees and other pollinators love it so what’s not to like?
Last is Origanum vulgare 'Aureum', the golden oregano. I just had to include a herb of some description and this one fits the ‘golden’ bill perfectly. Just because it’s golden doesn’t mean you can’t use it just as you would the ordinary oregano – you can: it’s the quintessential pizza herb and is a must in just about every other Italian dish too. It also looks good in the garden and if you allow it flower bees will love you for it because the blooms produce nectar which has a very high sugar content – up to 80%. I swear you can see our little buzzy friends circling in a holding formation above the flowers, like aeroplanes waiting for a landing slot.
Talking of bees, I’m also including another ‘gold’ in my anniversary blog. Honey. I used to keep bees, not necessarily for the honey (although I did take some if there was an excess) but more for the fact that I was fascinated by them. I could wax lyrical about them for several pages but suffice it to say that they were part of my life for a time, and what a golden time that was.
And finally, a nod to my garden design days, when the Golden Ratio often came to the fore in my projects. The Golden Ratio, which is denoted by the Greek letter ‘phi’- φ, is a number approximately equal to 1.618. It comes about if you divide a line into two parts so that the longer part (a) divided by the smaller part (b) is also equal to the whole length (a+b) divided by the longer part (a):
a ÷ b = (a + b) ÷ a = φ ≈ 1.618
It’s also linked to Fibonacci (aka the 12th century Italian mathematician, Leonardo Pisano) and his sequence of numbers and spiral, and to that very same formation in nature – think of the flower sequence of a sunflower or the cross section of a nautilus shell - but that’s a whole new blog post!
Suffice it to say, all you really need to know is that approximate ratio of 1:1.618 has long been held to have the most pleasing proportions – a very handy premise when it came to dividing up a large site, deciding on planting areas or determining what dimensions to use for a formal pond.
So there we have it – my Golden Anniversary musings. Here’s to the next 50 posts!
To mark my golden blog anniversary, I thought I would give away a pair of Burgon and Ball Flower and Fruit Snips. (Ok, they’re not exactly golden, but they’re worth their weight in gold in the garden!) All you have to do is join my mailing list by the 31st August 2020 – just fill in the panel at the bottom of the page – and a name will be picked at random on 1st September. Note: If you have already joined my mailing list, your name will be automatically entered into the draw – you do not need to sign up again.
Please note: this post is not sponsored.