I was really hoping that I’d be able to say that I’ve finally finished pulling all of the Forget-me-Nots out of the borders but, sadly, I can’t. I knew there were a lot of them but it’s been ridiculous. I need another compost bin just for them! I must be more ruthless removing them next year (I have a feeling that I said that last year). The SnS have, of course, been having a field day while under cover and the Heleniums have been particularly badly eaten. I’m hoping that there’s time for them to stage a comeback. Meanwhile, here’s six other things going on in the garden this week.
Lonicera tellmanniana has been flowering prolifically for a couple of weeks. The volume and colour of the flowers make up for the fact that it’s scentless.
By flowering early this Honeysuckle beats the aphids, unlike L. periclymenum which, in my garden anyway, is infested every year. However, things are different this year.
Sadly, L. periclymenum is even worse. Where are the ladybirds?
I was admiring the Verbascums then realised that the Mullein moth had paid a visit
It was only a few weeks ago that I was wondering if the rain would ever stop and yet cracks are already appearing in the borders. No wonder this grass that has been swamped by F-me-N as well is suffering.
Allium christophii does (too) well for me but ‘Purple Sensation’ has never established itself. I read that ‘Globemaster’ is better at establishing itself so decided to try a few. It’s not as dainty as ‘P. S’ but I like. I planted five but one didn’t show.
I’ve not noticed one of these in the garden before – a Speckled Wood butterfly, apparently.
A succulent to finish with. I bought it as Tacitus graptopetalum but on the RHS website it’s name is Graptopetalum vellum.
Right, back to the Forget-me-Nots then later off to a bbq with some of the Non-Gardener’s family. First get together since before Covid! Enjoy your weekend and don’t forget to make time to peep into everyone else’s garden courtesy of our host https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/
With the sunshine comes the weeds and I spent an afternoon tackling the ones in the front garden. As the saying goes, a weed is just a plant in the wrong place and I could really relate to that as I pulled out, among other things, Verbena bonariensis, Calendula, Nigella and miscellaneous poppies. There were some weed weeds as well but it’s funny to think that I spent several years trying to get the Verbena to spread around and now I compost soooooo much of it. Enough of weeds, it’s time for six things from my garden.
Sorbus ‘Autumn Spire’ is still quite a young tree and hasn’t flowered much in previous years but is having a good go this year. The bees are really enjoying themselves.
As well as the bees the Rose Cockchafers have arrived. On Gardeners Question Time the other week someone was asking if they were harmful to the plants. The answer was that some damaged flowers was a small price to pay for having a few of these beautiful beetles in the garden.
However, things can get out of balance! I found these, and many, many more, grubs in the compost bin last spring. The pot is 8” in diameter! You can have too much of a good thing.
I’ve started putting some of the succulents on the new ladder and this weeks favourite is Sedum furfuraceum.
The herbaceous plants are really enjoying the warmer weather. I moved this Astrantia to its new location last spring and it sat and sulked through the hot, dry summer (despite me watering it) but was, presumably putting all its efforts into root growth. The bright conditions don’t do it photographic justice, or maybe it’s just the ‘photographer’ that doesn’t. The Verbascums are starting to do their thing to add to the picture.
Climbing Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ was planted against the fence in the spring and is growing well but not yet visible.
I usually plant a lot of Fuchsias in the summer patio pots but took the decision to have a break from them for a while (so hard to do) due to a big gall mite problem. I’m hoping that with a break and then fresh stock plants the cycle will be broken 🤞. The only one not affected last year was F. ‘Lechlade Gordon’. In previous years it has flowered late in the season but last years cuttings have decided that now is a good time to flower.
The late frosts caught a lot of the new growth on plants but the Nandina was sensible and delayed producing new shoots until now. Rather late but very welcome colour. Nandina domestica ‘Obsessed’
I rely on self-seeded Foxgloves around the garden and they seem to be in short supply in the back garden this year. I’ve sown seed for next year to bulk them up and also transplanted some seedlings from the front garden to plant out later on. This Foxglove put itself in the perfect spot in front of the purple Hazel among emerging Allium christophii.
The Non-Gardener is out for the day so it’s a day in the garden for me. It’s time to start removing the Forget-me -Nots and seeing whether the slugs and snails have eaten everything that has been hidden from view by the sea of blue.
Finally, some sunshine and warmth in the forecast. Long overdue and well deserved I reckon. Outside, things are a bit slow because of the cold weather but it’s showing mostly in the glasshouse. A while back I was worried that the first sowing of Cosmos wasn’t doing very well and so sowed some more. They germinated well, were pricked out and potted on and have sat and sulked ever since. They were very spindly and the leaves were very stunted (note the use of the past tense) and so this week I made the hard decision to compost them. The first sowing plants have done better but are still quite small and it’ll be a few weeks before I’m planting them out. There’s a few other things that have been given the “you’re running out of time to prove yourself” talk but I’m hoping the warmer, lighter weather will spur them into growth. Meanwhile, here are my Six for this week.
I have two varieties of Geum and this is the first to flower.
I sowed some Aquilegia ‘McKana Hybrid’ seeds plus seeds that I’d saved from a dwarf variety in autumn 2019 and left them in the coldframe. The germination rate wasn’t great but the resulting seedlings were grown on and planted out last autumn. The parent dwarf Aquilegia has disappeared but I’m very pleased with it’s offspring.
The Clematis have thrived in the damp conditions and ‘Dr Ruppel’ has produced its first flower. The outer edges of the sepals are usually a bit lighter so it will be interesting to see what happens as the season progresses.
The Heucheras have, mostly, done well and are adding some lovely colour to the borders.
The last Heuchera is at the front of a south-west facing border and these next ones are facing north as the paler leaves varieties don’t like too much sun, apparently.
The Dutch Iris have finally opened this week and add some lovely colour and height to the main border at this time of the year.
We’re leaving the travelling to everyone else this bank holiday (in the UK) weekend and are going to enjoy the good weather at home. I’m not sure what the Non-Gardener has planned but I’m planning to spend most of it in the garden 😁
Welcome to another soggy, windy Six on Saturday. I went outside between the downpours yesterday to take some pictures for today and found the ground littered with leaves that have been blown off of the Birch and Amelanchier trees. The weather has certainly given them a hard time recently. The Cosmos, Zinnias and other seedlings in the glasshouse haven’t really put on any growth this last week so I decided to take the shading down on Thursday to see if the increased light level would help. They could do with an increased temperature level as well! Enough of the moaning – here’s my Six.
The Caltha palustris looked better when it was standing upright but it’s still a lovely splash of colour on these dreary days.
The front of the house faces virtually due north and I have spent years trying to get plants to grow on the porch steps. A few years ago I tried some ferns and they have done really well since. The new growth on Dryopteris wallichiana (Alpine Wood Fern) is very striking at the moment.
The roses on the ropes and posts in the front garden have responded well to a very hard prune this year and are full of buds. This time last year they had been flowering for several weeks though.
Weigela florida ‘Variegata’ is in a mixed hedge along the drive. It’s somewhat overshadowed by a Viburnum and a winter honeysuckle and so is a bit weedy. But when it flowers ………
Variegated Honesty self seeds about and some years there are a lot of plants in the garden and some years there aren’t. This is a not many year but those that have made it are an impressive size.
Amazingly, Tulip ‘Groenland’ is still standing, sort of
It’s forecast to be mostly dry today here, a respite before tomorrows rain. I’m hoping to get outside later to do some clearing up and some SnS rounding up (they’re having a field day) – exciting stuff 😂. Have a great weekend and thanks for reading.
You have to be careful what you wish for. A few weeks back the garden was suffering from a lack of rain and I was almost doing a rain dance. We have had so much rain since then that the garden is almost awash in places. The plants are thriving in it and the garden is looking very lush and green. Unfortunately, the SnS have all emerged and are making up for lost time. I’m not sure if my patrols really make any difference but I feel as though I’m doing something to help the plants. Between the rain and some very windy days the Tulips, sadly, have all but finished. It’s been a brief, but beautiful display here. Yesterday was a dry day though and it was good to get outside. I have been hardening off the Dahlias for a couple of weeks and desperately need the coldframe room and so I took the plunge and planted them out in their new bed. I’ve got everything crossed that we don’t have any more frosts (we had one last week).
The herbaceous border is filling up and I’ve started staking some of the plants. I was worried a while back that I’d thinned out the Forget-me-Nots too much. I needn’t have been!
There’s just a few shrubs in the above border including Sorbaria sorbifolia which has lovely coloured new foliage. It does sucker but they are easily removed.
In the same area the perennial Cornflower, Centaurea montana, has started flowering. It’s a great plant for the bees.
Last from this border for this week is Angelica gigas or Giant Angelica. I was hoping it would grow a bit more giantish before the flowering spike ascended.
The last Tulips to open here were T. ‘Blueberry Ripple’ although I have to say that they seem more like raspberry ripple to me. They have also been the most wayward of the Tulips, pointing their heads in all directions throughout the day.
I grew a couple of Heucheras and a Fern in a pot for a winter display but they need to go in the ground in a more appropriate place now. I also need the pot for the summer patio.
This doesn’t count as a Six as it doesn’t have a bullet point, honestly. We had a surprise visitor in the week
In all the years we’ve lived here I have never seen a pheasant in the garden or even in the local fields.
Last weekends storm was as bad as they had forecast, sadly, with a lot of rain. I tucked as many succulents as I could into the glasshouse and, just to confirm my madness to the Non-Gardener, brought pots of Tulips that were on the verge of opening indoors for 24 hours. It was worth it as the Tulips left out took quite a battering. The prevailing weather blows straight through the garden, the joys of a corner plot. There wasn’t any major damage done in the garden, luckily. The nights have still been cold and yesterday morning we awoke to a light frost. Fingers crossed it was the last one! The garden is quite a bit behind the same time last year – the Roses were full of bloom then (the buds aren’t showing any colour yet) and the main border had a lot of Foxglove spires (none have even started the upward journey yet). Pictures were taken in yesterdays sunshine as we’ve a whole day of rain again today.
Despite last weeks Clematis failure the other Clematis in the garden are forging ahead. This is C. ‘Guernsey Cream’. It’s planted against a north facing fence and has been there for many years. I subsequently planted a Birch tree in the border and now the Clematis gets too dry through the summer and is gradually diminishing. Last winters wet has got it off to a good start though.
I grow mostly group 3 Clematis viticella varieties as they are resistant to wilt but the following plant must have been mis-labelled. It took me a couple of years to work out why it wouldn’t flower (it’s a group 2 variety) and last year was its first proper outing. Earlier this year I replaced the willow obelisk that it was growing up with one that the N-G had made. It lost a few shoots but is coming back well. The flower colour is a little under-whelming but still very welcome at this time of year. I’m planning to grow a Cobaea scandens through it for later in the year.
I mentioned Tulips earlier and I think todays rain will probably finish a lot of them off. It’s been a shorter season this year but they’ve been beautiful.
‘Cairo’ is more of a burnt orange colour than it looks in the picture. I like!
I’ve grown some fibrous root Begonias as houseplants for a few years and this year decided to add to their numbers. Some lovely baby plants arrived from a very well known nursery a few weeks ago and they have started to put out new leaves. Last week I noticed a few spots on a couple of leaves of a new plant and since then the problem has spread, including to a couple of the older plants that are near. I have two older plants in another room and they seem unaffected, so far anyway. After a Google search I think it is bacterial leaf spot which doesn’t seem to have a cure. Can anyone confirm this for me or are things not as bad as I think? If it is BLS then I can only think that it has come in on the new plants or could it have come in in a bag of compost? I’ve cut off the affected leaves, cleaning the knife between each plant and have repotted the plants in fresh compost.
Lamium orvala is one of those plants that just sit there quietly getting on with life. It is planted next to Amelanchier lamarkii ‘Ballerina’ and copes with deep, dry shade. If it has a fault it’s that it disappears in August but I can forgive it that.
My final offering this week is the re-built succulent tower. Last autumns wet weather caused some of the plants on the bottom tier to rot off so I took the opportunity to take it apart, pot the plants individually for the winter and start again now with fresh compost. I’d intended to buy a different bottom pot so that larger plants could be grown. Next year, maybe.
I don’t think there will be a lot of gardening done today, if any, but at least the nights look like they are going to be warmer 🎉.
We’ve had rain! Overnight on Tuesday and for a large part of Wednesday there was glorious, steady rain. The garden looks revitalised and really happy. The double Tulips weren’t so keen and some haven’t really recovered but I guess there is always a casualty or two. If I could have one moan though, it’s still rather cool. It’s all about the Tulips in the garden at the moment but I thought I’d concentrate on other things going on in the garden this week.
Despite the cool weather the aphids are arriving, hopefully the ladybirds won’t be too far behind.
I grow this in a pot as part of a screen and usually cut it back hard in the spring but I’ve left it to flower this year.
While talking about bad news – I planted Clematis alpina ‘Francis Rivis’ alongside the north facing front door about thirty years ago and it has given a glorious spring display every year since, apart from the two years when I cut it back hard. I thought it was a bit late starting into growth this year but eventually a couple of shoots appeared. However, they haven’t developed at all and no more shoots have grown.
I can’t decide whether to cut it down and see if it will come back again or dig it out and have a complete change. Hmmmmm…
Time to leave the bad stuff and look at something more positive. I mentioned a few weeks ago that the Non-Gardener had built me a display ladder for some succulents. At the moment there are pots of spring bulbs on the treads including some Muscari
I’m working through repotting the succulents to go on/around the ladder and they had a good watering in with the rain. Raindrops on Echiveria chihuahuensis ‘Raspberry Dip’ looked lovely in the sun.
Not all Dicentras have had a name change. Dicentra eximia was beginning to flag in the dry but the recent rain has given it a new lease of life.
In another part of the garden Dicentra formosa ‘Langtrees’ lightens a shady corner
Just visible in the last picture are some flowers of an Epimedium. I planted it here, under a variegated Griselinia littoralis, several years ago but it gradually weakened and disappeared. I removed the Griselinia a couple of years ago and the Epimedium has reappeared. It wanders a little though.
As they grow well in shady areas I added an Epimedium to the Birch border last autumn. It seems to have a slightly different growth habit but has produced plenty of flowers. The horizontal stems (?) have grown since I planted it. Should I cover them?
I seem to have spent an awful lot of time watering this week. It’s been a very sunny week with a couple of frosty nights at the start but it’s two weeks (exactly) since we had any rain here and there are a lot of plants in pots at the moment. The shading has gone up in the glasshouse so the newly pricked-out seedlings are having a slightly easier time now. It’s the time of year when a glasshouse extension would be really useful. Lack of rain aside, with the tulips getting into their stride the garden is very colourful at the moment. This is the view from the top of the back garden down towards the glasshouse and here’s a bit more detail for this weeks Six.
I’m sure I could have sat and watched the Lamprocapnos spectabile grow before my eyes in the last couple of weeks. This plant is quite old and, as you can see in the above picture, it is quite large.
It was very tempting to grow mostly the same Tulips as last year as I was so pleased with them but at the last minute I ordered mostly new (to me) ones. I went for some softer colours ones, including white, but have decided that it’s mostly the stronger colours that do it for me – I’m the same with fabrics for my quilts. The sun was a bit strong when I took this photo and the colours have altered a bit.
A new favourite is T. ‘Antraciet’.
The best laid plans can go quite wrong when bulbs aren’t as they are labelled. Every year I plant several pots with layers of bulbs, usually Crocus/Iris followed by Narcissi followed by Tulips. The Tulips in this pot are a shorter variety and are beautiful
It’s just a shame that the Narcissi weren’t the early flowering variety that they were supposed to be.
Last Tulips, for this week anyway. I tend to plant single varieties in a pot but when I was choosing for this year there was a suggestion to plant ‘Queensday’ and ‘Whispering Dream’ together. I really shouldn’t have tried it! I think that they are both lovely in their own right but that they don’t do anything for each other when sharing a pot.
I cut the old leaves off of the Epimediums a few weeks ago. The first to flower is usually E. ‘Rubrum’ (I think that’s the variety, the label has gone walkabout). Unusually, the new leaves have come up at the same time as the flowers so the effect is a little different this year.
It goes well with it’s neighbour Pulmonaria longifolia (well I think it does).
Another warm day is forecast for here today, 18 degrees, but the nights are still a bit cool, three to four degrees. I’ve more seedlings to prick out, goodness knows where they are all going to go! Am I alone in not being able to just prick out a few seedlings and then compost the rest?
Another week with several frosty nights, including last night, but there have been some lovely sunny days as compensation. We even had some rain last Saturday night, none since though so there’s been a lot of pot watering. The forecast is for the nights to start getting a bit warmer at last. It’ll be good not to have to keep covering the glasshouse plants with fleece. The Tulips have enjoyed the sunshine and are beginning to show their colours so I’m sure that there will be some in next weeks Six. In the meantime, here is this weeks glimpse into the garden.
A couple of years ago I bought an Erythronium ‘Pagoda’ and grew it in a pot. After flowering I planted it out under the Pieris and this is its second year in the ground.
The Crocus thomasinianus are setting seed.
I dug out a very old clump of Bergenia a couple of weeks ago. I’d kept it as it came from my dads’s garden but, even with renovation, it flowered poorly. I was undecided as to what to replace it with but while out buying a new pot this week came across the perfect plant – a Bergenia!!!
I fell in love with the flower colour and it’s a more compact form so, hopefully, the leaf to flower ratio will be better. Also, the old plant had very large leaves that smothered the surrounding plants.
The ferns are starting to unfurl their new fronds and the fern wall is greening up again. I also have quite a few ferns in the borders, including one of my favourites – Polystichum polyblepharum. The new fronds look like furry arms.
At the moment the wildlife seems to be a bit lacking in the garden which I’m putting down to the cool weather. I spotted this Dark-Edged Bee Fly having a rest in the sun the other day.
Forget-Me-Nots are in full swing and the herbaceous border is looking very yellow and blue in places.
One of the jobs for the weekend is to get the shading up in the glasshouse to protect the newly pricked out seedlings. Then there’s always some weeding!
Brrrrr. It’s chilly out there but the sun’s trying to shine. Fingers crossed that it succeeds. On the subject of weather – where are the April showers? It seems such a distant memory but I definitely remember complaining that the garden was water logged due to too much rain through autumn and winter. It has been several weeks since we had any meaningful rain and there doesn’t seem to be any forecast here for at least the next couple of weeks. I’ve been watering the pots for quite a while but I think I’m going to have to do some watering in the borders as well. I split and replanted a lot of the herbaceous perennials a while back and they are showing signs of stress and not a lot of growth. The established plants, however are growing daily. I love this time of the year, everything changes so quickly. Here’s an update from my garden this week.
There’s so much new growth and I’ve been a bit worried as we’ve had a few frosts this week. One plant that hasn’t liked the cold is Parthenocissus henryana. A lot of the lovely new leaves are all black and crispy.
From a sorry looking plant (that will recover) to one that is looking absolutely beautiful
This tree was in my Six this time last year and I also took a video of it at the time because it was full of honey bees. Although yesterday was bright and sunny for a while it’s a lot colder than this time last year and the honey bees haven’t arrived yet. The bumble bees seem to prefer the nearby Pieris. It will be interesting to see if there are as many Amelanchier berries for the birds to eat.
Talking of birds……. the starlings have caused great amusement this week. The bark of the Birch tree is peeling off in strips and the starlings must be using it to help make their nests. They spend ages in the tree pulling the ends of the strips until they have a beak full of pieces. They aren’t very good at knowing when to stop and fly away with what they have collected and often lose the whole lot while trying to pull off one more piece. The bed below is littered with all of the dropped pieces but they don’t often think to take the easy route.
I’ve been mostly pleased with the pots this spring although the tulips have flowered before the narcissi in a couple of them. Not in the plan! This one is going in the right order though.
The pots of Tulips are getting ready to fill the patio area with a riot of colour (that’s the plan, anyway), they need some sun though. T. ‘Stresa’ was in a mixed pot and has been and gone already. I’ve grown T. ‘Quebec’ for the first time and have found it pretty if a little underwhelming.
Another pot of bulbs to finish with. These didn’t flower last year so they earned another chance.
While sat writing this I’m looking out at the beautiful Lamprocapnos spectabile. Why isn’t it in this weeks Six? How could I have forgotten it? Too late now.
I’ve some Cosmos seedlings to prick out this morning then there’s weeding to do, Clematis to tie in and lots of other jobs to keep me busy outside all day. I just hope it warms up a bit. Thanks for reading, have a lovely weekend and don’t forget to read the other Sixes at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/