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/
In my mind things in the garden are well ahead this year. However, looking back through the photos I used this time last year that’s not the case with everything. One of my Six was Clematis alpina ‘Francis Rivis’ in full bloom. Currently, the first green shoots are only just appearing. Some things are at the same stage though including
Tulip ‘Angelique’. These were planted out three years ago after being in a spring pot. Most of my potted Tulips haven’t reappeared when planted into the borders so I tend not to bother any more but these have made a good display for a couple of years but there’s less of them this time around.
I have tried to grow Anemone blanda many times without much success. This time I decided to plant the corms in a pot, rather than in the ground. They didn’t all come up but most did. My plan is to plant them ‘in the green’ in the hope that they will establish themselves better. It might take a few years to get a good sized patch!
The frost has broken a pot containing an Agapanthus and I finally bought a replacement pot this week. The frosted pot fell apart on opposite corners into two pieces so removing the rootball was easy. I know that Agapanthus like to be pot-bound but I’m sure they like some compost as well. This was absolutely solid.
The new pot was only a little bit bigger so I trimmed the roots back a bit and eased the rootball in
I have another potted Agapanthus, it’s a much larger variety and I decided to repot it at the same time. It has spent the winter outside in what I thought was a sheltered spot. Sadly though, I think it must have got wetter than I thought as the emerging new shoots are rotten.
I knocked it out of the pot expecting to find that the roots had rotted as well but they seem to be healthy. Will it grow? Does anyone have any ideas?
I mentioned last week that I’d had one of those ‘wouldn’t it be a good idea if…..’ ideas. The Non-Gardener built me a cold frame many years ago. The site wasn’t ideal, north facing, but it was the best at the time (out of the way of small children being the main consideration). Since then a larger glasshouse has been put in front of it, a neighbours Laurel hedge has grown much taller and I can no longer lift the window lights (old wooden windows) on and off. The side wall of the garage is opposite the front of the glasshouse and has a west facing border running the length of it and is covered with a Solanum jasminoides each summer. This is the most sheltered border in the garden and I plant out tender perennials here. Over the last few years I have acquired quite a few Dahlias and have grown them in among the border plants but the results have been disappointing as they are not so easy to stake and fall prey to slugs and snails as they grow up through the other plants. I’d decided that this year I would use the garage border as a Dahlia bed, hoping to get better results. Then I had the aforementioned idea – this border is the perfect spot for a cold frame. Or two. Sheltered, sunny, near a water butt and next to the glasshouse. Using wood he had and some polycarbonate sheets that I use to insulate one side of the glasshouse in the winter the N-G has magiced up a new cold frame. One large frame, two light and easily detachable lids. They filled up very quickly though the succulents will be out once this cold snap has passed.
The trouble is that I’ve now lost my Dahlia planting space as there isn’t much border left. I then decided that grass is a very over-rated thing in a garden and a new bed has replaced part of the small and ever-decreasing lawn. The plan is to not fill it with my beloved herbaceous plants but just bulbs and Dahlias. I planted the Crocus and Iris from the spring pots in it yesterday and have also added some Dutch Iris and Allium schubertii. This was only ‘finished’ on Thursday and the edge needs fine-tuning.
Acer palmatum, grown from seed many years ago, is coming into leaf. The lime green and shrimp pink combination is a stunning, if short-lived, one.
It was lovely to have a few warmer nights this week so that the fleece didn’t have to go on in the glasshouse but it’s back to cold nights again for a while, sadly.
There’s, potentially, a whole weekend of gardening ahead for me although it’s rather cold at the moment. Time to give the houseplants some TLC I think. I hope you get to spend some time in your garden and if you need some inspiration then head to our host at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/
Does anyone else have those moments when you think “I reckon that a (insert name of plant or thing) would work well there”? I had one of those moments last weekend and so began a new project. Well, one thing tends to lead to another and one project turned into two. The Non-Gardener has helped with his brilliant diy skills. I’ll show the results next week. In the meantime, here are this weeks Six.
Pieris ‘Forest Flame’ is in full bloom and is a magnet for bumble bees. I counted five in there at one point yesterday.
The Pieris shares this small, north facing, border with an Amelanchier. This means that as they have grown the ground has become very shaded and quite dry. When we were let out last summer I bought Mukdenia rossii ‘Crimson Fans’ from a local garden centre as the label said that it was suitable for a sheltered north facing situation. Perfect. When I looked it up at home this plant also likes a moist but well drained soil. I’ve never worked out how ground can be both moist and well drained but there’s nowhere like that in my garden. Anyway, the Mukdenia has reappeared so that’s a good start.
Many years ago I grew some Fritillaria meleagris from seed collected from my dads garden. I planted them in several places in the garden in the hope that some would grow and spread. Strangely, for a plant that likes the damp, the only clump to still be going is in the above border. They don’t spread though and there was a white one last year that hasn’t appeared yet (she says optimistically). The dwarf Pieris behind them was liberated from a pot last year and has settled well.
Just visible at bottom left of the above photo are the newly emerging fronds of Athyrium nipponicum ‘Pictum’. This fern has been in this border for quite a long time and seems to have adapted to the drier conditions over the years. In a very dry summer it has been known to die back below ground. The very wet winter seems to have suited it as it has spread.
Heuchera ‘Caramel’ grows under the Amelanchier and, unlike some other Heucheras in the garden, has looked attractive all winter. I hadn’t realised how much the leaf colour had faded through the winter until the new leaves started to emerge. I must remove the nibbled leaves.
That’s five from this little border so it’s time to go elsewhere in the garden for number six. This is Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White’. When I’ve seen it in other gardens it has been quite a strong looking plant but this one is rather weedy, despite being three years old. Maybe it needs to move.
I know that it’s still March but I’m fed up with these cold nights and covering things up with fleece. Roll on the warmer weather! Enjoy your garden this weekend and gather lots of inspiration from everyone at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/
The weather has been on a more even keel this week and the plants have enjoyed the respite from rain, frost and strong wind. There seem to be signs of new growth on something new every day, all very exciting. I’ve been lifting, dividing and cleaning up some clumps of Hylotelephium in the front garden this week. One has had some wild garlic growing through it for the last few years (this bulb arrived with a plant from a friend many years ago and, despite my best efforts, I haven’t been able to completely get rid of it since) and another has Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’ doing the same. I’ve spent hours pulling out little bulbils but I bet I haven’t got them all 😔. Brodiaea/Triteleia is one of those plants that should come with a health warning. I love ‘Queen Fabiola’ flowers, such a pretty blue but just as everything is looking lush in the garden the prolific foliage starts to collapse very messily. The bulbs multiply like mad and it also seeds around prolifically. Apart from that, I love it!
After a winter of having to look hard to find six things it’s lovely to have a choice of things for a Six now. Here’s todays choice.
I decided it was time to bring the boxes of Dahlia tubers and Begonia corms that have overwintered in the loft down. This is the second winter that I have done this – partly to free up more winter storage space in the glasshouse – and it worked well last year. With crossed fingers I opened the Begonia box and…….
The Dahlias seemed fine as well. A couple had even started shooting. All now potted up in the already crowded glasshouse.
The patio pots continue to evolve and the first Tulips are now flowering. Sadly, the little sun we had yesterday had gone past the patio by the time I went out with my camera and they had closed. In this pot, strangely, the Tulips have appeared before the Narcissi
The Non-Gardener doesn’t like the smell of Hyacinths and so I don’t usually grow them. However, a local garden centre was selling some at a bargain price in the late autumn and so I planted up a late outside pot.
Continuing with the blue theme, the Muscari are coming into flower. This is another bulb that needs a health warning and keeping on top of.
There are several Pulmonarias in the garden but most are seedlings from an un-named plant. However, I do have two named varieties and this one is P. longifolia. The foliage has more silver markings, is longer (as it’s name says) and lights up a shady corner.
I must cut the Epimedium leaves off before the flowers start to appear. A job for later.
The sun shone at the beginning of the week and I managed to spend two days in the garden lifting and dividing herbaceous perennials. Most of them went back in the border where they were originally but some have moved to new homes. The less said about the last few days weather the better! So let’s move onto this weeks Six and they are all flowers.
I bought Skimmia ‘Rubella’ last autumn for a winter patio pot and it will go in a border when the pot is needed for the summer plants. The Skimmia has taken everything that the weather has thrown at it and the flower buds are finally starting to open
I showed several of the patio pots a couple of weeks ago. The Crocuses and Irises have now gone over and the Narcissi are flowering now. I bought a lot of my bulbs from a different supplier last year. The quality of bulbs received was good but several haven’t been the variety that was written on the bag, as happened with the mixed colour Iris and these Narcissi are very lovely but are supposed to be ‘Blushing Lady’
Last spring and summer I planted up a lot more pots than usual as I had all the time in the world to look after them. Having filled all of the larger pots up I then decided that the water butt by the shed/opposite the glasshouse needed a plant on top of it (like you do. Don’t you? Maybe it’s just me). Or maybe it needed several plants. The obvious solution (well to me) was a shallow purple Tubtrug that was in the glasshouse. Make some holes in the bottom, spray it with some chalk paint that was in the garage and fill it up. Trailing plants hung down over the water butt, Begonias and Fuchsias filled the centre and it was better than I’d hoped. It’s turned into a permanent feature but the chalk paint hasn’t fared brilliantly in the winter weather.
A few weeks ago I ordered some double snowdrops and winter aconites in the green and they arrived this week. I rarely see Aconites growing in my area and my previous attempts haven’t worked but I’ve not tried them in the green before. The ones I received are on the point of flowering so at least I’ll have their beautiful bright yellow flowers for one year! I’ve planted them in several places to see which they prefer.
The Pulmonaria are starting to flower well now. This is an unnamed seedling.
I know March can be winter and/or spring but it seems to be Christmas this week. The Hellebore niger has finally decided to flower.
Indoors, a Christmas Cactus is starting to flower for the third time – October, January and again now. There’s quite a lot of buds as well. No photo as my WordPress photo library is at 100%. Does this mean that the only way I can post again next week is to delete older photos? Six on Saturday is my only on-line presence and I use the free version of WordPress for it.