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Instead of showing you views of the garden this weekend I am going to show you some of my star plants this week.  I was feeling a little sorry for myself on Friday and Saturday due to a sore back and my grumpiness meant that I forgot about Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and my monthly photo – ho hum! So I am showcasing the stars this week in this post.

I have a real fondness for Tragopodon crocifolius (top photo).  One of its common names is Lavender Jack-Go-To-Bed-At-Noon but it is more commonly known to vegetable growers as Salsify.  I don’t know if the plant I grow is the same as the one grown for eating but I grew it from seed in 2009 and I haven’t been without it since.  It is slowly self-seeding around the front garden.  The flowers open in sunshine and are followed by some wonderful fluffy seed-heads.

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Also looking wonderful in the front garden is Echium vulgare, which is our native Vipers bugloss.  I think  these have grown from seeds from some plants I planted in 2010.  I have a terribly short-term memory and often sow annuals then forget they are annuals and don’t rush to prick them out and pot them up thinking as they are perennials I have more time.  The Echium in 2010 suffered from this and were held back in seed trays and when they flowered only produced little flowers not the spikes you can see above.  So I am really pleased that nature has taken charge and sorted it out for me.  They are certainly very popular with the bees and other pollinators. To give you an idea of their height, they are taller than the Allium Purple Sensation although nowhere near as tall as the Echiums we saw in Cornwall last week.

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The irises are doing amazingly well this year which surprises me given the cool temperatures and rain we had last summer.  I thought they needed their rhizomes to bake in the summer sun in order for them to flower well but this year they are better than ever.  I am a particularly pleased with the top one, Iris Bumblebee Deelite – it was unceremoniously moved back in March/April due to the workshop project.  We are told to move bearded irises after flowering in June/July but this plant has thrived in its new location and has more flowers than ever.  I think the dark one is Langport Wren and I have masses of it.  As for the pale one I don’t even remember buying it but it is very elegant.

I haven’t really done that much in the garden this weekend.  A bit of tidying, cutting the aquilegia seedheads down of the ones I don’t want spreading, a bit of weeding, a bit of potting up, some feeding but that is it.  Saying that I have also held a lot of wood while my eldest saws it.  He is busy putting the final touches to the retaining wall which is holding the garden back from the workshop site.  The workshop, or shed to you and me, arrives on Friday!

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Whilst I haven’t done much work in the garden I have done a lot of looking, or procrastination, and I was thrilled to find two  Arisaema speciosum in flower.  I have five which I grew from seed some years back.  I have never managed to get any to germinate since which is beginning to irritate me.  However, I am really pleased that the five I have are back again this year.  They are so strange and sinister looking and also a pain to photograph especially as the flowers are looking in a direction where it is hard for me to photograph from.

Who knows my next weekend the Papaver Patty’s  Plum may have decided to flower – it has been in bud for at least three weeks now.

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