My Garden this Weekend – 26th January 2014

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Despite the completely mad weather this weekend I have still managed to get my horticultural fix.  Some say that a small tornado went across the country yesterday I don’t know if that is exactly what it was but my journey home from the monthly Hardy Plant Society group meeting was one of the most unpleasant journeys I have had for a while.  The wind was so strong I could feel it pushing at the car, there was thunder and lighting, tree branches all over the road and at one point electricity cables flapping loose above the road.  Luckily it seemed to have blown through very quickly and we were left with regular downpours of rain making the garden even more saturated than last weekend and quite frankly unworkable.

Polypodium cambicus Richard Kayse
Polypodium cambicus Richard Kayse
Euphorbia pasteurii Phrampton Phatty
Euphorbia pasteurii Phrampton Phatty

Luckily, although unsurprisingly, the HPS meeting was excellent.  Amazingly, given the time of year there was plenty on the display table; my eye was particularly drawn to Fatsia ‘Spidersweb’ and I have even sussed out a potential site for one.  The main talk was by Nick Macer of PanGlobal Plants – the theme was a planthunting trip to Manipur in India.  Lots of wonderful hardy big leaved exotics to lust after.  I was really pleased that Nick remembered a twitter conversation a few weeks back and bought with him a Grevillea victoriae and Polypodium cambricum ‘Richard Kaye’ which I was keen on.  I also bought a Euphorbia pasteurii ‘Phrampton Phatty’ which although I realise can be quite thugish has wonderful foliage and will be going in the area I cleared last weekend.  As ever I was tempted by the plants Bob Brown of Cotswold Garden Flowers had on offer and came away with a lovely pot of Eranthis hyemalis (see top photo) and some Narcissus romeuxii subspecies Albidus var zaianicus to add to my small but growing collection of Narcissus.

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I did manage to steal 30 minutes to walk or squelch around the garden between showers to take some photographs and to see how the bulbs are progressing.  My favourite border at the moment is the lower slope which runs behind what was the Bog Garden and which I planted up with epimediums, ferns and bulbs in the Autumn (above). I keep peering into the depths of the epimediums to see if there is any sign of the flowers appearing as I will be cutting back the evergreen foliage to show the flowers off.

Even if it hadn’t been so wet the ground was so sodden that any ideas of gardening would have had to be forgotten.  Instead I cracked on with sowing seeds and in particular those of perennials that need the cold to help break dormancy.  20 packets of seeds from either the Hardy Plant society seed distribution scheme or from a Czech supplier I was put onto by a fellow plant nut were sown.  They are predominantly woodland plants many with names that are new to me which is very exciting.  I was even more excited to spot a paeonia seedling reappearing in one of the pots in the cold frame, the seed having been sown over a year ago.  It seems I am rather drawn to paeonia as I have acquired 6 packets of them this year without really realising it – ho hum.

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Chloris says:

    I love growing peonies from seed too. You are right, nothing appears to happen for the first year because the seed is busy growing a root. I have Paeonia rockii 5 years old from seed and the suspense waiting for them to flower is unbearable. I have not come across that Euphorbia but I shall look out for it. The trouble is that most of them are rather thuggish. I do like them though, especially in spring.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi BG
      I am glad I read somewhere a while back that peonies put there roots down first or I might thought the seeds had failed. I can imagine your anticipation for the peony rockii to flower, it will be worth the wait

  2. I think we also experienced the tornado. One minute it was calm, the next the rain was lashing across the drive accompanied by thunder and lightening. I dared not tread on the garden this weekend, but did remove the old hellebore and epimedium foliage to reveal the tightly curled flower stalks beneath.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi FG
      I am going to have a good peer next weekend in the hope the Epimedium flowers are appearing

    2. We have to get our kicks where we can at this time of year don’t we!

  3. Cathy says:

    That lower slope border of yours is going to be stunning when it’s filled out, Helen – I don’t think I had appreciated the actual slope on it before but this will really set off the contents when they are established. How lovely! Well done for your seed sowing too – and getting through what must have been a very nasty return journey yesterday.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi rambling
      The steepness of the slope varies across the garden. That border is one of the steepest

  4. Anna says:

    Sounds as if you had a really scary journey home Helen but that you were in the perfect place for most of what was a horrible day. If that fatsia is the one I’m thinking of with fine white veins I can understand the attraction 🙂

  5. Yvonne Ryan says:

    While I was taking my dog and my daughters 2 dogs for a walk on Kakamatua Beach West Auckland on the Manukau Harbour – the other day me an English couple – they young ones live here and the parents are from near Cambridge escaping the minus 3 and rain. They looked like Kiwi’s – brown – dressed like us at the beach (no beige!) and love it here in Auckland. The beach is a dog free beach and every breed imaginable are running and splashing enjoying themselves. Now at Omaha admiring my eldest daughters raised veg gardens – going crazy despite a Northerly storm last week doing quite a lot of damage. She had to stake, unstake and move pots etc. She always calls herself a ‘non gardener’ so am proud of her.

  6. All of your new growth coming up through the ground looks so healthy. I will look so amazing in another 30 days.

  7. I really like the way that lower slope border is developing Helen, it is going to be rather magical, you already have a great mix of texture, and with all those tantalising bulbs beginning to poke their heads up I am looking forward to seeing it in a month’s time. Oh, and I have really fallen for that fern, Polypodium cambicus Richard Kayse, Definitely going on my list for the corner by the tree stump…

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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