I would like to claim that this subtle combination of Thermopsis, the pale yellow tulips and the Euphorbia in the background was planned but it wasn’t. I can even remember planting the pale yellow tulips and they don’t appear on my bulb order form last Autumn so I am wondering if in a moment of enthusiasm I bought some more bulbs from the garden centre having forgotten that I had already planted plenty. Well it doesn’t really matter as I love the effect and its great to have a second wave of tulip flowers.
I do remember planting the Dutch Iris. I add a couple of dozen every year although generally only a few actually grow, but they do come back year on year. I have learnt that you need to plant them well into the border as they grow very tall and the foliage of summer perennials help to hide the leggy stem. I’m not sure which variety this one is. I added Miss Saigon this year but I am pretty sure that is a slightly paler more lavender blue so hopefully she will be along soon. Sadly, I may miss her as I am about to go off my travels for just over a week and looking round the garden this morning there were so many flowers in bud which I just know will be over by the time I return – such a pity.
But I haven’t missed my Rhododendron ‘Happy’ flowering. I have had this plant since 2001, it grew in a pot at my old house and then was planted out a few years after we moved to this house. In recent years the plant has got somewhat leggy due to my neglect and fear of pruning it. I haven’t been very good at pruning any of the shrubs really. I grew up with a father who loved to domed plants, it didn’t matter what the shrub was it was domed. I prefer my shrubs to look more natural so I have generally avoided pruning but over the last 9 months or so I have noticed that many of my shrubs have suffered from my neglect. They have lot long and leggy, competing with each other and generally not looking great. So I have been tackling them bit by bit and mostly they are looking at lot better and the garden looks better for it too.
At the other end of the spectrum to shrubs is Lily of the Valley. This romps around my garden, appearing all over the place. I suspect this is because I regularly pull bits up to try and get it under control. I would then put the bits I had pulled up in the compost bin and then a year or so later spread the compost around the garden and lo and behold Lily of the Valley would appear in a new place. Well it doesn’t do any harm and this year due to my shrub pruning, it has benefited from more light and I have more flowers.
My last two Six on Saturday are Aquilegias which I think are very under rated. Some gardeners don’t like them as they say that over a number of years you just end up with the sludgy pink ones. I would disagree with that whole heartedly. I suspect the sludgy pink ones are the more native, and therefore stronger varieties, and they self-seed better. I have over many years grown a wide range of varieties and mixes and it is reflected in the varieties of colours and types of Aquilegias in my garden – no sludgy pink ones to be seen. The one above is more like the standard Columbine, or Granny’s Bonnet, and you can see why it is called that.
My favourites are the ones with long spurs, which I think are more American than European. All mine originate from McKana Hybrid seed mixes.
So that’s my Six on Saturday on this chilly but sunny Saturday day. This time last year I was in Texas, although it seems like a life time ago and this time next week I will be in Sicily. I wonder what memories I will come home with.
For more Six on Saturday visit The Propagator’s blog and check out the comments box.