Such a relief this morning to wake up to persistent rain after the heat of the past week. The garden has stood up reasonably well to the heat but I am sure a day of light rain will freshen everything up. I’ve done a Six on Saturday post on bulbs before so I thought I would do another one on mid-summer bulbs as bulbs is somewhat of a weakness of mine.
First up is one of my Agapanthus and I am pretty certain, well 90% certain, this is Agapanthus Alan Street as I know I bought this a few years back and it flowered and is a dark blue. I have quite a few Agapanthus most of them planted in the borders, as this one is, as I tend to go for the hardier varieties.
Another bedraggled Agapanthus, this time Agapanthus africanus ‘Twister’. I honestly don’t remember acquiring this one so was thrilled when the flower started to open especially as I kept looking at this variety when I was away last week – luckily I didn’t buy another one.
Galthonia candicans is for me a wonderfully glamour plants which I would like to see grown more. The flowers have a sort of waxy look to them which I love. I have planted it several times in the past, and even grown it from seed one, but it doesn’t come back reliably year on year which is maybe why more people don’t grow it.
Another surprise is the Habranthus brachyandrus which I found flowering in the greenhouse. I expect it was flowering when I bought it a few years back but it hasn’t flowered since. I suspect the heat over the past period has helped. The flowers are completely disproportionate to the thin grassy stems, so much so it makes you wonder how the flowers are held up.
Another allium, again no labels to be found. I like this one as its a small allium and has gentle soft look to it.
And finally Tulbaghia violacea alba which is a lovely reliable bulb and works well against the silver foliage of the Artemisia
I have a passion for bulbs, as well as ferns and some other groups of plants, but bulbs I really love. I love that there is so much energy and possibility packed into a small bulb, or corm. I love that bulbs send up their flower, like a rocket, and then die down allowing space for something else to shine.
I’m especially proud of the clumps of Watsonia as I grew them from seed some years ago. The clumps have got so big that they have been divided and moved around the garden. Watsonia isn’t a plant I see much in English gardens, but a few years back when I visited gardens in Ireland it was everywhere.
I’ve included Asphodeline lutea as I was super excited to spot it’s flower spikes yesterday. Like the Watsonia I grew it from seed a few years ago but it has never flowered, there’s just been some wiry leaves but this year there are two flowers spikes. Hopefully in the next few days the flowers will open.
Brodiaea has been growing in my garden for a few year’s now, the original bulbs were bought from a supermarket and it seems to just seed around the garden, popping up here and there as in the gravel outside the seed where I would never have managed to plant it.
A tiny little allium, label missing, which grows in my front garden. I do like alliums and have all sorts that appear throughout the year but I’m appalling at labelling and when I do remember to include the label the birds remove it. But does it really matter, its a cut clump of alliums which I suspect I bought from an AGS plant sale when I was dabbling in alpines.
And my sixth bulb is Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ which also grows in the front garden is at the other end of the size spectrum to the allium. There are two forms of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ one flowering before the other and I have the early flowering variety. It’s a rather glamour bulb – tall and dramatic.
Those are my Six on Saturday at the end of a warm week which has benefited the bulbs greatly, especially those from South Africa.
This month the stars of the garden are the various irises and aquilegias. I have always loved Irises of all sorts. My love affair started with bearded irises such as Langport Wren above. Over the years various varieties have come and gone from the garden, mainly due to too much shade, but Langport Wren has ben a stalwart. Now my garden is more sunny and I have more open border space with good drainage I think I might think about adding some more varieties for next year.
By contrast the Pacific Coast Hybrids are fairly new to me. The one above I grew from seed and I thrilled it has two flowers this year. I think they should be know more in the UK as they do very well in dry and shading conditions such as under decidious trees or around conifers.
The Dutch Florist irises are also coming into their own. I add a pack of two each year and have learnt that you need to plant them amongst the late summer perennials so the new foliage of the perennials hides the long gangly stems. They are like rockets of colour emerging from the undergrowth.
Miss Saigon is this years new addition and I am really pleased as it appears most of the 20 odd corms I planted will flower.
There is a lot of blue in the garden at this moment and this Aquilegia is the most amaze azure blue, it really is a vibrant as the photo indicates. All of my aquilegias come from various seed packets from various seed exchanges so aren’t named varieties and you get some amazing ones but also some not to good. Another couple of favourites below.
I’ve previously shared my sea of blue camassias which have just gone over but now the cream ones are flowering. They aren’t as prolific at multiplying and are more elegant than the blues; I like the contrast of the cream spires against the foliage.
Sweet Cicely is another plant that looks fabulous at this time of year. A wonderful confection of frothy white flowers above the sweet aniseed smelling foliage.
This Centaurea plant sits quietly on the corner of a border but at this time of year is awash with vibrant lilac flowers – so pretty.
In the front garden, which I am trying to remember to include more, the Libertia is drawing attention to itself with its papery white flowers. The only trouble with Libertia, as far as I am concerned, is that the flowers translate into seeds which translate into a mass of seedlings which get everywhere and are a pain to extract but there are worse problems in the world.
And finally, my first Alliums to flower this year. I have quite a few types of Allium flowering all through the summer. I can’t remember the variety of these but they are good doers and come up year after year and the leaves aren’t too large to cause a problem in the border.
Those are my May highlights – for more Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts visit Carol at May Dream Gardens.
I had such good intentions of posting my six on Saturday post yesterday. I took the photos in the morning despite Storm Hannah gusting her way across the garden sending my neighbours fence off down his garden. But then it all went pear shaped and I caught my foot in a pile of bed linen sitting waiting for the washing machine – I went flying but got back up and limped on with the housework only to stub the same toe on the stair riser at which point I burst into tears and was told by my son to just stop.
It really knocked the stuffing out of me so even sitting writing a blog post seemed to much until this evening. My biggest worry is that I am off on my travels a week tomorrow with quite a bit of walking so I do hope the bruised toe will be better by then. Whilst my toe is a bluey purple the garden is very blue at the moment with the camassias in full bloom.
I love camassias; they do really well in my garden possibly because of the clay soil but it may also be that they are in a slope so good drainage. They have been multiplying for a number of years now and I really need to thin some out. I did add a few a couple of weeks back to the front garden but the lesson I learnt was that camassias don’t transfer well when they are about to flower. However, they should look great next year.
But its not all Camassias the Deutzia has just started flowering and as ever is looking stunning. I inherited it when I bought the house 13 years ago and every year it never fails to deliver a wealth of flowers.
Last week I showed you Tulip China Town in bud and now its flowering, I think it looks more stunning in bud but its still pretty gorgeous.
And finally, the flowers on the Melianthus major is still unfurling. The leaves are looking a little frazzled but the flowers are quite wonderful in their weird way.
Those of my highlights this week, next week I’m anticipating the Dutch Iris will be flowering.
As the tulips are coming into their own this week I thought I would have a tulip special for Six on Saturday.
Tulip Ballerina grows in the front garden and is very slowly naturalising. I planted the bulbs some years back now and each year they appear although I’m not convinced they are multiplying that quickly more a case of coming back year on year and they do seem to have longer stems now. Today with the sun shining they look quite magical.
Another front garden tulip this year is Tulip Blue Diamond which was in a collection pack from Peter Nyssen. This year is the first year for a few years where I have made a conscious effort to add tulips to the borders. I used to grow quite a few but the year we had the really hard winter I discovered that the “cute” badger who had decided to visit our garden looking for food had a weakness for tulips and all my bulbs were eaten. As we haven’t seen the badgers for a few years now I decided to have another go and the effort is certainly rewarding me.
Tulip White Parrot seems to be a later tulip. Here it is growing amongst some Camassias which will be flowering in the next week or so. You will see in due course that I have quite a swathe of Camassias in the middle of my garden which have increased year on year to the point where I seriously need to think about dividing them but I will save that until next week.
Another rogue tulip – I think it is meant to be Tulip Elegant Lady which is a pale pink. This flower reminds me of someone not mixing the paint properly. I think it has a rather distinctive charm about it.
Tulip Princess Irene is another tulip which comes back year on year. I think it is one of the nicest oranges and works well with so many other flowers especially reds and burgundys
Tulip Chinatown has been delighting me for weeks even though it hasn’t flowered yet. I love its glaucous variegated foliage. The tulip will be pink so it should be quite wonderful.
I will definitely be planting more tulips next year and looking forward to seeing which ones come back up from this year.
I’m starting this month’s GBBD post (possibly the first one this year) with a favourite plant at the moment which I think is very overlooked, Lathyrus vernus; I also think the photo is rather nice. This is the pink version but the most common is a blue/purple version.
If you don’t know it then I would recommend it to you. Part of the pea family, a low growing perennial which appears at this time of year, flowers and then disappears so good to plant around late summer perennials to keep the interest going.
Just by the Lathyrus vernus is this herbaceous clematis (I have no idea of its name) which picks up the colour well, albeit it unplanned.
The garden has had a lovely display of Narcissus over the last month which is still going strong. I added quite a few new varieties to the main border, having identified that it looked a little flat this time last year. They have made a real difference and I want to do the same in some other parts of the garden for next year.
The tulips are just starting to flower. There are a few variegated ones which will be opening in the next week but I thought I would share this rogue one. It doesn’t bear any resemblance to any of the other tulips I have added so I am assuming it is a rogue bulb that got into the wrong bag at the bulb merchants – however, it is rather gorgeous.
Last of the bulbs that I thought I would share this month – Muscari ‘Valerie Finnis’. I’m not the biggest fan of the general Muscari as they spread everywhere and produce a disproportionate amount of foliage but ‘Valerie Finnis’ is very different. I love the pale blue flowers and it seems to be fairly well behaved in terms of foliage.
Just by the Muscari ‘Valeria Finnis’ is Hertia cheirifolia which I added last summer. I bought it on a trip for its grey succulent foliage so the flowers are a bonus.
A couple of my epimediums, they do have labels but they are buried well beneath the plants. I do like epimediums, their foliage is a great foil for other plants during the year and then at this time of year there is the added bonus of these dainty flowers although sometimes you could be forgiven of overlooking them.
A finally, my little Magnolia stellata. I have had this for years and it just sat there doing nothing, so I moved it a few years ago to a different location with more shade, better drainage, and less competition and it has rewarded me with a growth spurt and now I can see a flutter of white flowers from my living room window.
I hope you enjoyed my highlights for this month and thank you to Carol for hosting this wonderful meme.
Like the host of this meme I find myself resenting time away from the garden at the moment. Today I would normally go to an HPS meeting but it was either sit in a village hall discussing plants or actually be outside in the garden getting on with sorting out my garden – I chose the garden.
I prefer to garden early in the day or in the evening when others aren’t around as it allows me to turn off completely, hear the bees humming and the birds singing. I like to immerse myself in the garden, thinking about what plant might work where, why is this plant not looking so good, how can I improve that border? So I am looking forward to the evenings getting lighter.
With the wonderful forecast this weekend I was out in the garden as soon as I had done the weekly shop. I wanted to take my Six on Saturday photos first thing as the sun was making the garden glow but it turned out that both my camera batteries were dead so unfortunately the photos don’t reflect the beautiful light we had today. The Prunus is groaning with blossom which in turn means the air is positively alive with bees.
After a couple of years of disengagement with the garden my gardening mojo is well and truly back but slightly different. It has grown up, it is more mature and considered and better informed
My focus today was the very top left hand corner of the garden. As you can see some of the fencing is missing which is down to my neighbours. When they moved in they cut down all the trees and shrubs along the boundaries, which I can understand as it was so overgrown, but the trees and shrubs did hold up the fence which was collapsing from years of neglect by the previous owners. I think they plan to replace the fence soon but in the meantime I feel a little exposed when I am in this part of the garden – my privacy is important to me. I sensed my neighbours were out today so it seemed a good time to tackle this corner. It fits with my approach to getting a grip of the garden starting at the top and working my way down. This area used to be home to the compost bins which I removed last summer. I have planted it up with a number of shrubs which were either in pots on the patio or had to be moved to give other plants space.
I’m hoping that the range of shrubs: camellia, tree peony, hydrangeas will give round the year interest. I had added a few ferns and also a helleborus foetidus which was over growing a path. I also added narcissus and snowdrop bulbs back last autumn which put on a good display up to a week or so ago. Today, I weeded, pruned, removed some brambles and sycamore seedlings from the very top and added a couple of Acunthus mollis.
Just to the right of the area I worked on today is an area I started work on almost to the day last year. There used to be a woodchip path along the top of the garden but it led nowhere and I spent more time trying to keep it weeded then anything else. The wood edging had rotted and to be honest the path was becoming dangerous so last year I removed the wood edging and I have slowly but surely been digging up and removing the rubble that formed the base of the path. The area of bare soil in the photo above was the very last bit of the path which I finally removed last week. I can now use this space for some ferns, epimediums and hellebores which need moving. I am trying to create a tapestry of foliage to give interest all year round.
My new approach is beginning to show dividends elsewhere in the garden. Above is the top of the garden to the right where I removed the path last year. This area is awash with honesty (Lunaria annua) which seeds itself around the garden. I used to have a white variegated honesty but seem to have lost it over the past few years so I think I will try to find some more seeds and reintroduce it. I discovered that the Melianthus major above is also flowering like the one next to the shed which is really good.
Finally, I will leave you with the first tulips to open this year in the garden. They were in a selection pack of tulips and I think they are Tulip ‘Elegant Lady’ – I do like the softness of the colour and think I may try to add some more next year.
I have had a wonderful day today gardening for far more hours than any other day this year and I ache all over which is often a sign of a good day.
A lovely sunny day in the garden, finally, with no particular plans just being. I am enjoying this meme as it makes me really look at what is looking best in the garden. I have a mooch around the garden taking photos of anything interesting. However, it took a few walks around the garden before I spotted the Anemone coronaria ‘Bordeaux’; which was a real thrill as I have tried to establish this before and failed.
Not far away I found Pulstilla vulgaris ‘Papageno’ which was new a couple of years ago and seems to be establishing itself.
I have been bemoaning the fact that the primroses haven’t been reappearing this year and they never seem to bulk up but I did find this double primrose.
There are quite a few tulips almost ready to flower in the garden. I really like the serrated edge of the petals of this one.
I thought I would include the Forsythia as I think it is really underrated and people can be quite snobbish about it but what’s not to like about those lovely yellow flowers.
Finally, I discovered that the Melianthus major is flowering. It doesn’t flower every year and I think the flowering is brought on by the warmer temperatures. There are two flower spikes so far. They are fascinating to watch as the spike slowly grows and unfurls over a number of weeks.
So those are my favourite things this week – for more Six on Saturday pop over the the Propagator’s Blog.
March seems to have roared in like a lion, which hopefully will mean it will end like a lamb but we will wait to see if that old adage is true. Today we had another day full of blustery winds and squally showers, intermingled with sunshine, which at first seemed a good day for gardening but that blustery wind was very cold, cutting right through me. The result was about an hour of gardening but at least the cobwebs were blown away.
The garden is positively glowing now with dainty little spring flowers popping up here and there. The Prunus kojo no mai is just coming into flower. I love this shrub, its about 6ft tall, has slightly crooked stems and the most delicate pale pink flowers which remind me of tissue paper. Another thrill was to find the Hepatica noblis flowering, especially as it is slowly but surely bulking up.
I think this is a form of Hyacinth but I need to have a rummage around to find the label, I don’t remember this plant flowering so well in the past so it is really a bit of a mystery. It may well have been one of the pots of bulbs I used to have when I dabbled in growing alpines and I ended up planting out last year as I was fed up with all the pots.
Tulipa turkestanica is another one of those bulbs that I used to grow in pots which seems to be doing better now that it is planted out in the border.
The Melianthus major is looking stunning this year. Last year it was hit by the ‘Beast from the East’ but this year the warmer weather and rain have led to a very abundant plant. I am wondering if it will flower this year, there is no sign of any flowers at the moment but I am optimistic. Even if it doesn’t flower the foliage is wonderful.
Sadly though some of the flowers have fallen victim to the wind.