Six on Saturday – After the Rain

Darmera peltata

I’ve been moving a lot of plants around over the last couple of weeks partly to clear the Big Border for edibles but also to address some of the plants that have outgrown their space or just aren’t looking great any more.  It has made be really aware of how dry the soil was becoming and I have found myself having to get the hose out several times a week to try to help the plants survive the trauma of being unceremoniously hauled out of the ground.

Yesterday late afternoon the rain finally appeared, fine rain, nothing much to write home about and to be honest a little disappointing. But this morning I was thrilled to wake to heavy and persistent rain which only really eased early afternoon.

Going out to take some photos for Six on Saturday post it was lovely to smell that wonderful fresh smell that you only get from a good downfall of rain.  Not only does it smell fresh but there is that wonderful light that comes with the sun starting to push through the mist and clouds making everything feel soft and lush.

So to my Six on Saturday.  First up is Darmera peltata, also known as the ‘Umbrella Plant’.  I grow this plant mainly for its leaves which are umbrella like, hence the name, and do very well in the damp shade border.  However, the flowers make a welcome and interesting addition to the shady border.  Next up are Bluebells.  I have no idea is these are English or Spanish but they have been in my garden for years and come from the hedgerow near my parents old house in the country so I would like to think they were English.

Trillium grandiflorum (probably)

My third is this Trillium which I am super pleased with.  I think it is Trillium grandiflorum but happy to be corrected.  I have had it for some years now and it has appeared every year with one flower.  This year it has decided to produce three flowers which is just wonderful and makes me incredibly happy.

Primula denticulata

Number 4 is Primula denticulata. This individual is just one of a group of ten or more which have developed from one plant grown from seed probably ten years or more ago.  Back in the Autumn I was sorting out the Woodland border and decided to divide up the Primula denticulata quite aggressively and I have been rewarded with more and stronger flowers, proving that plants sometimes do respond well to a little rough treatment.

Camassia

Number 5 are Camassias.  These are starting to be a bit of a weed in my garden.  Having bought a couple of bulbs years back they have been either seeding around or the bulbs bulking up either way I have been redistributing them around the garden and to be honest composting quite a few.

Deutzia

Number Six: Deutzia.  This shrub was in the garden when we moved in 17 years ago and never fails to deliver an abundance of flowers every year.  I’m sure its early this year as I think it normally flowers around the time of the Malvern Spring Show which is the second weekend of May.

I’m anticipating that with the warm weather forecast for next week and the amount of rain that we have had today the garden will really be bursting with new growth and flowers by next weekend.

Six on Saturday – 23rd March 2019

Anemone coronaria ‘Bordeaux’

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.

Pulstilla vulgaris ‘Papageno’

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.

Melianthus major

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.

Six on Saturday – 9th March

Prunus kojo no mai

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.

Hepatica noblis

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

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.

 

Melianthus major

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.

For more Six on Saturday visit The Propagator’s blog.

 

Six for Saturday 9th February 2019

Not a lot of gardening has happened today; the wind and cold were not really conducive to pottering. Despite the skies being heavy with wintering clouds, there were moments when the clouds cleared and the sun shone through making the Anemanthele lessoniana glisten.

The Phormium, growing in the same border as the grass, is one of those plants that I am in two minds about.  At this time of year I love it especially when it is back-lit by sunshine but come the summer it doesn’t work very well with the perennials I have in the border but then again I am thinking about reducing the amount of asters in the border so we shall see.  

Another plant that comes into its own at this time of year is the Arum italicum which provides  a lovely backdrop to the early spring bulbs; this particular plant grows as a pretty skirt under the camellia below which looks like it might flower any day now.

Finishing on the foliage theme I thought I would share a photo of one of my Aeoniums which are thriving in the greenhouse.  The mild winter has led to unusually high temperatures in the greenhouse which has meant the plants have continued to grow rather than going dormant as they normally do at this time of year. 

For more Six for Saturday posts check out The Propagator’s blog whose great idea this meme was.

A Spring Day

Saturday was a much needed sunny day, finally after weeks of grey and damp; the garden positively zinged with freshness.

I think green comes into its own in Spring.  More than any time of the year it acts as not only a foil to the spring flowers but the emerging shoots and leaves have their own vibrancy.

I am particularly pleased with this combination of epimedium and drumstick primulas.  Orange and purple are complimentary colours, making each other sing.  This was a colour combination we saw used so well at the Ascot Spring Garden Show.

Ranunculus ‘Brazen Hussy’

Ranunculus ‘Brazen Hussy’ is a quiet major contributor to the garden, providing a soft glow under the shrubs.  I do like the mix of the yellow flowers and bronze foliage.

Finally, I will leave you with a quick project from this weekend.  I had some old bee solar garden lights which were no longer working so I removed the bees from the cabling and wired them to the trellis. I’m rather pleased with the effect.

 

 

Spring at last

I think that Spring has definitely sprung in my garden, there is certainly a lot of colour, lots of pastels.

The hellebores are certainly beginning to go over with the colour starting to fade although the yellow hellebore seems to retain its strength of colour and picks up the yellow of the Forsythia well.

The garden is animated by the clumsy wanderings of the Bumble Bees bouncing from one spring flower to another one. They are accompanied by smaller bees, whose species I’m not sure of, which take more time to spot but are inevitably on the Pulmonaria turning them from blue to pink.

Primula denticulata

 

End of Month View: March 2018

My apologies for the delay in this post which should have been published yesterday. I have been somewhat distracted by a lack of heating, hot water and reduced cooking appliances since Thursday.  I won’t bore you with the details suffice to say it’s not due to am oversight on bill payment. The situation should be resolved on Tuesday but in the meantime I have been unbelievably distracted with staying warm.  The persistent cold and damp weather have not helped the situation and sitting by a fire hand quilting a double quilt has been more attractive than sticking my head outside all of which makes me sound quite old!

Anyway, I have woken to sunshine this morning and a light bulb moment of “goodness it’s the start of April and I am late on the EOMV post” so here goes – at least the photos are sunnier than if I had taken them yesterday in the rain.

The above photo is what I call the bench shot because I stand on the patio bench go take it. I was going to say that not much has changed over the last month especially as we had yet more snow but actually things are starting to happen. The first daffodils are flowering adding extra sparkles of colour to the hellebores. I plan to add loads more narcissus for next Spring and will try to remember to make some notes of the gaps that need filling over the next few weeks.  I also want to add lots of the tiny blue and pink bulbs – Scillas, Chionodoxa, Pushchkinia and Ipheion. There is a mass of these at work which just looks stunning at the moment.

And it’s not just the bulbs that are making an effort the Prunus kojo-no-mai has started to flower and should shortly be followed by the large unidentified Prunus and the Amelanchier and Elder are both beginning to unfurl their leaves.  My gardening friends at HPS agree that spring is going to come with a rush this year and we will be playing catch up so I’m off this morning to sow some half hardy annuals in the greenhouse.

Whilst it might not seem like much has changed over the last month in the garden I have been busy when the weather has allowed. I have made real progress in redoing the back of the garden and am now starting to think about what plant needs to go where. My task today will be to dig up the Buddleja salviifolia, which you can just see behind the top bench, and bring it down to a more sheltered position on the patio. Hopefully it won’t be a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted; as you can just about see it looks a little bedraggled and has suffered in the cold winds. The Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Swan’ in front of it will also probably be moved as it’s grey leaves may not work with the new planting but we shall see. I can’t quite visualise it yet but if I pot up the Euphorbia it will clear the space and I will be able to see it with fresh eyes.

As I break down the back terrace to make a slope I am having to dig up all sorts of seedlings and perennials and relocate them around the garden.  It is amazing how many aquilegia seedlings there are although I suspect they will all be that dirty pink that aquilegia seedlings tend to be. Nevertheless, I have been popping them in any gaps I can find in the borders so we shall see.

So this is my garden at the end of March and I am amazed how much colour there is despite the cold and damp.

If you would like to join in with the End of Month View meme you are very welcome to, the more the merrier.  All I ask is that you link to this post in yours and leave a link to your post in the comments box below so we can all come for a visit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of Winter?

As predicted in my last post we have had snow.  Here in Malvern we have got off fairly lightly compared to some parts of the country and indeed this area.  Several friends who live in more rural settings have experienced drifts of snow over 6ft tall.  This demosntrates what has been so challenging about this phase of cold weather – the biting wind creating huge drifts in the strangest of places, blocking roads, closing airports and thwarting our rail network.

Whilst I spent yesterday turning up curtains I watched the antics of the birds.  They had been missing from the garden on Thursday and Friday probably due to the wind, bitter temperatures, and snow but with the weather improving a little yesterday, aside from the oppressive fog, the birds ventured out for food – much like my neighbours off to the supermarket.

My focus has been more on feeding the ground feeding birds which I think get overlooked a lot.  We have a bench which makes a good platform so several times a day I have been putting out a selection of bird food including the usual seed, dried mealworms, suet and apples.

The offering of apples were rewarded by a small flock of Fieldfares arriving in the garden much to my delight as we only see them when they pass through on their migration route.  They do have a weakness for apples so I was hoping they would appear. They seem to have sentries as we have had one of their number strutting around the place for the last two days guarding the food from all comers with his fanned tail, just like a turkey.

And just to make the gloomy day even better a small flock of Long Tailed Tits appeared on the bird feeders.  They are my all time favourite garden birds with their distinctive excitable song as they flit around the trees and shrubs looking for insects – like little puffballs.  I always worry about them and their small relatives when we have cold weather so it was a relief to see them.

Now on Sunday afternoon the temperature has reached the heady heights of 10C degrees, a bit of a difference to -4C a couple of nights ago and the thaw has started – it always makes me hum Little April Showers from Bambi. Heres hoping that we can now move on to Spring.

 

Snowdrops

I have been posting photos of the snowdrops in my garden since Boxing Day but now is the time when the majority of the snowdrops are flowering especially the Galanthus nivalis and Galanthus nivalis ‘Flora Plenowhich are slowly but surely spreading through the borders.

Many of my special snowdrops have gone over but there is now a second wave coming through which I haven’t always appreciated due to them being amongst the Galanthus nivalis.  This one is Galanthus ‘James Backhouse’ which I think has a nice elegant slender flower.

For those who question if there is any difference between snowdrops, this is Galanthus nivalis ‘Flora Pleno’.  A gift from my friend Victoria from her garden.  It isn’t that unusual, and is definitely established in the Big Border, but it is rather gorgeous.

Amongst the Galanthus nivalis ‘Flora Pleno’ is this clump which is taller and more elegant.  It may well be a standard Galanthus nivalis – I have no idea and I don’t remember planting anything particularly special in this spot.

 Now even the most cynical of the galanthophobia cannot fail to see how this snowdrop is different. This is Galanthus plicatus ‘Wendy’s Gold’ the gold reflecting the yellow markings.

This snowdrop is a real mystery.  It was given to me by a friend of a friend, who also gave me Wendy’s Gold,  who couldn’t remember its name but told me it was a big snowdrop.  I assumed he meant tall but it is now clear that the ‘big’ refers to the size of the flowers which are huge compared to my other snowdrop flowers.

If any one knows, or has a clue, what this snowdrop might be I would love to know.

So those are some of my snowdrops, I hope you enjoyed them. Next will be the narcissus.