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.
I can never decide if I like Papaver ‘Patty’s Plum’ or not. The colour of the flower when it first opens is lovely and I can’t resist the tissue like petals but it does fade to a rather miserable brown as it dies. Having said this my two plants of ‘Patty’s Plum’ are groaning with buds and I am anticipating the best ever show in the next week. There are two because being an oriental poppy when you attempt to move it you can more or less guarantee it will reshoot in the original position from some small element of root you have left behind. Interestingly, the red oriental poppy (name unknown) is always behind with its flowers and there are few obvious buds so far
Some of my alliums are behaving a little strangely this year by growing very tall with smaller flower heads than usual. It seems to be mainly the alliums with flatter flower heads than the globe flower heads such as ‘Purple Sensation’ although they too seem to have smaller flower heads. I can’t find the name of the variety above, its like Allium nigrum but has the pink inner petals so I am pretty sure it isn’t Allium nigrum.
I think this Thalictrum might be the ‘Black Stockings’ admired elsewhere. I am pretty sure these were grown from seeds some years back. It is a nice Thalictrum as it isn’t too tall like some Thalictrums.
The Siberian Irises are also not flowering as much as in previous years and I suspect that they and the alliums have been affected by the drought last year. I do love irises and this has been brought home to me over the last few weeks with all the irises I have included in my Six on Saturday posts. With this in mind I’m off today to a Beardless Iris study day which hopefully will be interesting.
I thought I would show you some of my more extreme pruning. The above is a Viburnum which had been neglected and grown tall and leggy with whippy stems – a victim of my lack of gardening over the last couple of years. A couple of weeks ago I noticed the flowers had gone over so I got my secateurs out and drastically pruned the shrub. It looked awful at the time but I was pleased to see that new leaves have started to appear so hopefully it will be reinvigorated soon.
I also meant to write a blog post last week about my tin bath pond but work got in the way so I am sharing a photo here. I have had the tin bath for a number of years. It was acquired with the intention of creating a pond; it sat on the patio for a year or two but for reasons I can’t remember now didn’t seem to work well so we (well my son) drilled some holes and I used it as a planter for a few more years. Then about 3 years ago I wanted to grow a miniature water-lily, as you do, so we (my son) filled the holes back in and we created another pond. The lily has grown well over the last couple of years but a water lily on its own is not that interesting so last weekend I stopped at a garden centre which sells pond plants and bought a few bits and pieces to add interest. I’m hoping it will be more colourful as the summer progresses.
Whilst I was away having a jolly time in Austin the garden was busy getting on with life and a new cast was waiting to surprise me.
The first Aquilegia flowers definitely signify the imminent arrival of summer. Sadly over the years the number of long spurred Aquilegias seem to have diminished, something I must redress as they are my favourite.
The Camassias peaked but are still just about holding their own. They will soon be joined by the Alliums and Dutch Iris.
I realised when I was wandering round the garden that a lot of the blooms this month were from shrubs; I hadn’t realised I had so many shrubs.
Rhododendron Yakushimanum ‘Happy’
Unknown tree peony
On a smaller scale I’m really enjoying the orange flowers of Lathyrus aureus and Maianthemum racemosum
Thank you to Carol, who I was delighted to meet for the first time last week, for hosting this monthly meme.
I have treated myself to a new camera – a Canon EOS 100D. It was bought on a whim which is unlike me as I normally labour over such investments but I am in that sort of mood at the moment and I had the funds so why not. It is my very first DSLR and I am determined not to rely on the automatic settings but learn to use the functions properly. The biggest stumbling block is that as soon as someone starts talking about aperture, shutter speed and exposure my mind goes blank, just like when I was learning fractions at school. There is nothing there, just the sound of the wind whistling around the void!! It is this reaction which has stopped me buying a DSLR for some years but I have decided to overcome this and get a grip.
None of the photographs in this post have been taken on automatic, some are on manual and some are using macro and I am rather pleased so far. I have done some research on line and I have found some information written in a non-techy way which is slowly beginning to make sense. One of the bits of advice I read was that you can always improve a photo using photoshop or some other form of software. The camera comes with software which I have uploaded on my laptop but the editing in these images was done using the simple photo editing software that comes on my laptop and I am rather pleased.
My youngest, the design whiz, has been showing me how to tweak the colour intensity etc and applied some cropping to the photos. He did the allium and I did the other two.
Then we really messed around and turned the cat into a tiger. She thinks she is a tiger so we made her more orange. She is roaring as she doesn’t like the sound of my new camera especially as it has been pointed at her so much!!
Unusually for me I’m a day late with the GBBD post but I had a wonderful surprise on my return from Rome as the Alliums have just started to open their puff-ball flowers and there are a whole array of them dancing above the prostrate rosemary.
Allium cameleon (above) is a new addition this year and I rather like the pink tones of the buds and newly open florets which then go whiter. Its a very pretty flower.
Alliums aside May is the month of the Aquilegia in my garden. I have loved Aquilegias for years and have a growing range of plants. I prefer the ones with larger flowers to the more, shall we say dumpy, flowers which I think are related to our native Columbine. I am rather taken with the second and last of the four above, both in their first year of flower so it was a nice surprise to see what the flowers looked like. However, I have a special soft spot for Aquilegia canadensis (above). I adore the vibrancy of the flower but it is also one of the first species Aquilegias I grew from seed and was the start of a quiet fascination.
Orange seems to be making more of an appearance in my garden than at this time in previous years. Both Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ and Lathyrus aureus were bought last year. I like the contrast with the purples which seem to be the prevailing colour in the garden at the moment and I think small dots of orange, especially from the geum flowers which have a habit of nodding above other plants on long stems really add some zing to the border.
Talking of purple one of the first plants I sought out on my return yesterday was the Buddleja salvifolia. I have been waiting for it to flower for weeks. Another new purchase last year it is just heavenly, the leaves are wonderfully soft a bit like Stachys byzantina and the scent is wonderful.
Umbellifers seem to be creeping into my garden more and more. I have started to appreciate the added texture their frothy flowers bring. At the moment this is from Sweet Cicely (bottom) and Chaeropjyllum hirsutum roseum (top).
In startling contrast we have Arisaema consangineum (I think) which I grew from seed many years ago and seems to really like its new location on the slope. As ever in my garden the flowers are pointing in the opposite direction to I had planned but I learnt the other day that you can rotate the bulb to put the flower in the right place and the plant will stay like that, the flower doesn’t grow towards the sun like other plants so I might give that a go.
And finally we have the wonderful Lamprocapbos spectablis ‘Valentine’ which is a real show stopper. There are other flowers in the garden, the geraniums are just starting to open as are the irises but these are the plants that are flowering their best today.
For more Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts visit Carol at May Dreams