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 on Saturday – 24/2/19

Yes I know its Sunday, I seem incapable of remembering to do this meme on a Saturday. I don’t think Saturday has been a usual blogging day for me in the past so maybe that’s the problem.  Anyway, here I am a day late, again, but at least I can now share something other than hellebores and snowdrops.

This is how the garden looked at 9:30 am today and it didn’t really lift until well past 11:00.  But it need give me the opportunity to take some more interesting photos of the first narcissus flowering in the garden, if you don’t count Narcissus ‘February Gold’ which has been flowering for a couple of weeks now.

I think this is Narcissus ‘W P Milner’.  Its a miniature narcissus, similar in stature to Narcissus ‘Tete -a -Tete’. I have a habit of buying random narcissus bulbs each Autumn and then forgetting what I have bought from one year to the next.  I have a preference towards the paler yellows and whites and the smaller flowers.

I have no idea of the name of this narcissus, I have had it for a few years now, but I do like the paler yellow petals to the trumpet. I took the photos when the mist was still hanging and tried to capture the moisture on the petals.  I’ve been playing with the manual settings on my camera, trying to learn how to use the features better rather than relying on auto and macros.  For a first go outside I am quite pleased with these photos.

This narcissus was a surprise, it appeared unexpectedly and I suspect is a survivor from the alpine bulbs I grew a few years ago, well tried to grow, in pots.  I got fed up with them two years ago and decided that I didn’t have time to manage so many bulbs in pots and that I actually preferred the plants growing in the ground.  So the pots were unceremoniously emptied out into the borders and I keep coming across surprises.

My last six for Saturday is a photo of the Crocus tommasinianus that is slowly spreading itself in the border.  The crocuses are the best they have ever been this year and it was interesting to hear, at the HPS group I go to, that other gardeners have experienced the same.  The theory was that the heat last year gave the bulbs a good baking allowing them to produce better flowers, which makes sense when you think they come from Turkey.  As you can see the sun eventually came out today and bleached out the colour in my photo.

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.

In A Vase on Monday – Camellia

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The vase this week is a simple one which doesn’t really require me to say much.  The camellia flower is from a small camellia I have growing in a pot.  It is a plant I rescued from one of those ‘bargain’ areas in a nursery and planted out in the garden.  However, it was apparently unhappy as the leaves were very yellow, despite me having another very healthy camellia near by.  So like many a good gardener before me I dug it up and put it in a pot with lots of ericaceous compost and I have been rewarded with healthy glossy leaves and half a dozen or so of these sumptuous pink blooms.

For more Monday vases visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day 15/2/2016

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February is really becoming hellebore time in my garden although unusually I haven’t added to the collection yet this year although I am sure there is still time. Above is a selection of some of those that are looking good this week. Interestingly the colours don’t seem as strong this year with Anna’s Red looking no darker than my long-established dark pink hellebore and the yellows seem very pale.

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I need to relocate some of the hellebores so the flowers are easier to see and I don’t have to step into border to take photos.

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I do like the yellows so I might see about adding to these instead of more purple and pinks.

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Crocus tommasinianus are beginning to spread under the Field Maple which is very satisfying.  Sadly this year with the seemingly endless overcast days it is rare that the flowers are actually open so I was lucky to catch these crocus open the other day.

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I’m also really pleased to find some hepaticas flowering this year.  I planted two groups last year in opposite sides of the garden to try to work out what was the right environment for them.  It seems that the more shady damper area is preferred to the dry shade area so I will relocate the hepaticas from the less desirable spot.

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The snowdrops are also slowly but surely spreading around the garden and are beginning to form a white haze on the back slope.

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I have a growing number of named varieties in the garden, acquiring a few more each year.  I think this is one I got some years ago but I have lost the label so I have no idea what it is but the flowers seem larger than Galanthus nivalis, in particular the outer petals are longer.  I will have to see if I can find a record on this blog or in my label box of what it might be.

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The last of my favourites this week is this unknown camellia which although quite a small shrub is smothered in bloom, luckily we have not had many frosts so the flowers haven’t gone brown.

Also flowering in the garden are pulmonaria, cyclamen, witch hazel, and slowly but surely the various narcissus.  This is Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’.IMG_4106For more February blooms from around the world visit Carol at May Dream Gardens and check out the links.

 

Surprises and Expectations

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What a surprise! 5th December and the first snowdrop is flowering in my garden.  Even more surprising is that it isn’t Galanthus Ding Dong which I know I have and thought was my earliest snowdrop.  I can’t find a label with it and I have been very careful in labelling snowdrops with substantial black labels which will stand out but there is nothing here at all.  I am completely mystified as to what it is.  I will have to wait until the flower opens properly and then maybe someone can id it for me.  I will also do some rummaging through my label box to see if there are any clues there.

Primula palinuri
Primula palinuri

I am not completely inept when it comes to labels and plant names.  I know that this is Primula palinuri grown from AGS seed probably 3 years ago.  It flowered for the first time last year in time for the Boxing Day Flower Count but then it was living in the greenhouse cosseted and pampered.  It has spent the summer out on the patio amongst the various pots and for some reason was overlooked when I moved all the tenders back under cover but it seems to be doing very well despite the buffeting it has received in recent days.

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This out of focus photo represents expectations.  It shows one of three emerging flower heads on my Edgeworthia.  I am very hopeful that this year, year 2, there will be good flowers.  It is planted within sight of my living room window so hopefully it will be something to cheer me through the winter.

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And adding to my expectations of a floriferous spring is this unknown Camellia.  It is positively groaning with flower buds given its size and I have noticed that the rhododendrons and, very exciting, the witch hazel are full of flower buds which I think is as a result of the mild and damp summer we have had.

Whatever the reason it gives you something to look forward to in the New Year, which is always good.

My Garden This Weekend – 11th January 2015

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Amongst the gusty wind and grey skies there were moments of still and sunshine this weekend when the garden shone giving me the perfect opportunity to get some horticultural therapy and take photographs.

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I get such a thrill seeing plants emerge at any time of year, watching leaves unfurl and buds open but at this time of year there is something particularly special when you see the first shoots of snowdrops, narcissus, crocus and eranthis pushing through the soil. I suspect this is the reason so many plantsmen (and women) end up becoming glanthophiles; in desperate need of some horticultural enjoyment at what is a bleak time of year they turn to the few plants that are showing signs of life.  I have snowdrops, both everyday and a few special starting to flower, but for me it was spotting the eranthis pushing through the soil that really thrilled me.

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They have such a strange way of emerging with the frill of leaves pulling the flower bud out of the ground all ready to open, they completely intrigue me. Elsewhere the camellia and hellebore buds are still forming but beginning to show some colour so it shouldn’t be too long before they open.

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My mother asked me the other day what on earth I found to do for an hour and half in the garden at this time of year which amused me.  I can always find something to do.  Although I have an editing list, running around in my head, of plants that I want to move or simply remove, this weekend I was feeling a little weary so I indulged in pottering, one of my favourite gardening activities.  I worked my way through the Woodland Border weeding, cutting back perennials and generally tidying.  This border saw quite a change last year with the death of the Acer and I am still working out how to fill the gap.

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As you can see the border is looking very sparse in interest although I know that the border is actually full but everything is sleeping below the soil, there are lots of shoots beginning to push through the ground.  But it does need structure and form and I know from looking at it through the past year it needs sorting out so the plants look better. I have just started reading Keith Wiley’s new book ‘Designing and Planting a Woodland Garden’ which has got me thinking.  In it he groups plants, aside from shrubs and trees, into one of six groups and he talks about how you use plants from each group with each other.  He also says that whilst we are better at taking into account the right growing conditions for a plant we seem to have forgotten to think about how the plants actually work together.  I have also been watching a new Alan Titchmarsh series, ‘Britain’s Best Back Garden‘, where he meets everyday gardeners in a rich variety of gardens.  I have found the programme fascinating as many of the gardeners are very passionate about their gardens, often with no formal training, and their gardens are amazing; full, lush, floriferous. Between the book and the programme I have found myself reassessing the back garden and my approach and coming up with plans. Nothing drastic but I want to incorporate some more interesting shrubs and remove those that have only a short season of interest and don’t earn their keep.  I also want to improve my overall approach to planting to be braver and trust my instincts more rather than worrying about whether the conditions are right, what people will say, how quickly the plant will grow etc.

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Above is the woodland border from the patio and you can see that there is a bit of winter interest at this end but there is also so much potential and scope for me to really improve it.  I think I might feature this area in the End of Month View although it is quite hard to find a good angle to photograph it from, but then again yo can say that about most of the garden.

 

My Garden This Weekend – 7/12/14

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It seems a while since I have done a ‘My Garden this Weekend’ post  partly due to bad weather but also due to other demands on my time.  However, this weekend I had the luxury of a weekend with no plans and despite the weather being changeable with sudden showers I still managed to steal a few hours both days to potter.

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I think my favourite activity in the garden is pottering.  I have tasks that really need doing and also things I would like to do and finding a balance is often a challenge.  However the rain which made some areas of the garden difficult to work in meant my choices were restricted to working in areas close to the house were the ground was firm under foot and so a combination of tasks and plans were achieved.

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Picking up dead leaves and pulling up weeds is so satisfying; from a jumbled mess signs of spring are uncovered and left on show to cheer you through the cold grey days.  I was particularly delighted to see that my one remaining Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) has at least three flower buds emerging. I planted 3 or 4 some years back and I am thrilled that one has established tucked in between a rhododendron and box pyramid. Last year there were two flowers so to see an extra one emerging is very rewarding.

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There are swelling buds on the rhododendrons and one of the camellias.  Strangely the second camellia which is planted alongside only has a couple of buds which look quite under developed.  This will be its second year in this location and it was moved here as it was very weak looking in its original location.  The plant has put on growth so maybe its new location is better but the leaves still look a little chlorotic so I might try giving it a feed in the spring.

Another plant showing yellowing leaves is the Sarcococca.  It seems to dislike being planted by the black bamboo in the front garden and its dark green leaves have become more yellow.  Although it is covered in berries from last year’s flowers there is a lack of new young leaves and not too many obvious flowers.  I wonder if the soil is just to damp for it.  So I have dug it up and potted it up in a large pot with the hope that this be a better environment for it and it will recover.  If it does then it will have a winter home adjacent to the front door so we can benefit from the scent of the flowers.

2014_12060020There is evidence of all sorts of bulbs pushing their leaves up through the ground and in one case, Galanthus ‘Ding  Dong’ is even showing signs of flowering soon.  I frequently come across bulbs, particularly snowdrop, which seem to have pushed themselves up onto the surface of the soil and I have no idea why.  I haven’t dug them up and they haven’t been disturbed by anything else but there they are lying on the edge of the border, ready for me to dutiful replant them – very strange.

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A couple of Hippeastrum bulbs arrived this week; purchased on a whim having read an article in The Garden magazine.  Strangely the information sheet that came with them advised that the bases and roots should be immersed in lukewarm water for a few hours before planting.  I suspect this is to rehydrate the roots but it’s not advice I have come across before.  I dutiful followed the advice and we shall see how they do compared to the very cheap one I bought at the local supermarket that came wrapped in some dry compost.

I finished off by tidying the patio borders where again lots of snowdrops are starting to appear.  I tied in the winter jasmine which has been flowering for weeks and cut back the clematis which occupies the same bit of wall.  I have decided that the clematis and jasmine are not a good combination so the clematis will come out in the spring and will be trained up the house wall which I think will be a preferable location and it should flower better.

What could be better to sit down on a Sunday evening having spent some hours outside on a cool bright winter’s day and to look out at a border all neat and tidy and ready for Spring.

 

 

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – March 2014th

Pulmonaria Sissinghurst White
Pulmonaria Sissinghurst White

As Spring seems to have arrived in my garden I thought I would join in with the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post.

I know I have said a few posts back that I wasn’t that keen on Pulmonaria but I have to admit that I do like the purity of the flowers of Pulmonaria Sissinghurst White. Of course at this time of year when the light levels are still low the white and paler colours really show up.

Pulmonaria
Pulmonaria

I quite like this Pulmonaria as well, although I don’t know the variety.  It’s the blue/pink ones that I’m not keen on.

A variety of Primulas are also adding colour – here are some of my favourites

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The Narcissus have started to flower and I have a growing number of varieties although my memory of what is what is terrible.  I thought the one below was Pheasant’s Eye but I think I am wrong as it doesn’t have the red ring around the edge of the eye.  I will have to look back through the blog to see if I can work out what it is.

I do know the name of the following Narcissus – its Narcisssus Eystettensis which I bought from a friend at the recent AGS group meeting.  I love the mad flowers.

Narcissus Eystettensis
Narcissus Eystettensis

2014_03140010logoA small and dainty unknown Erythronium.  I planted a few of years some years back and this is the only one which flowers. Compared to Erythronium ‘Pagoda’ it is tiny and I only just spotted its flower today.

Hepatica nobilis
Hepatica nobilis

Another gem from my pot collection.  I am wondering whether to risk planting it out in the ground, as my instinct is that it will do much better.

Epimedium
Epimedium

I have about eight different epimediums and their flowers are impossible to photograph, well with my compact camera they are.  This one is the first to flower and it is my oldest acquisition so needless to say I have no idea what variety it is – any ideas?

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Finally a couple of flowering shrub – a Camellia which I rescued from the discount area of a garden centre. It seems to be thriving in its new home out in the garden, much happier than in the pot it previously was in.

Prunus incisa 'kojo-no-mai'
Prunus incisa ‘kojo-no-mai’

I will finish with my favourite shrub in the garden, Prunus incisa ‘kojo-no-mai’ which is just beginning to flower.

Those are my floral highlights for March.  For other bloggers’ floral highlights visit Carol’s blog