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’ 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.
It hadn’t occurred to me to use violas in my weekly vase until Saturday’s HPS meeting. We have a display table on which more confident members than me display various plants or vases of flowers, foliage, berries etc. These are then used for the morning discussion which is generally led by Bob Brown of Cotswold Garden Flowers and is the best part of the meeting. You certainly learn a lot, the first lesson being that there is more than one way to do or grow most things in the garden. We are very lucky in having a large membership with many excellent plants people and nurserymen which must be a little intimidating for some of our speakers. One of our older but very knowledgeable members had put together a tiny vase with viola and arabis and talked to us briefly about how to keep violas going and what varieties lasted the best.
I have some Viola cornuta ‘Clouded Yellow’ which I bought from Wildegoose Nursery last May and which have really bulked up and flowered well on and off ever since. Like Brenda I also added arabis as well as Primula denticulata, a white bell, some Ajuga, a spring of Epimedium ‘Egret’ and also Epimedium ‘Pink Constellation’. I like the pastel colours and they work well with the vase, which was a £1 find at the local flea market.
As as an aside its amazing what you learn via social media and although I have only joined in this meme for a month or so I have already learnt that tulips grow when they are in water – who would have thought. Compare the following two photos taken a week apart of last week’s vase.
Look at the Tulip Ballerina and how much taller they are against the picture behind. I hadn’t moved the vase as you can see from the drop in water level. I asked about this on Twitter and apparently tulips are known for growing taller even after cutting and they are a nightmare for professional flower arrangers. I am still wondering why and how they grow taller – any ideas?
For more Vases on Monday’s pop over to Cathy’s Rambling in the Garden – this meme is her bright idea and very good it is to.
My Vase on Monday has been through a couple of guises today. I wanted to feature the Ballerina Tulips which are really the only tulips I have. They grow in the front garden so escaped the notice of the badger in past years – the badger hasn’t worked out how to get to the front of the house. They are a form of tulip which will naturalise and they seem to be doing this. The first incarnation of my vase featured a smoked Venetian glass vase with the orange tulips, some Berginia ‘Bressingham White’, Sweet Cicely and the new red orange foliage of my neighbour’s Photinia (it grows over the fence).
Anyway, looking at the vase on my mantlepiece it become quickly obvious that it just didn’t work. The Photinia foliage was too strong and too dominant and although it was similar to the orange of the tulips it detracted from the flowers rather than showcasing them. A re-think was needed. The vase had to go as it was a narrow necked vase and I wanted to add more and the Photinia foliage was scraped.
Instead I added some small ‘Jan Reus’ tulips which have survived in the back garden and reflowered for a number of years but as happens when you leave tulips in the ground the flowers can become smaller; I think I prefer the smaller flowers. I also added Lunaria ‘Chedglow’ and replaced the foliage with Epimedium foliage which I think works well as the bronzing in the leaves works with the orange flowers. I like the way the ‘Jan Reus’ tulips pick up on the centre of the Bergina flowers which also have a hint of orange in the middle. Of course it has all ended up in a very ordinary glass vase but I think that adds to its charm and simplicity.
The spring equinox has brought a weekend of heavenly gardening weather. The sun has shone and there was a light breeze which wafted the big lumbering bumble bees around. The scent from the hyacinths which are planted just at the top of the first flight of steps is absolutely wonderful.
It is amazing how much the plants have come on in the last week. I have two camellias both of them bought from the bargain section of a garden centre. This one is stunning, covered in flowers and seems to be thriving since it was moved to the old Bog Border. The other camellia which is planted next to it has two flowers and the leaves are still sad and chloroitic in appearance. I think it is due to be removed as I have struggled with it for years.
The main area of my focus this weekend was at the top of the garden which has been sadly neglected. I have struggled with this area ever since it was created. The soil can get dry and it is quite a sunny site, probably more so now that the adjacent trees have been loped. I find that I need an idea/theme, call it what you will, to get my head around planting a border and this just hasn’t happened with the top of the garden. Last weekend I weeded the border and realised that it wasn’t actually too bad. The three bamboos are fairly well established now. There is also a fig tree which I had started to grow against a fence but decided to move up here and let it grow more naturally rather than train it. Today I added two evergreen shrubs which I hope will bulk up and add substance to the border as well as mask the fence when you look up the garden. The white flowered shrub that you can see (apologies for the quality of the photo but my camera has broken again and I was struggling with my son’s camera) is Vibrunum tinus ‘Eve Prince’ and right at the end is an Elaeagnus x ebbingei which I am hoping will cope well with the dryish conditions. I have also added a Lathyrus vernus and Nepeta ‘Giant Six Hills’ which should work well with the already established Geraniums palmatums. Less obvious from the above photo is the work I have done on the other side of the path. This is part of the slope that goes behind the workshop and was a mass of weeds last week. I have dug it over and added garden compost and green waste to break up the clay. Then I planted out a collection of plants which had been living on the patio for far too long. I think I might call this the waifs and strays border as they are all plants that I didn’t know where to plant for one reason or another. There are a couple of hydrangeas, a miscanthus, a mahonia, and an agapanthus as well as some small shrublets. Who knows they might all establish and gel together but at least they are in the ground and have a chance now rather than languishing in pots on the patio.
Elsewhere in the garden the first Epimediums are starting to flower. They really are impossibly difficult to photograph. This one is the first I acquired some years back, the label long lost. I now have 11 or 12 different ones and I was thrilled to see flower buds appearing on last year’s acquisitions including Egret which I had been warned could be hard to establish. I also spotted the fat snouts of hostas beginning to push through the soil, the first fern croziers and the fresh young foliage of geraniums.
Looking at the garden there is plenty of colour from the fresh green shoots and spring flowers but it is so hard to catch. I especially like the way the low spring sunshine lights up the garden. I did some weeding and sorting of the Big Border rescuing two geraniums and an aster which had been engulfed by the Euphorbia characias ‘White Swan’ which seems to want to grow a foot across from where I intended it to grow. Having replanted the rescued plants and moved a couple of grasses which were planted poorly last year this border has moved into the ‘watching brief’ category by which I mean that I have no plans to add to the planting, aside from some annuals, and I want to see how the plants develop and whether I have gaps or have planted too closely. I feel as though I have got the majority of the back garden to this point now which is very satisfying and allows me time to focus on propagation and day to day maintenance which will help me achieve the garden that lives in my head.
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.
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
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.
A 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.
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.
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?
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.
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