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.
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.
I do like the yellows so I might see about adding to these instead of more purple and pinks.
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.
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.
The snowdrops are also slowly but surely spreading around the garden and are beginning to form a white haze on the back slope.
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.
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’.For more February blooms from around the world visit Carol at May Dream Gardens and check out the links.
What a wonderful weekend it has been. Saturday was bright and sunny and warm enough for gardening in a T-shirt and for sitting and contemplating with a cuppa. Luckily I bothered to check the weather forecast for a change and focussed all my energies on outside gardening jobs leaving Sunday for seed sowing and potting up which can be done under cover.
I have dug out the cane domes and placed them over the new peonies that were planted over the last few weeks. This will help me remember where they are until they put in an appearance and I also think the domes are rather charming. I have added an Euphorbia x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow’ to the border, you can just see it in the top left corner. I had been looking for one having seen it in ‘The Layered Garden’ but having secured one at the local HPS group I started to wonder why I had been attracted to the plant. It is rather a strange combination with yellow streaks on the foliage and pinky new growth – it was christened the ‘ugly plant’. However, when I planted it out I was won over again as it works very well with the pink hellebores so maybe my first instinct was right – I knew where I wanted to plant it before I bought it.
I am pleased with this bit of border now especially when the sun lights up the hellebores. This border is ‘done’ for the time being while I wait to see how the plants fill out and then the plan is to try to add a little late summer colour.
I’m thrilled that the Hepatica noblis are flowering although I have to admit that they were only bought last month – the test will be to see if they reappearing next year. I have bought a couple more and I am planting them over the other side of the garden so hopefully at least one group will establish. However, I also have some hepatica seeds germinating in the cold frame which were sown as fresh seeds last April.
I got myself in a bit of a pickle the other week when I finally got round to doing a soil test and discovered my soil was alkaline, which wasn’t great given I had just bought two small rhododendrons. I have been dithering around about them and decided to plant them up in pots and display them by the shed. Once they have flowered and it gets warmer in this part of the garden I will move them into the shadier part of the garden and make sure they are watered well so they produce buds for next year.
I haven’t been very good at using pots in the garden for some years now. I used to be really good at baskets and summer bedding in pots but I seem to have lost the knack and I do actually prefer the more mono planted pots but with several grouped together. So the plan is to do more of this to create seasonal displays.
Finally I found enough energy to remove an unnamed and unloved shrub growing near the compost bins which has never really done much and had got battered when the tree surgeons were throwing the large willow logs around. It came out fairly easily which was perhaps part of its problem.
I had come up with a scheme for this small area the other week when I was having a tea break – its to the right of the bench. After adding lots of green waste compost I planted white Digitalis, Epimedium perralchicum ‘Wisley’, some lily of the valley, and a Polypodium cambricum ‘Oakleyae’. I also replanted some self-sown Pulmonaria. There is a gap left in the middle of the planting for a Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ which is growing elsewhere but has needed a new home; I just need to wait for it to put in an appearance so I know where it is.
It’s only a small area but it is a start to the style of planting I am trying to adopt with lots of texture and contrast and hopefully not much soil showing once the plants get going. I plan to add some white honesty next year so I will need to remember to show honesty and white digitalis on an annual basis although I may get lucky and they might start to self sow.
Sunday was grey and damp so I used the time to sort out the greenhouse. The pots of bulbs which have finished flowering were moved out to the cold frames – I am regretting, a little, getting the plunge staging (not in the photo) as I haven’t enjoyed the pots of bulbs this winter and I want to plant them out in the garden. I am toying with getting some sort of warming cable system for them to create a propagation unit but I am waiting to see how I get on this season before I invest more funds in something I might change my mind about. There is a sorry tale associated with the empty space but I will share that later in the week when I join in the monthly greenhouse meme.
However, I am happy to say that my seed sowing mojo has returned with gusto and I have sowed quite a few packets today. I found myself really enjoying the process. I had forgotten how much I love that sense of anticipation. I also potted up a dozen aquilegia and dianthus and 3 primrose digitalis; some of them might even be good enough in a few weeks to sell at the local HPS group – wouldn’t that be good.