Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – May 2020

It’s been a while since I posted a Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (GBBD) post but with my renewed blogging and a sunny morning I thought I would post away.

My approach is slightly different to my previous approach.  I have always taken close up photos of flowers especially for this meme but today I have pulled back a bit so you can see the context the plant is growing in, this is purely because my plants have matured and I am rather pleased with some of the combinations.

I’m starting in the front garden with the mad Euphorbia characias which is collapsing all over the place at the moment.  I adore the chartreuse green of the flower heads and it creates a perfect foil for both the aquilegias (above) and Iris Langport Wren (below).

Also in the front garden is one of my climbing roses.  I’m fairly new to climbing roses as the paving around the house was put by the builders right up to the walls so I have to grow the roses in large containers and only realised this was possible a few years ago, having read that roses didn’t do well in pots.  I do like the way that the orange red flowers of the rose work with the bricks.

Another pleasing combination is the wild yellow flag iris which grows in the small bog garden with the flowers emerging through some self-sown bracken (just as I was thinking the bracken really needed to go).

I’m also enjoying the allium flowers which are growing through the sage and contrasting with the sage flowers.  I can’t claim this is a deliberate planting its more a case of the alliums sowing themselves around and finding much better companions that I would give them.

Last up this month is Lathyrus aureus which I love at this time of year.  I really enjoy the orange flowers which like the Euphorbia provide a good compliment to the purples and blues of the aquilegias and irises.

For more GBBD posts check out the links on Carol’s May Dream blog

Six on Saturday – Irises

 

As ever I’m late to the party but yesterday was such a nice day I decided to delay sitting at the laptop until this morning and I’m pleased I did as the sky is grey and the garden is being buffeted by a sporadic wind.

I like to try to theme my Six on Saturday posts (when I remember to do them) and this week it had to be Irises.  I have a real weakness for Irises of all sorts and am a member of the Iris Society.  I suspect I should call myself a disgraced member of the Iris Society as I am incapable of remembering plant names and plant labels never stay in place very long. However, I would argue in my defence that an inability to remember a plant name or where you got the plant from in the first place doesn’t mean you can’t be passionate about a genus and love them very much.

So here are my six for this weekend, all flowering yesterday in the garden.  I’m starting with Siberian Irises.  The top photo is of a plant given to me by a work colleague who had herself had it for many years, the name long lost.  It is so delicate and smaller in flower than the variety below.  Also unnamed and again I have had this plant for probably 15 years or more.  It doesn’t seem to flower as prolifically as it used to and I’m wondering if it needs dividing, or more moisture.

Pacific Coast Iris

Now I do know that this is a Pacific Coast Iris and I grew it from seed from the Iris Society about 4 years ago.  Last year it flowered for the first time and I seem to remember it had just 2 flowers, this year it has doubled up to 4 flowers. I get the impression that Pacific Coast Irises don’t have named varieties, maybe they cross pollinate too much to be reliable.  What I find fascinating about Pacific Coast Irises is that they seem to thrive in the most inhospitable conditions.  I have seen them growing in garden alongside dense conifers and in my own garden this plant is thriving next to a large and hungry Rosemary bush.  I do wonder why they aren’t recommended more often for those difficult locations, possibly because it seems the only way to acquire them is via seed from the Iris Society or a plant from a friend.

Iris Langport Wren

I love this Bearded Iris.  I love the deepness of the almost black petals, they are so sumptuous.  I have bought many Bearded irises over the years but only seem to have three varieties growing in my garden now.  I’m assuming that these are the doers, the ones that stand up to anything thrown at them – persistent rain, dislocation by a poor gardener, all sorts.  ‘Langport Wren’ is spread all around the garden, a clump here and a clump there.  This plant is on the edge of the new vegetable bed, guarding the lettuces.

Also on the edge of the vegetable bed are some Dutch Iris, or Florists Irises (above and below).  I buy bulbs of these most years, apart from last Autumn, and about 50% appear in the Spring and if I am lucky some of them reappear in later years.  I just love them.  The petals are like silk and they appear on long stems (obviously why florists like them) above the surrounding plants looking impossibly glamorous.  They are usually named but the names never stick in my head and I don’t think they matter to be honest.

 

I hope you enjoyed my Six on Saturday (well Sunday) and thank you to The Propagator for hosting this meme every Saturday, its not always easy to keep up with hosting a meme as I well know so well done.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – May 2019

Iris Langport Wren

This month the stars of the garden are the various irises and aquilegias.  I have always loved Irises of all sorts.  My love affair started with bearded irises such as Langport Wren above.  Over the years various varieties have come and gone from the garden, mainly due to too much shade, but Langport Wren has ben a stalwart.  Now my garden is more sunny and I have more open border space with good drainage I think I might think about adding some more varieties for next year.

 

Iris Pacific Coast Hybrid

By contrast the Pacific Coast Hybrids are fairly new to me.  The one above I grew from seed and I thrilled it has two flowers this year.  I think they should be know more in the UK as they do very well in dry and shading conditions such as under decidious trees or around conifers.

Dutch Iris – variety unknown

The Dutch Florist irises are also coming into their own.  I add a pack of two each year and have learnt that you need to plant them amongst the late summer perennials so the new foliage of the perennials hides the long gangly stems.  They are like rockets of colour emerging from the undergrowth.

Dutch Iris Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon is this years new addition and I am really pleased as it appears most of the 20 odd corms I planted will flower.

There is a lot of blue in the garden at this moment and this Aquilegia is the most amaze azure blue, it really is a vibrant as the photo indicates. All of my aquilegias come from various seed packets from various seed exchanges so aren’t named varieties and you get some amazing ones but also some not to good.  Another couple of favourites below.

I’ve previously shared my sea of blue camassias which have just gone over but now the cream ones are flowering.  They aren’t as prolific at multiplying and are more elegant than the blues; I like the contrast of the cream spires against the foliage.

Sweet Cicely

Sweet Cicely is another plant that looks fabulous at this time of year.  A wonderful confection of frothy white flowers above the sweet aniseed smelling foliage.

This Centaurea plant sits quietly on the corner of a border but at this time of year is awash with vibrant lilac flowers – so pretty.

In the front garden, which I am trying to remember to include more, the Libertia is drawing attention to itself with its papery white flowers.  The only trouble with Libertia, as far as I am concerned, is that the flowers translate into seeds which translate into a mass of seedlings which get everywhere and are a pain to extract but there are worse problems in the world.

And finally, my first Alliums to flower this year.  I have quite a few types of Allium flowering all through the summer.  I can’t remember the variety of these but they are good doers and come up year after year and the leaves aren’t too large to cause a problem in the border.

Those are my May highlights – for more Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts visit Carol at May Dream Gardens.

Stand and Stare

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

William Henry Davies

I know it is an over quoted poem but I do love it and think the sentiment is very true.  Interestingly with the hot dry weather we have been having I have found myself unable to dig my new border and actually spending a lot of time standing and staring at the garden – often with a hose or watering can in my hand!  I have had time to really look at what is in flower instead of, as is usual at this time of year, barely registering and certainly not examining blooms.  Today I noticed that the Irises were well ahead of last year with some of them already going over in the heat.  Irises are up there amongst my favourite flowers and seem to do really well in my garden so I am planning on acquiring another one or two at next weeks Malvern Spring Show.  So I will leave you with some Iris pictures – at the top is an Iris sibirica – I have no idea which as had it so long.

I have had this Iris since I was about 12 and it has moved house with me so many times.  When I was 12 we moved to a house that had been quite neglected and had a large 3/4 acre garden which was overgrown.  My parents cleared the central areas but much of the side areas were left while they did the house and where like a secret garden to me.  I think this is where my interest in plants started.  I spent a lot of time clearing brambles to reveal old fashioned roses and irises which I carefully transplanted to the cultivated part of the garden.  I would love to know what this iris is – I have left a trail of them in my wake since that house!!

This is a new Iris to the garden.  I bought it from Clare Austin’s stand at last year’s Spring Show.  It is a dwarf Iris and called Sweet Kate.  I hope it bulks up like some of my other irises as it is wonderful along the front of the border.

Another favourite  Iris which has just come out in the front garden is Langport Wren.  There is something about the colour of this Iris that is just so rich and sumptuous and to be honest I have found myself  drawn to these sort of rich colours more and more.

I am really looking forward to seeing what Irises are on display at Malvern and hopefully coming away with one or two new treats!

Iris-tastic

As well as the Aquilegas that I showed in the last post, the cottagey theme is continued in my garden with the outbreak of an extreme case of Irisiitis.

I am very lucky that I seem to be able to grow Irises in this garden particularly as they are one of my favourites flowers.  The clay soil in my garden probably helps as it provides extra fertility.  The clay soil has an annoying  habit of baking in the summer sun but this is ideal for bearded irises as to get the best flowers the rhizomes really need to have a good baking.  I am always careful not to plant my Bearded Irises where they will be overshadowed by anything to make sure the rhizomes get a good baking in the summer sun.

Unsurprisingly, I succumbed to the two Irises above at the Malvern show earlier this month.  They are dwarf Bearded Irises which I haven’t grown before and I thought it would be nice to have some short ones that would look right at the front of the border which is the ideal location.  The one of the left is Sweet Kate and the one on the right is Lady in Red.

My favourite Bearded Iris is Langport Wren.  I divided my plant last year and was thrilled that the one I moved to the front garden is flowering well this year and looks better than I expected against the bright yellow of the Oregano.

This blue Iris was the first one I ever got and it, or part of it, has moved house with me at least twice.  The current plant has 17 stems of flowers on it which look stunning.  I suppose I need to divide it at some point but it does seem a pity to have to break up such a nice clump although I understand that dividing it will help to rejuvenate it.

As well as Bearded Irises I have some Siberian Irises which I also love – no surprises there.  They are so elegant and just seem to look after themselves.

Next weekend I am  thinking of popping up Shrewsbury way to visit Claire Austin’s nursery and see the Iris fields.  The only thing is that I wonder whether the Irises will be going over due  to the heat we have had this week and there is also the concern that I may end up coming home with another Iris!