When I went out to take the photos for this blog post I was surprised at how much was in flower dotted around the garden. I have already posted this week about the snowdrops but they aren’t alone in bring dashes of colour to the borders. In the front garden the star is the Euphorbia rigida – its my favourite Euphorbia, well probably. I love its acid yellow flowers against the glaucous leaves.
The first hellebores are already in flower and definitely a few weeks ahead of previous years probably due to the warmer weather. They do seem a little washed out in their colour this year but that’s probably just my imagination.
The Witch Hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’) has just started flowering and there are definitely fewer flowers than last year. I suspect this is because it was so dry and witch hazels really benefit from moisture in the summer to help them form flowers. I did water it from time to time but obviously not enough for a stunning display.
I’m quite pleased with the photo of the winter jasmine as my photos always seem to be out of focus due to the smallness of the flowers. However, as there are so many flowers this year a photo showing more of the plant has proved to be quite interesting. I know lots of people don’t like this plant but I cut it back very hard each year and this keeps it in check and not too woody.
Rosemary is at its best at the moment, covered in dainty lilac flowers and the odd pollinator looking for food.
As well as the snowdrops, the Eranthis hyemalis are starting to flower. I do love these little bursts of sunshine in the border.
The other gem in the border is the Iris unguicularis ‘Walter Butt’ which is fragile tissue like petals which seem to disappear as fast as they appear due to the wind and rain we have had recently.
Primila palinuri is something of a miracle. I grew this plant from seed some years back and it has lived in a pot wintering in the greenhouse. However, with my new approach to the garden I decided back in the Autumn to risk planting it out as the plant never looked that well and I thought it might benefit from the move. Primula palinuri grows in a rocky location in South Italy so I decided that it could probably withstand low temperatures if it had good drainage. Despite the yellowing around the older leaves it is already looking at lot healthier and I love the farina on the flower which I’m sure it didn’t have in the greenhouse. Having just looked it up to ensure I spelt the name right I have discovered that it is on the Red Threatened List in its native South Italy so now I am concerned I planted it out!
For more Garden Bloggers Bloom Day posts check out Carol’s blog May Dreams.
Today’s post is in response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Treat.”
I have been completely enthralled by the flowers of Iris unguicularis ‘Walter Butt’, a real treat on a cool misty day. This is the plant’s third year of flowering and last year the paltry two flowers didn’t start to appear until Boxing Day. So I was completely stunned when something pale and paper like appeared towards the top of the steps at the weekend. On investigating I discovered not one but three flowers and when I cleared away some of the fallen leaves there are clear signs that there are many flowers to follow – how thrilling.
As for Walter Butt who the plant is named after, he was the former owner of E Bertram Anderson’s house in Porlock. Anderson (1885-1971), a distinguished plantsman, worked as a chemist and bacteriologist before retiring to Porlock in Somerset. He was a founder member of the RHS Joint Rock Garden Plant Committee which first met in 1936. Other members included E A Bowles and Walter Ingerswen both with huge reputations in the alpine and bulb worlds and reading the article about Anderson in the RHS ‘The Plantsman’ (Dec 2010) it is clear that Anderson was one of those plantsmen who seemed to have been part of a cycle of eminent horticulturists all sharing information and plants. Anderson is well known for his raising of the beautiful Iris ‘Katherine Hodgkin’ (Katherine Hodgkin was the wife of his friend Elliot Hodgkin). He was also responsible for raising Galanthus ‘John Gray’ and Galanthus ‘Mighty Atom‘ as well as collaborating with Helen Ballard in the raising of new hellebores and numerous other plants.
Going back to my iris, Anderson considered it as ‘noteworthy because of its size, very pale lavender flowers, almost white in the sun, and its strong perfume’ a description I completely agree with – indeed it is a real treat.
Another year and the first Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post of 2015 and I am pleased that I have quite a few blooms to share although you really have to hunt around the garden to find them. Although I think that is what makes them all the more welcome, they make you get out into the garden and spend time peering into borders.
First up is the Christmas Rose which is slowly but surely increasing year on year. I understand from other gardeners I know that it can be hard to establish, mine is thriving on neglect planted between a box and rhododendron so I think it is fairly dry. There are 3 or 4 blooms appearing this year which is an increase on last year. For some reason my plant seems to open with its flowers almost open flat on the ground and they then slowly lift their heads as the days pass. I’m sure others I have seen are more upright.
The first of my special snowdrops are opening. I’m ashamed to say that I have lost the label for the second one despite only buying it last year. It isn’t quite open but I am hoping when it does that some of my galanthophile friends might help me out.
Iris unguicularis ‘Walter Butt’ has produced its second flower which is one more than last year so hopefully it will go on from strength to strength now.
As per last month the primroses continue to flower in the generally mild weather we have had to date this winter. The top one is only small but it is a real beacon which I can see from the house and cheers me up no end.
I have to include Eranthis as I love them more than snowdrops and they are just beginning to establish in the garden. These photographs were taken at the weekend as it is dark when I leave for work and get home so I am hoping when I get out side this weekend the flowers will be open.
The viola cornutas that I deadheaded extensively just after Christmas have rewarded me with another flush of flowers. I am planning to get some more of these in different colours as I think they are really good fillers
In the greenhouse the Narcissus bulbicodium are beginning to flower but sadly I am really struggling to photograph them to show them at their best.
There are also the same cyclamen flowering as last month – they almost seem to be frozen in time along with the Viburnum which is also still flowering. Hellebores and Camellias are about to open so it will be interesting to see what is still around for next month’s post.
It has been a delightful weekend, with temperatures reaching 10C, mild for the time of year and the sun shining in a clear blue sky.
Sadly this idyllic gardening weather was tainted by one of my neighbours, who despite having a handkerchief of a garden, seems to possess and use every sort of petrol driven tool you can think of – this weekend it was the leafblower! I have incredibly sensitive hearing which hones on to distant noises rather than noises nearer and drives me mad so I retreated to the front garden and cut back the perennials. This was a long overdue job so I was quite pleased to have put the front garden to bed, so to speak, for the winter.
Next up was a tidy up of the greenhouse. I had put all the plants I want to overwinter in the greenhouse a few weeks, possibly even a month, ago but it was in chaos and needed a good sort out. I also wanted to put some new gravel in the gravel trays as I find this makes a huge difference to the watering needed. A half-hearted effort of cleaning the glass was made with me washing the panes from the waist up inside and out – sometimes I pull all the staging out and do it properly but the afternoon was already advancing.
I am rather pleased with the succulent collection I have accumulated over the last couple of years. There are more hiding out the winter in the garage but these are the most tender and live in the greenhouse for the winter which is kept frost-free.
Wandering up the garden I was thrilled to discover this Iris unguicularis ‘Water Butt’ flowering in the conifer border. It was only planted out a month or so ago and I have to admit that the rhizomes which arrived in the green from Avon Bulbs did sit for rather too long waiting to be planted. Such as wonderful iridescent blue although sadly no fragrance which apparently it should have.
This morning I cracked on as the sun was shining and it was nice and quiet. For a while I have been thinking about moving an Azalea and Rhododendron to the top slope where there is a gap crying out for some evergreen shrubs. Both plants have been struggling at the back of the large woodland border where I think it is rather too dry for them and they are in competition with other larger shrubs for the moisture. I added a whole bag of ericaceous compost although the soil in the garden is generally acidic enough for these plants. Fingers crossed the shrubs will establish and start to thrive but I think I will have to keep a close eye on them especially moisture wise.
I still had some energy so I started tidying up the Bog Garden. I said a while ago that the bog garden isn’t working since the old liner isn’t retaining enough moisture. I am going to remove the ligularia which has struggled for a few years and a few other moisture loving plants which also look a little sad. I am currently contemplating planting two camellias I have in this bed – one is in a pot on the patio and is doing well but is outgrowing its pot and is awkward to protect from low temperatures; the other is on the top slope but the fatsia that was planted near it at the same time is taking most of the moisture so the camellia is Ok but not flowering. I think that by moving them to the old bog garden they will do better but I need to do a little research first.
This afternoon saw the power mad neighbour back to his old tricks plus I had worn myself out earlier so I sowed some narcissus and allium seeds and put my feet up with a seed catalogue.