Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Lathyrus vernus

I’m starting this month’s GBBD post (possibly the first one this year) with a favourite plant at the moment which I think is very overlooked, Lathyrus vernus; I also think the photo is rather nice.  This is the pink version but the most common is a blue/purple version.

Lathyrus vernus

If you don’t know it then I would recommend it to you.  Part of the pea family, a low growing perennial which appears at this time of year, flowers and then disappears so good to plant around late summer perennials to keep the interest going.

Just by the Lathyrus vernus is this herbaceous clematis (I have no idea of its name) which picks up the colour well, albeit it unplanned.

Narcissus Beautiful Eyes
Narcissus ‘Freedom Stars’ – probably

The garden has had a lovely display of Narcissus over the last month which is still going strong.  I added quite a few new varieties to the main border, having identified that it looked a little flat this time last year.  They have made a real difference and I want to do the same in some other parts of the garden for next year.

The tulips are just starting to flower.  There are a few variegated ones which will be opening in the next week but I thought I would share this rogue one. It doesn’t bear any resemblance to any of the other tulips I have added so I am assuming it is a rogue bulb that got into the wrong bag at the bulb merchants – however, it is rather gorgeous.

Muscari ‘Valerie Finnis’

Last of the bulbs that I thought I would share this month – Muscari ‘Valerie Finnis’.  I’m not the biggest fan of the general Muscari as they spread everywhere and produce a disproportionate amount of foliage but ‘Valerie Finnis’ is very different.  I love the pale blue flowers and it seems to be fairly well behaved in terms of foliage.

Hertia cheirifolia

Just by the Muscari ‘Valeria Finnis’ is Hertia cheirifolia which I added last summer.  I bought it on a trip for its grey succulent foliage so the flowers are a bonus.

A couple of my epimediums, they do have labels but they are buried well beneath the plants.  I do like epimediums, their foliage is a great foil for other plants during the year and then at this time of year there is the added bonus of these dainty flowers although sometimes you could be forgiven of overlooking them.

Magnolia stellata

A finally, my little Magnolia stellata.  I have had this for years and it just sat there doing nothing, so I moved it a few years ago to a different location with more shade, better drainage, and less competition and it has rewarded me with a growth spurt and now I can see a flutter of white flowers from my living room window.

I hope you enjoyed my highlights for this month and thank you to Carol for hosting this wonderful meme.

 

In a Vase on Monday – Daffodils

Well it was only a matter of time before daffodils were the subject of the In a Vase on Monday post.  Many of these were blown over in the winds at the end of last week and some had to be rescued from under shrubs and perennials which have grown larger than I expected! I have had to make a note to dig up the bulbs and move them into a more open location.

I think the selection demonstrates just how diverse narcissus are.  I prefer the lighter coloured flowers as I find the brighter yellows a bit brash.

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly meme.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – April 2016

Primula denticulata
Primula denticulata

The garden is sparkling with colour, lots of spots of colour much like an impressionist painting and I have to say that this is certainly my garden’s best season.  The colour and shimmer is created from lots of small flower heads in a myriad of pastel colours.  So for this month’s Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post I thought I would zoom in on my favourite flowers this week.

Narcissus Baths Flame
Narcissus Baths Flame

Alot of the colour comes from the various Narcissus which I add to every year.  This year’s new additions include Narcissus Baths Flame which I am rather taken with.  The petals are a buttery yellow, very soft when you compare them to the hard yellow of the obligatory large trumpet daffodils that you see in public planting.  The flowers glow as the light fades and I think that is because of the whiteness of the petals.

Narcissus Sailboat
Narcissus Sailboat

Narcissus Sailboat is another new addition and it definitely reinforces my preference for the paler narcissus; I do like the slightly yellow trumpet.

 

 

Narcissus Thalia
Narcissus Thalia

Narcissus Thalia is an almost pure white – very pure.

Narcissus Cheerfulness
Narcissus Cheerfulness

Narcissus ‘Cheerfulness’ is my favourite double narcissus, it has the most wonderful scent which you catch as you are weeding away in the border.  I prefer the single daffodils and I really dont like the blousey over breed narcissus which seem to popular at the moment.

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As the narcissus go over the tulips start but sadly I only have three tulips in the borders this year.  I haven’t planted them for a few years due to badger damage but these three have persisted year on year and are very pretty.  I have decided to risk them again next year as we haven’t had a visit from the badger for a couple of years now.

Imperial fritillary
Imperial fritillary

A lot less elegant than the narcissus is the Imperial fritillary.  This is the first year I have grown them and I am a little disappointed that the plants don’t seem to have developed a tall stem for the flowers as you would expect. I have two from different sources and both have done the same so maybe it is a result of the weather.

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I always forget the Leucojum vernum and are surprised when I first spot their nodding flowers thinking at first they are late snowdrops.  The clump has been planted for some years now and is expanding very slowly; maybe I will invest in some more and create a bit of a drift.

Anemone Bourdeux
Anemone Bordeaux

Anemone ‘Bordeaux’ is a very recent acquisition.  I was seduced by the almost velvet flowers which are working very well with the ageing flowers of Helleborus Anna’s Red and also Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’.  I really hope it reappears next year.

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Not all the colour is from bulbs or primulas as the blossom is beginning to appear.  This week Amelanchier decided to start flowering picking up the blossom of Prunus kojo-no-mai and will soon be joined by the large unknown Prunus that dominates the garden at this time.

Thank you to Carol over at May Dream Gardens for hosting this meme.

Notes from the Garden – 20th March 2016

Epimedium
Epimedium

Not such a gorgeous weekend as last weekend which was disappointing given it was the Spring Equinox but fingers crossed Easter will see a change and temperatures will start to improve.  The garden certainly appears to be waiting for the green light although the epimediums seem to have decided they have waited too long.    I am particularly pleased to discover flowering buds on the majority of the other epimediums; worryingly I seem to have accumulated 13 over the last few years.

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I do like spring as you have time to really look and see all sorts of delights emerging rather than being overwhelmed with things to look at as you are in the summer. I would like to claim that the combination of the white hyacinth and phormium (above) was planned. But it was a lucky accident with the lime green on the leaf seems to pick up the same colour at the base of each flower.  There are lessons to be learnt here about how plants combine well and that is something I have been reading a lot about recently.

I am reading Andrew Lawson’s The Gardeners Book of Colour which is brilliant.  I have read essays and books about colour with the obligatory colour wheel before but none have ever explained colour, tones and saturation as clearly as Andrew does.  I haven’t got far through the book but I am already thinking about how colour creates an atmosphere and how I might try to use this in my garden especially given the big rejig that is going on.  I am also reading Sarah Raven’s Bold and Beautiful which is also inspiring as I love strong colours but I worry about them looking garish in English light.  I am hoping that between the two books I might learn something useful about combining plants and colour and take my bitty garden forward.

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In the meantime I have sown the first seeds in the new propagator – Cobea scandens which I have wanted to try for some years.  I have pruned the prostrate rosemary that falls over the wall back hard so it looks a little embarrassed showing its legs but I know it will re-shoot like mad.  I have also cut back some of the tatty fern foliage from around the garden; it is great to see the new furry fronds ready to emerge as soon as the weather warms up. Peering in the borders I found both Iris danfordiae and iris tuberosa flowering but my photos arent up to standard so I will try again for next weekend.  This is the first time both have flowered in the garden so I am hopefully they might establish.

I’ll leave you with what is in my opinion the maddest narcissus

Narcissus Rip Van Winkle
Narcissus Rip Van Winkle

 

In A Vase on Monday – Narcissus

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I am really getting into Cathy’s weekly meme – In a Vase on Monday.  As someone who has never really embraced picking flowers from the garden or arranging flowers it is becoming a bit of a revelation to me.  To the point where last weekend I went to a flea fair with my eldest and came home with a couple of small vases including the blue patterned jug and bowl above.  I knew I wanted to use the jug for narcissus as I think they would make  wonderful combination, however on reflection I decided to use a different blue and white vase again, like last week, with an oriental theme.

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The narcissus are the from around the garden and show what a variety I have accumulated over the last few years.  I hadn’t realised there were so many different ones and I have to admit to forgetting the names of many.  I know there is Sophie’s Choice, Pheasants Eye, Tete a Tete, Thalia, Cheerfulness in there. I obviously have a preference for the white and paler yellow narcissus.

The real benefit of cutting the narcissus and bringing them indoors is that I get to benefit from their scent which I often miss in the garden.  I have also realised that by bringing some flowers in each week I get to enjoy the garden in the evenings when I get back from work.  I am even toying with taking some to work to put on my desk!!

For more Vases on a Monday ramble over to Cathy’s (Rambling in the Garden) and check out the comments box

 

 

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – March 2015

Euphorbia characias 'White Swan'
Euphorbia characias ‘White Swan’

I am really pleased with the garden at the moment; it looks so pretty with the pinks, purples and yellows dotted around the borders. Acting as a gentle foil to the bulbs is the Euphorbia characias ‘White Swan’ which is also flowering now.

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A lot of the colour is coming from the growing number of primulas in the garden.  I really like the Barnhaven Primroses which are meant to be identifable by the yellow eye in the middle of the flower.  None of the ones in this post were sold as Barnhaven Primroses but I think they have become so easy to get now that they are quite prevalent.  I like the pink streaking on the one above.

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This one seems to be the reverse of the one above and I am hoping that it will establish and bulk up.  I have recently sown a couple of packets of Barnhaven Primrose seeds so maybe in a year or two I will have a really gaudy spring garden!

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I particularly like this soft blue primula which is a nice compliment to the narcissus.

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Then there are the hellebores which are also growing in number.  I seem to acquire three or four every year and I have noticed that the yellow ones seem to open much earlier than the others with the dark purples opening last.

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and finally we have a couple of early flowering narcissus – Tete a Tete and a mysterious shortish one, although taller than Tete a Tete

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Not bad for mid March I think, definitely better than last year.

For more Spring Garden Bloggers Bloom Day posts pop over to Carols at May Dream Gardens

 

 

My Garden this Weekend – 30th March

Ranunculus 'Brazen Hussey'
Ranunculus ‘Brazen Hussey’

Another lovely weekend and this time a three-day one as I had some time due to me.  I started clearing the slope on Friday although the rain stopped play after an hour.  I am moving the asters and grasses and a few other bits from the slope to the Big Border.  I want to plant up the slope with hardy exotics aiming for a jungley sort of look. I have the overall effect in my head but am still working on the possible plants to include plus we 2014_03300006logoneed to cut back the slope to allow for a bench.

Saturday was the monthly HPS meeting.  Always a good day and despite my initial reservations when I first joined at spending a whole day of my precious weekend at the meeting I really enjoy it and rarely don’t stay for the whole day.  This month’s talk was on cut and come again perennials which was interesting. Our speaker, a local nursery woman, showcases a whole range of perennials which I would never have thought of cutting including solomons seal as well as old favourite such as asters and aquilegia.  The morning discussion or show

Muscari latifolium
Muscari latifolium

and tell featured a collection of heritage daffodils, various alpines, a Melianthus major flower and to the amazement of everyone an Aeonium Schwarzkopf in flower – I really should have taken my camera.  Needless to say I came home with some plants a veratrum  for the woodland border and also two small aeoniums which are destined for the succulent border in the front garden.

Today I was outside at 9 setting to.  I started off with finishing off re-potting some alpines, mainly primulas, which I am hoping might be up to showing in the novice section of an Alpine Garden Society over the next month.  Then I relocated some plants to the cottage border and also the woodland border which really is beginning to have the right feel about it finally – its only taken 3 years.

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The next big job was to finish clearing the plants I wanted from the edge of the slope as we want to push the wall back to make way for the bench.  This involved relocated a number of Camassia to the Big Border. Hardly, the ideal time of year to do this but I had to do the same last year but with different Camassia and they did OK.  As you can see the Big

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Border is filling up and I am hopeful that the image I have in my mind will come to fruition.  Aside from the shrubs and a couple of structural perennials such as the

Corydalis solida
Corydalis solida

Melianthus the main plants are asters and Calamgrostis overdam which I am hoping will link the Stipa gigantea in to the border.  I have spread the Camassia through the border in between the perennials as I read or heard somewhere recently that tall late summer perennials were a good way of hiding the dying Camassia foliage.

Having completed the required plant moving I started to dig out the dry stone wall.  I have to admit that I was running out of steam by this time but thankfully my eldest son came to my rescue.  Any excuse to wield his pickaxe.  The stones making up the wall were soon removed and he has dug quite a way back into the slope ready for the wall to be rebuilt and a seating area made.   As we worked I could start to see how the planting on the slope could work to create a good jungley effect.  I am going plant buying at the end of the week with some friends to Pan Global Plants and Cotswold Garden Flowers so I think this will give me the opportunity to get the main structural components I want.

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Oh and we also moved the sink trough into the succulent border in the front garden but I will save that for the End of Month View post tomorrow.

Narcissus 'Sophies Choice'
Narcissus ‘Sophies Choice’

 

Narcissus Galore

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Last Autumn I decided to invest in some different narcissus for the garden to try to add more interest and because I am quite interested in the variety.  This last week with slightly warmer temperatures the first ones have started to open.  I have a very ordinary and unknown large yellow daffodil in the garden that was here when we arrived nine years ago and it generally flowers before all the other narcissus.  This year it was severely battered by the snow and frost but there are still some flowering and I think the milder temperatures have meant that they, as well as the snowdrops, have lasted much longer than usual.

The first of my new narcissus is above and I am pretty sure it is W P Milner.  I ordered my bulbs from Peter Nyssen this year as they have a wide range available at very good prices and the quality over the last two years as been excellent.  I made a note of what I ordered and where I intended to plant them.  I know that I followed the planting plan but there are several varieties in each area so I have been peering at Peter Nyssen’s website trying to decide which is which.  I am pretty confident with W P Milner as its colouring is very distinctive to the other narcissus I have.  I love the creases on the trumpet, it looks like a very fine muslin.

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The next one is  I believe Minnow.  It could be Canaliculatus but the photograph on the supplier website shows longer petals in relation to the trumpet.  I have some other narcissus that aren’t quite in flower so I suspect these are Canaliculatus.  I have to say I am surprised at how small the flowers are on Minnow although I suspect that is where the name comes from.  It looks very pretty growing amongst blue hyacinths.

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Another new narcissus for the garden, this time Geranium.  I like the distinct contrast between the trumpet and the very white petals.  These are planted along the top of the lawn up the garden and are quite striking.

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I have had this one for a few years now and I have no idea what it is so if anyone has any idea I would love to know.  It is quite a dainty flower and I like the swept back petals.

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Finally tete a tete, these are planted in the front garden along the edge of the lawn providing a lift to the line of Deschampsia I have planted there.  I am very pleased with the effect but think I  may add some more to increase the effect.

So those are my Narcissus so far this year.  I intend to add more next year especially as I am avoiding having tulips in the main part of the back garden due to the local badgers; addictions.  I am using this post as an aide memoire for the future when I can’t remember which narcissus is which.

Bulb Obsessive

Many a good gardener I know has a secret seed addiction, I say secret as its easy to hide those guilty unsown seed packets but bulbs? Well its not so easy to hide the sacks and packets bulging with bulbs and corms. I have noticed over the years I have been blogging that there seems to be a heightened sense of panic and guilt the nearer we get to the end of the year as gardeners face the fact that they really were never going to plant those 200 tulips bulbs.

I am far from guilty and each year more bulbs find their way into the garage waiting to be planted.  I do try to be good and this year in the Spring I made a note in my garden notebook of what bulbs I needed to add to what border.  I dutifully consulted my notebook when the glossy bulb catalogues arrived but as the pages turned more delights winked at me and the list grew.  But no! This year I was going to be sensible, I had a tight budget so I would not succumb to impulse buys and I didn’t, how good am I?  But then it went a little pear-shaped; I spotted some cheap bulbs in Wilkinsons and well you can never have enough narcissus and then I joined the Spalding Bulb Blogger Group and was sent a selection of 100 mixed spring bulbs as a thank you.  Oh dear, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that!

Well over the last two days I have planted around 200 bulbs.  This may not sound a lot to some but my garden isn’t that big.  I have planted Tulip Ballerina in the front garden along one side of the newly shaped lawn.  These have been interplanted with Allium Sphareocephalon which I saw earlier in the summer at Cotswold Garden Flowers (see top picture).  I have also planted Narcissus Tete-a-Tete, Minnow and Canaliculatus in the front garden among the edging of Deschampsia.  Today I finished off the patio border with some Narcissus W P Milner and also planted up some Anemone Blanda and Mixed Iris from Spalding in pans.  This is on top of the Narcissus planted last weekend.

But there is still a pile of bulbs waiting to be planted in the garage.  There are some tulips mainly Jan Reus to go on the slope to supplement the ones already there; some Allium flavum,  some Miscari and another bag which I can’t remember.  In my defence most of the ones I ordered from Peter Nyssen have been planted, it is the free ones which are looking for homes.  Oh and then I was watching Gardeners World last night and saw a tin bath planted up with masses of tulips  and now I  want to go to the local garden centre to buy lots more tulips to plant up  my tin bath.

So there you go not only am I self-confessed seedaholic but am also a bulb obsessive – healthy addictions I think as they only lead to brighten the  world.