Every so often there are unexpected delights in the garden and this week seems to have delivered more than its fair share. I have grown Tragopodon crocifolius for years, well I have I have grown it, what I actually mean is that I grew it from seed probably around 8 years ago and it has seeded it self around the garden. It is a hardy annual and I suspect I got the original seeds from Special Plants. It sends up a tall stem with these wonderful lilac flowers which then turn to big Dandelion type puff ball seedheads – hence the self seeding around the garden. Its common name is Jack-go-bed-at-noon because the flowers open in the morning and then close at noon. To be honest I had forgotten about this plant until I noticed a number of them flowering in the front garden – a nice surprise.
But much as I love Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon the real thrill this weekend are the Tulip sprengeri flowers. I have been trying to establish this plant in the garden for a few years. I have tried sowing seeds in pots, in borders but no luck. Last year I bought a pot of seedlings, which I promptly forgot about as is my habit, but when I built the raised wall around the top border I rounded up a number of small pots of plants from the patio and planted them out and lo and behold one of them was the tulip sprengeri and this time they have flowered. I am really hoping that they will start to seed them and I will end up with a clump like I have seen elsewhere.
Dutch Iris ‘Miss Saigon’ was a new addition this spring. I planted about 20 bulbs in the garden and they are simply gorgeous, such a special irridescent colour.
Another of my Dutch Iris, this was an early acquisition so there are only one or two in the garden but the white is so pure.
Peonies – have been a challenge for me for years. I have planted many over the years but I obviously plant them too deeply as until this year I have never had many flowers. But things have changed – this year the plant above has some 5 blooms on it and I have another one just the same. Then this evening, while watering I spotted that some of the other peonies, of a different type going by the leaves, have buds too so things are looking up.
I posted the other week a photo of Iris Langport Wren which has multipled itself over the years and this year felt as though it was the only bearded iris left in the garden. I love bearded irises and like the peonies have bought many over the years but they seem to have disappeared. I decided the other day that I needed to rectify the situation and try to add some more varieties. I thought I would get some at the HPS meeting today but not an iris to be seen, nor at the garden centre on the way home; seems they aren’t in fashion. But, when I got home I spotted that diminutive Iris Bumblebee Delight starting to flower – so thats two bearded irises but I do need more.
I have been lucky enough to go to RHS Chelsea on Press Day this year as I get a RHS Committee pass due to the Aster Trial. Its been a long day starting with catching the train at 5:55 so instead of writing about my impressions I am just posting some of my favourite images.
I’m off today on a short garden visiting odyssey so there won’t be the usual weekly update of things in my garden. Instead here are some pictures of what is looking good in the garden I managed to take yesterday afternoon between rain showers.
I am thrilled with the impact of the Geranium palmatum at the top of the garden. It seems to have gone mad this year and you have to battle your way along the top path. I suspect the amount of growth is because we had such a mild winter the plants didn’t get knocked back.
So those are my solstice delights. I will be back later in the week to hopefully share with you some images of the amazing gardens I am visiting down south.
Any one would think we are heading towards Winter with the amount of time its possible to garden decreasing and decreasing rather than heading towards Spring. Having been excited by a couple of warm days and thoughts of starting to harden off the perennial seedlings which were overwintering in the cold frame we are now back to bitterly cold and any hope of gardening dismissed. The daffodils though are continuing regardless and have started to flower which is a welcome sight.
I did spend a couple of hours in the greenhouse on Saturday re-jigging plants and moving things around so I can start seed sowing. The cyclamen have been squirreled away under the staging and the pelargoniums have been brought up to the top of the staging so they get better light. They have been watered and tidied up and next weekend I will give them a good feed to really start them off.
In my tidying up I discovered signs of a peony starting the germinate. The label tells me that I sowed the seeds nearly a year ago. I know that peonies take a while to germinate and I read somewhere that they put their roots down well before showing any sign above ground so I tucked the pot away over winter and ignored it. I don’t know which peony it is as it was in a packet of mixed peony seeds from either the RHS or the Hardy Plant Society seed distribution schemes. The trillium seeds I thought had germinated the other week are now looking to be very much like the real thing and I think, or I hope, that what has appeared in the meconopsis poppy seed tray are indeed meconopsis poppies and not some random weed seed that has blown in.
Having had a rejig and moved some plants into the garage until temperatures rise I found I did indeed have room to start seed sowing. So for those of you interested in such things this is what I sowed this week:
I also pricked out the Ricinus seedlings. These germinated within days when I sowed them in a propagator back in January but I hadn’t got as far as pricking them out and consequently lost 3 of the 6 – a lesson to learn. But the biggest lesson I learnt was not taking into account the size of the seed when choosing a pot to sow them in. Next time I will sow them in individual pots as I would beans or peas. Finally before I completely lost feeling in my fingers I potted up some Francoa which I grew from seed last year and which will be a good size to plant out in a month or so.
Sunday proved to be even colder and my fingers were frozen within 10 minutes when I went out to take some photographs so I retreated indoors so dream and wish for sunshine and warmer days.