The mild Autumn is certainly causing some surprising combinations in the garden this December. There are a number of flowers which seem to have been in flower for months and it is almost as though they have been frozen in time like Sleeping Beauty. Here we have Gladiolus callianthus which are putting on an excellent display at the top of the garden. They are a welcome surprise this year as I tipped a number of pots of bulbs out on to the top border as there was no sign of life and they had hardly flowered last year. Then lo and behold lying on the top of the soil they started to grow and they have been wonderful for months. They are meant to be moderately hardy but I think I will risk them outside over the winter and see how they get on. I suspect as they come from the mountainous regions of Africa that they might be a bit hardier than we think especially if they have good drainage and don’t get too sodden.
Salvia involucrata boutin has also been flowering for months and like the Gladiolus seems frozen in time. The plant which is some 4 years old is huge now so I won’t be lifting it this year but am relying on cuttings and a thick mulch around roots. I’m glad I decided not to lift it as it means I have enjoyed the flowers for a lot longer than normal.
Alongside the hangers-on are the usual seasonal delights. The number of shrubs, especially those that flower outside of Summer are increasing in my garden. They often have small delicate flowers which come into their own when there isn’t much showy competition. Here we have an Abelia, variety unknown, which is very popular with the pollinators when we have a sunny day. I enjoy the combination of the pale flowers with the burgundy stems and calyx.
The Jasminum nudiflorum seemed to come into flower early last month and the flowers are just started to go over, no hanging around for them like the Gladiolus and Salvia. I think this rain soaked bloom looks almost transparent in some lights.
Euphorbia rigida, albeit a small and young plant, is already illuminating the front garden. I really like the combination of the glaucous leaves and the acid green flowers. Just behind this plant is Salvia armistad which I haven’t lifted and is still just about in flower and the deep blue/purple flowers contrast wonderfully from afar with the Euphorbia.
Finally an unknown Primula. There are a lot of primulas in my garden, with the numbers increasing year on year as I am a sucker for the Barnhaven Primrose website. This one is a straight forward lilac Primula vulgaris and probably due for dividing in the Spring. It is one of the first real spring flowers to open and makes me feel optimistic that Spring isn’t really that far away. I have a couple of different snowdrops that are producing flowers but not open enough yet to include and the Iris unguicularis which I featured a few weeks ago is still producing flower after flower which is making me very happy after waiting for a few years for it to establish.
So those are my floral December highlights. For more Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts visit May Dreams.
The last couple of weeks have given us the occasional bright sunny days with temperatures just nudging 20C. It seems like the garden has had its touch-paper lit and the plants are rushing forward. Every day there seems to be something new opening or germinating. Today’s thrill is the first Anemone pavonina opening its flower. I bought three plants last year from Stocktonbury Gardens, taking great care where I planted them and carefully not removing the seed heads so they might self-seed. They can be hard to establish so I was grateful for the mild winter and the fact that all three have reappeared and have flower buds.
There is still quite a variety of narcissus large and small flowering in the garden but my two favourites are Angels Tears and Sophies Choice, both quite elegant and pale.
Tulips are rare in my garden as over recent hard winters they have been dug up by the badger so I no longer plant them in the borders. However, there are one or two which the badger didn’t get and which flower year on year. Tulip ‘Jan Reus’ is one of the few flowering in my garden at the moment.
Iris bucharica is another new delight. It’s a Juno Iris which aren’t generally easy to grow in the garden, prefering pot culture, but Iris bucharica is the exception and will grow in the border so here’s hoping that they will reappear next year.
I had forgotten I had Leucojum vernum in the woodland border so it was a delight to see it reappear. Hopefully one day it will start to bulk up.
I have a growing passion for Epimediums and the first are flowering with more to follow. I love their dainty flowers and the way they waft above the foliage.
Another new tiny delight is Dicentra cucullaria which I have started in a pot but I think will be fine in the border once I have looked up the right conditions for it.
The honesty has started to flower. I think this one is Lunaria ‘Corfu Blue’; I remember sowing seeds for it but I don’t remember it germinating well but maybe I was too hasty in throwing the seed tray on to the border.
I do though remember sowing Lunaria annua ‘Chedglow’. I bought the seeds last year from Avon Bulbs at Malvern show, sowing them that weekend and I am very pleased with the plants. I really like the dark foliage with the purple flowers.
Primulas and polyanthus are flowering away with new ones putting in an appearance on a regular basis. It seems that the polyanthus start flowering later than the primulas. I am particularly fond of the (Drumstick Primula)
There are lots of other small floral delights in the borders and I have included a few of my real favourites.
For more Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts visit Carol over at May Dreams
This is the fourth year I have done a flower count on Boxing Day. I had noticed when weeding on Christmas Eve that there seemed to be quite a few flowers around presumably due to the recent mild weather, so it will be interesting to see how things compare.
I am particularly thrilled that Iris unguicularis ‘Walter Butt’ is in flower. Last year it flowered at the start of December and although the plant is strong and healthy so far this month there had been no sign of flowers but Christmas Eve morning saw this wonderful elegant dainty flower fluttering in the breeze.
This double hellebore has been flowering for weeks, in fact months, since I bought it from a plant sale in October. It is also covered in buds which means it should continue flowering for some time. There are lots of other hellebore buds appearing including the Christmas Rose (Hellebore niger) but as yet they are still in tight bud so I can’t really count them.
The Viburnum rhytiophyllum continues to flower, really lighting up the back corner. The Abelias which were in flower this time last year have gone over so can’t be included but the Grevillea ‘Canberra Gem’ as per the last two years has its first few flowers coming out. Still no flowers on the Mahonia which I butchered two years ago, it is really putting on good growth so hopefully next year I will be able to include this in the count.
The prostrate Rosemary is also starting to flower and is already becoming popular with bees.
Then we have a whole range of primulas which are flowering away. They are looking a little battered and I noticed when I was weeding two days ago that many seemed to be being eaten by something – I am assuming slugs. The weather has been so mild and wet it wouldn’t surprise me that the slugs are still active.
The Viola orduta has also been munched as you can see from the top petals. I have come across some small caterpillars when tidying up so they might be causing the damage. I shall have to keep an eye on them.
The Jasminum nudiflorum has responded well to pruning earlier in the year and I think I am getting the hang of this unruly plant. However, it is proving harder to photograph as the flowers seem too shy to be photographed.
Finally the first outside snowdrop – Galanthus ‘Ding Dong’ – has started to flower. I had hoped it would be fully open for today but I suspect the distinct drop in temperature today has made it hesitate in opening.
There are also two different types of bedding cyclamen flowering and a rose whose bloom opened a c0uple of days ago. In the greenhouse the only flowering plant is Primula palinuri. This is the first time the plant has flowered having been grown from seed probably two years ago.
The total plants flowering on Boxing Day 2014 is 17 which is up on the last three years when I recorded 12 each year. Also, with the exception of the Primula palinuri all the other plants are outside which is a huge improvement on last year when a significant number were in the greenhouse.
You can access the previous counts here.
I think there is only one word to describe the garden this week – soggy! The ground is sodden to the extent that the woodchip and grass paths are becoming challenging to negotiate and the patio floods quickly. It really doesn’t make for good or mildly alright gardening weather. That said I have little energy left after decorating my bedroom this last week to do much in the garden so the endless rain means I’m not wishing I had some residual energy. Instead I am enjoying the faint blue haze that is appearing on the prostrate rosemary which grows over the wall outside of the kitchen window.
During one of my many trips to the DIY store I picked up these three cyclamen which were very reduced and looking quite forlorn. They were simply labelled ‘Cyclamen’ so I have no idea which variety they are and they could well be of the less hardy variety but they are full of flower buds and I am hoping they will add a little colour over the coming weeks to the border under the Prunus which I was tidying before Christmas.
I seem to be drowning in seed and bulb catalogues at the moment and the number of turned corners and asterisks is quite worrying. I decided to try to rationalise my ‘wants’ by sorting out the seed box and discovered that I already have five packets of cosmos seeds of various varieties, as well as numerous wallflower, snap dragon, rudbeckia, nigella and calendula seeds. Some are bought and some I have collected myself. So there is no need for me to buy annual seeds and I can focus my intentions on perennials which are more appealing to me anyway and reduces the list a tiny bit.
I have ventured out a few times over the weekend and tidied up in the greenhouse and cold frame. I am trying very hard to look after my alpines and particularly the primulas so that they may just be good enough to show although I really don’t have a clue what I am doing just following my instinct. My collection of bulbs seems to be thriving with virtually all the pots having noses of leaves pushing through the gravel. In the greenhouse the Iris reticulata Cantab I moved in under cover last week is definitely pushing ahead of those outside and I decided to bring two of the Cyclamen periscum I have grown from seed in to the house. I am hoping the increased heat might encourage the flower buds I have spotted to open; the first time the plants will have flowered.
Its back to work on Monday which will mean that I won’t see the garden again until next Saturday morning. I find this time of year a little challenging in this respect so I am glad I have a meeting of one of the garden clubs this week so at least I will get some sort of horticultural fix.
Looking back I didn’t bother to do a Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post last year which I am assuming is because we had so much snow for so many weeks that I was quite disengaged with the garden and there probably wasn’t anything to show anyway.
How different it is 12 months later. Today I spotted my first snowdrops almost in flower. There has been lots on twitter and the blogasphere about snowdrops opening early and I was beginning to wonder if mine were going to flower but I needn’t have worried here they are on time, even a little early. There aren’t as many showing as I would expect but I did move a lot of snowdrops last spring so I am hoping they are just delayed a little.
The winter jasmine is still flowering its socks off. I am really pleased as it had a very thorough prune in the summer and is probably only a third of its former self but I think there are more flowers in relation to stems than there was before.
This Vinca (major I think) creeps under the fence from next door. It is a very welcome addition at this time of year and I have learnt that the flowers appear on the new shoots not the long sinuous ones so I am trying to cut it back to have more young fresh green growth and flowers.
A pretty Primula denticulata already flowering. I grew these from seed a few years back and they are bulking up nicely now. Maybe they will be bulky enough for me to divide soon.
The Cyclamen hederifolium is still flowering – its been flowering for a couple of months now. When the flowers first appeared there were no leaves but now the leaves are appearing and I think they are lovely, such a nice shape and a welcome change the rounded indoor cyclamen leaves. As I bought this as a large corm I have never seen it in leaf so this is quite exciting – well sort off. Also I like the way the plant has decided to grow through the branches that edge the bed – I couldn’t have done better if I had tried.
Just as I was pleased to see the first snowdrops appear I was equally thrilled to smell the flowers of the Sarcococca confusa (Sweet Box). At first I wasn’t sure where the smell was coming from especially as it was dark at the time. But this morning my suspicions were confirmed and it was the Sarcococca. I have had the plant a couple of years and like so many plants in my garden it was very small, and therefore cheap, when I bought it. This is the first year it has had more than a handful of flowers and therefore scent. It has put on so much growth in the last year that I have cut a small bunch of stems and the flowers are making the living room quite heady with their scent.Finally there are Hellebores nearly ready to flower – as you can see it has been pretty frosty. Hopefully next month’s GBBD post will have lots of Hellebores featured.
Also lurking in the garden but beginning to go over are flowers of Mahonia, Abelia and Ceanothus.
For more GBBD posts visit May Dream Gardens
This week’s theme for Blooming Friday set by Katarina over at Roses and Stuff is ‘Essentials’
I have been pondering what Katarina’s intention was when she chose this theme. Firstly, I was going to photograph the tools I consider essential in the garden but then I realised that this wasn’t particularly apt for ‘Blooming Friday’. I then thought, well food is essential so maybe I should be featuring edibles but I don’t have any appropriate photos or anything to photograph. Then I decided that I would feature plants that for me are essential to my gardening happiness.
A few people who know me well will have spotted my quiet addiction to Primulas. I don’t think I would be happy now if I had a garden without them. I love them they are so pretty and dainty and easy to grow from seed. I have a mass of magenta candelabra primulas and have recently ordered Primula serratifolia and Primula sikkimensis from Kevock Garden Plants.
My other essential flower family in the garden are Irises. I love them all from the Bearded Irises through the Siberian Irises to the tiny Iris Reticulata
Those are my two essential flower families. Of course there are lots of other plants I like but I would really miss having Iris and Primulas
I had hoped to do a slide show for this month but with one thing and another I havent had time to take the photos and compile the show so I’m afraid I will only be including my highlights.
Primulas are still one of the one flowers in my garden at the moment and my favourites are the Drumstick Primulas (above). I have four of them now and they are bulking up nicely. I hope to be able to divde them and start to create a drift.
Tulips are also beginning to be a feature this month. Above is Princess Irene (I think). I planted these in the border 3 years ago and they didnt do much and there wasnt much improvement last year. I meant to dig them up but forgot. I’m glad I did as this year they have reappeared and are healthy and strong with lots of flowers. I read somewhere that as they come from Turkey the bulbs like to bake in the sun so you should plant them on the edge of the border where they wont be shaded. This is where mine are but I cant imagine they got much of a chance to bake last year with all the rain we had.
I have other tulips in pots but they are only at the bud stage at the moment though the one below has an interesting colouring.
I’m also pleased with my Rancunculus Brazen Hussey (below)
The pond is beginning to come to life again with Marsh Marigolds flowering
I hope that by next month I will be able to include some Irises in my GBBD post – the first ones are coming into bud
Other colour in my garden is coming from the trees and shrubs which I recorded here
I did my first GBBD post a year ago today – I found it very interesting as of the flowers I featured only one of them is flowering at the moment. This could be because I have been moving the plants around or maybe because we havent had much rain for the last month, though today is beginning to make up for it.
For more GBBD posts visit May Dreams blog
Amazingly I have managed to find some blooms in the garden (and greenhouse I confess!) to do a Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post for December
Primula seedlings waited for me to plant them out
Hebe in one of my winter pots
Pelagonium in the greenhouse
Hydranga still flowering
and finally this rose bud which is plumping up but I wonder if it will actually flower. How lovely it would be to have it flower for Christmas.
For other Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts visit May Dreams