Six on Saturday – After the Rain

Darmera peltata

I’ve been moving a lot of plants around over the last couple of weeks partly to clear the Big Border for edibles but also to address some of the plants that have outgrown their space or just aren’t looking great any more.  It has made be really aware of how dry the soil was becoming and I have found myself having to get the hose out several times a week to try to help the plants survive the trauma of being unceremoniously hauled out of the ground.

Yesterday late afternoon the rain finally appeared, fine rain, nothing much to write home about and to be honest a little disappointing. But this morning I was thrilled to wake to heavy and persistent rain which only really eased early afternoon.

Going out to take some photos for Six on Saturday post it was lovely to smell that wonderful fresh smell that you only get from a good downfall of rain.  Not only does it smell fresh but there is that wonderful light that comes with the sun starting to push through the mist and clouds making everything feel soft and lush.

So to my Six on Saturday.  First up is Darmera peltata, also known as the ‘Umbrella Plant’.  I grow this plant mainly for its leaves which are umbrella like, hence the name, and do very well in the damp shade border.  However, the flowers make a welcome and interesting addition to the shady border.  Next up are Bluebells.  I have no idea is these are English or Spanish but they have been in my garden for years and come from the hedgerow near my parents old house in the country so I would like to think they were English.

Trillium grandiflorum (probably)

My third is this Trillium which I am super pleased with.  I think it is Trillium grandiflorum but happy to be corrected.  I have had it for some years now and it has appeared every year with one flower.  This year it has decided to produce three flowers which is just wonderful and makes me incredibly happy.

Primula denticulata

Number 4 is Primula denticulata. This individual is just one of a group of ten or more which have developed from one plant grown from seed probably ten years or more ago.  Back in the Autumn I was sorting out the Woodland border and decided to divide up the Primula denticulata quite aggressively and I have been rewarded with more and stronger flowers, proving that plants sometimes do respond well to a little rough treatment.

Camassia

Number 5 are Camassias.  These are starting to be a bit of a weed in my garden.  Having bought a couple of bulbs years back they have been either seeding around or the bulbs bulking up either way I have been redistributing them around the garden and to be honest composting quite a few.

Deutzia

Number Six: Deutzia.  This shrub was in the garden when we moved in 17 years ago and never fails to deliver an abundance of flowers every year.  I’m sure its early this year as I think it normally flowers around the time of the Malvern Spring Show which is the second weekend of May.

I’m anticipating that with the warm weather forecast for next week and the amount of rain that we have had today the garden will really be bursting with new growth and flowers by next weekend.

Six on Saturday – 30th March 2019

Narcissus Thalia

Like the host of this meme I find myself resenting time away from the garden at the moment.  Today I would normally go to an HPS meeting but it was either sit in a village hall discussing plants or actually be outside in the garden getting on with sorting out my garden – I chose the garden.

I prefer to garden early in the day or in the evening when others aren’t around as it allows me to turn off completely, hear the bees humming and the birds singing.  I like to immerse myself in the garden, thinking about what plant might work where, why is this plant not looking so good, how can I improve that border? So I am looking forward to the evenings getting lighter.

With the wonderful forecast this weekend I was out in the garden as soon as I had done the weekly shop. I wanted to take my Six on Saturday photos first thing as the sun was making the garden glow but it turned out that both my camera batteries were dead so unfortunately the photos don’t reflect the beautiful light we had today. The Prunus is groaning with blossom which in turn means the air is positively alive with bees.

After a couple of years of disengagement with the garden my gardening mojo is well and truly back but slightly different.  It has grown up, it is more mature and considered and better informed

My focus today was the very top left hand corner of the garden.  As you can see some of the fencing is missing which is down to my neighbours.  When they moved in they cut down all the trees and shrubs along the boundaries, which I can understand as it was so overgrown, but the trees and shrubs did hold up the fence which was collapsing from years of neglect by the previous owners.  I think they plan to replace the fence soon but in the meantime I feel a little exposed when I am in this part of the garden – my privacy is important to me. I sensed my neighbours were out today so it seemed a good time to tackle this corner.  It fits with my approach to getting a grip of the garden starting at the top and working my way down. This area used to be home to the compost bins which I removed last summer. I have planted it up with a number of shrubs which were either in pots on the patio or had to be moved to give other plants space.

I’m hoping that the range of shrubs: camellia, tree peony, hydrangeas will give round the year interest.  I had added a few ferns and also a helleborus foetidus which was over growing a path.  I also added narcissus and snowdrop bulbs back last autumn which put on a good display up to a week or so ago.  Today, I weeded, pruned, removed some brambles and sycamore seedlings from the very top and added a couple of Acunthus mollis.

Just to the right of the area I worked on today is an area I started work on almost to the day last year.  There used to be a woodchip path along the top of the garden but it led nowhere and I spent more time trying to keep it weeded then anything else.  The wood edging had rotted and to be honest the path was becoming dangerous so last year I removed the wood edging and I have slowly but surely been digging up and removing the rubble that formed the base of the path.  The area of bare soil in the photo above was the very last bit of the path which I finally removed last week.  I can now use this space for some ferns, epimediums and hellebores which need moving. I am trying to create a tapestry of foliage to give interest all year round.

My new approach is beginning to show dividends elsewhere in the garden.  Above is the top of the garden to the right where I removed the path last year.  This area is awash with honesty (Lunaria annua) which seeds itself around the garden.  I used to have a white variegated honesty but seem to have lost it over the past few years so I think I will try to find some more seeds and reintroduce it. I discovered that the Melianthus major above is also flowering like the one next to the shed which is really good.

Finally, I will leave you with the first tulips to open this year in the garden.  They were in a selection pack of tulips and I think they are Tulip ‘Elegant Lady’ – I do like the softness of the colour and think I may try to add some more next year.

I have had a wonderful day today gardening for far more hours than any other day this year and I ache all over which is often a sign of a good day.

For more Six on Saturday posts visit the Propagator’s Blog.

 

Six on Saturday – 9th March

Prunus kojo no mai

March seems to have roared in like a lion, which hopefully will mean it will end like a lamb but we will wait to see if that old adage is true.  Today we had another day full of blustery winds and squally showers, intermingled with sunshine, which at first seemed a good day for gardening but that blustery wind was very cold, cutting right through me.  The result was about an hour of gardening but at least the cobwebs were blown away.

Hepatica noblis

The garden is positively glowing now with dainty little spring flowers popping up here and there.  The Prunus kojo no mai is just coming into flower.  I love this shrub, its about 6ft tall, has slightly crooked stems and the most delicate pale pink flowers which remind me of tissue paper.  Another thrill was to find the Hepatica noblis flowering, especially as it is slowly but surely bulking up.

I think this is a form of Hyacinth but I need to have a rummage around to find the label, I don’t remember this plant flowering so well in the past so it is really a bit of a mystery.  It may well have been one of the pots of bulbs I used to have when I dabbled in growing alpines and I ended up planting out last year as I was fed up with all the pots.

Tulipa turkestanica

Tulipa turkestanica is another one of those bulbs that I used to grow in pots which seems to be doing better now that it is planted out in the border.

 

Melianthus major

The Melianthus major is looking stunning this year.  Last year it was hit by the ‘Beast from the East’ but this year the warmer weather and rain have led to a very abundant plant.  I am wondering if it will flower this year, there is no sign of any flowers at the moment but I am optimistic.  Even if it doesn’t flower the foliage is wonderful.

Sadly though some of the flowers have fallen victim to the wind.

For more Six on Saturday visit The Propagator’s blog.

 

Six for Saturday 9th February 2019

Not a lot of gardening has happened today; the wind and cold were not really conducive to pottering. Despite the skies being heavy with wintering clouds, there were moments when the clouds cleared and the sun shone through making the Anemanthele lessoniana glisten.

The Phormium, growing in the same border as the grass, is one of those plants that I am in two minds about.  At this time of year I love it especially when it is back-lit by sunshine but come the summer it doesn’t work very well with the perennials I have in the border but then again I am thinking about reducing the amount of asters in the border so we shall see.  

Another plant that comes into its own at this time of year is the Arum italicum which provides  a lovely backdrop to the early spring bulbs; this particular plant grows as a pretty skirt under the camellia below which looks like it might flower any day now.

Finishing on the foliage theme I thought I would share a photo of one of my Aeoniums which are thriving in the greenhouse.  The mild winter has led to unusually high temperatures in the greenhouse which has meant the plants have continued to grow rather than going dormant as they normally do at this time of year. 

For more Six for Saturday posts check out The Propagator’s blog whose great idea this meme was.

Six for Saturday – 3/2/2019

I’ve started re-engaging with blogs again and I came across a meme hosted by The Propagator; called Six for Saturday.  The premise is simply  just to post six photos relating to your garden in some way on a Saturday and link back to The Propagator. One of the reasons I didn’t blog much last year was because I was finding it difficult to find anything new to say; I think I was just burnt out. However, with a new year I am feeling much more engaged with the garden and starting to blog more and I think this will be a useful prompt.   So here goes with my first Six for Saturday post.

1. Hellebores are a real feature in my garden in January/February.   I have added a few each year, mainly from Ashwoods.   The dark purple hellebore is one of the first ones I bought and it grows along the top of the wall where I can see it from the living room window. Being on top of the wall means the drooping flowerheads are at just the right level for me to see inside the flower and take a photograph. Unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten about this in recent years which means that the newer hellebores are harder to photograph unless I lie down on the ground to see up into the flowers.

2 – Snowdrops are as prolific in the garden as hellebores.  I started with some ordinary Galanthus nivalis probably about 10 years ago and they have slowly spread around the garden.  Through my encounters with various plants people and groups I have found myself drawn into the irrational world of collecting snowdrops.  I probably have nearly 20 special named snowdrops in the garden now.  Sadly, the labels have disappeared, probably thanks to the local bird population.  I am determined to draw up a plan with those I can name marked on and replace the labels.

3 – Iris – I have a weakness for all sort of Iris. Iris reticulata have always challenged me.  I can get them to flower in pots in the first year and sometimes a second year.  But I seem incapable of getting them to grow in the border, aside from this one tiny group of Iris reticulata ‘Pauline’ which has appeared for the last couple of years and are very slowly bulking up. Any tips would be appreciated.

4. Sunshine – after days of grey wintery skies it was a delight to see the sun today

5 Snow – but despite the sun in some parts of the garden the snow has remained since Friday which I suppose just shows the garden still has some shade despite my neighbours both clearing the trees and shrubs along their fence lines.

To find more Six for Saturday posts follow this link and look in the comment box