Six on Saturday

Euphorbia characias, nowhere near as tall as last year but with plenty of flowers to enjoy. Considering it is native to the hot and dry Mediterranean, it is a plant which has become well adapted to our wet winters. It it is happy enough to self seed everywhere too!

My congested bed of Hesperantha coccinea did not produce many flowers last year which was probably due to a lack of timely watering and exhausted soil. The RHS recommended lifting, dividing and replanting into soil with added compost so up they came! A bag of rich mushroom compost with added manure and a few fistfuls of Growmore should help them perform better.

Something I haven’t witnessed before is stripy Carex ‘flowering’ in my winter hanging basket. I just hope I don’t end up with seedlings popping up everywhere!

This week, I launched my new website to support my National Collection of Tradescantias. I have called it Spiderwort because that is the common name for the hardy species in North America. I would love you to have a look and let me know what you think of it so far!

The link is https://thespiderwortcollection.wordpress.com/

It is early days and I have a lot more information to upload, but any early thoughts would be welcome. The plan is to post updates at least weekly throughout the main growing season, April to August, and to record plant performance, pests and diseases, flower power and individual traits which die-hard enthusiasts should find interesting. However, I fully acknowledge that die-hard enthusiasts for this species are few and far between and I won’t be offended if you decide not to follow my Tradescantia journey of discovery!

Erysimum ‘Parrish’s’ continues to flower as it has done all winter long. I marvel at their stamina and flower power. She currently has darker flower colours than they will be in summer when the brick red and light purple will be added to the mauve. Unlike most Erysimums, this one enjoys being cut back hard in April to encourage new shoots.

I love the fresh new shoots of Roses. I also breathe a sigh of relief that I didn’t kill them with my drastic pruning. Fingers crossed for no more hard frosts! I am a bit old fashioned when it comes to pruning roses; as well as taking out any diseased, dead, spindly and crossing stems, I like to have an open centre, varying heights and pruned to an outward facing bud. Many theories abound including the use of hedge trimmers and just a quick haircut, but I find pleasure and satisfaction in giving this job a bit more thought and care.

Finally, half a clump of Sanguisorba ‘Pink Tanna’ on it’s way to a friend’s garden in exchange for Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’ already received and planted. Gardeners are such a generous bunch!

Have a great weekend

David

Six on Saturday

Clematis Cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ resplendent on the arch today, as reliable as my old Grandmother’s clock. Gets virtually no attention all year, never watered or fed, often clothed in perennial sweet peas (Lathyrus latifolia) and a climbing rose in summer but shrugs them off to prepare for her wonderful display in December and January each year. One of the best.

Narcissus ‘Spring Dawn’, one of the earliest daffodils, was in flower on New Year’s Day and is utterly reliable to cheer you up even on the darkest days of winter. It is a harbinger of Spring and better days to come.

A rather bedraggled Erysimum ‘Parrish’s’ which persists even in the depths of winter as if on a mission. It’s flowers seem darker at this time of year, the brick red and pink not appearing frequently until early summer. This variety is one which can be cut back hard in Spring and will sprout new shoots from the old wood, unlike ‘Bowles Mauve’ and others in the same family. This cultivar along with it’s cousin, ‘Apricot Twist’, are probably the two best perennial wallflowers in my garden for longevity and flower power. Easy to propagate from cuttings too.

Not my picture, but a borrowed image of Tradescantia ohiensis ‘Mrs Loewer’, a member of the Andersoniana Group of Tradescantias but distinctly different foliage to most others. Just acquired from Beth Chatto nursery in Essex who is probably the only supplier of this particular hybrid in the UK. Looking forward to becoming the other supplier soon!

H85

My trail camera discovered who has been leaving me a little ‘present’ on the path every morning recently. We are fortunate to have a lot of wildlife literally on the doorstep where we live and we often see and hear foxes, deer, owls and bats as well as the occasional badger but I do wish they would leave their toilet habits away from my precious plants!

And, while we are on the subject of wildlife, what on earth chews and eats plastic plant labels?! My money is on a rat because I know from bitter experience that their smaller cousins love plastic bottle tops and wiring!

Have a great weekend

David