Six on Saturday

All of a sudden, the garden has exploded into life and everywhere I look there is beauty and chaos in equal measure. Euphorbia palustris and Viburnum plicatum enjoying the first rays of early morning sunshine.

Originally, I had both the violet and white Hesperis matronalis but in recent years the violet disappeared. It now seems it may be making a slow comeback as this white is showing definite pink tendencies!

Neillia thibetica is a tough flowering shrub which should be in more gardens. Its pretty pink flowers are fleeting but the dense thicket of fresh green foliage provides a good way of hiding ugly fences, sheds or buildings. Not something to stand and admire, just useful.

The early flowering Wisteria sinensis ‘Prolific’ came through the spring frosts unscathed for a change and the air was laden with its sweet scent for a week or so. Still very immature but living up to its name!

The first Sweet Peas are flowering, this one being ‘Painted Lady’, one of the oldest varieties and still one of the prettiest in my opinion, understated in a simple two-tone pink and white.

Centaurea montana, pushing its way through the tangle of other foliage is a stalwart of the spring garden. Utterly reliable, wildflower which is a valuable source of early nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators.

Finally for this week, the simple beauty of Paeonia lutea, the yellow tree peony, which will flower in succession for several weeks. Now 2m tall and covered in buds.

Off to Eckington Village Open Gardens today, I love seeing other people’s gardens!

Have a great weekend


Six on Saturday

It is still very wet and cold for late April but some plants carry on regardless such as Erysimum ‘Apricot Twist’ which seems intent on being the plant that never stops flowering. This is a cutting taken 2 years ago which has flowered periodically all winter and is now really getting into her stride. She will probably flower for 6 months or more before I replace her with a cutting taken last year. They literally flower themselves to death!

This is Erysimum ‘Red Jep’ kindly given to me by a dear friend from our gardening group. It has been in this pot all winter and took the worst of the weather, but look at it now!

Euphorbia cyparissias looking splendid at the front of the shrubbery again. It has spread significantly since last year and now occupies a swathe across the front of the taller shrubs and perennials. I just love the acid yellow against the emerging sea of green.

As an experiment, I lifted a huge clump of Camassias last year which were in the wrong place and overcrowded, dried off the bulbs over summer and planted them in big pots in the autumn. I am delighted with the results. They mix well with narcissus and some early tulips and I can move the pots in May to make way for the Agapanthus africanus.

Unless we have a late frost, which now looks unlikely according to the current weather forecast, the Wisteria sinensis ‘Prolific’ should look magnificent this year. After three years of frosted flower buds and no flowers, I might finally get the show I planned for. Fingers crossed!

I consider myself to be very lucky to have pink and white bluebells in the garden. They appeared by chance many years ago and come back every year. They have all the same characteristics of our native bluebell, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, and occur when the flower’s blue pigment is missing, making them ‘albino’ bluebells. It is believed a native white bluebell occurs only once in every 10,000 flowers.

Finally, the Hydropod cuttings propagator is going full blast to create lots of young plants for the coming season. This is Penstemon ‘Choir Boy’, a rare white cultivar which I am hoping to popularise again. It has only taken three weeks to get these roots which proves the value of the equipment. I have now probably produced over 300 cuttings in three years!

Have a great Bank Holiday weekend