I don’t know why it took me so long to discover the first plant in my six for today. I saw it an NGS garden visit and serendipitously spotted two small pots of it for sale at the Finchley Horticultural Plant sale last year. It has come on in leaps and bounds so without further ado here it is:
Tellima grandilfora aka fringe cups. It is an absolute winner for the dry shade in my garden. This version has pinkish flowers that fade to greeny white. How clever is that? There is another version, tellima grandiflora odorata, that is scented but I didn’t stumble across that one. I could easily be tempted to track one down for another shady corner though.
I’m also enjoying geranium macrorrhizum in the very dry shade in the front garden. The bluebells there are just going over but that blue and the magenta of the geranium has looked good over the last few weeks. This is a space where only the strong survive, and this geranium just gets on with it.
In the sunnier long border the ‘Mount Everest’ alliums have appeared. These were much complained about for putting on a poor show and last year I decided to add in some allium nigrum. It seems the threat of being usurped has spurred ‘Mount Everest’ on and they are making a go of it this year. The nigrums are some weeks behind and are much shorter at the moment.
I had to feature the sun loving osteospermums this week because I had never noticed their blue centres. Shame on me and thanks to Off the Edge Gardening for pointing this out. Apparently this is a sign of a hardier osteo.
It’s May, the roses are popping out everywhere and filling the air with beautiful scent. So the last two spaces go to them.
An unknown red climber that I inherited. It was a weak and straggly specimen that I cut completely to the ground three years ago. It put on the growth again quite quickly but this is its most floriferous year so far. It does battle with the alkanet – which I am going to try to dig out very soon. Again, that is. Last year’s half-hearted attempt just didn’t do it.
Madame Alfred Carriere. Another climbing rose that is making good progress over the back fence. It is in shade for the most of the day but catches the late afternoon/evening sun from the west. This is it’s second year and it is beginning to live up to its nickname of ‘Mad Alf’. I am very happy for it to go as mad as it likes. There is plenty of fence to cover.
There is some wonderful weather for today and perhaps early tomorrow but cold air is coming. There may be a need to fleece some things and it is definitely not time for the pellies to leave the greenhouse but I think another week might bring us into more consistent temperatures. Wishing you all perfect gardening weekends. I am late posting today but I see I am in good company. Mr P was distracted by having Friday off but he managed to get a post in on time and will be marshalling all the links to other SOSs.
Weekends and weeks have been busy and the garden has received only fleeting attention. The forecast of heavy rain for Friday saw me up early to sprinkle rose feed around so that the rain would do the watering in job. I managed one afternoon of ruthless cutting back and hardly made a dent in the job. I need to clear the borders to allow the later performing flowers to have their space. It’s easy to feel that there is a mountain to climb but even in that one afternoon there was so much loveliness to enjoy.
I planted an awful lot of allium sphaerocephalon last year but I don’t quite have the affect I wanted #neverhappy! But of course I am happy – they are full of bees and are keeping the colour in the garden going. I have no idea how the name is pronounced so I may be using the common name of round headed garlic. Much simpler.
The geranium’ Brookside’ are the biggest culprit for taking up space, stunning when they climb over the early roses but once the flowers go they have to be cut back. They are well established and cutting them back is a major job. My compost heap is heaping up. Each year I dither about getting a shredder but as the garden has been restocked and matured it is obvious to me that this is my next purchase.
I had to get my priorities right today. The deluge of rain has filled the water butts again but with the forecast of more to come I needed to pump the contents of one butt down to the end of the garden to fill the large water tank. I think it holds about 800 litres and is my go to for keeping the veg plot watered. While that was filling up I took the rest of my photos, serendipitiously benefited from the combination of sun and raindrops. This osteospermum is a workhorse in a sunny corner and deserves a mention.
I have given up trying to protect the soft fruits from the birds. I have had a few good pickings of gooseberries, blackcurrants and whitecurrants and I have taken off the netting to share the rest with nature. The whitecurrants look beautiful on the branch but remind me of fish eggs once in the colandar.
I managed to get the last tray of annuals in the ground this morning. I sowed cosmos late so there is not a flower to be seen but the nicotiana also sown late have come in to flower and the combination of heat and rain will no doubt do them both some good.
The rose of the week is Jaqueline du Pre. I really enjoy this one for its difference. It was flattened by the overnight rain but by crawling around on the grass and propping it up on some other branches I managed to get a half decent photo. I spotted an interesting salvia this week – Salvia × sylvestris ‘Schneehügel’ – a white variety. I am going to add this in around the rose. Just can’t stop myself.
I know someone else who can’t be stopped, yes Mr P. Go visit and see what’s happening there and around the world. Seems like the rain can’t be stopped either, its just started again. My empty water butt will be filling up nicely. Happy days.
After a few weeks away from these posts and the garden there is much to be done. No time for looking back on past successes and inevitably remembering all that didn’t get done. Here’s what is happening in my garden now.
The first buds on the Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii have appeared. I planted four as 9cm pots in Autumn 2016 and so this is the first flowering year. Although one of the four is still suffering from an unknown malaise, possibly too wet a position, the other three are romping away and giving me the beginning of a structure to the new border.
This is Hellebore Happy Day. I bought this from a market stall, seduced by the discounted price. On doing some research I discovered that it is a Hellebore Niger which has been specially developed for early flowering, mainly from October to December. I can confirm that it was early to flower and I am interested to see how long it keeps going. It is providing a good splash of brightness in the winter gloom.
Not yet in flower are these snowdrops. These are also part of the new garden planting. This time last year I dug out a good sized rectangle of grass around the fruit trees and on a cold and sleety day I planted about 100 snowdrops in the green along one edge of each of them. In retrospect I should have planted greater numbers to create a bigger impact. I will review them when they flower this year – one for a future six.
Getting to know a new garden is a long term process. Understanding which parts dry out soonest, which stay wet and soggy and which are the sunny corners takes several years. This osteospermum is a division of an existing plant that I moved in the summer. It was probably the wrong time to move it, but the parent plant was very leggy and I was trying to weed around it. Parts of the plant broke off as I tried to disentangle it. With a gardener’s optimism I dug a hole in a sunny corner and planted the divisions. I now know that the sunny corner is also very sheltered as the osteospermum has continued to flower through the winter. Now I need to see what else will enjoy that spot.
Here’s a view of one corner of the veg patch. The last of the parsnips have been pulled and eaten. I grew Tender and True from seed planted in late April. The other beds were for Carrots Nantes 2, Cucumber, Onions and Shallots. The cardboarded raised bed was for courgettes and sweet peas. The far bed was the cut flower patch, which will host potatoes this year. I’m a semi planner. I won’t be doing multi coloured charts but I will rotate crops and I will be planting more varieties this year. There may be a pencil plan in a notebook but I think that will be it! I will share the progress here.
Saving the best for last, this morning I collected my new Niwaki herbaceous sickle from the post office. I can’t wait to use it. The borders are in need of a tidy but this morning we had the first frost for many weeks and I shouldn’t be walking on the frosted grass. I can do along the paths and maybe there will be time when the frost has melted. I came across this tool in Thomas Stone’s blog Christmas gift ideas for the gardener in your life. I am sure I am going to be tempted by more of Thomas’ suggestions. Christmas may be over but the gardening carries on!
I hope you have some time to enjoy your garden or allotment this weekend. Thanks to The Propagator for hosting the wonderful Six on Saturday. Read his blog posts and all the other Six on Saturday posts from around the world at The Propagator my plant obsession