Friday, May 22, 2015

A late spring combination

Photographed this afternoon in the front garden.  The peony - Paeonia officinalis 'Rubra Plena' - and the Korean lilac, Syringa meyeri 'Palibin' have been getting ever closer.  This year they overlapped.

Paeonia officinalis 'Rubra Plena' with Syringa meyeri 'Palibin'
The peony is one of the few survivors from the garden when we first moved here 19 years ago.  There wasn't a lot here - but the peony was certainly worth it's place.  It's a cottage garden favourite; long lived, hardy, tough as old boots - I once planted one upside down and it still flowered the next year - and tends to get passed around by chopping off a chunk of the woody rootstock.  Which explains why it's in so many local gardens.

The little Korean lilac, Syringa meyeri 'Palibin' has been a later addition but earns its spot with a lovely May scent and pretty little leaves for the rest of the season.  And the scent is fantastic.  I don't have room for the larger lilacs but this smaller one makes up for any disappointment I might feel.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Spring is sprung

I can't believe my last post on this blog was back in October last year.  It's been a long and, at times, difficult Winter.  Maria's been ill, and with that and work pressures I've not felt up to blogging.  But that's hopefully behind us now and it's time to start again - even if it's just a short post.

With the lighter evenings I've been able to get into the garden to begin the process of a very necessary clean up.  It's mostly cosmetic but I've had to start the process of removing my large - and spreading - Chilean bamboo, Chusquea culeou.  By spreading I don't mean invasive.  It is a tight clumper.  But it's still capable of expanding it's girth by 30cm / 1ft or more a year.  In my small garden that's become too much - so it's going.  The space will open up the west side of the rear garden and allow me to grow a wider range of plants.

Which means I'll be buying - always one of the enjoyable bits.  Not that I ever really stop.  Even in a small garden there is always room for plants that fit into the bare earth available at this time of year.

I always pot up a few bulbs in Autumn so that they can be planted out when I can see a space.  Here's a couple that have flowered recently.

Crocus chrysanthus 'Dorothy'

Tulipa humilis 'Persian Pearl'
Little things - but pretty at a time of year when things are a bit bare and bleak.

I've got quite a few primula and polyanthus scattered around the plot but I couldn't resist adding a couple of Primula elatior hybrids, a gold and silver laced variety respectively.  They're pretty little toys - but I prefer them to their blowsier cousins.

Primula elatior 'Victoriana Gold Lace'
Primula elatior 'Little Queen'
More recently - OK, yesterday - I chanced on a pot of Ipheion uniflorum 'Jessie' in a local nursery. I'm not a great fan of the species but this variety is gorgeous.  A true blue, long flowering and far less invasive than the type, I'll find a suitable corner and cherish it.

Ipheion uniflorum 'Jessie'
Meanwhile the garden is looking quite reasonable.  The winter has been fairly mild and 5 of my 6 camellias are in full flower (C.sasanqua flowers in Autumn), rosemary, Hebe macrocarpa var. latisepala and Chasmanthe bicolor are all flowering well, and a window box of pansies is providing bright colour in front of the kitchen window.  Best of all, my Beschorneria yuccoides is flowering. This produces a monumental flower spike - 3 ft / 90cm tall at the moment but it should reach 6-8ft / 180-240cm.  And all clad in shocking pink.  I'll record the progress of the spike for a future post.

There are a lot of plants enjoying the warmth indoors at the moment.  Among my favourites is Aeonium 'Kiwi', a pretty little branching succulent with variegated red, yellow and green leaves. Obtained as a tiny rooted cutting last year, it's come on well over the winter and now looks like this.

Aeonium 'Kiwi'
I'll try and blog more regularly from now on - but no promises.  Life is rather full of competing demands on my time.