It’s mid-way through Spring and I am jumping forward to the next bulb order. Gardening does that to you. Always looking for the next excitement, it’s exhausting! I’ve made my notes on the calendar and settled the mind again to concentrate on what’s good at this moment in time. Here’s six from the garden this week.
I am sure it will be camassia week for many. These are my first to begin to flower against the trellis of an arch. I have these down as c. leichtlinii. But I am willing to be corrected!
Last November I planted some ‘Cairo’ tulips to flower with the camassias. I think I planted about ten either side of the arch. They have come through just in time and once again I am thinking why didn’t I plant double the quantity?
I’m coming up to completing six years in this garden and this combination of tulips was one the first planted here. Originally they ran the length of the long border but over the years they have become concentrated at the bottom, slightly shadier end. I have topped them up from time to time but now I am thinking it is time to replant the top end of the border with a new combination. This mix is ‘Queen of Night’, ‘Shirley’, ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Violet Beauty’. There are some ‘Purissima’ in the background
Brought from the old garden these geranium phaeums have bulked up over the years and are now providing regular new stock for ground cover in shady corners. Solid, reliable and very lovely.
The apple trees are all in blossom and as I was admiring the pretty mix of pink and white I espied the tell-tale fluff of woolly aphid. Just a few small patches so it was out with a spray of a dilute soap mix which I hope will do the trick before it gets a hold.
Here’s a splash of sunshine to end on. Self-seeding welsh poppies are popping up everywhere. Entirely against my colour scheme but who could turn them out? I read that they can tolerate shade so I am thinking of re-locating a few to new spaces.
Vegetable seed sowing continues to be hit and miss, still no sign of later sown mange tout, but earlier sown cukes have delivered, and I have lettuces that have been hardened off for about a week so I may chance planting some of those out. I’ve seen the very first sign of carrot seedlings sown under cloches – I’m holding my breath and crossing my fingers. The soil seemed to be warming up so I’ve also direct sown some parsnip seed. Hope you are finding joys in your gardens. The Propagator will be sharing the news from fellow SOSers so do stop by for a read.
Autumn jobs have been started. A free Friday meant that I could begin bringing a few things inside and a start was made on reigning in the wild brambles that we have lived with for five years. The increase in leaf fall from the trees pushed me to empty out last year’s leaf mould into old compost bags. These will be emptied out onto the soft fruit borders once the autumn fruiting raspberries are cut back. The weather has been so mild that the hydrangeas are still putting out flowering stems but as the last month of autumn approaches surely the temperatures will drop. Here’s six from the garden this week.
The fig and the persimmon leaves are changing colour. The persimmon crop will ripen in December and is a winter donation to the birds. The figs often deliver a few fruit in November as a bonus crop but this year they look rather small and will probably not be worth harvesting. The fruit does still need to be picked, leaving on the tree only the smaller pea sized fruits for next year. This is one of my least favourite autumn jobs, so many fruit and some that are completely out of reach.
Along with the odd rogue hydrangea flower there are one or two clematis flowers remaining but mostly it is the silky seed heads that add decoration to the trellis.
The seed heads of the rudbeckia always look dramatic at this time of the year and will be left standing through winter.
The last of the apples were picked a week ago. They are Braeburns and have given us crisp and juicy eaters. There were several small apples, a result of my less than ruthless thinning I’m sure, and generously I made up some apple feeders for the birds. They have been utterly spurned. Not pecked, not rumbled by the squirrels, left untouched. I suspect my neighbours of having higher quality bird food available.
I have been cutting back the scented leaf pellies before bringing them into the greenhouse. This one was grown on from cuttings I took when they came out for the summer. It’s still flowering and so I keep pushing my luck and have left it out for this weekend. But next week the deed will be done and all the pellies will be inside again for the winter.
I planted autumn crocuses last year, in amongst the hellebores. I can’t say that I have swathes of them but the one or two that have emerged look quite good. They are so fragile though and recent winds and rain have not served them well.
I have finally planted out the narcissus ‘Actaea’. Leaving only the tulips to do. It is uncanny how every spot I identified as needing a few bulbs turned out to be home to snowdrops. I can reveal that snowdrops have already begun their journey to the surface. I hope my disturbance of them won’t have caused too much of a shock to the system. Snowdrops and hellebores are my next seasonal marker. The Propagator is also planting bulbs and featuring a lovely Japanese anemone this week. Stop by, take a look and follow the links to the other SOS posts.
The torrential rain of Tuesday gave the garden a welcome soaking. Unfortunately steady showers followed on and the week had a wet and windy finish. I start this week’s six by paying homage to the roses which flower, get soaked by the rain, are defoliated by rose sawfly, and yet flower again.
This white rose ‘Jaqueline du Pre’ flowers at the far end of the garden and spotting a new flower in the gloomy mornings of this week was very uplifting.
At the opposite end, in a sunnier spot, the climbing version of ‘James Galway’ is making steady progress up the trellis and keeps putting out new buds.
Newly arrived in flower is Colchicum speciosum ‘Album’. These were part of last year’s autumn bulb order and one or two of them sprang into flower immediately after planting. This year I have more of a full presence but I feel the need for more impact. I feel another top up bulb order coming on.
A top up because the second order arrived today. I’m not such a prolific orderer of bulbs as our host Mr P but somehow I have managed to total 110 in this order plus 150 crocus bulbs and 60 ‘Tete a Tete’ daffodils from earlier temptations. In this batch are Tulips: Dolls Minuet, Ballerina, Lasting Love, Mariette and Sarah Raven, Camassias and Acidanthera murielae. The last is related to gladioli, and is sometimes known as Abyssinian gladiolus. The recommendation is to lift over winter but I maybe tempted to leave them in. I did lift some tulips this year so I will see how much success I have with replanting them first.
I have only one type of aster in the garden but I have two of them. The colour is perfect but I have them in the wrong place and I’m not sure where the right place is. The problem is they grow so high, easily outstripping any of my pathetic attempts at staking . This year one has remained fairly upright and the other has spiralled all over the place. Belatedly I realised I could have tried a wig-wam support system. The right place is probably somewhere sunnier and where their height can be enjoyed. Still thinking.
This little fella was trying to wriggle away from SOS fame and fortune but he just didn’t quite fit into the gap. It has given me an extra nudge into finding a site for a pond. I am going to go small and cheap, buying a pond liner and an insulation liner. I have in mind a small area at the back of the garden that is currently being used to heel in plants that I have been dividing or moving. I might miss that luxury but this year the garden has been full of froglets, or possibly one very active one. I’m hoping I can offer them a permanent home. If it stops raining and I can start digging.
More rain is forecast overnight so I have low expectations of any productive work in the garden. I will be optimistically inspecting some sweet peas that were sown last week and thinking about seeds for next year. I’ll be finding out about other SOSers and their gardening ambitions by checking in with The Propagator and all the links he shares. Happy weekend whatever the weather.