Friday, 8 June 2012


A week of fine weather saw us industriously developing our former parking space into what will largely be a vegetable garden with a few ornamentals around the edges to screen it from the lane. It's hard work digging up the compacted road base and amending it with good soil, but we are making progress.

The raised beds, made with lumber left over from repairs to the house exterior, may not be elegant,

but the veggies don't seem to mind.

We've already had one small meal of rapini and spinach sauteed in a little oil and garlic. it was delicious.

In the long bed behind the car. I've planted a Mahonia 'Winter Sun', which I chose because it is reputed to be smaller than the other popular cultivars. It looks a bit lonely now, but will eventually fill out that end of the bed, and its yellow winter flowers will, I hope, attract any hummingbirds in our vicinity.

 Even without flowers, the foliage is pretty.

More blooms

Some plants are ignoring the grey skies we've had lately and opening in spite of them.

I'm delighted that my favourite peony 'Festiva Maxima', which I bought a year ago as a shrivelled little tuber, has already found the strength to put out one gorgeous, scented, goosefeather flower.

Across the path from it, a red Sanguisorba, whose name I have forgotten, echoes the flecks of crimson on the peony petals.

Several Nectaroscordum siculum (formerly Allium siculum) are scattered among the foliage of a red peony that is thick with buds but yet to open. These onion-family bulbs need a bit of support from neighbours to keep them upright and the peony seems to be doing a good job there.

As everyone who grows it knows, lady's mantle looks best in the rain, when the tiny hairs on the leaves hold gleaming globules of water.

Rain also complements the dark leaves of Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona'

All the same, I'd rather have some sunshine.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Some garden delights

A few of my purchases from last year have bloomed recently, much to my delight. Although some have a way to go before they reach their full size, their progress is encouraging.

Fothergilla 'Mt Airy' may not look particularly special, but its white bottebrushes have a rich honey fragrance that the bees love. Elsewhere I've posted pictures of its spectacular fall foliage.

Nearby is another white-flowered treasure, the tiny Dodecatheon dentatum, with a beak of reddish-brown stamens and swept-back petals like the plumage of an exotic bird.

Under the red-edged leaves of Corylopsis pauciflora, the larger and more common Dodecatheon meadia leans over some Anemone blanda 'Vestal' and the blades of snowdrops.

Just opening at the end of May, blue Geranium x magnificum, my favourite of this extensive family, is in bloom alongside pale yellow Trollius 'Cheddar'.

A close-up of the geranium, taken in the rain, shows the beauty of the individual flowers with their magenta veins.

My latest acquisition is less showy, but nevertheless a charming woodlander. It is a small clematis, Clematis ochroleuca, which only grows about 12 inches tall. So far mine has produced only one of these pretty little two-tone bells, but I have great hopes of more next spring once the plant has settled in.