Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Mid-May blooms

It's fun watching as everything continues to expand in the garden, gradually covering the bare earth. Tulips are all done now and covered by emerging leaves. The pear tree dropped all its blossom rapidly during a bout of wind and rain, leaving a lot of debris on the path to clean up. An overview still shows mostly foliage ...

... but here and there blooms are beginning to add more colour to the prevailing green.

Pink and white double columbines on the right and one hot pink candelabra primrose in the foreground are complemented by white Astrantia 'Shaggy' and deep-pink Astrantia 'Ruby Wedding' further under the pear tree canopy.
On the left an unnamed blue Siberian iris is in bud. A couple of days later, it looked like this:

Not far away is another iris, this one a native of the west coast, Iris tenax. Although not as showy at first glance, it has lovely marking on the falls. It's also about half the height of the Siberian, and so can go at the front of its bed and stabilize the earth on the low slope. Behind it is an Alchemilla mollis underplanted with black violas. I bought the violas last year as an annual filler, but they have surprised me by not just surviving the winter, but spreading and blooming prolifically. The black mondo grass I interplanted among them has been completely overwhelmed.

The little flash of red at the back is 'Miller's Crimson', another candelabra primrose. This is a wet corner and I'm hoping the primroses will also spread and form a generous clump.

In the centre bed, our rusty metal urn is surrounded by purple-flowering sage and the small cream bells of Aconitum 'Ivorine'. Artemisia 'Valerie Finnis' is struggling up in the bowl of the urn, not as vigorous as I expected. I'll replace it with last year's mosquito grass as soon as the grass gets going. 

Across the path behind the urn are Geum 'Leonard's Variety' and a variegated Euphorbia.  

The geum is an eye-catching plant and blooms for a long time. Its wiry, purplish-brown stems carry flowers of a unique brick colour, somewhere in the range between dusty pink and burnt red.

A view across the urn from the other side, looking into a very shady area, gives a different effect.

My favourite hosta, 'Krossa Regal', is on the top left; the black stems of Hydrangea nigra are at back right behind Heuchera 'Green Spice'. In the foreground, are buds of old rose 'Rosa Mundi' and a spear of dark-leafed phlox 'Starfire'.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Garden progress

It's been a while since I put up anything new. I got out the camera in time to record leaves opening on my oakleaf hydrangea in a furry cinnamon-brown coat that quickly developed into new green foliage.

 Early in April the pear tree bloomed prolifically, as beautiful as it's ever been.

Then along came two weeks of lovely summery weather that kept us busy working outside, I took a few photos in between weeding and planting, but I haven't been pleased with the results. Still, plants have been growing and it's been exciting to watch.
It was the purchase of a tiny new Nikon SO1 camera, mainly for travel, that spurred me to take the following photos. With fewer pixels and only a 3x zoom, it's not nearly as good as my Canon G12, but it still does a reasonable job. Here's the backyard with the oakleaf hydrangea now fully leafed out at the bottom left.

There is still a lot of bare earth showing, but everything will expand during the next month.
In the bottom right corner my shade garden is filling out.

Left to right are Heuchera 'Green Spice', black-stemmed Hydrangea nigra, Hosta 'Krossa Regal'.

 Meanwhile, in the front garden a beautiful little alpine willow, Salix helvetica, shows off its reddish catkins in the evening light.

Also in front, 'Queen of the Night' tulips have been looking good for a couple of weeks, drawing a lot of interest from passers-by. I'd taken photos earlier, but in too much sunlight and they have looked weirdly over-exposed. Today was lightly overcast and I got a better image in some respects, although without the sunlight they are not as iridescent as usual.

Finally, the first peony has just opened one gorgeous red bloom.

It came to me unnamed but I think it's an oldie called 'Red Charm'. I moved it a few months ago and it hasn't settled in as I'd like. It will get another move after it finishes flowering to what I hope will be finally the right location to show it off as it deserves.