Sunday, 24 February 2013

The weekend was here

Thank goodness!  It's been one of those weeks - without going into detail, which will in turn lead me to set of on a rant, enough said that I had blocked drains for 3 days, punctures in 2 different wheels of the car, whilst carrying a rather large container from one end of the garden to the other I tripped, dropped and shattered it (I now have plenty of crocks and managed to save the plant) and to end the week - the electrics went on one of the car windows in the 'down' position!  The spray nozzle on the garden hose sprung a leak just as I was going wash the car.  Bad luck doesn't always come in 3 apparently!!

How was your week?  Better than mine I hope!

It's the start of a new week on Monday - I'm on annual leave from work for the week - the chores will include giving the decking and the paths a good going over with the pressure hose.  That will obviously be weather permitting.  Giving the arbor seat a good scrub.  Despite having 3 coats of Cuprinol Garden Shades, a product which I am now not enamored with,  last year it looks decidedly shabby and is beginning to peel off!  Last on the list for this coming week will be to give a good tidy up under the hedges - before those trapped weeds get a chance to take hold!  If after all that if I still have time, I will bring out all the containers - many of which have sprouted numerous weeds over the winter, leaving the larger ones in situ until I have my son's undivided attention....for this - I need him to be in the need to borrow some money until pay day!!  That usual gets the jobs done quicker than he normally would!

As a bit of a cheer me up - yesterday afternoon, I took a trip along to my local nursery, Binny Plants based on the Binny Estate in Ecclesmachan, West Lothian.  Well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.  A bit too handy sometimes being less than a 10 minute drive from the house.  I've a plant shopping list identical to that of the length of the Forth Bridge!!  But where to begin......

I have a bit of a 'gap site' around and between the Physocarpus opulifolius 'Lady in Red' (Coppertine in the US) and Hydrangea paniculata'Pinky Winky' there is also a Cotinus 'Dusky  Maiden', which I will keep in check by pruning.  I planted a decent sized clump of hellebores and some fritillaria here last spring, with a view to working on creating a little woodland type planting scheme to enhance the area before the shrubs leaf up but never got round to it - you know how it is, don't you?
Whilst in technical gardening terms - this little area would not be considered a woodland - I hope that the cover provided by the surrounding shrubs will act similar to that of the canopy of the trees.  I can only but give it try!

 # Let's give it a go!

 I'm not joining Twitter - I've just learnt what # is!

Having missed the opportunity to plant Cyclamen and a few others bulbs in autumn, I have put in some more of my rescued snowdrops.  I'll be first in line for bulbs this autumn!  

Enough of my ramblings, lets have a sneak peak at what I've bought

Dicentra cucullaria
Pink Punk

Dicentra cucullaria 'Pink Punk' A pale pink variety of this American native woodlander.  The attractive grey foliage should form a mat of ground cover when not in flower.  It should reach a height of around 10cm and will disappear in summer.
Still sound asleep under that compost - but I can assure you there are some nice fat buds forming down below.

Anemonella thalictroides 

Anemonella thalictroides - dark pink form This little clump former should produce some lovely dainty pink flowers in April - the shoots are just beginning to emerge.  Liking a well drained site in light shade, will grow to around 20cm.

Hepatica forest series 'Purple'
Hepatica forest series - purple.  More of an impulse buy this one - the prety little markings on the leaves caught my eye.   Described as a woodlander or alpine depending on what you read.  I have long admired these little plants, which too me, look far too dainty for my clumsy gardening ways!!
Moist, light shade and does not like disturbance (I'll have to get it right first time!) will grow to a height of around 15cm
Any tips out there from Hepatic growers are gratefully receive!

My next purchase was inspired by Shirley's posting over at Garden Bloggers' Questions last week.  One of here questions was investigating a possible cause for her non flowering Meconopsis and I happened to comment that I was going to buy a few more Meconopsis x cookei - change of plan - I bought Meconopsis betonicifolia Alba.  I have had success in growing the blue Meconopsis but as it was a long time ago and did not know the difference between Monocarpic and Polycarpic.  Follow the link if you would like more information.  Shirley if you are reading, I asked on your behalf - I was told that without knowing specifically which Meconopsis species it was it was difficult to give advice other than what we already know.

Meconopsis betonicifolia
var. Alba

Meconopsis betonicifolia var. alba apparently the secret to keeping this perennial is to regularly dead head.  I will grow it in the side garden where lots of other shade lovers co-habit!  The white flowers taking over when the Magnolia flowers fade.
At reaching a height of 90cm, will add a bit of height into the area at the same time

Corydalis flexuosa
Pere David

Last and certainly not least Corydalis flexuosa Pere David.  A replacement for Corydalis elata - which I suspect was another casualty of the wet last summer.  This is a slightly shorter plant and the blue is, I believe not a vivid as it's predecessor but will be equally appreciated!
Being less than half it's height 25cm will mean I need to find a home nearer the front edge of the border for this one.

Do you ever buy plants to cheer yourself up?  I don't know who I'm trying to fool - I just look for any excuse to buy new plants!!!

In a final note......New growth on Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace' applauding the imminent arrival of spring here in the UK.
Couldn't resist this - those buds really do look like they are clapping!

Once again, thank you all for reading and as always  - if you have any comments, tips or advice on any of my chosen plants, please do share.  It's good to learn!  


  1. My that was a nasty week...hopefully this week off will prove to be better. Hepatica is a native woodland wildflower here and I grow it in moist shade. The area is more shady than sunny.

    1. Donna - thanks for your tips re the Hepatica - I think I have an appropriate spot!

  2. We must have similar tastes in flowers, or at least woodland flowers. I have the straight species Dicentra cucularia, which we call Dutchman's Breeches. And I am really dying to plant some Hepatica. I have some Sambucus as well, two species as well as the variety 'Sutherland's Gold'.

    1. Jason - seem we do have some similar taste, mind you - it's difficult not to like these plants, especially if they grow well! Sutherland's Gold is another beauty!

  3. You are ahead of me here in terms of buds. I start my cleanup next month and things start leafing out in April.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

    1. Yes, just a wee bit ahead Cher. To be honest, next month would be more advisable but as I'm off work - I've more time to do a proper job!! Thanks for popping in.

  4. Oh Dear! you really had a rough weekend. Hope you are feeling better now after all the purchases :-). I don't need any excuse to buy anything related to garden, they be plants, seeds, pots, soil, whatever :-). Hmmm...if you are working so hard, how are you going to enjoy your annual weekly break then? What's a forth bridge?

    1. KL - you are right, not much time to myself but I don't mind - if I can get the garden sorted now, it leaves more time later!
      Painting the Forth Bridge is a saying here in Scotland - our famous Railway Bridge - The Forth Bridge. When they finish painting it - they have to start again because it takes them so long to do it!

  5. I could not help laughing about your unlucky week, but what a chores you have planned for this week......I am almost desperate to start too, but yet it is too cold, had even snow yesterday. I recognize your cheering up purchases. I always try to wait until I have done the planned chores but sometimes you simply want to do something else and nurseries and gardencentres are most inviting. I bought the Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace'2 years ago, it is a gain for the garden, beautiful. In the past I tried Hepaticas many times, but stopped trying, they disappear in my garden, Corydalis flexuosas are easier, but also disappear after some years ( I think I am very clumsy gardener) . The Meconopsis betonicifolia ´Alba´, a beauty. I had the blue ones some years ago, so beautiful, but they have gone too. I think I shall buy these again when they are offered in the nursery.
    Wish you happy cleaning and gardening this week.

    1. Janneke - it was easy to laugh at myself when it was all over!
      Not so good to read you are still having snow. Although here in Scotland there is nothing to say we have seen the last - we will still have frosts right up until May! The decking in particular was really dirty and because it was so wet last year was really covered with mould. It will need done again but it can wait until May!
      Good luck on sourcing your Meconopsis - I will hope to read about them in a blog sometime in the near future!

  6. The only plant among your new acquisitions I have any experience with is the Sambucus. It has been the star of the garden for several years running, but it does want to get BIG. I was surprised at how much pruning it takes to keep it within bounds. Worth it, though.

    1. Ricki - yes the Sambucus can get HUGE if left to it's own devices!! I will keep in check with pruning and you are right - very worth it!!

  7. Seeing your s.'Black Lace in bed has sent me rushing out to check mine! Are you sure you have a gap by the Cotinus, the shrubs all look a bit close as it is? Christina

    1. I hope you found your Sambucus in bud!
      Yes, there is a gap - it doesn't look very big in this picture
      but the area is large enough for what I have planned!
      The Buddleja is only a temporary planting - there is an Escallonia on the other side and it is only tiny - once large enough the Buddleja will be removed and both the Physocarpus and Cotinus are easily kept in check with pruning.

  8. Yikes, no wonder you were in need of some plant-based retail therapy after that week. Love the applauding sambucus buds, I really must get the saw out and prune ours, it clearly hasn't been touched for years. I like the sound of your pseudo woodland, it should work well, and with so many new lovelies to add, look forward to seeing them once they are in full growth.

  9. We have so much in common. We too have several nurseries within spitting distance and it's a crime not to pay regular visits to support local businesses (ahem!)

  10. Hey Angie… you’ve been to see Billy at Binny - going very green now :-) Oh… my girls were young the last time I was there. Funnily enough, just last week I was just mentioning the idea of a Binny gift voucher for MD when daughters were fishing for ideas ;-) He has some great plants to choose from as your choices show. Thanks for asking him about my meconopsis – sadly all three plants were just labelled as mixed so I’ve no chance at a proper ID. Thanks for the link to my post too :-)

    Wishing you a better weekend this one – enjoy your garden time :-D

  11. Looks like you have had a busy week. I have been clearing and cleaning as well, just like you I thought it might have been a bit early but I had a couple of days off too. I like your woodland plants, hope they work out for you. I have a shady garden myself, so it's always interesting to see other woodland plants.


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