Saturday, 17 May 2014

Garden Blogger Bloom Day May 2014

It's May and that time of year has arrived!  What time?  I hear you ask.  The time of year when I can get myself downstairs in the morning and sit on the back step and wake up to the sound of the garden.  That's usually not really practical here until around Mid May.  It's the time when the sun is high enough in the sky to make the step comfortably warm to sit and contemplate the day's plan of action.

It's not only the sound of the birds frantically feeding and gathering food for their chicks or the distant sounds of lawn mowers and the general village activity going on round about me - I swear I can hear the Garden Fairies running around the undergrowth giving the plants one final  pre flowering pep talk.  The garden is quite literally ready to burst and yet at the same time there is a calm feeling to it.

Right now, the side garden - which is generally looking best at this time of the year, is home to inherited Rhododendrons.  They were moved here when I first moved in in 2007 to allow for building work, they've stayed there ever since.  This part of the garden gets minimal amount of sun in winter and in summer for a few hours mid/late afternoon.   The border is quite narrow and has no scope for widening.  I had to put in a high fence as part of my planning consent, which seems to provide some protection from the frost but it does make the area a bit of a wind tunnel.  Still, the plants seem to cope and those that don't are generally quite quick at letting me know!

If I stand in the middle - let's look left.  There's a bit of a 'pink' theme going on right now.  Dicentra eximia King of Hearts - now in full flower and should remain so until well into October - will soon be joined by Aquilegia and Dicentra spectabalis.  Lamium orvala, sadly had to be chopped right back.  It fell fowl of the cats having a bit of ding dong over something or other!  My cat's are often a 3 cat wrecking ball, occasionally bringing the sturdiest of plants crashing to the ground!  The Dicentra spectabalis is merely hanging on by a thread, a few strategically placed plant supports keeping it upright.  It's still putting on buds but whether there is enough life left in it is anyone's guess.

Turning to the right - you get a better view of the Rhododendron.  Those pink blooms will eventually fade to a pale creamy apricot shade.


Further down you can just make out the Aconitum and Peony Sarah Bernhardt gearing up for a super show - tucked down between them is a deep red Rhododendron.  This plant is a rather ugly looking thing - it has a couple of oddly shaped branches and that's about it!  I'm happy for it to be hidden most of the year but if wee peek in a wee bit closer we can see it's blooms.


 Just before we exit out into the front garden another Red Rhododendron and a self sown Aquilegia are busying themselves this week.  I really need to find a better spot for the Aquilegia, I don't particularly like the delicate pink next to the harsh red of the Rhododendron.


Another self sown pink Aquilegia sits along side a new addition to the garden last Autumn Brunnera macrophylla Hadspen Cream. 



Let's go out into the front garden, until recently my front garden tended to serve as a bit of a nursery for plants.  Only this spring I've moved a few shrubs round there to add some structure.  I've been threatening to do something with the front garden for a couple of years now but always seem to get distracted.  I feel an autumn project coming on!

By the front gate Brunnera macrophylla Jack Frost is right at home, it tends to be billed as a shade lover - here in my front garden it copes perfectly well in a full sun position.


Further down the path, Alchemilla conjuncta - Silver leafed Lady's Mantle.  Just a wee bit different to the one we are more familiar with. 


A couple of pots of Pansies outside the front door are still doing extremely well, so well in fact they are swamping out the Azaleas growing in there with them.  I've not found the heart to tear them out just yet!


The last of the blooms in the front garden this May bloom day, a self seeded lavender has never really stopped flowering all winter - another sign of the mild conditions here.


Round in the shady border behind the kitchen extension, slowly making it's way up the fence and onto the trellis I intend to train if over is Leucothoe fontanesiana Whitewater has produced a few flowers.  Oddly, none of the Leucothoe and Pieris have produced many flowers this year.  As well as being mild here, it's been ridiculously dry for a Scottish winter.  I wonder if that might be the cause.


At the base of the Leucothoe a shocking pink Azalea is thoroughly happy getting a minimal amount of light.  The shade is cast onto a tiny corner of this border, as this plant matures, it will fill the corner completely.



Nearby Geranium Ingwersen's variety with it's aromatic leaves, which I'm none too fond of, required major surgery this spring, otherwise we'd have never got round the path to this side of the house.  It's spread was huge! 


Drooping red Enkianthus - another plant that prefers acidic conditions, is also flowering.  Moved to a new home, as part of Project Privacy, back in early spring - flowers are not abundant but they are there nonetheless!


Iris pumila Cherry Garden and Semi Aquilegia Sugar Plum Fairy - looking great in the border outside the back door.  Clematis, geraniums and friends are waiting in the wings.



Also in this bed, Choisya detwitteana White Dazzler, does exactly as it says on the tin!  It's kind of getting swamped in there as I hadn't expected it to be such a slow grower, this might do better round the front too.


In my miniature garden - a wallflower with a bit of a difference.  A native of turkey this tiny wee thing has a gorgeous scent too boot.  Being in the large terracotta pot means I don't have too far to bend down to sniff it out! 


Growing happily in my alpine trough, the Saxifrage are now producing their inflorescences (is that the correct way to use that term?).  The wind is making it difficult to get a shot of the plants as a whole, their stems are so delicate it doesn't take much of a breeze to make them difficult to photograph.




As you can see flowers are very similar but S. Southside Seedling, has darker maroon markings and is not quite as scented as S. Monarch.

Rather pleased with my first attempt at tuberous Begonias.  Sunning themselves in the gravel bed 2 out of 3 tubers have sprouted and brought on on the kitchen windowsill.  I will pot these up into one large pot for their summer display but am really surprised to see them flowering so early.  They should have been red but too me, I'd say they are orange.  They are brought in at night for the time being, I'm erring on the side of caution.  There has been a few nights where it's been quite cold.


Still in and around the gravel bed - Muscari armeniacum Peppermint, is rather late to come to the spring party this year.  My fault really, I had stored pots of plants around it and was being completely shaded out through the winter.  Now it's got some light, a few flowers have appeared.


The first of the creeping Phlox is putting on a show - Phlox subulata Kimono, thankfully didn't need to be moved for the trellis earlier in the year.  Others, however, did and they are just a wee bit behind schedule!  The star shaped flowers are move defined than others I grow.



More pastel shades, this time in the form of mossy Saxifrage.  This plant does well in the gravel bed.   It has flowered for a few weeks now, the flowers are just beginning to fade  - it's another plant that has benefitted from the dry conditions.

Over on the shadier side of the gravel area - aka, the pond bed, which will be dominated by Astrantia Snow Star for the majority of the summer but right now, Polemonium yezonense Purple Rain and Ajuga reptans Burgundy Glow are the predominant plants with Polygonatum multiflorum tucked in the back corner.  After 3 years, this bed is now what I would considered cramped!  I'll be thinning this out come autumn, if not sooner.  I can't for the life of me think what's missing from the gap at the front of this border, mmmm - odd!  I'll need to do a bit of detective work there, I think.  The fresh new growth on Cotinus coggygria Dusky Maiden looks as good as any bloom can at this time of the year.


Before we pop through the arch into the back garden proper (more on that in my EOMV later in the month), a pot of lavender sits comfortably in the sun.  This was self seeded the front garden - swamped last year, I've brought it on in a pot and had no idea it would be white.  I can't remember ever buying a white Lavender, therefore I must assume they don't come true from seed.  Of course if you know different, please let me know.
   

"Through the arch and into the back garden proper" - I kind of like the sound of that!  I suspect you'll hear me say that again!

One the sunnier side - whilst the climbers (roses, honeysuckle and clematis) are slowly, yet surely beginning to soften the look of the trellis and of course readying themselves for flowering, everything that has been moved here since spring is thoroughly enjoying their new home.  Right now, Dicentra spectabalis is putting on a marvellous show.   I've never seen it so big!  It is usually recommended to grow this plant in part shade, but I find in my garden, the soil is moist enough that they cope with a bit more sun than they would in the south.

 
Tucked in at the back, you can just make out the golden foliage of Aquilegia vulgaris Purple Emperor but it's deep purple flowers are kind of lost in amongst the green foliage of the surrounding plants.  It used to be partnered with the cardoon (which was moved from here) and looked amazing against the silver foliage - note too self, needs moving!


Most plants over on the shady side are grown mainly for their foliage, with the odd flower at various times throughout the year.  Presently Tiarella Spring Symphony has just started blooming.  I've added some strawberry foxgloves nearby which will flower later in the year.


I've added this next shot for Helene over at Graphicality UK - it's one of the plants she sent me in our plant swap, it will be the first for those plants to flower - if only it would hurry up!  I do, though, love the foliage and hope it's very happy here in my garden.


Now spreading around just as I had planned - Viola soraria Albiflora is just coming out.  I like when a plan comes together, don't you?


In the new border at the top of the garden, the plants have settled in and the first of those new plants are just about to come into bloom.  I could not have ended this blog without sharing it with you all - Geum Flames of Passion, just threw itself into my basket on a recent trip to the GC.  How lucky was I just to be there to catch it!  It would have been such a shame to see it fall to the ground, right?


It's taken me 2 days to get this post together, life just got in the way.  As it does!  So apologies to Carol over at May Dream Gardens for joining late.  Better late than never right?  Pop over if you fancy seeing what's going on in other gardens around the globe. 

I'm off now to see what you've all been up to - or rather, what your garden has been up to.  Thanks for reading and apologies it was so long.

38 comments:

  1. You have so much blooming in your garden--just beautiful! The white lavender is such a surprise. I have lavender just beginning its bloom cycle here in Texas. I love that Dicentra spectablis--the bleeding heart. We can only grow that in containers in the cooler time of the year.

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    1. Thanks Tina, yes the lavender is a nice surprise! Because of our mild winter, the Lavender is flowering early, I would no normally expect it to be flowering for another month or so yet. There are a few things I have to grow in containers, but that is so I can ensure drainage is as sharp as it need be. Your visit is much appreciated.

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  2. Your garden is looking spectacular, Angie! I know what you mean about actually feeling the garden spring into gear, although in my case that happened in late March/early April. The shot at the top of the post is particularly wonderful with the color of the Rhododendron playing off the burgundy of the Japanese maple.

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    1. I have to admit I'm rather pleased with the Acer/Rhodo combo, pretty much an accident but it worked out well. Thanks for the lovely comments.

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  3. Lots of lovely things in bloom. I envy you your Rhododendrons and lovely Enkianthus. What a gorgeous Geum, that one is certainly on my list. It looks gorgeous with the Acer.

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    1. Thanks Chloris - we certainly know how to grow our acid lovers here in Scotland. I don't think I've seen a garden without at least one. I thought the geum looked good with the Acer too, the colours of the Geums kind of pick up the tones on the Acer foliage. I'm hoping the Primula aurantiaca add to that effect in a week or so.

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  4. Hi Angie, What a huge variety of plants you have in flower at the moment and all looking wonderful. I think I have that low growing red rhododendron that you don't like, but I rather like mine! It really suits the corner of the patio where it is growing and my only regret is that I planted another red rhododendron behind it so there is no contrast. You seem to have so many different varieties of plants, such as dicentra and saxifrage - I never realised you could get more than one! I love your miniature wallflower - must look out for one for the rockery. I have the Alchemilla conjuncta - though I didn't know that was its name - doesn't it have lovely leaves? I usually cut off the flowers though! Your garden is a little ahead of mine - I don't have any irises out yet, or many geraniums. Looking forward to your EOMV to see some more of your garden now so much is in flower.

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    1. If only that Rhoddie was a better shape than I'd have no problems with it Annette. It was a rather pathetic specimen when I moved here, it's healthy enough just mishappen!
      Saxifrage is a huge genus and there are 1000s of different ones for different situations.
      I do like the leaf on the Alchemilla, it's not one widely offered for sale down here.

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  5. Thank goodness you were in the right place to prevent a Geum tragedy. Your garden is looking good, especially all those rhododendrons! I also like to grow pansies in containers in spring.

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    1. Ha, yes thank goodness Jason! Panises, when the do well are worth their weight in gold in spring time for folks who garden in colder climates like us. They provide colour when nothing else is about.

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  6. Lovely to see parts of your garden that I don’t think I have seen much of before. I know what you mean about the Dicentras – this is the first year mine hasn’t been severely amputated before even reaching bloom, I have propped them up with metal grid and I think I will continue to do that every year as it has been a real success. Didn’t look so nice the first few weeks but you can hardly see the green metal now.

    All your Aquilegias are lovely, I am not sure why I still haven’t managed to get any but I blame it on all the other lovely tempting plant offers, so hard to choose when you can’t have everything!
    And I love all your different Saxifrage, I intend to (eventually) make a miniature garden too, so need to start collecting plants for it. I have my eyes on a dark red Sedum with absolutely tiny leaves and flowers – only thing is I saw it in a magazine but forgot to write it down, have to try to find the name, it will form the base colour for my miniature garden – whenever I get around to make one :-)

    ‘Snow Star’ started to flower in my garden today, but Polemonium ‘Alba’ shows no sign of flower buds. Your Lamium looks nice and healthy, I guess with the Scottish temperatures you just have to give it whatever time it needs, it just can’t keep up with its siblings down here in London :-)
    And plants falling into your hands? Of course you need to catch it – it is lovely!

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    1. I'm getting a bit more confident about showing larger parts of my garden Helene, I think my end of month view showed my garden at it's worse, so now it all doesn't look so bad. I do though long for the day my shrubs are mature and hide most of the fencing.
      I'm already liking the sound of your miniature garden - you can't beat a nice Sedum. I wonder which one it is - I'm not particularly up on those very small ones - I have a little beauty called Chocolate Ball, given to me by a friend down south. I'm hoping it makes good growth this year, it's second.
      Can't believe your Snow Star is ready to flower, if you look at mine above, you'll see it's no where near flowering yet. It's the one in front of the Mahonia. I think he white polemonium is a bit of a sulker too - the parent plant is stuck in limbo I think.
      Believe me, there is no rushing plants to flower here in Scotland - we've been incredibly lucky this year mind you.

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    2. I just had to find the red sedum, I knew I had seen it several times, just could not remember where – found it at JParkers! And of course I found a lot of other plants while searching :-) Here are some of those now going into my wish list for the miniature garden. They are all very low at 1-10cm tall, but some get wide over the years – I can see some will need pruning or just snipping off at the edges. There is a definite crimson/purple/soft pink theme here, definitely no yellow! Oh, and my list is so long, if I was to get all these plants I would probably need TWO containers. The red sedum is the first on the list:

      Sedum Spurium
      Sedum ussuriense 'Turkish Delight'
      Saxifraga 'Cloth of Gold'
      Saxifraga cochlearis 'Minor'
      Saxifraga oppositifolia 'Ruth Draper'
      Rhodohypoxis milloides 'Damask'
      Rhodohypoxis baurii 'Lilly Jean'
      Rhodohypoxis 'Deflexa'
      Rhodohypoxis confecta
      Gypsophila cerastioides (trailing)

      If you Google them I am sure you’ll like my list :-)

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  7. Ciao Angie! Grazie per le belle immagini! Mi hai anche fatto conoscere quel geum bellissimo che non conoscevo! Buona giornata!

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    1. Il Geum è bellissimo, contento di averlo trovato Pontos.

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  8. I love your introduction, Angie, and of course, we have fairies in the garden. Most people are just too busy or ignorant to notice them. Lovely combination of Acer, Dicentra and Rhodo. You have some very nice saxifraga too. I got Choisya White Dazzler last year - still a baby but mind you, it's about to flower. Your garden looks great and I do hope you get lots of nice and sunny moments to sit, contemplate and enjoy :)

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    1. Glad you notice the fairies too Annette - our garden depend on them don't they? My Choisya is still young, lucky you having flowers in the first year, I've waited 3 years for mine to flower.
      I'm hoping for good weather too now that all the hard work is done, thank you.

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  9. Hi Angie,

    Lovely garden, and it sounds like your side border/garden is similar to mine except mine is backed by a thick hedge which also sucks all the water from the ground so only the toughest of plants survive - i.e. Geraniums, spring bulbs and a couple of roses.
    The longer I read other garden blogs, the more convinced I am that I'm the only person in the world whose Dicentra don't ever seem to get any larger. Mine always stay as just one 'branch' or stem. When everybody else's seem to form nice, large clumps. Although if I'm honest 'king of hearts' is my favourite as I love its ferny leaves and of course the fact it blooms for months.

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    1. Thanks Liz, I can imagine just how much moisture that hedge takes from the ground - thankfully I do not too bad for moisture - as you well know, it's not always dry here in Edinburgh.
      I wonder if your Dicentra is getting enough moisture - they cope well with the conditions here. King of Hearts is my favourite too - I was half expecting it to struggle here but no, it copes well. They are supposed to prefer alkaline conditions but I pair mine up with Primula viala and they cope equally well.

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  10. So many wonderful plants, so many beautiful flowers! You have a wonderful knack of putting plants together so that they complement each other, they all look so good contrasting with their neighbours. Your Dicentra is absolutely magnificent I hope mine grows like that!

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    1. I do try to have the flower colour compliment each other, I've made some nightmare mistakes, my pride would just not let me show them on my blog Pauline!
      Wishing your Dicentra well :)

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  11. IT's no wonder it took two days to write the post as so much is going on. A lovely time of year.

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    1. Thanks Sue - it sure is a lovely time of year, every day something new appears in the garden. It's a delight to go out and find it each morning.

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  12. Some beautiful May flowers Angie despite the cat's attempts to wreak havoc. I almost missed that glorious iris hiding in the background. What a beauty - another for my wish list :)

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    1. Anna, the Iris is easy to miss - planted a bit too near the back of the border. My plans for the front garden will include this beauty. I think it's a popular one so you shouldn't have trouble finding it.

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  13. Wow! Everything is so beautiful and healthy! This was such a nice visit to your lovely gardens. Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. Thanks Lee - I'm surprised it all looks so healthy with our lack of rain. I'm having to water religiously at the moment.

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  14. Angie, all looks gorgeous as usual and very interesting. I always like to see what plants you have tucked away in that garden of yours ! Dicentra is HUGE ! It is clearly very happy. Mine is half the size. This year I have just planted the Dicentra Spectabilis Alba, which is flowering now. It is equally lovely.

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    1. Jane, I also have the white Dicentra, you are right, it's equally lovely! The Dicentras do well here, they don't fizzle out in the heat that you in the south experience.

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  15. Lovely photos. Lots of blooming for Spring. Love the Rhodys but they along with Azalea just won't do in my soil but I sure love looking at them.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Cher, thank you. Rhoddies are popular, especially for those who can't grow them. Have you tried them in containers - it's also a popular way to grow them over here if conditions are right. Scotland is known for the acidity in the soil.

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  16. Your running commentary sounds like something that could be going on in my own head. As I look around the garden, I am always thinking of what needs tweaking, moving, removing, etc. But to my eyes, your garden looks just perfect.

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  17. Ciao, se passi dal mio blog puoi vedere che ti ho inserita nella mia Liebster Award dei 10 blog più belli!

    Un saluto e una buona serata :) Ti aspetto.

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  18. So many pretty things in your garden this month, Angie! I love your color choice in rhododendrons. And I really love your choice of fencing with all of your plants... it complements them. A wonderful end of May to you!

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  19. Angie, I also love this time of year, its the south facing front step for me, although I must say I am pleasantly surprised at the amount of sunshine coming in to our North facing back garden. You have so many wonderful flowering plants in your garden, at the moment it is Brunnera macrophylla Jack Frost that does it for me. It feels unusual walking around here, so many beautiful gardens packed with flowers that would be commonplace in Aberdeen come July.

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  20. Agh! Sorry, my comment got munged... I said lots of lovely things about your lovely plants...

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  21. Hi Angie, your garden looks fantastic and such a great range of plants. I particularly like the Enkianthus which is a plant that I have always been meaning to grow but never got round to. You also manage to support both sun lovers and shade plants as well as the alpines, a really impressive cross section.

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  22. Oh Angie what a lovely bloom day you had in May!!

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