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!
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.