Sunday, 1 March 2015

End of Month View February 2015

She who hesitates misses the worm!  I dithered back and forth today.  It was reasonably sunny when I
January 2015
rose this morning yet I put of getting a few sunny shots of the front garden, the focus of my End of Month View, in favour of hanging curtains in the room I finished decorating yesterday.  We've been having a few breaks in the clouds this week, therefore I felt it was safe to postpone taking pictures until the afternoon......wrong!  From the minute I put those step ladders away the clouds closed ranks on me.  The weather just turned from bad to worse!
 
Other than the fact there is no snow on the ground this month, little has changed out in the front garden over the last 4 weeks. As we look west out into the fields beyond, the outlook is still a winter one.  There is a sharp bite in the wind too.  We are forecast gales from early evening.  In fact, as I type the wind and rain is battering the front window and the birds are furiously feeding before the go off to roost.  I started writing this post last night and although a tad sunnier the wind and rain has been just as fierce today.
View looking west February 2015
I leveled off the soil around the arch and will at the earliest opportunity get some lawn seed down.  Presently there is a single paver leading through the arch but am now thinking how tricky mowing between the arch will be.  For the time being I am prepared to will live with but suspect that will change at some point.    

Standing directly in front of the house, you can just about make out that the roses have been pruned. I grabbed the chance to prune them mid week, in between coats of paint drying.  I've an admission to make.  Rose pruning terrifies me!  Even more so now that you are all bearing witness to my attempts.

Greenery is provided by way of the odd evergreen or two and the emerging perennials.  The Cordyline and Phormium in their respective pots have managed through winter with no protection.  I did not buy these plants.  They are plants I would not normally choose for the garden. They were bought by my mother who just happens to be naturally drawn to plants that I either don't particularly like or are tender.  The fact that the Cordyline was so expensive stops me from disposing of it!       
View towards the house
What do you think of my eyecatching display of Crocus?  Exactly, to which Crocus are you referring to Angie?  Please excuse the sarcasm.  If you peer long enough you might just make them out.  Don't get me wrong, they are lovely wee things close up, truly they are. The buds are as promised, white, veined with the deepest of purple.  Sadly, browness of soil does no justice whatsoever to the deepest of purple.   There are some 200 bulbs blending into the background.  To say that I am disappointed is perhaps a bit of an understatement.   They'd be far better suited to being naturalised in a lawn I think. 
      
Crocus sieberi Spring Beauty
I am finding that a few bulbs  have made their way to the surface of the soil.  They have firmly rooted themselves in situ but am not sure if they are Dutch Iris or Fritillaria uva-vulpis bulbs - any one got an idea on which they are?  Although I only planted them a few short months ago, I can't remember what either bulb looked like.  This is not an issue I have experienced before.  My first thought was maybe the cats had brought them up to the surface but there are no signs that my cats, or any other for that matter have been digging in the garden. 

Unknown bulb
Does anyone know if these shoots belong to Allium nectaroscordum bulgaricum or Tulips?  The foliage looks a bit like tulip to me but as I used to grow Allium nectaroscordum nearby they could just as easily be those.  I thought that the foliage on the Allium was more strap like and with a sort of twist.
Unknown foliage
The front garden used to be a bit of dumping ground for plants I decided wouldn't do well round the back or didn't fit in with my plans so I expect there will be a few surprises throughout the year.  This past winter I was supposed to find an alternative spot for Campanula persicifolia and I have so far failed to do so.  It will need to be lifted and moved soon, it is planted a bit too close to the hedge and doesn't fit in with my plans.  
 

Another plant that needs a new spot is Podocarpus x Young Rusty.  The Chocolate brown winter colour is lovely, in summer it is a rather unassuming wee shrub.  Presently a bit to up close and personal with Rosa Port Sunlight.  I think those are some Iris reticulata on the left, if they are then they are possibly Iris reticulata Pauline.  I really need to keep a better record of where I plant/move bulbs too in future.  It's just so easy to pop them in and forget all about them isn't it?  I am currently working on better record keeping in so far as bulbs go.
Podocarpus x Young Rusty
Speaking of Iris reticulata - I bought 3 trays of I. reticulata George a couple of weeks ago, thinking in my mind that they were more purple than the blue they have turned out to be.   I am now in two minds whether or not to plant them out front.

It's not all negative, there are some positives too.  

Verbascum Clemantine has started to show new foliage. Being listed as a short lived perennial, I was surprised that it made it through winter.  Short lived perennials are generally best grown as annuals here.  I can only presume that it's survival is testament to the decent drainage here in the front garden.    


I was gifted a cutting of the variageted Erysimum Walbertons Fragrant Star last year by a friend.  I struggled to find exact details of it's hardiness.   It's looking good, I think.  Although it's horizontal growth habit is being dictated to by the wind.  I will look into taking some more cuttings and find a spot that is a bit more sheltered from the wind to grow it in.        
Erysimum Walberton's Fragrant Star
Having had success in growing some Iris bucharica in a pot for the 3 previous years, I decided to move it out of it's pot and into the ground.  I have previously kept the pot bone dry during the summer months, bringing it out from under cover in autumn to benefit from the autumn and winter rains.  I expected it to reappear this spring, it won't be until next spring whether or not I know this move has been successful.
Iris bucharica shoots end of February 2015
A passing thought I would like to put down on record if I may?  A reference I can use when doing my round up at the end of the year,  is to take heed on how bare the area feels right now.  I should consider trying a different colour palette for this time of year.  Hellebores would be one way to introduce some winter blooms, steering the colour away from my summer palette and should the bloom time over lap, the hellebores would not mind being dead headed to remove any that may clash.  Food for thought! 

Please join me and other garden bloggers for their End of Month View posts over at The Patient Gardeners Weblog - everyone is welcome!  Thanks for reading.  I'm off to see what's been going on in your garden this past month.
 


34 comments:

  1. Ciao Angie! Come sempre ho molto da imparare quando passo da te! Hai delle piante davvero bellissime! Nella foto che mostri a me sembrano tulipani. Il mio Nectaroscordum assomiglia molto di più alla tua foto numero 5, foglie piatte e verdi e non rossastre a punta :)

    Io poi voglio farti i complimenti per il Podocarpus che sinceramente non pensavo di vedere in un blog!! Ma dove lo hai trovato??

    Un saluto :D

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    1. Thank you for your help Pontos. I will be keeping a close eye on what they will be. The Allium will not fit in with my colour scheme here.
      The Podocarpus was picked up at a local nursery http://www.newhopetoungardens.co.uk/ last spring. I was drawn to the winter foliage, isn't it lovely. Just a pity I haven't yet managed to do it justice. I have checked on line and find that there are couple of suppliers here in the UK that have this plant listed. Maybe you can find it over there, who knows?

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    2. Grazie mille per le informazioni!! Appena posso lo cerco su ebay!! Grazie per avermi dato una testimonianza reale di questa pianta!

      Buona settimana e ancora grazie :)

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  2. Your front garden is looking good, with a bit of time and warmer weather it will all spring into action soon. Rose pruning used to scare me too, until I saw that it didn’t really matter that much how I did it, the roses came up and flowered anyway. I know what you mean about the crocuses, I have mine in beds with dark coloured bark mulch and you can’t really see them on a distance, apart from the yellow ones which really stands out. Last autumn I planted quite a few in containers and pots to have around the path and that has really helped, now I am surrounded by crocuses!

    The weather changed a lot here today too, from glorious sunshine to pouring down in the space of a few hours. And the wind has been ferocious and still is.
    Have a good week!

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    1. I'd have been far better going with bright yellow crocus out here Helene but I live and learn! If they don't improve I will lift them and pop them into pots for the time being and replace next autumn.
      We've had a very changeable day here, glorious sunshine, followed by snow, followed by yet more sunshine and then hail. That wind is a nightmare isn't it?

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  3. Sounds as if you had an even worse day than us weather wise Angie and that was bad enough. It's a difficult predicament when other people give you plant gifts that you would not choose yourself. Sometimes mine have mysteriously disappeared after a decent period of time : ) The emerging leaves are tulips as far as I can tell. Maybe you could transplant the crocuses later in the year. They maybe invisible but at least they've grown unlike mine which the squirrels must have enjoyed.

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    1. Not much better today either Anna. If the Cordyline wasn't so big it would be easy to get rid off, nudge, nudge, wink, wink! She hasn't noticed some of the other things that have gone that way in the past but each year, I've had it 4 years now, she reminds me to take care of it over winter!
      I am ever so grateful I don't have squirrels here - yours is not the only garden plagued by them!

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  4. Dear Angie, so funny it happened to me too, that I got it done to take photos with cloudy/gray overcast skies for this End of Month View meme. Lesson learned: take pictures when the light is good and don't wait one more second even in Southern California ;-)!
    Sorry you have to deal with some disappointments in your front yard. Too bad that the crocuses, which are exceptionally pretty in the close up don't stand out more from the soil more (maybe a little bit of sunshine would rectify that?) and the the iris reticulata 'George' has not quite the color that you had hoped for. I totally love them though, since such a saturated dark blue color is hard to find for the garden. I hope you find a spot for them to plant where you are happy with them.
    Your closing thought of introducing hellebores to the front yard and introduce more winter color that way is a really good one in my book.
    I am sure next month when everything will have grown in a bit more your front yard will look fabulous and all disappointments will be forgotten.
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. I'll swap your southern Californian cloudy skies for our chilly Scottish ones any time Christina - you only have to ask ;)
      I've not caught up with everyone's postings this month as my favourite TV show came on last night before I got a chance to do the rounds - I will be reading your post shortly.

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  5. I like your gate between the driveway and the road. It seems very elegant.
    Erysimum Walberton's Fragrant Star looks beautiful. I wish I could grow it. Before reading the name, I thought it was a Euphorbia.

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    1. Those gates are not to my taste Alain but I inherited them with the house and they do a job. Costly to replace therefore I will live with them until they need replacing.
      The Erysimum does look like a Euphorbia, even more so from a far.

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  6. Hi Angie,

    It looks like we both bought the exact same iris from B&Q ;)
    I bought some tulips this weekend to add to my other bulbs for cutting... I've quite a collection at the moment. And I'm even tempted to pot them up. But must resist because then I'll never cut them!

    When I first moved I too have a Cordyline... I was more than happy when it eventually died after heavy snow.

    crocus definitely need planting en masse. I don't bother with the darker colours any more. They really need to be either light purple or white/cream/yellow to have any impact. When planting I always place at least 10 or so together - but sometimes they don't all come up, that cannot be helped.

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    1. I remember seeing your Iris and thinking the exact same thing Liz. I had planted the crocus in groups of around 15 or so under each rose. They won't be too difficult to find should I want to remove and replace them in the autumn. I just hope it doesn't come to that!

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  7. The shoots look more like tulips than Nectaroscordum. I love that Erysimum, I am going to look out for it. I have never seen the Podocarpus Young Rusty before it is most unusual. But George is purple and not blue at all. I think your irises must be wrongly labeled but never mind they are very pretty.

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    1. You confirmed my thoughts Chloris. I have a few George blooming elsewhere and they are decidedly different. As you say, pretty nevertheless.

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  8. Despite the cold and rain, Angie, it seems that spring is on its way! If only your could send us a little of that unwanted rain. (The most recent southern California storm has largely passed us by.) Re the difficulty of cutting the grass under the arch, have you considered using a string trimmer instead of a lawn mower? When I had a small patch of lawn (in my old garden), that's what I used and it worked well. Re the rose pruning process, I share the same fear! I'm always sure I may be doing irrevocable harm but, so far anyway, all is well. Best wishes for sunnier days ahead!

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    1. You can have as much of my unwanted rain as you like Kris ;)
      I am absolutely hopeless at using a Strimmer Kris, I end up hacking up more turf that I cut. Still, I suppose practice would make perfect! We shall soon see how my rose rose pruning attempts turn out.

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  9. Your arbor definitely makes the biggest statement in your garden - what are you or planing to grow up it? I can't wait to see what your garden looks like in the coming months!

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    1. There is a rose on the arbour on the sunnier side and I had planned a winter Jasmine for the other but decided against it. I've not given anything else much thought right now but no doubt will when everything else is growing at it's bare Rebecca.

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  10. We have iris George on flower at the moment and it is a dark purple - look out for it on Wednesday's post. Dutch irises have very thin, grass like leaves and the bulb doesn't look like the one on the surface.

    By the way I think you are right in thinking mowing through the arch would be a pain. What about some ground hugging planting around the paving?

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    1. I will keep an eye on your post Sue. I knew Pauline was purple as I planted them before and as I said above am almost convinced that is what has appeared next to the podocarpus and I have a tiny clump round the back already blooming which confirmed my thoughts too! I hate when plants are wrongly labelled!
      I hadn't thought about ground hugging plants Sue, thanks for the idea, I'll look into it.

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    2. If you go to my blog and follow the link to March diary at the top them the photo on 2 March us George

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  11. I think Hellebores are a great idea! Hopefully those Crocuses will bulk up eventually and make much more of a statement in a few years. I have a few bulbs in my garden that the winter temperature changes have heaved up out of the soil.

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    1. Great minds Alison - I will be hunting for some new Hellebores next winter I think :)
      A shame your bulbs have heaved, I wonder if that's whats happened to mine. It's still a mystery.

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  12. I'm so glad your snow has gone at last and that your bulbs are starting to pop up. We lost our Cordyline in the winter of 2010/2011, I wasn't sorry to see it go! Love your Erysimum, that one to definitely look out for. I'm so glad you have Iris reticulata Pauline next to your rose of Port Sunlight, at one time we lived fairly near to port Sunlight, you brought back happy memories of when the children were little!

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    1. Pauline, I shall think about you each time I look at that rose now. Glad I was able to bring back some of those lovely memories :)

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  13. As someone also dealing with a lot of bare soil in some areas I can really realte to your post. In part it is this time of the year, but like you I would like to add some more structure with some evergreens. Have you thought of evergreen ferns?

    I'm sure as your crocus multiply you would start to see them better. I have the same problem with some mauve colour crocus, so I'm rather hoping I'm right about that. For Hellebores, go for the whiter & yellower ones. I've made the mistake of planting the deep aubergine-purple ones as I love the colour - however you can hardly see them. So learn from my mistake!

    I've had that same problem with a couple of bulbs in my front garden, and funnily enough they are Allium nectaroscordum. I'd also be curious to know why some bulbs do this. Those other bulbs look like Tulips to me.

    I think this time of year we need to look closely to see the flowers and new growth, but the rewards are worth it. There is a lot coming along in your garden - I bet by the end of March it will look quite different.

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  15. Trying again here :) I think it's wonderful your crocuses grew so well, but I understand about the colour against the ground. The only crocus that grew well for me was Jeanne d'Arc, which, being pure white and larger than the species, shows up pretty well even on bare soil. I love the way you're creating the space with the arbor and fence and beds; it will be such a pleasant place to be in... I know what you mean about popping the bulbs in and forgetting - I'm practically using my blog to record these things; I'm such a bad record-keeper! That Erysimum is just lovely...

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  16. I would also say the shoots look more like tulips. I know what you mean about pruning roses. Fortunately, mine are all shrub roses or ramblers. I just tell myself that they are really just fancy brambles and I can't really do much serious damage.

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  17. Hi Angie, don't be angry about the weather, in my area it is much more cold in the moment, I look out of my window minutes ago - new snow, only a bit. My dayly look at the weather report shows me, that it is much more warmer in Aberdeenshire than here. I will come in summer, to see some gardens and distillerys.
    I think your bulb is a tulip. You have baught a lot of Iris retuculata, in my garden only one has survived the voles. Enjoy your garden!

    Sigrun

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  18. I agree about your unknown foliage. Looks like tulips to me - Nectaroscordum, like you said, has strappy, twisted foliage. Shame about your crocus - they're so gorgeous, too! Hellebores will look lovely. They would provide an element of height in contrast to the lowly (in height terms!) bulbs. What about setting your paving slab in gravel, edged with, say, rope edging, instead of grass?. It would cut out that awkward bit of mowing. Just a thought!

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  19. Enjoyed this "stream of consciousness" post. It's much the way my mind works. I think of so many things that would make the season at hand better, but by the time it is time to do something about it, it has slipped my mind.

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  20. I do like the view of the front with the arch. It is still winter with no soil showing, but I also feel there is precious little in bloom in early spring. I need to check that out if we ever see the ground again.

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