Sunday, 31 May 2015

End of Month View May 2015

April 2015
It dawned on me a couple of hours ago that it was the last day of the month and I had not prepared any shots of the front garden this week.   The wind is still very persistent and making it extremely difficult to take pictures.  Wider shots are fine but going through the many close up shots I've taken, I probably could have saved my time and not bothered.

Looking west and you can really see everything is filling out now.  I can't get over how lush and thick that front hedge is looking.  I do note though that the plants in the bed to the right (nearest to the house) are all reaching inwards towards the centre of the garden.  I thought that the sun came round the house early enough not to have such an effect, I was obviously wrong!   I finally got round to removing the Nandini domestica Gulf Stream, it did not like this windy site at all and had looked absolutely rotten for months.

Looking west End of May 2015

You will see that I have failed yet again in getting some grass seed down.  An Iris has sprung up almost slap bang in the middle of the arch.  It does look odd but I will let it do it's own thing until autumn and then find it an alternative home.  The bearded and dutch Iris all have buds but are still rather shy.  It's still cold here during the night.  In fact three mornings this week (when I've finished work at 3am) the frost warning has come on in the car. 

The view towards the house shows Rosa The Lady of Shalott, I just wish I could remember one L and two Ts without having to look it up each time I write it, she is by far the fullest and tallest rose right now.  All are looking reasonable right now but they too are very slow at putting on buds.  They were fed with Toprose back in spring and it's my understanding that they should not be fed again until after the first flush of blooms.  What do other UK gardeners do with their roses?  Might they benefit from some sort of liquid feed to encourage them a bit?

Standing by the front window the view outwards clearly shows how lush and healthy the privet hedge is looking.  I am fair impressed with how well the manure has worked, a job worth doing if you are ever considering it.

The shape of the lawn is most apparent from this angle.  It takes me longer to get the mower and edge trimmers out and set up that it does to mow it.  The flymo glides over this whole area in less than 3 minutes.  Mowing this lawn is no longer a chore.

Pleasingly the strappy Iris foliage is no longer annoying me, as predicted by one or two of you, they would be softened by the other plants as they filled out.  Instead, my annoyance this month turns to Geranium renardii.  You can make out those white blooms at the far side.  I debated and deliberated over adding white out here and it appears I should have taken heed.  There are one or two other white blooms still to come.  Namely Anthemis tinctoria Sauce Hollandaise and a couple of Leucanthemums.

There are a few gaps here and there which will be filled with some of my Salvia Amistad cuttings just as soon as I can get them in the ground.  Sadly, the parent plant did not make it through winter.  Other winter casualties are Achillea Terracotta and one of 3 Achillea Feuerland.   I did not expect either of these to perish.

What's blooming out there right now?

If my money had to be place on any plant not returning Verbascum Clemantine would have been favourite.  However, it is just coming into bloom.  Another plant that is not liking the wind.  I've stuck in a bit of support but that isn't working.  I will need to wait until a calmer day to untie it and see what I can do about it.  V. Clematine's colours are perfect for my scheme.

Verbascum Clemantime

Erysimum Walberton's Fragrant Star is still looking good.  The silver edged Lady's Mantle, Alchemilla conjuncta is also putting out some frothy blooms.  This is my favourite Alchemilla and in all honesty was another I was rather sceptical about how it would look out here but I think it's looking ok.
Erysimum Walberton's Fragrant Star and Alchemilla conjuncta

Euphoriba griffithii Fireglow is one plant I could not be more pleased with.  Despite it's Tower of Pisa list, I love it!

Euphorbia griffithii Fireglow

I had hoped that last month's newbie would have opened it's delicate little blooms for this post.  Almost!  Lathyrus transsilvanicus, I've been told will cope well with the wind out here.  There is no mistaking this little thing as a member of the pea family is there?

Lathyrus transsylvanicus

Stuck in limbo Podocarpus x Young Rusty is neither in summer or winter colour.  It's at that in between stage.  I had at first thought the paler growth was some sort of bloom or cone but closer inspection allowed me to see it was just new growth.  This plant is, as I've only just discovered, is as toxic as Yew.
Podocarpus x Young Rusty

That's my lot for May's End of Month view so please join me over at The Patient Gardener's Weblog where many more bloggers post about their chosen views.  There's lots to see, it's a very popular meme.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Bloom and grow (May 2015)

My mission to buy a new plant for the garden each month with the proviso that a. it must be in bloom and b. something I've never tried to grow before just got harder!  Pickings may have been slim last month but this month it was the complete opposite.  Too much choice (?) and I suspect it will get all the more difficult over the next couple of months too.   Choices, choices, choices!  

So just what have I treated myself too?

Having admired from afar, this year and last, the Camassia that many of you grow I was on the lookout for some of those.  I particularly liked the blue varieties but the first nursery I visited only had a creamy white variety for sale.  This was not what I wanted so rather than buy for buying's sake I had a quick scout around to see what else Binny Plants had for sale.  I didn't have to walk far. 

Firstly, Pulsatilla vulgaris Papageno.  This wee plant is described as a choice form of our native pasque flower.  Native, in bloom and new to me - PERFECT! I claimed 3 wee 9cm pots. It prefers a sunny, well drained site.  The front garden should be ideal.  Flowers are usually purple but according to some online sources, they can range from deep red through to white.  2 out of the 3 plants I bought opened the purple you see below and the third was more of a red. Despite this difference I will plant all three together and hope they spread out and make a fine display.  

Pulsatilla vulgaris Papageon

My second purchase was something that will take a bit of shade.  I am always attracted to blue
flowers, the pretty powder blue blooms of this Anemone caught my eye. Let me introduce you to Anemone trullifoloa - isn't it a pretty wee thing?  Ok, I do have other anemones growing in the garden but not this particular species, so I figured it fitted the criteria. 3 more wee pots added to my trolley.  Native to parts of China, Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim where it grows in streamside in forests and alpine meadows.  It will neither like dryness in summer nor watering in winter.  I read that as meaning that it will not tolerate winter wet. Which is why I think the side garden is more suited to get it too thrive.  I have tried it out along side a few other plants in the garden and think it looks best planted with either white or yellow flowers.

The foliage has an almost velvety feel.  To me it kind of resembles the familiar buttercup foliage.  Which is not really surprising since they both belong to the Ranunculaceae family.  I won't hold that against it though!   The large Dicentra (Lamprocapnos) spectabalis, is perhaps too large therefor I may try to source a smaller white flowering Dicentra.  I am fairly satisfied that they will all look equally as beautiful planted under or near by my Acer shirasawanum Aureum in the side garden.  I am also seeing a single white peony with a huge yellow centre in bloom nearby.  That will of course be another shopping trip.  And more than likely the subject of my post next month.

Also coming home with me this visit was Lathyrus transsylvanicus.  Another species new to me.  It had pretty orange pea flowers, note the word HAD.  I somehow managed to snap the blooms off on the way back to the car.  So I've no blooms to share with you.  Good news is that it has now produced more buds.  I am hoping those open before my EOMV post in a few days time.

My last (intended) purchase of the day was one not for blooms but it was the foliage that caught my eye.  I thought I'd share it with you anyway.  A few good sized pots of Lilium leichtlinii were offered for sale.  I just couldn't help myself!  The foliage of this Asiatic lily is quite effective don't you think?   I like the mottled effect.  I'm sure the blooms with be even more impressive.  Where it is going to live is anyone's guess at the moment but I'm sure it won't take me long to find it a home.

Lilium leichtlinii foliage

Conveniently placed on the trip home Dobbies GC was my next port of call.  I needed some string and few other garden related bits and bobs.  Stuff that Binny Plants do not sell.  It had not been my intention to venture off into the plant sales area.  I truly meant that.  I was not buying anymore plants today!

A passing glance through those huge glass partitions was all it took.  I was smitten!  Should I? Shouldn't I?  I just knew that if I hadn't bought it, it would have played on my mind and I'd eventually return to buy it.  How disappointed would I be if I returned and there was none left?  This has happened to me, often, I wasn't taking any chances this time.  I snapped up what I considered a 'good looking' specimen.  I just wish my photography skills to show it off at it best.

Cornus x rutlan Ruth Ellen

Ruthie - she already has a nickname you'll notice.  Another sign that I have grown quite fond of her.  According to the label, she can be kept compact through pruning.  The label made no mention of her eventual height and spread.  I also found that the Eurodogwoods web site does not either.  Checking a few sites on the web.  I can expect her to make a height of around 12ft/3.5m which is fine but the spread kind of scared the proverbial out of me!  18ft/5.5m!  So do I keep her in check via pruning or do I just enjoy her for a few years knowing full well the time will come when I have to find a replacement.   I could have of course taken her right back to the store and tried my hand at getting a refund under the pretense that their label was if that was ever going to happen!  

My plans for finding a spot in the garden started on the car journey home.  The corner you see in the background would allow me to enjoy the blooms from the house, the fencing and trellis would possibly provide a bit more shelter and it is a reasonably sunny site, with good soil.  Yes, my mind was made up.

Or was it?

The more I've thought about it this last couple of weeks, the more I began taking notice of her oriental look.  Since one of her parents (Cornus kousa) was from that part of our planet, that's hardly surprising is it?  Might she be better suited to the side garden?  Along with the Japanese maples and Magnolia stellata, might there be an oriental themed garden forming in my head?  Even the Anemone mentioned above could qualify.  When I say 'Oriental Themed' what I really mean is a loosely based 'Oriental Theme'.  I am not sure my often impulsive way of gardening would allow me to be as focused on plant choices as I'd really need to be to label it an oriental garden.  We shall see what transpires over the coming weeks/months.  She should be perfectly happy in the pot for now, providing I am vigilant about watering.

Oh and before I go - the Camassia?  Did you think I'd forget?  Thought not, you all know me too well.  I did find some the following weekend and I am pleased to announce that these blooms are as equally lovely in the flesh as they are in many of the images I have seen.  Thanks for reading and apologies for making this a long one!
Camassi cusickii


Friday, 22 May 2015

Foliage Follow Up May 2015

I don't often find time to join Christina and friends for a Foliage Follow Up post but this month I've been able to squeeze a post in.  I seem to have plenty of time on my hands this week.  Christina, apologies for not being as regular a contributor as I'd like to be.    

Foliage plays an important part in my garden or at least I want it too.  I feel in a few spots around the garden I've managed to get it just about right.  Of course, there are a few clashes here and there that did not transfer from my mind's eye into the garden.  So what combos or individual plants are pleasing me right now - join me as I take a daunder.

Ferns, Hostas and other foliage interest plants have been very slow this year, lack of moisture I think. It has been an incredibly dry spring, certainly not the norm for Scotland. 

Asplenium scolopendruim are dotted all about the garden

The King, Dryopteris affinis Cristata, has finally got going.  

The pretty little Polypodium scouleri, has taken a good couple of year to settle in but is now finding it's way.  This wee fern is said to be better suited for growing on the West Coast of Scotland and in Ireland than here on the east coast.    

It's not all good though!  Hosta Frances Williams looking the worse for wear!

In a far better state, Hosta Blue Cadet is romping away in comparison to all the others that grow here.

Spring growth on Epimediums are hard to beat.  I won't bore you with them all but here's the best of the bunch right now.

Epimedium x perralchicum Fronhleithen

Epimedium Rubra

Epimedium warleyense Ellen Willmott

Astrantia Ruby Wedding and Polemonium Yezonense Purple Rain, the grey in the foliage will later be picked up by a japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum).  It's just a bit slow right now and is merely an inch or so high (just out of shot).

The new foliage from Iris pseudoacorus Variegata standing proud, sadly though the bleeding heart and Acer have taken a bit of a battering.  I'm not sure I can blame the weather entirely, I suspect that the cats have had a helping hand as they love to jump around and play in here.

A closer look at the gorgeous chartreuse foliage of Aquilegia vulgaris Purple Emperor that sits in the background.

Textures and shade of green come by the way of Lamium orvala, Acontitum napelensis Gletcheris and Ligularia przwalskii (variety unknown) give an overcrowded jungly feel to a shady corner.

My tendency to over fill an area means these school girl errors don't take long to come back and bite me on the back side!  3 years and it's full to bursting in there! Foliage textures and shades near the Acer that many of you admired in my previous post.  In there we've got Pieris, Acer, Lamprocapnos(Dicentra), Japanese Holly Fern and Epimedium.  Just out of shot Lamium and Brunnera too.  I didn't zoom out too far, the frosted foliage of Pieris (P. japonica Flaming Silver) really spoils the look!  There might even be a Hosta in there too!  Can you tell I hate bare patches of soil?  

The coral bark maple (Acer palmatum Eddisbury) draws the eye away from less than perfect foliage of Ligularia dentata Desdemona.  Carex testacea, whose new grow it not quite so vibrant yet should pick up the colour of the flowers on Geum Flames of Passion.  I like all these colour together.

Lastly, I am not sure if I should be grateful or worried that Lamium maculatum Beacon Silver has now made a sizeable clump.  I remember getting this as a tiny wee rooted division around 4 years ago.  I had plans for it but I can't for the life of me remember just what those plans were!  Do you do this or are you all very methodical with your planning?  I just wish I could be!

It's the bank holiday weekend and I intend to spend as much time in the garden as I can.  I have deliberately not checked the weather forecast.  There is plenty to do.  Whatever you have planned, whether in the garden or not - have a good one! 

Friday, 15 May 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day May 2015

The recent winds and fierce rain fall has taken it's toll on a few plants here and there.  Those winds were described as brisk the other evening by the weather forecaster.  Brisk?  I think he under estimated them just a wee bit.  It's still cold and frosts are still forecast.  Will it ever end!!

The rotten weather has allowed me to continue with the decorating indoors, I am now the hallway (upstairs and down), it's all doors, doors and yet more doors.  I feel as if eyes are turning square. Still, the end is in sight and I'll then be able to enjoy the garden a bit more.

Seeing that it's the middle of the month, it's time to post our Garden Blogger's Bloom Day posts.  I didn't need much persuading to take a break and get outside with the camera.  If you are in need of a pick up, please pop over to May Dream Gardens and rejoice with other bloggers as we share what's blooming in our gardens on the 15th of every month.  Everyone is welcome.

For a change, I thought I'd start out in the front garden.  The front garden which is the focus of my EOMV is coming along nicely.  There are many plants on the cusp of blooming but sadly they haven't made this month's post.
Geum Dingle Apricot, Potentilla (variety unknown), Erysimum Walbertons Fragrant Star, Geum Totally Tangerine and
Iris pumila Cherry Garden 
Lack of sun has meant that I've seen very few bees and even fewer butterflies recently.  An orange tip flitted by the other afternoon but that's been about it really.  Through the side gate, the side garden which I have really done little with over the years and is in dire need of a make over.  Standing by the gate - the view up towards the back garden.  There are some nice plants in there but being so long and narrow I find it difficult to bring them all together.  It's time I think I had a good long hard think about what I'd like to achieve here.  It's shady until mid afternoon, the soil out there is the best the garden has to offer and that's been without any amendment from me.

In the foreground, an inherited Rhododendron is just beginning to bloom.  A couple of self sown aquilegia are now too big for their boots and their particular chosen spots for that matter. Sandwiched between them Brunnera macrophylla Jack Frost.  The mid section is still a mass of foliage right at the minute.  At the far end, Magnolia stellata is holding on to the last of it's blooms, Dicentra exima King of Hearts, Lamium orvala, Dicentra Lamprocapnos spectabalis and Brunnera macrophylla Hadspen Cream are flowering right now.  Foliage pays an important part in this side garden and I like all the different shades and textures.

Dicentra exima King of Hearts and Magnolia stellata

Corydalis flexuosa Blue Dragon
The shady bed in the graveled area which was extended and had a bit of a reshuffle back in autumn has started filling out.  In the end nearest the house, Cotinus Dusky Maiden (when it finally leafs out) will dominate this bed in summer, meantime Bergenia Overture is going over and Polygonatum multiflorum is just coming into bloom.  Just out of shot purple leafed Corydalis is also blooming alongside the pale blue Pulmonaria with no name.   Ajuga Burgundy Glow, which I thought I had got rid of has appeared right in the centre of this group and is hidden by it's neighbours.  You can just make out a couple of blue flowering spikes in the left of the shot.  I'll leave it for now and see if I can find an alternative home for it.
Polygonatum multiflorum, Bergenia Overture and friends
In the middle section of this bed, there are many 'wee' plants blooming.  Again, the taller plants will hide these when they have gone over.  I am thrilled to find the Kirengeshoma is now showing.  I had myself in a bit of a tizzy a couple of weeks back as I thought it hadn't survived it's move.  I hope that the frosts haven't done too much damage to it.  It didn't flower the first year I grew this because the new growth was blackened by frost.  Last year it did well, hopefully it's late emergence has helped. The hellebores are being left to their own devices this year in the hope that I may get some seedlings to bring on.
Corydalis flexuosa Pere David, Polemonium yezoense Purple Rain, Epimedium x youngianum niveum and Primula Wanda
Primula japonica Miller's Crimson just coming into bloom 
Geranium pyrenaicum Bill Wallis
On the sunnier side of the graveled area, there is very little in bloom right now.  Making the biggest impact in this border right now is Phlox subulata Emerald cushion and Primula vulgaris Drumcliffe is doing it's best to hold on in there.  Geranium pyrenaicum Bill Wallis is the first geranium to bloom this year.  Disappointingly, the new variegated Euphorbia characias Glacier Blue and an older Euphorbia characias Silver Swan are really struggling.  I think it's time I faced facts and accepted they don't want to grow there.    Peonies, poppies, Alliums and Honeysuckle are gearing up to bloom but sadly not in time for this month's post.  
Phlox subulata Emerald Cushion
There really is nothing new in bloom up in the back garden proper.  The Camellias, Pulmonaria and Drumstick Primula have almost gone over on the shady side.  The Primula are last year's divisions and they haven't half filled out.  I need now to separate the white ones from the pale purple ones. They will find a home in the area I now call my mini woodland.
In the Mini Woodland - I think perhaps I need to find a bit more of an interesting name for it but for now Mini Woodland will do.  I have to get right down flat on my belly to get a decent shot of the Primula still flowering there.
Primula vulgaris 
Beneath the Heptacodium, Anemone nemorosa (courtesy of Annette @ My Aberdeen Garden) is blooming it's heart out.  It's one of my favourites right at the minute.

Anemone nemorosa
Another favourite this week grows in a pot at the front of the shed.  Clematis cartmanii Pixie is a plant who's hardiness rating for here in Scotland is not ideal but now in it's fourth year, it seems to be doing alright.  I never count my chickens though and always look on each year as it's last.   It is scented but it's not been warm enough to make it very noticeable.  Odd too that it has not been affected by the late frosts.

Lastly, blooms on a plant that will feature in my next Bloom and Grow post but I couldn't wait that long to share them with you.  Drum roll please.......Cornus x rutlan Ruth Ellen.  Very fetching I think.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Tree Following May 2015 - Sorbus Autumn Spire

At last!  It's been a long time coming!  It seems somewhat of a relief that I finally have something to report for this month's Tree Following post.  I feel as if I've prattled on about everything except my wee tree in my previous posts.  I wasn't sure I could string it out much longer!

This month sees the first anniversary of me planting Sorbus Autumn Spire in my garden.  S. Autumn Spire's growth is described as fastigiate (columnar) and was bought specifically for this part of the border where it narrows.  It's a rather nice looking tree, even though I say so myself.  I feel as if I made a good choice in so far as this tree is concerned.  The birds continue to feed from the little feeder I have hanging there.  The trellising last year was a very useful perch for the blue tit and sparrow fledglings.  It's nice to finally start thinking forward into summer rather hovering around in Spring.   
Sorbus Autumn Spire
Healthy new foliage.

Markings/texture on it's bark.  The bark of young Rowan trees are generally described as grey but to me it looks more olive green than grey. 

More importantly, flower buds.  It flowered rather sparsely last year and produced very few berries (pomes), there should be far more this year. 

For those of you that are familiar with Rowan trees, S. Autumn Spire is a sport of the widely planted S. Joseph Rock.  According to the RHS, they can fall fowl of aphids, blister mites and sawfly.  So far everything seems rather healthy.  The new foliage has a very healthy sheen to it.

The young Viburnum (V. sargentii Onondaga) growing to the left, is also budding up and should be in bloom about the same time.  The bronzy tinge on the foliage picks up the colour of the flower buds on the rowan.  It's still young and has grown very little in the couple of years I've had it.  This shrub has gorgeous spring colour, as you can see.

This shot, taken looking towards the house, is from an angle I haven't shown you before.   Although many of the plants in and around here are not all woodland plants, the area as a whole seems to be developing a kind of woodland feel to it  - or at least my interpretation of one.  Do two trees constitute a woodland?  I doubt it!   As the trees matures and the shrubs fill out, many of the perennials will have to go but right now there is plenty of room for everything.  I recently brought the tiny Acer palmatum Garnet from a spot that had been inappropriate for it.  Use it or loose it, as they say.  I hope it will be happy enough here.  
Laburnum and Sorbus in my mini woodland
Time now to pop over to Loose and Leafy so see how everyone else's tree is fairing this May.  See you there!