Tulips 2015 – My thoughts

Looking back over my photographs of tulips for this year I realise that the season was very short.  A few appeared at the end of March but the majority were completely finished by the end of April, a few very late varieties in shady spots have clung on until this week but not in a way to make any kind of show.

I have a memory that last year I spent weeks walking along the, then, new spring walk.  I was disappointed that so few of the tulips in the spring walk actually flowered again this year.  There are a couple of possible reasons.

  1. Mice ate some of the bulbs during the summer or winter; I did find some holes while I was weeding the bed in early spring.
  2. The plants of Sisyrinchium had bulked up so thickly the shoots of the bulbs couldn’t force their way through.

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GBFD a dilemma

For Garden Bloggers Foliage Day I usually encourage you to share some particularly beautiful foliage in your garden at present or describe how you use foliage to enhance your garden.

As my regular readers will know I depend heavily on foliage to give form, structure and texture to my garden.  Foliage is the most important feature during the middle of summer when few plants are flowering.  The formal garden is basically composed of three plants, Lavender hedging, Perovskia in the centre and Box cut-off pyramids at the corners.

The beautiful Box in 2014

The beautiful Box in 2014

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Is Linnaeus turning in his grave?

A couple of weeks ago I innocently put the up-dated name of Jacobaea maritima In my post about the slope on Thursday. Kris of Late to the Garden Party commented that she hadn’t realised that the name had been changed and that it was becoming more and more difficult to keep up with all the name changes that are occurring and that she was considering returning to using common names so that everyone would know which plant was being described. I hadn’t known the name had changed either but has looked it up to check the spelling, it was then I saw that its name has changed completely.

Rain soaked foliage of Seneccio

Rain soaked foliage of Seneccio

That was how I captioned the image but no, I was wrong it should now be Jacobaea maritima.

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This year’s olive harvest

The mild winter meant that the olives flowered early this spring.  I thought very early on that we would need to harvest much earlier than usual; however the mills are slow to respond to variations in the people’s needs.  Rain during summer isn’t what olives want, the trees have put on a huge amount of foliage; the vast majority of which will need to be pruned to allow light and air into the trees next year.  Fortunately our olives have always been unaffected by damage from the olive fly (Bactrocera oleae); I’m not entirely sure why as I never treat the trees nor hang pheromone traps.  This year however, due possibly to the damp conditions and maybe compounded by the congested foliage a lot of the olives showed the tell-tale exit hole of the larvae, feeling hopeful that at least some of the crop was unaffected we harvested this weekend.

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A response to Welly Woman – Is Gardening Cool Enough?

Welly Woman often writes thought provoking posts about her thoughts on gardening; she writes very convincingly and shares her ideas in a clear, often amusing way.  Yesterday she posted Is Gardening Cool Enough?

I remember a few years ago that the press were obsessed with gardening as ‘the new rock and roll’; everyone was trying to convince us that gardening was sexy! Continue reading

My Thoughts – Hemerocallis

Ephemeral they may be (each flower only last one day) but they really add intense colour into the garden over a long period.

Day Lilies (their common name) are tolerant of a wide range of garden conditions.  They don’t like intense shade but will flower well in partial shade.  They are pretty drought tolerant but will flower better when there is some moisture in the soil.  In winter the foliage dies back so they will survive low winter temperatures with no problems.

There are many, many cultivars; mostly the flowers are trumpet-shaped but some of the newer varieties are slightly star-shaped.  There are a vast array of colours, hues and sizes so you are sure to find one that is right for you.  They flower in slightly different periods and once a good clump has formed will flower for quite a long period.  Given some summer rain (or irrigation) and by cutting back the initial flower stems when they have finished flowering some will give a second flowering in autumn.  If the leaves become untidy in summer, cutting back the foliage to the base will produce fresh green foliage to provide good groundcover.  I wouldn’t recommend cutting back the foliage unless there is sufficient water.

I have a large clump of Stella di d’Oro planted under an Arbutus, they are inter-planted with Tulip Lambada to give a succession of colour; the foliage of the Hemerocallis successfully hiding the dying foliage of the tulips.  They flower in May, here seen with a Salvia.

Hemerocallis Stella di d'Oro

Hemerocallis Stella di d’Oro

A very pure yellow, slightly later flowering and taller than Stella di d’Oro is Happy returns.

Hemerocallis 'Happy Returns'

Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns’

Hemerocallis 'Happy Returns'

Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns’

Hemerocallis 'Happy Returns'

Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns’

I have two whites which I now cannot distinguish; this year they are flowering much better than in other years so I think they appreciate the wet spring more than the yellows.  I think this is Joan Senior and this Gentile Shepherd

H. Gentle Shepherd

H. Gentle Shepherd

Growing to about a metre tall the very common H. fulva is planted all along the back border.  It has increased enormously meaning I can divide them and extend the planting.

H. fulva in the back border (June)

H. fulva in the back border (June)

H. fulva (June)

H. fulva (June)

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There are other oranges, H. Hot Ember and H. Mauna Loa.

H. Mauna Loa

H. Mauna Loa

H. Duke of Durham? or H. Hot Ember

H. Duke of Durham? or H. Hot Ember

Hot Ember is what I ordered but looking through the catalogue this colour appears to be Duke of Durham.  Any comments about which it is gratefully received.

Strutter’s Ball is an intense dark violet.

H. Strutter's Ball

H. Strutter’s Ball

Grape ripples is reputed to be perfumed but I have to admit that I haven’t noticed any perfume.

H. Grape ripples?

H. Grape ripples?

I bought H. Scirocco to under plant Rosa mutabilis as it has a similar mix of colours.  The roses sooned filled the space so I moved the Hemerocallis and they need more time to really settle where I have planted them.

H. Scirocco

H. Scirocco

I purchased all except the tall orange H. fulva from a specialist grower in Sardinia (Vivaio i campi ); as I bought so many he gave me three extras, I don’t know their names but the yellow one has a huge flower and the plant has bulked up well.  The star-shaped dark magenta one fits well in the ‘Magenta zone’ and maybe ‘Crimson Pirate’.  The other is a washed out orange with a stripe, not my favourite but not unpleasant.

These were all flowering today:

H. Starling

H. Starling

H. 'Mary Todd' or 'Forsyth Lemon Drop'

H. ‘Mary Todd’ or ‘Forsyth Lemon Drop’

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H. Mauna Loa

H. Mauna Loa

H. fulva

H. fulva

H. Duke of Dureham

H. Duke of Dureham

H. Joan Senior

H. Joan Senior

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H. Gentle Shepherd

H. Gentle Shepherd

I didn’t have the name when I purchased this antique pink blotched variety.  Looking in the catalogue all these look identical to me! Allways Afternoon (miss-spelt in the catalogue), Chicago Heirloom, Druids Chant or Royal Braid – take your pick!

Hemerocallis 'Allways Afternoon' ???????????

Hemerocallis ‘Allways Afternoon’ ???????????

Hemerocallis 'Allways Afternoon' ???????????

Hemerocallis ‘Allways Afternoon’ ???????????

Hemerocallis 'Allways Afternoon' ???????????

Hemerocallis ‘Allways Afternoon’ ???????????

Whichever one this is, I would have to say if is difficult to place with other plants, its antique pink colour is not like anything else.

Does anyone have any experience of the pale pink varieties, I’d be interested in knowing if they maintain their colour.