The Greenhouse and a bit of catching up

Although out in the garden not very much changed while I was away, it was a different story in the greenhouse where all of the tomato seedlings grew at quite a pace and have now all been pricked out into larger modules and some that I had pricked out before were ready to be put in 9 cm pots.  This is the stage I really enjoy partly because at this stage it is pretty certain they will survive.

There were positively forests of seedlings from the saved seeds of tomatoes that I had particularly liked last year; for the rest I had been more restrained in the numbers I had sown as I am always loathe to throw away unwanted seedlings.  I will still have enough to give lots away to friends. Continue reading

The Crimson Zone – Tulips

More and more Anemone Sylphide are flowering although a rogue red one is flowering here too.  Is it a seedling from last year’s corms or one that just crept into the wrong pack I wonder?  It would be lovely to think they are spreading by seed but maybe a bit optimistic for one to be flowering in its first year. Continue reading

Pink

I wouldn’t really describe myself as a ‘pink’ person but I do love very deep fuchsia pink.  Last year I started planting a small area of the garden with just this colour, the idea being that there would be something flowering in that colour for most of the year.

If you’ve seen any of my previous posts over the last few months you will have seen Anemone Sylphide.  I am thrilled with the colour and how long it has flowered; it is still producing new blooms now and it began on January 15th.

Anemone Sylphide

Anemone Sylphide

Last spring I saw two tulips that caught my eye on other blogs.  Hillwards showed Tulip Barcelona, just the colour I wanted and available from my supplier; I have not been disappointed by its silky loveliness.  Wife, Mother Gardener raved about the little tulip Persian Pearl (she has shown it a couple of times this year too.  I think it must like her cooler conditions better than mine because mine was over in about a week, but as it is a species type it should at least bulk up for next year and will hopefully make a better impression.

Tulip Barcelona

Tulip Barcelona

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T. Barcelona, I like the way the petals curve out in a most elegant way

T. Barcelona, I like the way the petals curve out in a most elegant way

The petals look like silk

The petals look like silk

The first tulip opens in 2013 - T. Persian

The first tulip opens in 2013 – T. Persian Pearl

Tulip Persian Pearl

Tulip Persian Pearl

I included Hyacinth Miss Saigon, but again this opened and finished very quickly so the jury is out as to whether I would plant others, it will depend on its performance next year.  Little Gem irises were pretty but their colour didn’t live up to their description but they did flower for a long time so I enjoyed having them in the garden.

Hyacinth Miss Saigon

Hyacinth Miss Saigon

I also bought Tulip Purple Dream not expecting it to be a similar colour.  This tulip is indeed a dream I’ve never seen a tulip with a larger flower, the images don’t do it justice.  It was very tall too, although this could be because it was planted with Cerinthe all around it so it might just have been reaching for the light. I hadn’t planted it in the same bed as the others but I might be tempted into buying some this autumn (don’t think about it yet) to give a different form in the bed.

T. Purple Dream

T. Purple Dream

T. Purple Dream with the light behind its petals, this is a new favourite

T. Purple Dream with the light behind its petals, this is a new favourite

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Wide open showing a white throat T. Purple Dream

Wide open showing a white throat T. Purple Dream

The same applies to T. Double Dazzle planted in autumn 2010 in the large island; I think it would look great with the other tulips.

T. Double Dazzle

T. Double Dazzle

T. Double Dazzle looks great with Euphorbia rigida

T. Double Dazzle looks great with Euphorbia rigida

Sadly the tulips have all finished now but I’ll post about some of the others that were especially beautiful this year and the plants that associated well with them.

GBBD March – spring begins

Not in the sense that we have spring weather, no, it is cold, it is wet and the winds have been gale force; there has been some sun but mostly March has definitely come in like a lion…..

But despite this, blooms have opened, some bulbs are already finished, Crocus have been shredded by the whipping wind and Iris reticulate, although lasting longer than other years are now putting on foliage rather than flowering.

The best blooms are still the Anemone sylphide, close to them the other bulbs I chose for their similar fuchsia pink colour are showing their buds.  Hyacinth Miss Saigon, another bulb I’ve never grown before will be open in a few days and Barcelona, Persian Pearl or Antraciet Tulips are showing colour in their buds.  I don’t know which tulip this is because I planted all three here hoping for a continuation of intense colour, I’ll know when it is fully open I hope.

Anemone Sylphide

Anemone Sylphide, no apologies for showing these again!

Hyacinth Miss Saigon

Hyacinth Miss Saigon

Barcelona, Persian Pearl or Antraciet Tulip?

Barcelona, Persian Pearl or Antraciet Tulip?

The plum is now flowering with the promise of small sweet yellow plums later in summer.

Plum blossom

Plum blossom

The rest of the blooms are those you would expect in March with one exception, Rosa rimossa on the south-facing pillars has two flowers, one has already been almost destroyed by wind by the other is more tucked away so will hopefully bloom for a little longer.

Rosa rimosa three days ago

Rosa rimosa three days ago

and now after the wind

and now after the wind

R. rimosa, another bud opening

R. rimosa, another bud opening

Ceanothus repans continues to flower out of its usual late spring season, the plant is dying back in the middle and I fear it will die, they are capricious shrubs that often die for no apparent reason, I will replace it if it does die, I am trying cuttings but they are slow to put down roots.

Ceanothus repans

Ceanothus repans

Cerinthe is late flowering this year but there are masses of self-seeded plants in the large island making quite a statement.

Cerinthe

Cerinthe

Cerinthe's purple bell flowers

Cerinthe’s purple bell flowers

Viburnum tinus still not fully open, it really is a short season here

Viburnum tinus still not fully open, it really is a short season here

Periwinkle grows in the hedges

Periwinkle grows in the hedges

Violas have been flowering all winter in large pots which will some be displaying tulips

Violas have been flowering all winter in large pots which will some be displaying tulips

Euphorbia rigida is still putting on a great show

Euphorbia rigida is still putting on a great show
Euphorbia mysernites is adding colour around the garden

Euphorbia mysernites is adding colour around the garden

A few Verbena are flowering in sunny spots

A few Verbena are flowering in sunny spots

Prostrate Rosemary is doing a great job of forming a strean of blue on the slope

Prostrate Rosemary is doing a great job of forming a strean of blue on the slope

20130313_9999_10There’s lots more flowers to come.

Lonicera fragrantissima is at its best now, sweetly perfuming the air by the drive

Lonicera fragrantissima is at its best now, sweetly perfuming the air by the drive

Teucrium is reliable for flowering all winter

Teucrium is reliable for flowering all winter

Clumps of Muscari are beginning to bloom

Clumps of Muscari are beginning to bloom

where-as Eleagnus is coming to an end

Where-as Eleagnus is coming to an end

Oestiospmum also have a few blooms

Osteospmum also have a few blooms

Thank you Carol at MayDreams for hosting GBBD; visit to see what gardeners around the world have flowering in March.  Happy GBBD to everyone.

All is Revealed!

I promised not to keep you waiting for the name of the two plants that have been wowing me this winter.

I am surprised none of you guessed as I’ve mentioned the plants over the last couple of months.  Maybe you thought I was implying a shrub, well sadly there isn’t a shrub that flowers all winter here, I really wish there was.  Yes Rosa mutabilis flowers into December and this year actually managed blooms in January but it doesn’t flower in the bleak months of January and February, the months when I want some colour to cheer me.

So first is Iris unguicularis, I wrote about it as a plant of the moment on November 26th, not expecting that it would flower almost continuously until now March 7th.  There was only a two week period when there were no flowers; my clump is quite new (three years old) and already it has sent out a new clump about 30cm from the original plant.  This is the first year that it has flowered so much, I knew it would take a while to establish but it has certainly been worth waiting for, a delicate colour but not a delicate plant it has stood through strong winds and 6 weeks of sub-zero night-time temperatures, but it began flowering before any cold weather had arrived so it isn’t dependant on the cold to start it flowering.

Iris unguicularis

Iris unguicularis

I am sure the Iris will continue to spread and flower even more profusely in years to come, I intend leaving the main plant where it is (I couldn’t bear to not have the flowers next year, but I will move the off-shoot and hope to have a few clumps in strategic places in the future.

I hope with my second revelation that I’m not jumping the gun.  I planted Anemone Sylphide for the first time last autumn (at £2.00 for 25 corms from Peter Nyssen not an expensive experiment).

I didn’t soak them before planting although I did soak a different variety that I planted a bit later under the Mulberry; it did rain very heavily soon after planting them so I think I was probably lucky.  The growth appeared after about a month and I was surprised and a little worried that it should appear so early.  I showed the first bud about to open in January’s GBBD and that first flower lasted more than a month!  I call that pretty amazing.  Other buds appeared and the group still has lots of new buds waiting to open, I’ll report when the last bloom fades.  For something that gives such impact through these dull months I think it must be hard to beat.  At the price I paid I would even be willing to consider them an annual.  I will plant more next autumn and I’m looking forward to knowing whether they will return for a second and hopefully more years.

The bud appears with an elegant bent neck

The bud appears with an elegant bent neck

then shyly puts its head up to show the colour of its bud

then shyly puts its head up to show the colour of its bud

The colour becomes stronger

The colour becomes stronger

and shines in the light

and shines in the light

Slowly it opens to reveal the black centre

Slowly it opens to reveal the black centre

In the sun it opens fully

In the sun it opens fully

I want swathes of this colour to brighten winter days

I want swathes of this colour to brighten winter days

GBBD – Few but very Precious

The few flowers there are in the garden at the moment at very precious to me as a sign that spring is on the way.

Teucrium fruticosa flowers continuously from November through to April so though the flowers are small, they are profuse so they add a blue haze for many months.

Teucrium fruticosa

Teucrium fruticosa

Euphorbia rigida is the first to show signs of the acid yellow inflorescence that proclaims spring is here!

Euphorbia rigida

Euphorbia rigida

First pink colouration appears as the ‘buds’ swell, then they open to reveal bright, acid yellow/green.

Euphorbia rigida

Euphorbia rigida

These small Irises are one of my favourites, they don’t last very long and it can be easy to miss seeing them at all, but they don’t cost very much so I’m prepared to indulge myself.

Iris Purple Gem

Iris Purple Gem

Iris Purple Gem

Iris Purple Gem

Next

Lonicera fragrantissima

Lonicera fragrantissima

Lonicera fragrantissima has the very best perfume of any plant I know! It doesn’t flower for as long a period here as it does in the UK, it needs some cold to trigger the flowers.

Viburnum tinus is mostly tight pink buds with just a few open to revel the white flower inside.  This is another plant that does not flower for such a long period as in the UK where it flowers for maybe 6 months of the year.  My plant has not fully recovered from the burning winds during the summer and a couple of large stems still seem to be dead.  I’ll prune them out later in spring if there really is no chance from them recovering.

Buds of Viburnum tinus

Buds of Viburnum tinus

Opening buds of Viburnum tinus

Opening buds of Viburnum tinus

Arabis

Arabis

Arabis, grown from seed is full of tightly closed buds, but a few are braving the cold nights.

A surprise is that one Phlomis sufuiticosa has buds that are nearly open, while another plant, perhaps a metre away, doesn’t even have any buds yet!

Phlomis

Phlomis

I planted these yellow Crocus Ancyrensis last autumn, I love their sunny colour.

Yellow Crocus Ancyrensis

Yellow Crocus Ancyrensis

Rosemary continues to attract bees to its masses of blue flowers.

Rosemary

Rosemary

But best of all are the dazzling flowers of Anemone Sylphide; I’ve never manages to grow these before and they are one of my favourite cut flowers too so now I’ve had some success I’ll plant lots more next year!

Anemone Sylphide

Anemone Sylphide

Anemone Sylphide

Anemone Sylphide

Anemone Sylphide

Anemone Sylphide

Not only are the colours stunning but the flowers last a long time, I showed the buds just before they opened for last GBBD and this is one of the flowers that was a bud then – I am impressed because we’ve had frosts many of the nights and heavy rain and terrifyingly strong winds and still the flowers are beautiful. Others I planted under the Mulberry tree are slower to flower but that will only extend the season further.

A very happy Bloomday to all gardeners everywhere. Thanks to Carol for hosting.