Its that time again, when Helen (aka Patient Gardener) hosts the End of Month View meme and we get to check out progress on one another’s patches. Check out Helen’s blog and follow the links in the comments if you are as nosy as I am. Better yet, join in! I love staring over the fence at other people’s gardens, and also find it a really useful discipline, taking a regular and critical look at specific areas in my own patch.
No prizes for guessing what the star of the show is in the magnolia bed.
The Magnolia stellata is still smothered in blooms, and is still wafting heady scent across the garden. There are more bees about now too, although I’m not sure they get much satisfaction – the magnolias evolved to be pollinated by beetles. I don’t know if this means the pollen is impossible to reach for the bees, but it certainly isn’t stopping them visiting, which is a welcome sign that it really is spring now.
I promise not to take up the entire post with pictures of the magnolia, but as you can see from the white confetti under the tree in the top picture, and the dead flower sharing a branch with the fresh bloom above, the show will soon be over.
Leaves now appear with the buds, and flowers are dying as quickly as new ones open. I should have another week at least, but by next GBBD it will be looking rather tatty.
There’s still plenty of other things to enjoy though.
Anenome blanda has been wonderful, and we are determined to plant more in the autumn to surround the base of the magnolia, we love the contrast between the white and the deep blue – even if some of it is coming from rogue white bulbs! I also love the deep magenta of the honesty which has just started flowering, I just wish I had managed to keep more than just two plants alive. I will be sowing more for next year, and hoping it self seeds too.
The Veronciastrum that I moved from the pond bed last year is throwing up beautiful new leaves.
I also have the excitement of new plants – three Phlox stolonifera ‘Blue Ridge’, planted to fill in the gaps left when the daffodils have finished, already throwing up flower spikes. This really is a Spring border, but I am delighted to see healthy new growth bursting out on the Hydrangea quercifolia that I feared I might have lost – and the ladybird that seems to be happily asleep in the still-folded leaf.
It’s not all good news though – we lost the Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’. I think that if we hadn’t pruned it back last Spring it might have survived, plenty have around here, but we now have a large gap to fill between the trunk of the magnolia and the front of the border:
I bought an Aster divaricatus with a view to putting it in here, but FIL is hoping to retire within the next 12 months, at which point we will be starting to work out where we are going to move to. Since we won’t have much money for plants I am loathe to “waste” such a beauty, and am thinking about putting it in a pot instead so that we can take it with us. I do have an Achillea ‘Cassis’ which might fit in rather well, and lots of hardy geraniums.
In the pond bed there are lots of signs of spring growth too.
It will be a while before the Dicentra bursts into bloom, but the tulips are getting closer every day – this one is ‘Ballerina’, a wonderfully elegant deep orange.
Further round, the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is shooting up leaves, and the Astrantia major ‘Shaggy’ that I divided last year is pushing through strongly too.
All of which gives a completely false view of the pond bed. Amazing what a few close-ups and a bit of careful cropping can do…
Those tulips sit in splendid isolation, looking, quite frankly, daft. The candelabra primulas I hoped would be spraying jewel-like colour around the pond’s edge all died – though gardening SIL has offered to bring me up some of hers in a few weeks. I have some lovely hardy geraniums (Geranium magnificum) that I plan to plant around the edge of the pond, and which will help conceal the dreadful sight of the dying tulip foliage – and make them look less isolated – but I am also wondering about just moving the tulips to the greenhouse border. I lost my perennial wallflowers, which I loved but MIL hated, so there is space there amongst purple tulips and acid green euphorbia, which I think could look rather lovely. None of which helps conceal the fact that this is very much a “work in progress”.
Earlier in the week I managed to dig out the Molinia cearulea ssp. arundinacea ‘Windspiel’ that I had decided needed to go last year. Its at times like this that I find the gravel mulch a severe pain in the posterior. To dig anything out, or plant anything, let alone improve the soil, it all has to be carefully brushed away. Its expensive stuff, and over time rather more than I would like has found its way into the bed itself, a very expensive way to improve drainage on the heavy clay! At least this time I had a relatively large area to work in, though I did take the precaution of digging up and potting the two Verbena bonariensis plants that were just starting to shoot. Which is all very well, but I shouldn’t have been able to do this! There was supposed to be a graceful ribbon of Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’ threading its way across the border, just emerging now amongst the aquilegias, to be replaced later by an airy sinuous screen of Sanguisorba tenuifolia. The latter may yet happen, but the former never germinated, the first time I have failed with these seeds. But hey, that’s gardening, and I do have this:
Aconitum ‘Spark’s Variety’, beautifully set off by the (partially replaced) gravel. Which shouldn’t have popped up as a separate post yesterday by the way – a technical glitch. Oh, OK, a bit of incompetence on my part, rushing to finish some tweaks.
So there you have it, my End of Month View. Can’t wait to see what other people have been up to…