I nearly missed Carol’s wonderful GBBD this month, between recovering from the Malvern Spring Show, giving the allotment some much needed TLC and catching up with blogs. When I saw GBBD posts appearing in my inbox this morning I almost decided to give it a miss, but it is such a valuable record of what is looking good when, and I have found myself referring back to previous posts so frequently, I was out with my camera in my dressing gown trying to capture what is going on right now.
I am entranced by Sweet Rocket at the moment. True, it is towering over everything in the Magnolia bed, having grown to twice the advertised height, and consequently being battered by the wind. But it is a glorious splash of colour in an otherwise shady spot and the insects love it.
We don’t know what the rose is, it was a gift to MIL some years ago, and had been languishing in its original pot ever since. Last year we bought a pot and treated it to a little more room, and it is rewarding us with rather pretty flowers – though no scent.
If the rose is subtle and under stated, the Euphorbia oblongata is anything but! Fortunately it is on the other side of the garden. The advice from Sarah Raven is to grow this as an annual, as “it never flowers as well in its second year”. I had intended to pull it out last Autumn but never got around to it – and am delighted I was so lazy. It has gone mad, and the bees adore it.
This is the time of year we begin to discover what the rather promiscuous aquilegias have produced from last year’s illicit pairings. At the top is Aquilegia ‘Miss M. I. Huish’. I grew it from seed a couple of years ago because it was what I had, although I prefer the simpler forms. Evidently it crossed with a spurred deep purple one and produced a frilly purple one, which is fine, I like the contrast between the two.
I’m more chuffed with the result the other way around, a spurred aquilegia in the near-black of Miss M. I. Huish. But this year they fight in vein for my attention, I have a new love. I saw a yellow aguilegia growing under an acer on Cat’s blog some time ago, and fell for it. I find yellow rather hard to include in the garden, and had never really thought of growing yellow aquilegias, but I filed it away, and then went to Malvern. They were everywhere! I grow Iris versicolor – the blue flag iris – in my pond (and recently failed to divide it), and couldn’t resist the idea of the two together, however briefly.
The iris is more a soft purple than blue, and has pale yellow markings. I came away from Malvern with three Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’, which have spurs (which hook on to anything and everything, making them a nightmare to transport alongside other plants in a plastic bag), pale creamy yellow outers and deeper yellow centers and stamens.
I think the two together look wonderful, its just a shame that the irises finish flowering so quickly. Mind you, I think every garden needs sudden bursts of temporary beauty as well as other more long lasting plantings.
Another Malvern purchase, Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’, will be a more long lasting foil to the new aquilegia. I was going to go for ‘Walker’s Low’, because it has a really long flowering period, but it has a rather spreading habit and ‘Six Hill’s Giant’ is more upright, which I think works better alongside the strong vertical foliage of the crocosmia.
Another plant that was everywhere at Malvern was the geum. I’ve grown Geum ‘Cooky’ from seed, and planted some at the front of my pond border, but I had been wanting more orange further back – I’m after spashes of jewel-like colour to contrast with the other more muted plants. I came back with two.
‘Miss Juliana’ is a very deep orange, and certainly makes its presence felt.
From some angles its wiry stems hold the bright orange flowers against a backdrop of deep purple acer foliage, which I rather love, but the blue of the nepeta softens the effect.
‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’ is red, and goes beautifully with another Malvern purchase.
This is Sanguisorba menziesii. The deep plummy bottlebrush flowers again tone everything down a little, and also pick up the purple foliage of the acer, the emerging Eupatorium ‘Chocolate’ and the lovely dark divided leaves of another new purchase:
Yes, I succumbed. Having totally failed to grow any from seed, and having saved money on some really good value purchases elsewhere, I struggled out of the showground with Antrhiscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’. It rewarded me by threatening to take the eye out of anybody foolish enough to come too close, and got rather too friendly with the the long spurs of the yellow aquilegia. They have now been permanently separated – until the anthriscus self-seeds itself.
I’ll leave you with a little more plant porn, and urge you to check out Carol’s Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post if you haven’t already, where you can follow links to gardens all over the world. Happy GBBD, and thank you Carol for hosting.