Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Spring at last.

After one of the wettest winters I have experienced in recent years, ground like porridge, the likes of some Primulas and Meconopsis rotting off in tunnel conditions and now the few Meconopsis that are coming into flower seem to be less vigorous and consequently smaller flowered than usual. Normally they love my conditions but things have definitely gone wrong this season. The lack of growth could  be down to the leaching of nutrients as many parts of the garden have been flooded, albeit only to a couple of inches, but the very fact that many of the established plants have survived is little short of a miracle. Virtually every year as soon as the cherry blossom comes out we have had high winds and a couple of weeks ago working in the garden was not too different from working in a snow storm. I apologise if I sound so negative but to be honest things haven't been good.
The only project that has gone to plan occurred last week when I picked a day to spread fertilizer on both beds and grass in the morning as rain had been forecast for the afternoon to wash it in and guess what it did!

Meconopsis grandis 'Himal Sky' an early bloomer.

Meconopsis 'Kingsbarns'

Meconopsis 'Lingholm' on a sunnier day.
 The azaleas are at their brilliant best:

Rhododendron luteum

'Golden Eagle' and 'Persil' on which the stems are bending under the weight of the blooms, it also didn't help that I dropped a tree branch on it during the winter.

Two Exbury Hybrids
Other than the blues of the Meconopsis, pinks and purples seem to the dominant colours at the moment. Aquilegias are flowering everywhere along with the first of the candelabra primulas.   
The lilies are coming on, just squashed a few lily beetles, the cold weather has kept them at bay so far which is also why the Cotinus, always a late starter, has just broken bud.

I have reduced the number of primulas round the bird bath, although it looked really good at this time of the year the area then took on the appearance of a cabbage patch.

Aquilegias and geraniums provide most of the colour in the "woodland" part of the garden.

Still more aquilegias and geraniums.

Lamium orvala in the foreground with yet more aquilegias and geraniums.

A clump of Primula pulverulenta.

Looking back through the arch framed by a large camellia and a bamboo.

This is my favourite self-sown aquilegia seedling.

Another aquilegia favourite growing in deep shade, not entirely certain but I think these were grown from seed of "Mellow Yellow" much of the foliage is variegated.

Close by a self-sown seedling of Viola cornuta alba.

Lithospermum (Lithodora diffusa 'Heavenly Blue') doing its thing in shade, seems to have at least one flower every month  of the year.

Deep shade, Corydalis ophiocarpa, Geranium maculatum plus Digitalis purpurea and Hesperis matronalis to come into flower next month will lighten things up.

Choisya ternata
Still in the front garden and in shade Geranium pyrenaicum and 
Sisyrinchium striatum both self sown.
To finish with a real oddity:

Podophyllum hexandrum syn. Sinopodophyllum hexandrum. Himalayan May Apple.

Although the emerging leaves have now reverted to green I am hoping for flowers.

Last year I made several decisions, the first to no longer try to grow tulips in pots because of squirrel damage and I have to say the tulips have been sadly missed, the second to buy in "ready to plant-out plugs" because I can longer effectively raise half hardy plants from seed and to be honest it's too much hassle now. I have previously bought plugs and raised them but I am becoming ultra-lazy. Along with these there were several cheap offers including Surfinas, which were the first to be delivered and are growing away superbly, but a collection of fuchsias was badly crushed and already looking mouldy and, although I don't really need all of them it is a good job as I lost about 30%. These were bought from Van Meuwen who I don't remember having bought off before but I do like to try new suppliers for the day to day stuff.  Although I grow mainly from seed, I am sometimes tempted to a "special offer", I have bought from Hayloft Plants in the past and have had very few successes, in fact I still have a credit due after several attempts to deliver the same plants which serves as an example of you only get what you pay for. In Hayloft Plant's case I think, as the plants are raised by micro-propagation and come to you from a controlled environment, that much TLC is needed to get decent results anything less is a disaster. 

Every time I want to spray having prepared everything, be it for insect control or weed killing, even on the sunniest days we have had a strong breeze spring up, so frustrating!