One of the joys of wandering round the garden at this time of year is discovering the ‘comeback kids’- those plants that may already be in the last chance saloon or who may have had a rough year last year. This unknown climbing rose growing on an arch has always lived dangerously. It is one of those early flowering roses that, normally, can easily be completely decimated and reduced to sodden rags by a wet Spring. And it has also fallen victim, I think, to some slightly over the top path weedkilling (yes, we do do this a couple of times a year- sorry.) which must have just nipped it. So, a couple of years ago, it was back to twig size entirely due to our sloppiness. But this year, a dry Spring, lots of sunshine and not too much wind, has taken it back to pole position on top of and covering the arch, and it is looking glorious. It always pays to wait.
Another plant that has pulled through is Deinanthe caerulea ‘Blue Wonder’. I bought it on a whim a couple of years ago and have been seriously underwhelmed- till now. I loved it for the strange, pointy leaves, and have always found the weird flowers odd, firstly they barely qualify as ‘blue’ and are certainly not wondrous.
Bu this morning, I was really reminded about why I bought it. The vibrant lime-green leaves are flaunting their point-iness, and it is looking luminous in the morning sunshine. Here is a photograph of the underwhelming flower from last year. It has a lovely structure, but the wishy washy colouring is not much cop. But, if you like the foliage, I would recommend it in a pot, as so far growth is very slow, and it measures about 40cms x 40cms, so it would easily get drowned out in a boistrous border situation. It likes semi-shade and moisture- which is the main reason for it being in a pot with us.
Now for a tiny sensation, Dianthus deltoides ‘Flashing Light’. I am not one for tiny plants, but I love red, and this one really packs a punch, even though it is even tinier than Dianthus cruentus. One of the bargain basement purchases at the beginning of winter last year that I can easily fall prey to, this very small dianthus is very pretty and very tiny. The sparkling red, not shown well in my photograph, makes it like Barbie jewellery in the hot, dry border. Only in it’s first year, I am hoping it will like us and get going next year.
Bright like toothpaste, this Choisiya x dewitteana ‘Aztec Pearl’ is blooming fit to bust this Spring-Summer. This was a refugee from the hotter, drier border about 5 years ago, where it had toiled as a twig for 3 years while I frowned at it. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t listening to it but since I finally did, and moved it to a more moist position, it has galloped away. The fragrance is lovely and so are the flowers close-up. Just shows what you can encourage if you abandon stubbornness and listen to what your plants are saying. Note to self.
I adore this little Auricula. At Chelsea in 2015, I risked buying a set of five plug Auriculas from sheer sentimentality. I had some which had travelled with us across Scotland when we lived in Linlithgow, and they loved a rocky wall, with good soil, cool temperatures and moisture. None of which I have here in Tostat. So, for a couple of years they have hung on, planted out in a wide bowl in semi-shade and watered regularly. This year, after almost caving-in in the winter, two of them have flowered for the first time. I am so thrilled. And surprised that it is the cool beauty of ‘Jungfrau’ that I prefer to the more bling-y ‘Crimson Glow’. There you go.