I am over-dramatising just a tad. Storm Gareth which has bashed Britain this week has only meant stormy interludes of rain and wind here- the rain part being very very welcome. Inbetween, although we are back to winter temperatures, there have been passing sunny periods, with intense blue sky. Not wet enough yet to start spreading the mulch I have been saving, but nearly- I may just spread it anyway at the weekend.
The poor old garden doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going as we plunge back to frosty nights and cold winds- but for most plants, they are now committed to beginning spring growth whatever happens. I have been nursing a shoulder injury since before Christmas, hoping that time will do the trick. Turns out to be a tendon injury in two arm muscles- good job Alison- so I am grounded from gardening whilst the anti-inflammatories have a chance to work on those pesky tendons. So, gently swinging the camera in the other hand, I am just looking at the moment.
Boldly appearing in February, so far only 3 flowerheads on this beautiful wild anemone, Anemone fulgens x Multipetala have opened, and been a little rain-dashed for their trouble. But, this great plant is such a joy, bringing postbox red to spring, and gently spreading beyond the three expensive bulbs that I planted 3 years ago.
I have tried so hard to source the fantastic red bergenia, Bergenia ‘Irish Crimson’, that I saw in Dan Pearson’s gardens near Kings Cross two years ago. No luck in France, and I am not such a prolific plant smuggler as I used to be. But this could get pretty close. I am trying out Bergenia ‘Eden’s Dark Margin’ and also Bergenia ‘Wintermärchen’ in a couple of places on the moister side in the garden. So far, ‘Wintermärchen’ is more upright, with narrower, more pointed leaves and has already lost the redder tinge to the leaves that it had in January. Whereas, the dumpier ‘Eden’s Dark Margin’ is still glowing crimson.
Also starring Sophora ‘Sun King’ in full bloom on the left, the unveiled new path curves sinuously round the side of the hot, dry border taking you on a full circuit of the house if you wish. I love it. I wasn’t sure before we did it, but keeping the angle of the curve and making it frame the dry border was a brilliant move- thank you Jim. Molly the dog has other ideas and uses her own track as you can see- more direct and less messing! By the way, if you are willing to wait, Sophora ‘Sun King’ bought in a 9cm pot and planted in a sunny, free draining spot, will only take 4-5 years to be a decent-sized shrub, and after that, it can gallop.
The above is an experiment, which I think will work. I have planted spring flowering white Muscari, Muscari botryoides ‘Album’, in some rubbish soil at the edge of the Stumpery. We will see. I am hopeful.
I am really hopeless at remembering bulb names. Mainly I suspect because I have a tendency to think of them as an after-thought to the main show. Daft. Because right now they are the main show. So I can’t tell you what this very baroque variety is. But here is a mutant variation.
Commitment to Spring has even started with my baby Koelreuteria paniculata ‘Coral Sun’, so hurry up tendons.