Memories of Scotland…

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Cistus x hybridus ‘Gold Prize’, Tostat, May 2019

Winter to summer, spring to winter.  This week we have experienced all four seasons and a whole lot of rain- I am not knocking the rain at all, believe me, but I am looking forward to a little more seasonal consistency.  Although, gloomily, that may not exist anymore with global warming.

In the garden now, this compact Cistus x hybridus ‘Gold Prize’ has just started to flower.  I bought it 3 years ago, but it really has taken this long to settle in.   I had it marked as a damp squib until very recently.  I am still not quite sure how I feel about the variegation. In some lights, it can look charmingly golden- in others, a bit on the sick side.  But it is a useful size, as Cistus can turn into giants with ease in our summer-hot dry climate.  So, it sits well with other perennials without squashing them.

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Geranium albanum, Tostat, May 2019

Geranium albanum was my first shot at growing geraniums from seed- which if you haven’t tried, is a test of patience above all.  I love it for the dual personality- purple-veined pale white flowers which then turn a deeper pink, as you can see from the other flower in the photograph.  I prefer the first incarnation I have to say, but live with the two together.  It grows in a tough spot for me, underneath a small tree, and in quite a dry situation.  This leads to the plant taking off into dormancy and disappearing altogether in the heat of summer, but it re-appears unabashed in Spring each year spreading a bit more.

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Small tortoiseshell butterfly, Tostat, May 2019
Swallowtail butterfly, Tostat, May 2019

This week has seen the first serious butterfly arrivals.  Previous attempts have been thwarted by a largely Scottish April, but in the sunshine between the showers, the red valerian was the plant of choice.

Also, this week, Tostat has been tackling a big job.  With help in the form of some funding, and the muscles power of Tostatenfleur and the cycling club,  we have laid down a heavy biodegradable covering, and then planted through the covering with tough-as-boots perennials which will form a good, colourful groundcover for the cyclocross circuit.  Over two days, fuelled by a grand lunch outdoors courtesy of Nicole, we battled with the covering, the planting, the embedded stones and whatnot, to get nearly 800 plants into the ground.  Another 800 or so plants arrive in a couple of weeks for Phase 2.  We are a little late in the year, but the Scottish weather has really helped us for once.

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Tostadium team, Tostat, May 2019
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Tostadium team 2, Tostat, May 2019

And one of the best parts of gardening together, apart from eating and laughing, is the conversation about all sorts, and life and gardening.

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Walking and talking, Tostadium, May 2019

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