Winter returned good and proper at the weekend and for most of this coming week, and, rare, for Oloron, we had a good dusting of snow yesterday. The temperatures have been so volatile that I think the spring bulbs are stopped in their tracks until they have good experiential evidence of spring being on the way. But, I was really pleased to see all these baby Allium nigrums growing in amongst the clumps that I planted on the stony, ‘garrigue’ slope at the front. I think that I planted about 80 bulbs in groupings up and down the slope in the early winter of 2021, and probably 95% of them came good and flowered in May last year. After May, the slope was pretty much baked right up to October, But this seems to have really suited the Alliums.
Heavens knows why I didn’t take a photo last year, but here’s one from 2019 in Tostat. It is the simplest and, I think, the purest of all, white heads with emerging green seedheads as the flowering goes over, so though they may only be in flower for 3 weeks or so, the green heads remain until felled by weather. They are not expensive so lavish drifts are available to all! And if they reproduce as much as they seem to have this year, I will be joyfully awash with them, hooray.
A first timer to flowering, my pretty small Cornus Mas, now a good Im tall and wide having been planted as a stick 2 years ago, has flowered on bare stems last week. There is a scent, but my nose not being the greatest, I didn’t catch it really. The brilliant yellow flowers may be small, but they will pack a punch in years to come.
This photograph below is what inspired me to plant my one very small Cornus mas. This big planting of Cornus mas in the garden of The Pineapple, was so incredible that sunny day three years ago. I’ll have to wait a bit.
And here, whilst on the subject of Cornus mas, is the variegated form. The leaves are almost ghostly and make a fantastic effect cut through bright light. I have a suspicion too that the variegated form needs a good deal more moisture, so lusting after it is probably a dud idea. However, the regular form is actually really tough and drought tolerant, as evidenced by the fact that it is coping really well with the front slope.
On the ground level of the front slope, I have many Euphorbias, but this one, Euphorbia rigida, is a real favourite. It needs the sharpest drainage possible and then it creeps along the ground and will eventually start sitting up more to form a small bush. Yellow is the colour.
I am really pleased with my two Medicargo arborea, each now standing a good metre high and beginning to fill out. They have what I would call a firm presence in the’garrigue’ garden because they remain green and upright regardless of the heat and drought. And I am a bit surprised that they have each produced one or two bright custard-coloured flowers despite the cold. I think the bit of rain that we finally had last week probably kicked them into action. It’s a pea relative as you can see.
One of the saddest things I did when we moved was to fail to properly protect my Plectranthus ‘Erma’ which I had grown from seed. I have never yet been able to find seed again, though I routinely look for it throughout Europe online. Last summer, though, I bought cuttings of Plectranthus zuluensis from an Etsy seller in Hungary, which amazingly rooted and filled out a terracotta trough. This winter, I brought it into the house and it is cheerfully flowering away in the sitting room window. The buds are brilliant, like a multi-headed arrow, and the soft blue flowers are small but quite lovely.
Sometimes the light is just right and I am there with the camera. So, below, from left to right is, a pruned down Caryopteris ‘Hint of Gold‘, a clump of spikey Dianella ‘Little Rev’, a couple of Helleborus sternii, Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Black Beauty’, Mahonia eurybracteata ‘Soft Caress’, and more Dianella ‘Little Rev’.