Friday in Tostat…

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Rosa Madame Alfred Carrière, Tostat, April 2019

I went out this morning and could not believe it, Rosa Madame Alfred Carrière, such a good and tough rose, had bloomed first before the normal early-riser, Rosa banksiae lutea– which obliged later this morning but loses the gong.

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Rosa banksiae lutea, Tostat, April 2019

So, today there is no chilly wind and I thought I would do a Spring round-up with mainly photographs.  This lovely Anemone x fulgens ‘Multipetala’ has been blooming for more than 6 weeks and these are the best flowers so far.

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Anemone x fulgens ‘Multipetala’, Tostat, April 2019

A small plant but with a big flower, Doronicum ‘Little Leo’ is only one year old, but doing fine.

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Doronicum ‘Little Leo’, Tostat, April 2019

The quince blossom is much more fragile than the cherry or the apple- it waits tentatively in a closed state until the sun warms it up- and is so easily destroyed by wind and rain.  So far, so good.

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The quince is blooming, Cydonia oblonga, Tostat, April 2019

I have two Westringia rosmariniformis in the garden.  Both have been a little stretched by the cold weather in the last week or so, and have browned a bit at the tips, but whilst not yet big flowerers, they have started.

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Westringia rosmariniformis, Tostat, April 2019

These white Muscari botryoides ‘Album’ are new to the Stumpery this Spring, and I rather like the semi-ghostly presence that they bring, even in the sunlight.

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Muscari botryoides ‘Album’, Tostat, April 2019

Further down in the Stumpery, these Muscari ‘Mount Hood’ are in their third year, and mot minding, it would seem, the semi-shade.  I love the little white hats.

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Muscari ‘Mount Hood’, Tostat, April 2019
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Wisteria and the moment, Tostat, April 2019

Wisteria can be a plague on all your houses here, as it thugs its way to global domination.  But, right now, on the wonky pergola, it looks and smells gorgeous.

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A new view round the side of the house, Tostat, April 2019

Funny how you can discover a new view even after nearly 16 years…pots awaiting planting on the bench when tendons recover…



Wintering on…

Winter dawn, Tostat, January 2017

Funnily enough, I really love winter for the light and the dark of it.  The light is mysterious in the morning, giving everything a ghostly paleness with a pale, bright sun coming up. We have had a more winter-like winter than in past years so far, with Christmas sandwiched between two long stretches of 2-3 weeks with temperatures around -4C or even -7C now and then.  The upside of this has been bright sunshine most days, the downside has been absolutely no rain.  So, apart from winter protection or coming inside for some plants, nothing has been stressed that much, as the winter wet is more of a killer than the cold.

Westringia fruticosa ‘Wynyabbie Gem’, Tostat, January 2017

I have even, so far, got away with experimenting with two forms of Westringia, which I am trying in the south-facing, normally dry as a biscuit, bit of the garden.  Westringia fruticosa ‘Wynyabbie Gem’ is a bushy small shrub, should get to about 1m allround, with a rosemary meets lavender look about it, silvery-grey-green narrow leaves and lilac blue flowers.  The Australians regard it as super-hardy, and so far mine has tackled -7C without flinching.  I wanted to try it, almost just because I could….there is no other reason, and I found it on ebay at a very good UK ebay nursery called hotplantcompany from whom I have bought quite a few things over the years. Now mine is looking very young and uninteresting at the moment, but here is what I hope it will become in good time, especially as it is hanging on very well right now.

Westringia fruticosa ‘Wynyabbie Gem’. Photo credit:

The second Westringia was one of those lucky purchases. We made a rare sojourn out to a nursery en route to Toulouse, le Jardin Embalogue, just outside Mirande at the beginning of December. There we found another Westringia,  which led to my second Australian Westringia experiment.  Westringia rosmariniformis is very much like a lax rosemary plant to look at, and is a little less hardy on paper than its cousin above.  But again, it has made it thus far, and so I am hopeful. It may get bigger too, maybe 1.5m x 1.5m.

Westringia rosmariniformis, Tostat, January 2017

In the frost, though, such delicacy is revealed.  Even the humble, though extraordinary spiders webs are crystalline as the finest of jewellery.  You just have to get up really close and be there as the sun rises, before it all melts away.  I love those moments.

Tostat, January 2017