I have been walking slowly round the garden with Tensing and Temba, noticing what is going on with the very mild weather we have been having lately. Tensing was begging me for the remains of my cappuccino, he always does, and I always give way, it has become a ritual. All of my Pulmonarias are flowering, they are a modest little plant, but we are grateful to see their flowers now, as it is still only half way through February. Occasionally you get a new one which has crossed with something else, and you watch to see if the flower is any good. My Sissinghurst White ones are looking more robust than usual, and the Diana Clare ones (the best) are starting to look good since Polly has cut them back. They are good for underplanting Hellebores, and I have been buying all the Cyclamen Coum in Barn Farm Plants, which is in our village, and were a real steal.
Yesterday Polly and I set off for Cotswold Garden Flowers (Bob Brown), which takes about 40 minutes cross country, and is always worth going to. If I ever got to know everything that is in his catalogue, I would be proud of myself. This is pretty unlikely. The last time I went there I told someone that his last catalogue was a shambles, and that turned out to be his wife. I am in fact a great admirer of Bob Brown. It is fun as enough has come up in the garden to think what one could put next to it. Hence we bought some Bergenia ‘Bartok’ which is a very deep red, and quite a large leaf, and looks lovely with snowdrops.
I walked to the bottom of the paddock where we have planted three magnolias, in a small grove. Magnolia Aurora, from New Zealand, has the largest flowers you have ever seen, it was my friend Eric Hsu, from Chanticleer, that sent me a picture of it, and I fell for it immediately. It has huge pink blooms, and is definitely going to flower this year. The other two are Magnolia Gold Star, a stellata hybrid, and is soft yellow, and Magnolia Sieberi. The soil is very good in the paddock, and anything there seems to do well. We put a pale mauve bench there, so you can sit and look at these three stars.