Klimt border, very early, always good
The beginning of May is Euphorbia time usually twinned with Aliums. Alliums are bulbs, and my favourites are Globemaster, which when purchased from Bob Brown a couple of them soon turned into 30. Bob said that that never happened to him! Globemaster comes before Allium Purple Sensation, which lives up to its name. To my horror James has fallen in love with Nectaroscordons which seed more than any of them, and increase at the base, which they all do. Funnily enough at the edge of a border I can see why James likes them. Opening very slowly from a sheath they are like half a dozen bells in various shades of brown, on a long stem. One of their drawbacks is they smell very strong, and it is not a nice smell. Allium Everest is white and elegant, and I have got them in the Klimt border. Quite expensive to buy initially, they have doubled up a lot. My favourite is Allium albopilosum, which is pale pink, huge, and beautiful in every aspect. We have had a bad frost this morning, and James returning from his dog walk said two of my magnolias had dropped their leaves. Oh dear.
The result of James making me go through all my Country Lifes and Gardens Illustrated has given me quite a few new ideas. Particularly when Gardens Illustrated list their dozen best Baptisias for example. I rather like the look of Baptisia ‘Golden Chestnut’. Their only drawback is that they are slow to come up. Mine are only just emerging now. Though I suppose you can fill the gaps with either Camassias and or Tulips. I do not always get the tulips right by any matter of means. Tulip Formosa is Polly’s new discovery, and a very good one too. At this time of year is the appearance of Aconitum Stainless Steel, a very pretty soft grey blue and tall, However not only very poisonous, it collapses after flowering so you have to have something in front of it.
The star of the magnolias is Magnolia Sieboldi, flowering now, and Magnolia Lilliflora Nigra, which seems to flower indefinitely, and has got quite large, in a spreading way. I cant imagine a garden without Magnolias. We have eight Magnolias which I think is a lot for an acre and a half garden. They have suffered a lot today. Particularly this morning, and Athene. Everyone is saying this, but I have never known such a beautiful Spring.
Mostyn, my family home, the back of it with the Japanese garden on the left. This was in May.
I never thought I would be writing this. One of the main things is attention to detail because we have more time on our hands. Never before have I religiously threaded the stems of Clematis in and out of the chicken wire. Therefore they are going to break and flower more instead of a messy jumble. We have nine clematis and three are growing up tripods, Arabella has hardly moved yet after about five years, but is so pretty I am hanging on to it. My favourite is Princess Kate, and Alionushka, that is up a tripod in the par terre and has had an AGM. Polly likes Madame Julia Correvon, which to my eyes is always untidy. Our walls are not tall, and are also north facing. I like the tripods which are made of steel and have small gold balls on top, painted by me. They slightly remind me of Portmeirion.
Now is when we are making notes as to our changes to the tulips in our borders for next year. To be really effective we should put in a small cane or take photographs of where they are going to go. Polly discovered a very good one, a Viridiflora called Formosa. She saw it at Arundel, planted by the Bannermans, and it is dual tone green and yellow. Delightful.
James has been nagging me to go through the immense pile of magazines I have, or we have! Every day I put it off, Finally I have done it, cutting out articles by Mark Griffiths in Country Life. He is the best. Gardener Troy at Ilford Manor has told me what I am doing wrong with Siberian irises when they do not flower, basically not enough sun and good soil. It was Mark who inspired me with the planting of lilies in pots by the greenhouse, difficulty with the staking as I am afraid the pots are not big enough. We will see if we get on better this year. This is always what makes gardening interesting.
The wind has been pretty fierce the last few days. The tulips are making the beds look very pretty and giving them a colour scheme. Over the years you learn which tulips repeat well that you love. Viridiflora tulips are top of my list. Artist, which is peach and green and Deirdre, green and white. One of my favourites is Ballerina, though a good friend grows it and her husband said. “I am not having that” There is always a bias against orange. It depends what you put orange against, it is always like that in the garden. It smells beautiful too. A big job was taking out half the front garden and we have ordered Malus Evereste to go there instead. Polly has done all that. The other main thing has been sorting out where the dahlias are going to go. Some of the squares in the par terre are going to be the same as last year. James is being a great help in the garden at the moment, wiring jobs that seem to take ages, and at the moment there seem to be no signs of the rabbits. Malus Transitoria is about to break out of bud and looks lovely, and the pale yellow magnolia is one of the prettiest things you have ever seen.
One thing that is really special are the camassias at the bottom of the paddock, and in the Burgundy border. We have carefully placed Camassia Electra in the main border and it is such a soft pale blue that it lightens up the whole bed. Clive put us on the cover of a calendar last year, which I was pretty thrilled about. It was so beautiful that I said “where is that”
Today is April 17, my fathers birthday, he would have been 100. I miss him a lot, he was very eccentric and different. We were going to get a visa to go to Russia, and he said we would never darken his doors again. He never had a passport, and said the war was enough for him, It is cold and windy today, quite gloomy compared to what we have been having. We have made a major change out the front of the garden. For years we have grown a Clematis armandii and it ended up thick and woody, not attractive, That has gone now, and five rosa mutabilis which all seemed to lie on the ground. Time had not improved this planting! We also eradicated Scilla Peruviana, as it had not flowered in 15 years, all these were adjacent.Most of my tulips are flowering, and some of the colour schemes are good, The Klimt border is always good, with Sanne running all the way down it, which has repeated very well. The par terre has triumph tulips, which have repeated for four years, They are very strong. I have several species tulips which run under the ground to increase. I will try and take some photos of them all. They come up year after year. As I am here all the time I will start dividing them. Now we have the summer to look forward to, and the autumn border and my dahlias. Polly thinks I have ordered too many dahlias, and this weekend she wants me to check where they are all going. Needless to say I have found a new one with Avon bulbs that has taken my fancy.