Tuesday, 23 May 2017



Himalayan Blue Poppy
The garden is in a constant state of change and every plant or group of plants have their moment in the spotlight. I try to group different plants together when I see them at their best, providing the soil and location suits them. In winter we had the snowdrops, aconites and the yellow flowered Jasmine put on a terrific display letting us know that the season had started. This was followed by the crocus, anemone blanda and chionodoxa.
Iris Jeanne Price
Then the other larger bulbs started to flower with daffodils and the early tulips. Planting early flowering tulip Scarlet Baby next to my yellow saxifrage was a great combination brightening up a few square metres in early April. Spring this year was very dry and cool, though there was plenty of sun as we went into May. This was perfect weather for tulips, and as I have flooded huge areas of garden with tulips there was mass displays everywhere. May is one of the best months for rhododendrons and azaleas so these came alive as the tulips needed a rest to build up their strength for next year. Rhododendrons and azaleas are similar in display to the bulbs as they can provide a brilliant splash of colour over many weeks as one variety has its moment then another takes over as the centre of attraction
Iris Spellbreaker
All the while the herbaceous border is biding its time as it knows that come June it will hold centre stage. Already the oriental poppies and flag iris have started to open and delphiniums are stretching upwards to the sky. They will need support as do many other herbaceous plants. You can buy purpose made supports or use canes and green twine, or even tree and shrub prunings if they are big enough and can easily be pushed into the soil.
Red peony roses may be the common peony and there are other brilliant varieties but the common red puts on a great display and is very reliable. If the soil and location suits them they can spread almost to nuisance levels, and even after digging them out there is alway
Red Peony

s a wee root that just refuses to die off. Mine have spread all over my mini apple orchard of four trees (but with ten varieties through grafting) however they provide a dazzling display to follow the apple blossom so we just leave them alone and let them have their moment. None of them get tied up so the taller ones fall over onto the ground but the main shoots then head upwards or one falls onto the next peony for support.
Day Lily
Oriental poppies fall into the same category and never get any support as they grow in huge groups and tend to support each other. They also like to take over garden space if allowed.
Pyrethrum, however is one of those plants that only needs support if you grow taller varieties.
Then there is a wide range of herbaceous plants that are not so tall so need no support and are perfect in drifts towards the front of the herbaceous border.
Iris, Geum, Hosta, Shasta daisies and Himalayan Blue Poppies are all in this category as is the
Oriental lily Chelsea
Euphorbia Fireglow and the sulphur yellow Euphorbia polychroma.
There are many border plants that may not be herbaceous in growth but plants like pinks and border carnations can add to the display especially if flowering times can be co-ordinated together. Then again more colour can be added with bulbous plants such as gladioli and lilies. The oriental lilies are perfect as they can be bold, add height, and the scent is heavenly, especially the pink Chelsea.
The show goes out in mid summer as the tall deep blue delphiniums steal the show with the white Shasta daisies at their feet. To add to the show I have a large drift of lavender adjacent.

Wee jobs to do this week
Thinning radish
Many fast growing root vegetables such as turnip and radish and salad vegetables such as lettuce and rocket will have germinated with the warm weather in early May, especially if you have been able to give them a watering so now they will need thinning out if the germination has been good and rows liable to suffer from overcrowding. Thin radish to an inch apart, as they do not need a lot of space but all others are best at a couple of inches initially then about six inches later on once they have put on some growth.


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