SPRING FLOWERS ARE ARRIVING
Last year we got blessed with a terrific display of tulips so we thought it would be a good idea to run with this theme by adding another big bulb plant in the autumn. We are now reaping the benefits as these spring flowers are all competing with each other for attention. Many areas have two or more layers of bulbs planted at different depths but as they may have different flowering and growing times this idea is working just fine. The winter border with cornus, willow, kerria and red maple is underplanted with snowdrops and aconites (for late winter display) followed by tulips for a spring display, and then lilies grow up through this to give a summer display.
Another border with mass plantings of aconites has been added to with a drift of cyclamen which will grow once the aconites have died down for the summer. Normally the aconites grow from January/February till mid summer then go dormant allowing the cyclamen to flower in September then grow through till mid winter then go dormant for the spring and summer, but with the recent mild winters none of them want to go dormant. It makes gardening ideas interesting.
Another border packed with grape hyacinths has been underplanted with red and yellow tulips which flower just above this carpet of blue. The display will continue into summer as this border has a third bulb layer of oriental lilies planted underneath the tulips. Hopefully they will all live happily together. This drift of grape hyacinth flowers is at its best in mid April, but in mid March I noticed a couple of purple crocus in flower, unaffected by the leaves of the grape hyacinths which were still only a few inches tall. So now I am planning another layer of about 100 crocus bulbs planted amongst all the other bulbs to see if I can get in a third flower display.
Blue spring flowers of Chionodoxa, Anemone blanda, Scilla and hyacinths are also all adding to displays all over the garden, and my purple tulip Negrita is accompanying the yellow flowers of Doronicum Little Leo.
A few years ago I noticed that a very early dwarf tulip, Scarlet Baby flowering in late February coincided with my yellow saxifrage drift, so I purchased more of these tulips to plant alongside the saxifrage to enhance the show. However the very mild winter brought on the saxifrage more than the tulip, so this year they had a fortnights time difference, but still brilliant to see.
Flowering trees are also giving us a great display with plums, cherries, pears and even my peach all
in full blossom. My new peach Avalon Pride took over from Peregrine which
got devastated by peach leaf curl. However peach leaf curl resistant Avalon
Pride is flowering very late, so although I see plenty bees around I still need
to hand pollinate as the flowers are so small that I doubt if any of the bees will bother much with them.
|Hand pollinating peach flowers|
Spring flowers continue with the white scented shrub Viburnum carlcephalum, and Camellia Donation a star attraction soon to be followed by a large Kerria japonica which has been allowed to grow full size. The garden displays then change as the rhododendrons and azaleas have their moment in the spotlight, and looking forward I can see the first flower buds on my climbing rose Dublin Bay waiting their turn for attention once we get a few warm days.
|Potting up tomato seedlings|
A garden full of flowers gives so much pleasure that I am happy to share these moments with anyone who wishes to visit the garden, so I will open the garden to visitors from Saturday 29th April to Sunday 7th May. Visitors can also view my artwork on display in my studio as I show recent paintings of Dundee town centre in my “Lady in Red” art exhibition.
Wee jobs to do this week
Pot up young tomato plants into their final pots where they can continue to grow before getting planted out in growbags, large pots or a prepared border. Wait until the first flowers open up on the first truss before planting out.