It’s cooled off this week, after last week’s mini heatwave, and has been a bit wet. I took a few snaps in the back garden before reporting on my seedling progress. My ceanothus ‘Puget Blue’ is just coming into flower now which is always a highlight. Behind it you can see my bleeding heart flowering away, and the rosemary.
A bright splash of colour is provided by a yellow wallflower which is just as well as the forsythia was a bit short-lived this year. It came into flower late because of the “Beast from the East” cold snap in March, and then went over quite quickly with all the rain. I have pruned it quite harshly this week so it looks even worse now.
There are bluebells and bergenia flowering on the shady side of the garden. But my bluebells can never compare to the wild ones that carpet our local woods and were at their peak last weekend.
So a germination update: since last week three beans, three cucumbers, two butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), and two smoke trees (Cotinus coggygria) have germinated. Yesterday I pricked out 14 Korean mint (Agastache rugosa) and four cranesbill geraniums (mixed unknown varieties). Today I have sown some more tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) and purple cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’) as I have not had any luck with the first batch. The wild cow parsley is flowering right now so I don’t think I have much chance of having flowering plants this year.
My Ceanothus ‘Puget Blue’ and Clematis montana are in full flower now, a bit earlier than last year I think. The ceanothus is absolutely buzzing with bees, the hum is quite amazing. I feel very proud to be providing lots of food for the bees.
My pink Balkan cranesbill (Geranium macrorrhizum) is also flowering, not prolifically but better than it’s ever been.
I’m very pleased with how colourful my ‘full shade’ bed is with bergenias and bluebells, illustrating that you don’t need direct sunlight as long as you put the right plant in the right place.
I mostly favour flowers which fall in the colour spectrum from blue and pink but a bit of yellow can make a nice contrast and it’s particularly appreciated at this time of year when there are still plenty of gloomy, grey days. In my full shade corner my bergenia are starting to flower. The white Bergenia ‘Bressingham White’ are ahead, with the pink Bergenia cordifolia ‘Purpurea’ still in tight buds. The little, pale pink Bergenia ‘Baby Doll’ have not put up any flower stalks yet. Behind is my Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ which has opened up frothy white flowers after displaying pretty, little, dark pink buds that almost look like berries all winter. The leaves have been looking a bit chlorotic; I didn’t realise that skimmia prefer acidic soil so it has been struggling to absorb iron. I’ve been trying to rectify this by feeding with iron-rich seaweed extract and increasing the acidity of the soil with ericaceous compost. Behind the skimmia you can see my forsythia which is still going strong. On the other side of the garden, some yellow wallflower are starting to flower. They were from a ‘wildlife’ seed mix, or something like that, so I have no idea what variety they are. I’ve been doing a bit of mulching this morning, with an all-purpose compost, and I love how black and healthy it makes the beds look.
My geraniums have been leafing up and it’s always such a pleasure to be gardening near them and smell that gorgeous scent when brushing against them. This one is ‘Johnson’s Blue’. Another in the same bed is a pink one, I can’t remember the variety but it should be called Lazarus because for a couple of years I thought it was dead. All that was left of it was a tiny bit of rhizome but it has now come back to life and looking very leafy!