May Flowers

Wild winds have been sweeping through the garden here for a week or more, bringing a further mix of sunshine and showers; sheltered spots in the sunshine feel warm but the wind sweeps its icy fingers across everything and temperatures have plummeted for the past couple of nights.

I didn’t find an opportunity to photograph the flowers in the garden at the weekend for this month’s Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, amid the wind and rain and an already hectic schedule. This morning, though, the wind dropped for an hour or two and I slipped out with my camera to capture the early sunshine.

Most of the flowers in the garden at the moment come from our collection of ornamental plants, clustered together along the fence in an assortment of containers, patiently awaiting planting out.

The last solitary hearts dangle on the dicentra spectabilis plants: one pink and one white variety we bought at the Malvern spring show some years ago, and they moved with us from our city garden, seeking shelter at my mother-in-law’s for the past two years until we were reunited with them a few weeks’ ago. They were joined by two more pink-flowered dicentras that we hastily rescued from the garden here before work began.

This quite deep pink aquilegia had self-sown itself in the compacted gravel at the front of the house that is shortly to be paved – requiring another quick rescue into a pot a few weeks’ ago to avoid annihilation. Behind it, you can see the beautiful deep red leaves of one of our two acers, more Malvern purchases of old, that have also survived being dug out of our city garden and boarded with my MIL for the past two years, and the variegated leaves of the cornus alba that my mum bought me for my birthday when we visited the National Botanic Garden of Wales last year.

A paler, more flouncy, aquilegia was rescued from my mother-in-law’s garden when we landscaped that a few weeks’ ago, and this is also happily biding its time in a pot.

A few balls of white blooms adorn the ridged red leaves of Viburnum Plicatum ‘Pink Sensation’, another old friend. It has just this week been joined by its green-leaved sister, Viburnum Opulus Roseum; a gift for our anniversary from my mum and dad, although the new arrival is not in bloom.

These will make a splendid contribution to the backbone of our borders, along with a replacement Sambucus Nigra ‘Black Lace’ that we picked up at this year’s Malvern Spring Show. Our first black elder (an earlier Malvern purchase!) was too big to bring with us from our last garden – though in hindsight I wish we had, as within a month of moving in the new owners had gravelled the entire garden, removing all the lovely plants that we left behind in the garden we created there. But that is another story entirely…

Other new purchases from our trip to the show last week include the aquilegia above that King of the Hill was particularly taken with, and a frilly white one. Magnificent plants, they were everywhere at the show…

These are accompanied by the delicate silver plumes of one of two grasses that we bought at the show to join another two or three that we have brought with us from previous shows. (I think I see a pattern here!)

The ladybird poppy was an impulse buy. Who could resist these cheeky flowers?

Away from our ‘container garden’, the more orange paper petals of corn poppies are starting to pop up all over the place. With seedlings in the greenhouse sown from the purple opium poppies that appeared last year, and a deep red oriental poppy that I dug out of the border (though that may not flower this year after the upheaval), our garden should not be short of poppies in the future!

This bright magenta geranium has sprung up in the remnants of the front garden – looks like the dramatically named Bloody Cranesbill (Geranium ‘sanguineum’) with its finely cut foliage – and I have earmarked it for digging up and adding to our collective before work begins on the paths.

Creeping buttercup is all over our plot and is the bane of my life, as its roots and runners are hard to dig out, especially when they start to wrap around the garlic and onions in the kitchen garden, but on mornings like this when its flowers blaze in the sun I almost forgive it…

This patch of gold buttercups is threading through a jungle of mint that has run riot from one of the old borders.

The first peas have begun to flower in the top vegetable bed: I think these are Pea ‘Excellenz’. Bees are busy pollinating the flowers of the broad beans beside them, and our fingers are crossed that these continue to grow fast so that we can pinch the tips out soon, as black fly are beginning to colonise the stem of one of them.

It’s surprising how much is flowering in the garden, considering that the ornamental borders are still a dream woven from a collection of plants still in pots, seedlings being raised in the greenhouse and fresh packets of seed still to be sown (not to mention lots of cuttings and seedlings that my mum and dad will be bringing our way from their own garden in a few weeks’ time!).

It may not be a blaze of colour quite yet, but if you know where to look then already there are some lovely surprises – and the promise of the garden to come…


10 thoughts on “May Flowers

  1. Hi, thank you for visiting my blog, it helped me discover yours. We seem to have similar gardens with the same plants. My Sambucus I bought from B&Q for £6 about 5 years ago, it is now a tree! I gave it a heavy haircut recently and panicked but it was unfounded – it has thickened up beautifully. Buttercup is also running wild in the garden, for the first year so am not sure where that came from.

    • It’s good to know that the sambucus can tolerate heavy pruning when required! We’ve always had creeping buttercup here since we arrived, I continue to wage war on it! I found your blog on gardengrab – hope that our garden matures as nicely as yours.

  2. Hi Sara, it must be wonderful having so many of your plants back in your own garden, even if the time to put them in the ground hasn’t quite come. I approve of your many aquilegia purchases – almost impossible to walk away from Malvern without at least one, I think! SIL bought a lovely delicate semi aquilegia that I still wonder about – maybe next year… Poppies, aquilegias, Sambucus nigra – you have the bones of a lovely garden already. Happy dreaming!

    • Hi Janet, it is lovely to have everything back and start more solid scheming. Can never have too many aquilegias surely, so happy to pick up a couple – the pale yellow one you bought was lovely too, I could have found a home for that as well! There were a few other plants I would have picked up at Malvern given more time/hands but indeed there’s next year…

    • Thank you, Michael. Over the next few months we’ll find out whether these lovely plants will cope with their new situation… fingers crossed!

    • Thanks, Laura. The aquilegias are almost over now, worn ragged by the winds, and the last hearts on the dicentras have fallen. The ladybird poppy is still blazing cheerily away though, with a new bloom or two every day bringing a huge smile to my face. Now, where to put it… x

  3. Thanks for visiting my blog – nice to know there are more windy Welsh gardening bloggers out there!

    (and if the winds we’ve got today are heading south in your direction, I’d advise nailing everything down – phew…)

    Seriously, I love your deep pink aquilegia. Love that colour, especially against the crimson-ish leaves… My aquilegias aren’t as deeply coloured – rats – but are a) almost over and b) being blown away and up the mountains. Grrr.

    • Hi,

      We had fierce winds here yesterday – often a gust would catch us unawares and send us staggering as we tried to do some work in the garden. I lost count of the number of times the peach tree blatted me in the face with a fruit-laden branch as I walked underneath it.

      This morning started peacefully enough, but now it’s wild, wet and windy out there.

      The deep pink aquilegia was a very serendipitous find, brought to us by wind or birds… After a weekend of being blown horizontal I think it’s only the white and red hobbit aquilegias that have any flowers left at all.

      Now I’m almost regretting ripping out the nasty bloated dead-inside lonicera nitida hedge that kept the worst of the wind off the garden. Our new native hedging has to survive the maelstrom for a few years before it will begin to protect us again!

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