After several busy weeks, we found an opportunity to catch up a little in the garden this weekend.
The garden was looking a little wild after several weeks of uncut grass due to a sick lawn mower, although I do rather like the clouds of daisies that appear as the grass grows long, and this patch of speedwell looked rather fetching.
Armed with one new carburettor and a little time, King of the Hill soon had the lawnmower back in action, and things were beginning to look a little sharper again, if a little duller for the temporary lack of daisies.
Gardening is a one-at-a-time activity for us at the minute, so while KofH mowed, planted potatoes and filled seed trays with compost, I roamed the borders with our LO happily burbling to us in a sling across my chest, supervising. And poking seeds and labels into the pre-filled trays and pots when I could: harder than you’d think with a small boy secured between me and the potting bench.
The long border is a little sparse in places where I have removed, divided and added various plants since last summer – but in general is looking vibrant. One of the key foliage plants in this border at this time of year is an acer that we bought at the Malvern autumn show several years ago, whose name has since been lost – in the hazy recesses of my memory I thought it may have referenced ‘butterfly’ somewhere in the name – but it does not appear to be Acer palmatum ‘Butterfly’…
It is at its best in the spring, before the winds take their toll and scorch the beautiful cut leaves. In the kitchen border, the dissected ‘Garnet’ acer is also looking rather lovely.
And the latest addition to our burgeoning Acer collection is Acer palmatum ‘Orangeola’, which I bought at RHS Cardiff a few weeks ago, for the remaining planter on our terrace.
While ‘Garnet’ will remain burgundy until it blazes scarlet in the autumn, the foliage of ‘Orangeola’ will flush with green before returning to red and then a fiery orange in the autumn – I’m looking forward to watching these transformations.
My pottering this weekend also revealed that I have been mistakenly accusing the garden of swallowing epimediums, when in fact new foliage has just begun to push up of E. ‘Frohnleiten’ and E. rubrum. It is, then, only ‘Amber Queen’ which has disappeared without trace here, and so I don’t feel that my latest purchase at the Wisley plant center is quite such a wanton gesture.
This lovely little thing is Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilafee’, which caught my eye and accompanied us home. It should shortly be joining the woodland area at the shed end of the field border, where Geum rivale romps and self seeds with abandon, the understated apricot bells taking over from the primroses, accompanied by the pink hearts of Lamprocapnos and romping magenta Geranium macrorrhizum at the feet of the old birch tree and Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’.
I love this time of year, where the garden really gathers pace, foliage surging up, bejewelled with spring flowers. I’m hoping to snatch an hour or two in the garden this week myself, while Grandma kindly takes over entertainment duties. The winds are fierce, but it will be exhilarating to let them whip my breath away as I bend to plunge my hands into the soil, and set to work on some of the weeds I spot everywhere I turn.