After several busy weeks, we found an opportunity to catch up a little in the garden this weekend.

Part of long border in early May

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.

Speedwell in lawn

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.
Field border in early May

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.

Section of long border in early May

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’…

Early May foliage of Acer

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.

Foliage of Acer palmatum dissectum 'Garnet' in early May

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.

Acer palmatum dissectum 'Orangeola'

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.

Leaves of Epimedium × perralchicum 'Fröhnleiten'

New leaves of Epimedium rubrum

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.

Epimedium grandiflorum 'Lilafee'

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’.

Part of field border in early May

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.









12 thoughts on “Surge

  1. It is so good to watch the garden coming back to life. I suspect that gardening won’t get much easier when the LO is running around!

    • Thanks Laura. I love epimediums, so glad that our garden does not devour them, and fervently hope that this new one settles in well to return next year.

  2. Sara, I can imagine what it must be like trying to sow seeds with a little someone between you and the seed tray, I hope he doesn’t make a grab and succeed,
    your new acer sound so interesting with all the colour changes and perfect for a place where it will be seen often, what is the little blossom tree in your lawn?
    glad you got into the garden while LO and Grandma enjoyed time together, Frances

    • It’s certainly much easier if I can wrap him in a back carry, then I only have to worry about getting the tails of my wrap grubby if they’re tied at my waist! Haven’t been back-carrying for as long though, and some days I just can’t sit him right or haven’t the patience to try, so fall back on the faithful front carry instead!
      The small blossom tree is a Spartan apple, on restricted root stock so that it shouldn’t shade out the lawn too much!
      It was lovely to get out in the garden this afternoon. I spent most of my time digging out clumps of couch grass from the middle of the long border, a labour of love, and there are still a few more heavily infested parts of the border to tackle, but it’s great to have made a start!

  3. Surge is certainly a most apt word to describe what is going on in our gardens this month Sara. Our lawn has daisies too and the odd dandelion or two! I’ve read that the latter are beneficial for pollinators so don’t feel so bad about it. Your acer is most striking whatever its name. I bought epimedium ‘Lilafee’ at our local Country Market a few weeks ago. I’m bewitched by it along with a more recent purchase of epimedium diphyllum which bears spangles of tiny white flowers.

    • Hah, yes, dandelions have been running riot here too, and we have very little opportunity to get out and even pick the flowers off to try and slow their takeover. Ah well…

      Love the sound of your epimedium diphyllum too – I was umming over Lilafee or a white one E. x youngianum ‘Niveum’

    • Yes, such beautiful heart-shaped foliage with lovely colouration – the flowers are just the icing on an exceptionally fine cake 🙂

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