At this time of year every day brings something new to discover in the garden – and this year I’m seeing our garden at hours of the day that I have fervently shunned in the past in favour of a warm bed…
I’m definitely not a crack-of-dawn girl by nature, but on a sunny May morning I can certainly see the appeal of this time of day, when the play of light and shadows in the garden is rather magical.
I’ve even managed a few hours of working in the garden – at far more respectable hours – in the past week or two, mostly trying to keep up with our weeds, particularly the pernicious couch grass which ensnares parts of each border. This coming week I need to pot on some cosmos seedlings in the greenhouse, and try and stake the snowball bush pictured above, whose gloriously heavy heads of flowers have weighted the branches down across the border in a rather unseemly manner.
Our later aquilegias have joined in the show this week too, with the swathe of Ruby Port that flood across the kitchen border dancing with dark red stars. These rich double flowers gradually turn upwards, which is a rather nice habit, and not one I’ve noticed in other cultivars.
A quick look back at my posts from this time last year reminded me that the imposter that I was contemplating in this bed, whose foliage differed from the rest, was in fact a specimen of Aquilegia fragrans that I raised from seed. Its delicate pale flowers have opened now, along with an identical sibling planted in the field border.
It stands out rather well against its ruby red cousins and Acer dissectum ‘Garnet’. Contrary to its name, though, I cannot find a trace of fragrance in the flowers of either plant.
A handsome double yellow plant (not pictured) that I raised from seeds purchased at Touchwood Garden has returned again this year, to my delight, and the rather strange spiky pink and yellow buds on another plant from seeds bought when I visited the national collections at Touchwood Garden, flowering for the first time this year, opened this week into rather beautiful double lemon-yellow skirts with pink waistcoats. Not what I expected of a plant whose seeds were labelled ‘Black and Bruises’, collected from darker coloured specimens, but what beauties nonetheless.
The lemon yellow flower petals fade towards ivory after a few days, but in my head I have begun to think of this plant as ‘Rhubarb and Custard’.
It forms a wonderful colour clash with the bright vermilion flowers of the seed-raised Geum Mrs J Bradshaw which have begun to bloom alongside, against the dark backdrop of Sambucus Nigra ‘Black Lace’ foliage. One of the things that I love about a rather laissez-faire style of gardening are these crazy combinations that appear – which I would never compose intentionally – that somehow work regardless of the rules. Or perhaps I am just not discerning enough and should be relocating one plant or other post-haste! Yet instead, they make me smile…