Oh my, how blustery! Yesterday I was up a ladder pruning the wisteria (only a bit late), but I would not have considered that today. And then there’s been the episodic torrents of hail coming down all day. Can we roll back to February weather? Well, nature is advancing in a rush now regardless. Primroses are doming up, violets are shyly showing under hedges and leaf break is happening everywhere and there are golden daffodils cheering up the lanes. So there is plenty to show-and-tell this week, six things from the garden today, for Six on Saturday – a weekly event hosted by The Propagator.
1) Iris tuberosa
Honestly, looking at the flowers now with their startling, velvety black falls and the buttery-yellow, slightly iridescent style arms I can’t believe that I can quite easily walk passed this is a plant without noticing it, but I do. Happily the stand has increased in size and flowering potential considerably since last year, so it is getting harder to miss.
2) Cutting back grasses and wild life
I tend to leave Stipa tenuissima till last in the annual grass tidy up, but this week their hair appointment was due. During this task I quite often find small nests at their bases (winter cubby holes for voles or mice I think), but this week I had a shock when I grabbed a bunch of the leaves and twisted them back to reveal a beautiful nest full of large pale blue eggs. I am guessing pheasant eggs. So the grass has obviously had a stay of execution and I’ve put everything back where I found it (I hope). Here’s hoping for baby birds soon!
3) First tulips
These are one of my favourites: Tulipa turkestanica. They seem to flower for ages. They are multi-headed. The flowers are a lovely neat shape, with beautiful green olive markings on the backs of the tepals and the red tips to the anthers really lifts the colour.
4) Ugh – Vine weevils!
On Thursday I was lifting a couple of sedums to make divisions, but when I put the fork in, the clump fell apart. Then I saw the reason for this: horrid white grubs munching their way through the roots. Vine weevil larvae (photo inset). I tried to clean up the roots but in the end I decided to get rid of the lot. I’ve taken lots of cuttings and the drowned the offenders. Now I must order some nematodes to try to erase them from the border.
This little charmer was an end of season sale item from Fullers Mill Garden. It was a tiny plant in a small pot labelled simply erodium. I had no idea what it was when I purchased it, but I liked the leaves. Since then it has been sitting in my unheated greenhouse and this week has burst into flower. I’ve tried to match its appearance with online photos and I am fairly convinced it’s erodium pelargoniflorum.
6) Leaf break
I love the fresh, translucent colours you get with newly unfurled leaves at this time of year. Acers are a particularly radiant example of course. It was only when I looked more closely at this example on the computer screen that I noticed that the contrasting serrated edges look like tiny teeth … almost like a dragon/lizard head.
What are your six?
P.S. In case you enjoy a spot of origami alongside your gardening, here are instructions for making your very own origami iris