Thankfully, we’ve had rain this week. A good amount, as it turns out, and on several days too, including this morning. I was very relieved to see it fall, in spite of having to drive to Kent through thick road spray. Our clay soil had already turned to concrete and started cracking up. Now, with luck, I will be able to get the new plants and seedlings in the border.
And we’ve made it to Saturday again! It’s been a stressful week, so it feels like high time to enjoy our garden sanctuaries and share our treasures via Jonathon’s Six-on-Saturday meme. Join in if you can!
1) Honey lilies at the ready
I know that they are only just starting to burst their papery wrappings and will look truly fabulous in a week or so, but I really love the appearance of Nectaroscordum siculum in our front garden just now … when they look as though they could be an army of foot soldiers, advancing with lances held aloft:
Meanwhile, the Honeywort (Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’) is already looking hot. I just wish I could persuade it to self-seed in the flower borders rather than the gravel drive. (Yes, I realise it is trying to tell me something, but I can’t change my soil!) The ‘Wort’ bit of its name is supposed to imply that the plant has medicinal or food use, but I can’t find that honeywort has either. Gerard, of ‘The Herbal’ fame, grew it purely as an ornamental plant, although he is reputed to have enjoyed sipping the honey-like nectar from its flowers. Honeywort is most definitely a great pollinator plant, offering a nectar reward at the base of small, twinned purple bells. It is the colourful bracts that are the real star for me though. They transition through metallic shades of green/blue/purple up to the flower bells, just like heated steel.
3) Now is the Wisteria’s moment
Our wisteria this year’s is, sadly, not as floriferous as it usual, because about a quarter of the racemes were stopped in their tracks by frost a week or two back. Fortunately, the frosted, brown flowers have faded into the background as the unaffected flowers tumble over the pergola and open. It is a heartening result and, as a bonus, smells absolutely delicious when we take meals under its canopy!
4) Bilbergia nutans
I bought a Billbergia last year and I have to say that it has been surprisingly easy to grow. It’s been in an unheated greenhouse over the winter and has come through just fine. Apparently, it’s common name is Queen’s Tears. Flowers hang delicately down from powder-pink elegant bracts. I love the reflexed, blue edged petals. I can imagine Cleopatra (as portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor) crying these for sure!
5) Dicentra ‘Alba’
Yes, I know it’s got a new name, but I am afraid that has not stuck in my head yet. This is another plant with wonderful, dangling flowers, heart-shaped this time. I prefer the white form and since I lost my original plant when we re-vamped the pond, I seem to have magically acquired three replacements 😉
6) The poppies are coming
This little perennial poppy, Papaver rupifragum, is the first to appear in our garden and will flower, on and off, all summer long. It’s not the most sumptuous or refined looking poppy, but its ruffled orange flowers certainly shout ‘look at me’ when you turn into our driveway! 🤣
And that is my Six for today.
Have a great weekend!
It’s a great six. Your Cerinthe is more deeply colored than mine. Lovely! And the Billbergia–very cool!
Thanks Susie. I’ve just discovered that you can get a named cultivar that is even more intense, called ‘Kiwi Blue’.
Very pretty pergola with wisteria. Like mine, some of the buds burned but they are hidden in the background. I also do like the Cerinthe major that I saw on Granny’s Six. My first yellow poppy is open today and I may present it next week. Last thing, Bilbergia easy to grow? … good news!!
Thank you Fred! Love your yellow poppies (saw them on Twitter). Yes, Billbergia is really easy to grow 😉 !
The honey lillies are a delight – even in bud form. Cerinthe is a plant that I keep resolving to purchase, but never seem to find in our local nurseries. Queen’s tears is a fascinating combination of colors. The shape reminds me of an elaborate, costumey hair comb/head dress or earring. Elizabeth Taylor for sure.
Thanks for your positive Liz Taylor response! 😉 FYI: You can get a strong form of Cerinthe from Sarah Raven.
This appears to be our wisteria’s coming out party. We’ve had the plant, from a small cutting, for a number of years and, although vigorously spreading everywhere uncontrollably, this seems the first year without a late frost to kill the flowers. Here’s hoping. Maybe it’s time for our own pergola. Yours is bountiful.
Interesting that a plant called “Honey Lily” is also known as “Sicilian Garlic”.
Oh I do hope your Wisteria’s come out goes wonderfully! Remember to smell it too. Yes, I’d noted that honey lilies are also called “Sicilian Garlic”. I’ve picked the common name with the nicer allusion 🤣!
A lovely six, Allison. I hope you post the Honey Lilies when they open next week. 🙂
Dicentra is now Lamprocapnos… took me a while to remember that one (along with the simple Aster becoming Symphotrichum! Who names these plants anyway?)
Sorry to hear about your stressful week and hope the coming one is better. It sounds as if you have had more rain than us, but with soil like yours you probably needed it more. Good to see your six – what a glorious swathe of nectaroscordum, and it’s always good to see a wisteria in bloom. Self-seeding cerinthe would be nice… 😉
I love all of your six this week. Especially Cleopatra’s tears – what a perfect name for it. I think your description of the Cerinthe is very apt too – heated steel. I had not heard of its common name before, which is pretty, as is the name ‘Honey Lily’ for the Nectaroscordum.
I love your choice for this week’s six, The view of the Honey Lilies is amazing and the Bilbergia nutansis stunning.
It’s amazing to see your wisteria. Ours is long, long gone, and there’s nothing to see now but lush greenery. The Billbergia was completely new to me; it brought to mind our bird of paradise plant, at least the upper portion. Is that Dicentra a form of what we call bleeding hearts? I’ve always known them as pink — what a surprise the white flowers were!
A very striking six. Your reference to Elizabeth Taylor was very apt!
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