The weather is behaving like April and my head is still in January. I hadn’t cranked up my slug vigilance, which cost me a pot of lettuce seedlings this week, and I’m struggling to remember to keep checking what needs watering. Yesterday evening saw the first torchlight slug patrol of the year; the other side sustained multiple casualties.
Being a pessimist it seems likely that it will either go cold again and clobber everything that got out of bed too early or we’re going to have a very long dry summer. The mid winter period when finding things to include on a Saturday was a challenge, seems to have been exceptionally short. There are oddities though, like Muscaria, the leaves of which seemed to be coming up unusually early in the autumn but still no sign of flowers. I’ve seen them on other peoples posts, even in other peoples gardens but nothing here. Perhaps the slugs had them too.
Trachystemon orientale is always very early into leaf and flower and since the old leaves are still around, albeit ragged, it’s effectively evergreen. It’s quite coarse and not massively ornamental but the big leaves don’t get eaten much and it does well in difficult conditions like dry shade.
Borage will be in the same family as Trachystemon (Boraginaceae) and has similar qualities. This one is, I think, a form of Symphytum ibericum, but I’d be very happy to be put right if it’s not. I have it as a ground smothering carpet under shrubs and apart from spreading a bit too quickly, it is effective enough.
The later of my two new sorts of Crocus tomasinianus is ‘Ruby Giant’, which, it turns out, is the same as the bulk of what I already had but didn’t know the name of. It’s a cracker to be sure but the person who called it ‘Ruby Giant’ needs to see an ophthalmologist.
It is full on Camellia season already. I have three Camellia shows coming up, the last of which is at the end of April. They’ll all be over at this rate. Hard to believe that the early show at Rosemoor last year was just days after the icy blast and people were struggling to find anything to put in it. This one is ‘Annette Carol’, a hybrid raised in Australia which seems very happy here. I cut it back quite hard a couple of seasons back, it’s now back to a full flower display again.
I may have used Primroses before, they started flowering very early this season, but I am happy to include them again, now that they’re really getting going. They have to be one of our finest and most garden worthy natives.
Chrysolplenium davidianum. It just wasn’t practical to water everything last summer; we’re on a meter and once my rainwater tank had run dry I became selective. The Chrysoplenium fell victim sadly. This week I was given some back by a fellow gardener to whom I’d given a good sized bit a year earlier and who had planted it somewhere wetter. Insurance is not what you have in mind when you give things away but it’s a handy spin-off.
The picture also shows two Cyclamen coum plants that looked up at me like wide eyed kittens on my first garden centre trip of the year. I was there to buy compost, nothing more. Felt obliged to buy a few seed potatoes too, overturning an earlier decision not to. What is it with gardeners and will power?
There will no doubt be an abundance of temptations in all the other sixes, hosted by Mr Prop himself. I haven’t looked and I’m weakening, paper and pen to hand.