May is the month where it can all run away from you if you take your eye off the ball for a second. So much happening, so much needing doing. A lot of what needs doing is weeding and watering, which eats into the time you need for planting and preening. Quite a bit of planting and preening has been done and more is scheduled in coming days. Next week may feature newly planted stuff, this week is all about established plants.
Euphorbia pruning. The Euphorbia in question being E. mellifera, which had completely blocked paths on two sides and was smothering an Azalea on another. The flowers were starting to develop into seeds, I need it to have recovered some for when we have the garden open; time to stop putting it off.
Usually there is a reasonable growth of young shoots under the main canopy that I leave until new shoots are well under way from the cut stumps. Not this time, as you can see, just a meagre few spindly shoots that I decided I’d be better off without. The honesty around the Azalea has all but finished flowering and there’s loads more on the other side of the path.
Meanwhile, in the front garden, the Echiums are getting steadily bigger and are flowering prodigiously. I’ve seen much bigger ones but I’m happy with what I’ve got. The biggest one is around 9½ feet tall and I think it has a bit more to give yet.
I was going to crop the picture to show this fern to best effect but I don’t think it needs any help from me. There are six other ferns in the picture, all of them good, and still Athyrium otophorum okanum steals the limelight.
It is the season for shade plants, getting their growing and flowering in early while there’s moisture in the ground and the tree canopy is still letting some light through. Maianthemum racemosum subsp. amplexicaule ‘Emily Moody’, to give her the full title, is as good as she’s ever been. At a little over 3 feet tall, she carries her strongly lily-of-the-valley scented flowers where you don’t need to be on your knees to smell them. Very little troubled by slugs, much less troubled by sawfly than Solomon’s seal, robustly perennial. How am I doing? You’d think I had plants to sell, but I don’t. I have been seeing sawfly adults, black flies, not very nimble, looking to mate and lay eggs. It isn’t going well for them.
Omphalodes nitida is a plant that I’m happy to have seeding about in moderation. It’s another of the forget-me-not tribe, flowering relatively sparsely but over several months. I saw this one flowering against the contrasting background of a rhubarb forcer and thought it had at long last earned a Saturday outing. The other end of the day saw it catching a few late rays, sending me scurrying for the camera once more.
Number six, the last slot. Melaleuca squarrosa, Polygonatum hybridum ‘Striatum’, my unknown but beautifully scented Azalea species, a couple more unfurling ferns; all failed to make the cut. I have a first flower on Cypripedium ‘Gisela’, a plant whose very survival seems like an epic achievement. There is a world of even more lovely supposedly garden tough Cypripediums out there but I saw this one going relatively inexpensively so it seemed a good one to plant as a try out. It’s going to need to do better than this to persuade me to buy a load more but it’s a start.
I’m almost on top of the weeds on my allotment, hopefully this weekend should see that battle concluded. In the garden the bluebells are mostly finished so I will be tidying them up and getting some planting out done. The worst and best of gardening in two lines really. I’m keen to see what everyone else has to show off here, starting with The Propagator, will there still be tulips?