Our first opening of the summer is on 24th June, which is not very far away, and if I was looking for a single word to describe the state of the place at the moment it would be ‘messy’. It never is a tightly controlled and manicured garden, but the informality level peaks around now with all the self sown stuff growing where it put itself and muscling out anything that gets in the way. In the background, waiting to take over when the self sowers are gone, are Penstemons and Dahlias, various annuals and miscellaneous other stuff, all of which seems to be dragging its feet and not remotely far enough on to fill the spaces that will appear in the next three to four weeks.
Look out the window and you will sea masses of Aquilegia, foxgloves and Geranium palmatum. Look a little closer and there are several rather lovely plants doing their thing.
None more so than this orchid. This was never planted; it appeared in the middle of something else and something else has obligingly died and been forgotten. Whether it is a seedling from one of my other orchids or came in very small and unnoticed on the something else plant I have no idea. I’ve been studying my orchid book and have very tentatively identified it as a hybrid between Common Spotted Orchid, Dactylorhiza fuchsii and Southern Marsh Orchid, Dactylorhiza praetermissa. It’s currently 15 inches tall but looks like it will get taller. It is in full sun and in a place where it will get rather dry, so I’d better make sure to water it a bit if it’s really wanting marshy ground.
Paeonia ‘Barzella’. I’d hankered after intersectional peonies for years before eventually succumbing to a couple a couple of years ago. This is the first bloom, one of two on the plant, though the other has been nobbled a few inches below the bud and is opening more slowly.
Yes, a tulip, just one, quite small, unexceptional except for its lateness. Not quite harking back to 1637 and the peak of tulip mania but this is Tulipa sprengeri ‘Trotter’s Form’ which I bought, in a moment of weakness, from Cotswold Garden Flowers. It came, one bulb in a small pot, with a seed head attached, which I let ripen and sowed the seeds; they germinated this spring. There will be multitudes, maybe.
Disporum longistylum BSWJ2859, over five feet tall inclined to topple if not supported, with small green flowers. An aquired taste you might be thinking, subtle to the point of vanishing. Let me give you part of Crûg’s description: “A Chinese species that has taken a pride of place in our walled garden for many years, drawing much comment and admiration.” So there! They’re going to be at Tregrehan Plant Fair tomorrow with lots of plants in similar vein.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, a dumpy little Alstroemeria that was the only one of its flavour left in the garden centre last year and didn’t have a label. I did a careful search on the internet and worked out what it is, wrote the name down on a piece of paper. It’s here on my desk, along with hundreds of other bits of paper. If I find it I’ll come back and add the name later. I wonder if I labelled the plant? (pause while I go and check) nope, that would have been too sensible. (I found it! Alstroemeria Princess Kate (‘Zaprikate’PBR) (Princess Series), aka Colorita Kate))
As I mentioned at the top, it’s the season when our garden is briefly taken over by anarchic self sowers and it seems a little unfair not to feature any of them, so I won’t. Instead, here is a white foxglove growing in my fruit cage on my allotment. It’s doing the cultivated foxglove thing of having flowers all round the stem and the effect is very fine. I meant to collect seed from it last year and didn’t, so this is either its second year or it has self seeded true. I’m starting to work foxgloves, and Verbascum, into my winter cover crop mixture. The odd one will get left to flower and seed, the rest cut at ground level in spring.
That’s a pleasingly mixed bag for a Saturday six, if I say so myself. Now I need to get it posted and get out there to do some work. Weeds to pull, plants to plant, watering, watering, watering. Holding a garden on the lip of the abyss of chaos takes a lot of work. Coffee first though, and plan my day. Good thing I don’t have to go to work, let alone run around the countryside. You can see it better at walking pace.
There are 20 comments already on the Propagators post, I’m lagging well behind the other SoS elves.