The pots of tender Agapanthus which languish at 10°C in my friend Paddy’s heated greenhouse all winter came out a few weeks ago in bud and are now gracing the south facing front of the bungalow. They attract admiring glances and some longer lingering looks from those who either don’t know what they are or who do know and just want to savour them. We split them two years ago from 2 pots to 4 which has done them good. The biggest one has 8 flower spikes this year.
We have been picking Sweet Peas for two weeks and now get armfuls every day. This is ‘Painted Lady, one of the oldest and most fragrant of all. But my favourite at the moment is the one I bought on a whim because it’s name is also my wife’s, ‘Cathy’. She is stunning (and the Sweet Pea!) in a shade of creamy white with a wonderful scent and is a strong grower, the tallest of the 20 varieties so far and very floriferous.
The raised bed behind the sweet peas is full of Sweet Williams grown from a packet of seeds last year. Like a lot of biennials they looked half dead from October to March but perked up when the sun finally came out and the weather warmed up. Now they are in full flower and getting picked every day for the house. They have a light sweet scent and last well in the vase. Behind them, the blackberry Rubus fruticosus ‘Bedford Giant’ planted last year is in full flower and covered with bees all day so pollination is assured. The flowers themselves are huge, almost like white dog roses, so I am expecting equally huge fruits. The ‘Black Satin’ and ‘Ruben’ are weak by comparison and a big disappointment. The ‘Bedford Giant’ takes some managing due to it’s vigour but looking at the sheer size of the stems and side branches and the number of flowers, it should be worth the effort…and the scratches!
The little north american woodlander, Gillenia trifoliata bought at Gardeners World Live last year and planted in my shady area has delighted me with strong growth and the dainty pure white flowers again after a shaky start. I hadn’t appreciated this was an herbaceous perennial and when it disappeared in the winter I thought it had died. It looks like a sub-shrub with woody stems but is not. Everything dies back to the ground.
The inherited orange day lily, Hemerocallis fulva, is exceptionally tall this year, a good 150cm and covered in masses of buds. It must have enjoyed the division from a huge clump into several smaller ones two years ago.
On the edge of the drive in full sun and dry poor soil, the Osteospermum jacundum is pushing it’s many heads to the sky and looking glorious. The pinky white flowers shine and can be seen for a hundred metres down the road!
This is my first year with shrubby salvias and so far they haven’t disappointed. The current red ones will soon be joined by purple Salvia ‘Christine Yeo’ and even darker purple Salvia greggii x serpyllilifolia.
I love it when combinations work well and these three seem to be in perfect harmony. The pale creamy yellow of Sysirinchum striatum with that well known spreader Lysimachia cilliata ‘Firecracker’ and supported by tall pale blue Geranium pratense ‘Mrs Kendall Clark’.
And finally, my current favourite plant in the garden, for the second year running, the gorgeous Thalictrum rochebrunianum. Five feet tall with strong glaucous foliage and the most exquisite flowers of lilac petals and bright yellow stamens.
Plenty more to come next week!