What a week! The weather has clearly ignored the weather forecast and my gardening plans have been changed on the fly as I retreated from a sudden hailstorm that left most of my exposed face stinging on one day and hastily got electrical equipment back under cover as soon as I’d finished getting it out on others. It was impossible to predict from one day to the next whether I’d be in or out. and, in an atmosphere of continued indecision, time flew by and here we are at yet another Saturday and I find myself loyally following our leader, Mr Propagator, who has, as is his wont in our functional propagatory democracy, initiated another collection of Sixes over at his blog.
It’s been a bit over a year since I completed the planting in what became known as Edifice 2 so I thought this week’s six should be a slightly late birthday party. So let’s celebrate.
Oop top, as they say, was how it looked when I’d finished the build and hoiked about 8 tonnes of stuff into it. For the uninitiated, the light brown compartments are alpine areas and so are filled with an appropriate planting mix topped with a couple of inches of grit. The rest is filled with a mix of topsoil and organic stuff to create a nice, friable, nutritious environment for general planting.
1 Overview Today
This is what it looks like now. The hedge has gone from the background and the next Edifice is under construction in front of the hedge-replacing fence. Number 2 has filled out quite nicely.
The three square-ish (OK, one is curved on two sides) bits along the front are theoretically planted the same. Lavatera ‘Barnsley Baby” in the middle, some Christmas Hellebores, in the front, lilies at the back, creeping phlox to cover any bare soil and common-or-garden aubretia to eventually tumble over the front. Only in the central one has the aubretia thrived. Wonder why. Not tumbling over yet but next year ……
Alpines often flower early in the year. Not all of them, of course, but many are spring types. And this is one of them. Paeonia cambessedesii. The name’s bigger than the plant. Maybe whoever named it had hiccups.
Not one of your common-or-garden ones but a named variety – Primula vulgaris Taigetos. Lovely white flowers with yellow centres. And lots of them. Only problem is that the bugger’s decided to flower on its backside. From the front, all I can see is a mass of foliage. Taking this photo involved some precarious clambering and balancing of the sort in which Gill Heavens engages before falling onto some unfortunate extremity. The thing on the left is a spike for one of the irrigation jets I installed. It’s at the back of the plant, where it should be. Unless of course the back has become the front.
If I lift it and turn it round, next year it’ll probably flower on it’s front. Which will then be the back! Why couldn’t it just flower in the middle like most ordinary primulas do?
Still in the alpine area, a nice little plant with a bigger name – Armeria juniperifolium ‘Bevans Variety’. The jury is out on whether I’ve missed an apostrophe. I have several of these dotted around. Not bad to have grown to about a foot across from a little plant a year ago. And covered in flowers on short stems, unlike the common varieties which tend to show more foliage and fewer flowers on taller stems later in the year.
6 The Charge of the Perennial Brigade
With Helleborus ‘Anna’s Red’ in the lead, this is the view from the end of the big perennial bit (at the left end in the header photo). Roughly three metres long and one wide, it’s a mass of green (with a red spot at one end) with hardly any soil visible. Everything I planted has somehow survived and is growing strongly. I had decent flowers last year but am looking forward to a riot this summer.
Well that’s a simple six. I’m off to dream about what I’ll have extracted from the greenhouse and cold frame once the time’s right and what I hope will be a far more interesting range of plants, with even more interesting names, with which, in time, I’ll be able to offer more varied sixes.
Meanwhile, pop over to Mr Prop’s blog, locate his blog of the day and, down bottom at the rooty end (unless you’re antipodean when the rooty end is at the top, of course), look for all the links to other sixes of interest and repute.
And remember, whatever else may be, “Propagation means propagation!”
PS. When I refer to “riot” I mean a riot of flower colours. There may be other riots, to which I am not looking forward.
PPS. Can anyone explain why alpine irises (which I featured a few weeks back) achieve flowering at a height of about 5 inches but, once the flowers have faded, the spiky leaves continue to grow and are currently about a foot and a half tall?
PPPS. Can someone explain why, if cats are supposed to be averse to getting wet, mine who looks out through a window and, if the sun’s shining, goes back to bed. But if it’s raining hard he wants to go outside and lies on the drive getting soaking wet?
PPPPS. Can someone explain why the resident squirrels spend time digging up the nuts they buried in the lawn last autumn and carrying those nuts off somewhere, only to return and empty their nut feeder of its fresh hazelnuts (sans shells) which they then proceed to bury in the lawn?