Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
22nd May 2022
Magnolia wilsonii .
Some spits and spots of rain in the week have kept the garden looking lush. Dew lies heavy on the ground in the mornings but when the sum comes up the temperatures follow.
By the middle of the day I am looking for nice sitting-down jobs to do in the house and leaving thoughts of gardening until the evening. The complexity
of spring is settling into the slow progress of summer. The first Hemerocallis buds are showing colour. An assortment of Iris sibirica cultivars are flowering.
Last year I started the process of sorting them out, splitting them and potting them up so that I can check the names more easily. As they come into flower it is clear
that I have made a mess of it, they are more mixed up than ever.
Trees are much simpler, you put them in and decades later they are still in the same place. As the summer starts they come into their own, providing shade and
enclosing the garden. Views of the Cornish landscape have all been lost to their green architecture.
Magnolia wilsonii is in full flower, the leaves not yet fully expanded. It looks spectacular against a blue sky, cheering against a grey one and
dramatic with a stormy sky. In short, it looks good regardless.
22nd May 2022
Rhododendron 'Loderi King George' .
I could have a garden entirely filled with camellias and rhododendrons, it would be very easy. When I started planting here the site was
a windswept hillside. I had to take a practical approach and start with things that could stand the full force of the weather. I could plant
camellias and rhododendrons when there was some slight shelter. As the shelter matured I planted a lot of camellias and hardly any rhododendrons. I'm not sure why.
Rhododendron 'Loderi King George' is an exception, I planted four of them around the garden. Three of them are now large shrubs, the fourth was planted
where the north wind rips through the windbreak and after twenty years it is still only three feet tall. It looks miserable and I should move it.
I'm sure I could find a better place.
I have three of them, filling the evening air with scent, perhaps that is enough. On the other hand, too much of a good thing can be wonderful (Mae West).
22nd May 2022
Camellia 'Night Rider' .
As the summer heat starts to build the camellias are fading. It is difficult to identify what has changed since the early spring, but now they look tired.
The flowers are still perky and bright. The plants look tidier because the flowers are dropping more cleanly in the warmth. Still, they look tired.
I had assumed that the season was ending so pounced with delight on the first flower of 'Night Rider'. It will be the only flower this year,
there aren't any other buds to come. Still, it is a triumph of sorts.
'Night Rider' is a dark flowered C. x williamsii form with purple tinged leaves raised by Os Blumhardt in New Zealand. It has some very dark flowered C. japonica forms
in its ancestry including the dark leaved 'Kuro-tsubaki'. It is a triumph of breeding but it seems to like the warmth. It grew well in a pot in the Hedychium house
but it has suffered since I planted it out two years ago. This flower is a triumph in the sense that I thought the plant was on the way out.
It may still be, the bloom a final gesture of defiance. I'll see how it grows this summer, it might have to go back in with the hedychiums.
22nd May 2022
Paeonia 'Julia Rose' .
As soon as the spring weather warms unfurling leaves garland the garden. As the sun climbs in the sky the trees respond producing shade and shelter.
It is perfect for the bluebells, it protects the camellias from stress and the peonies hate it.
I have a few spaces where the sun still gets in. The new herbaceous border contains a number of Paeonia lactiflora cultivars and I have a bud developing for
the first time in many years. It is going to be a wonder. Do deer eat peony buds? Time will tell.
The Itoh hybrid peonies have been more successful. I have been planting them in a row beside the path that leads to the greenhouse. The flowers are a bit untidy
and they don't last very long but when they are at their peak they are wonderful. 'Julia Rose' opens watercolour-pink, fades to creamy-peach and then drops its petals
on the fourth or fifth day. It's a short performance but carried out with panache. A second flush of buds will provide entertainment for a week or two more as spring lingers.
To find particular groups of plants I grow, click on the genus name in the table above. Click on the "Index" box at the top of the page for the full list.
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about what is going on, if you are interested.
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