7th May 2023
Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation' .
The pace of life always seems to increase in the spring. I don't know how it happens, I spend more time in the garden and it seems more rushed. I notice things as I pass
rather than having time to look at them. A few wet days this week have been welcome but they have wasted good gardening time. We have arrived at the start of May and the ground is still wet.
If we are lucky then the dire predictions of a repeat drought will not be realised. I planted a Paulownia on Friday and allowed the rain to water it in. Last year I had to stop
planting at the end of March, an extension to the planting season is very welcome.
I don't have an ideal garden for Allium, even in the dry years. A couple of years ago I cleared the new herbaceous border and have been enjoying a space where the sun penetrates
for most of the day. I planted a number of Allium 'Purple Sensation' to waft colour through it once the early bulbs had finished. The plants have survived but it hasn't been impressive.
Deer were a problem that I hadn't anticipated. They eat the flower buds, a pungent snack presented at head height. Only a few flower heads have survived.
Perhaps as the border becomes fuller, the deer will find it harder to eat the onions. I am hopeful in a vague way. The idea continues to waft about.
7th May 2023
Bletilla striata 'Albostriata'.
The cold fist of spring is relinquishing its grip. I don't get a lot of cold weather in the garden, but it remains the major pre-occupation through the dark months. In the last few days
I have noticed that I am spending longer in the bath cleaning my knees. It reflects a change in gardening garb, to a t-shirt and shorts, and that reflects a rise in temperature.
The greenhouse warms reliably in the sunshine. It has been enough to start the orchids into growth. A fortnight ago I re-potted some Dactylorhiza, rushing to get them done before the
flower spikes started to elongate. It was already too late to start on the Bletilla, the new shoots were too well developed.
Bletilla striata 'Albostriata' has done well this year. It took me a long time to appreciate that they needed more warmth in summer, last year suited them very well.
I am going to try splitting them after the flowers have faded. This one has been in the same pot for three years now, it needs new compost, and the
rhizomes will need untangling while it is still possible. There comes a point when the rhizomes of Bletilla become so congested in the pot that they can only be divided
by chopping the rootball into sections with a knife. It works, but it is very wasteful.
7th May 2023
Primula auricula 'Avon Khaki' .
The heat of last year was not appreciated by the auriculas. I tried to keep them cool and shaded but it wasn't enough and I have killed a number of the
less vigorous cultivars. Primula auricula 'Avon Khaki' survived and has rushed into flower in the greenhouse. It would be happier outside in the summer, but moving things in and out is too complicated to arrange.
I have a plan for a small bed outside in the shade that would be suitable, but the auriculas are competing with the Iris to occupy it. I'm not sure which will succeed, but since I haven't
made the bed yet, the matter is of little significance.
Primula allionii fared a little better. It had flowered and finished growth by the time the heat increased last summer. The plants became dormant
and although they looked untidy, they slept through the worst stress of summer.
There aren't many Primula that grow well here. I am prepared to accept the limitations of the climate. I will persevere with the auriculas that survive but I'm not planning to add any more.
7th May 2023
Roscoea cautleyoides 'Early Purple' .
Roscoea have been more successful. Like most of the gingers, they enjoy the heat of summer as long as there is enough moisture. They are another group that didn't get divided this year.
Somehow there just wasn't time. The spring flowering forms are coming in to growth and the earliest flowers have opened. 'Early Purple' has performed in the greenhouse as it promises, 'Early Yellow' is in bud.
Both cultivars have appeared above ground outside, but it will take a couple more weeks for them to flower. I had a plan to get all of the early Roscoea into the garden this year
and only keep the late flowering forms in the greenhouse. That would give me some space for all the new seedlings I have been selecting. It could still happen, it isn't too late to plant them out.
I might get time to weed all the pots and split all the stock plants as well.
The rush of spring might slow for a moment, though it seems unlikely.