Monday, 21 May 2012

Mid May snapshots

I really must write something soon. But for now, some more pictures.

One thing I love about a garden is seeing what comes back each year. I planted these alliums (A. 'Purple Giant', if I remember correctly) a few years ago now - and each year, the clump returns, with an extra flower head. There are two other kinds in the garden (excluding the edibles - the chives in particular are almost identical, albeit a lot smaller), 'Purple Sensation', which is taller, more slender, and slightly redder, and A. cristophii, which is a huge metallic starburst. I can't have too many of them - they are perfect flowers, hiding most of the year, popping up of their own accord, needing no help, and floating their striking blooms above the garden, without blocking the view.

Calendula! Another winner - it self sows freely (I have hundreds of baby plants coming up), is colourful, and indeed edible, unlike the ornamental alliums. This is one of last year's plants, that survived the winter in a large container, giving it a head start. The yellow-orange is one of two dominant colours in the garden at the moment - the other being purple. Wild Geum urbanum (a pernicious weed in my opinion) and buttercups on the one hand, alliums, lilac, self-sown columbine on the other.

This is absolutely the last cherry blossom! For some reason, this spur opened a couple of weeks later than the rest. Sadly, the bumper crop I'd hoped for is looking doubtful. Most of the flowers seem to have shrivelled, and are falling off. I can only assume it's a failure of pollination - even though both trees are in bloom at the same time. Perhaps it was the weather, keeping pollinators away.

There are many herbs to be gathered now - mostly perennials. Lovage, lemon balm, mint, and here sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum). Now this is in flower, it needs to be cut back - its sweet, heady aroma develops on drying. It will regrow, and can be harvested again later in the year (although I never use it up). If left, it will go over, as we say, losing its freshness and fragrance as it puts its energy into setting seed - the same is true of most herbs, annual and perennial. Cut them, whether you need them or not (unless you want the seed).

There's another strand of colour in the garden, which will take over from the blues and purples of mid spring: magenta and pink. This is red valerian (Centranthus ruber). It arrived a few years ago, probably by seed from nearby, and now dominates the front garden. It loves cracks in paving, softening the edge of the driveway, and the front of the house. I keep it mostly, as it is bright, flowers for months (and will flower again if cut back in midsummer), and attracts masses of pollinators. On the downside, it's a haven for snails, which hide under the leaves, and between the stem bases, and aphids, that encrust the growing shoots (but seem to do it no harm).


Anonymous said...

Fantastic photography - such great colours and detail.

Scyrene said...

Thanks Andrew.