The warm weekend over the holiday when we were in Hampshire finally unlocked the spring growth and although it is cool and raining now, the growing season is definitely underway. We have been working in the garden and greenhouse preparing growing spaces as well as growing the plants that will be put in them. And the weeds need catching now before they take over. It is staggering how quickly they grow from nothing to setting seed…much faster than the plants you want to grow!
Our flower garden is beginning to reveal its spring treasures. The rhododendrons are out now and the azaleas wont be long. There is a delightful little white rhododendron with yellow marks in the trumpets, pink in bud and opening to pure white. None of the rhododendrons are named so a visit to the nursery they were sourced from is on the agenda for the next month or so. Similarly, we will try to identify the magnificent cherry tree beside the front gates, although I think it is a Great White Cherry, Prunus Taihaku.
In the same border as the white rhododendron there is a clump of Euphorbia griffithii Fireglow. It is really striking and the bracts are every bit as colourful as a flower. I am thinking of pairing it with Stipa arundinacea, the Pheasants Tail Grass and may introduce a few geums to pick up the bronze/orange theme. The first geums are flowering- there are lemon ones and peachy pink ones so far, as anonymous as the rhodendrons, as well as Heuchera “Bressingham hybrids”.
In a part of the herb garden there is Lily of the Valley in abundance, enough for posies for the house with the first Aquilegias. And close by I have planted the Tiarellas I bought at Exbury, where I can see them from the kitchen window. The Tiarellas are taking over from the winter flowering hellebores as a new love for the season. There were many different varieties for sale at Exbury, but I was very good and only bought two.
The most recent floral discoveries are a white dwarf bearded iris “Green star” and a lovely long spurred, small-flowered Aquilegia growing in the gravel garden. It is seedling gently around and seems to be coming true from seed. Does anyone have any ideas about its identity or is it just a long spurred hybrid?
In other news, the chickens have settled into daily egg laying, dust bathing, slug eating and preening. Except for Maud, who hasn’t read the section in the manual about hybrid hens not getting broody. She very much enjoys sitting on everyone’s eggs each day, and fluffs herself up and hisses at me when I remove the eggs. She is, fortunately, far too well-mannered a lady to peck me and allows me to lift her out and put her in the run with the other two, whereupon she forgets about being broody until the following day, when we repeat the process. Of course, with no cockerel, she could sit until Forever and raise no chicks, but I am sure she would be a lovely mother.