Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Horticultural frustration!

I guess that most gardeners like myself are getting frustrated by the current wet weather, although thankfully on the hilltop here in Mapperley, we are unlikely to suffer flooding. Nevertheless gardening has been on hold for nearly a month. As gardeners we are really so dependent on the weather and every year it seems to be so different. I really think we need a more variable system of naming the seasons. For example when I came back to the UK in mid-March the weather was fabulous more like summer than spring, so maybe that should have been called 'sprummer' but we've now gone back to weather that's really more like winter than spring, so maybe we are now experiencing 'sprinter' - you get the drift I'm sure! I'm tempted to elaborate with my full scheme for 12 different seasons but I think I might rapidly lose you if I haven't already!

Last spring and yes I think we did have a proper spring then, I fell in love with some beautiful little botanical tulips at Leicester Botanical Gardens. A batch were duly ordered and planted last autumn and emerged over the winter. However sadly the heavy rains over the last couple of weeks have totally ruined them and although there is a little flower appearing, they are totally battered and most of the flowers are laying on the soil. I do wonder whether it is just the wet season or whether these need a particularly dry well-drained spot to thrive.

Little Princess at Leicester Botanics
Little Beauty at Leicester Botanics

My rather sad Little Beauties!

Over the six weeks since I've been back in the UK,  I have purchased a whole range of new plants to fill some gaps and also to replant the front garden which is well overdue. Annoyingly the soil is just too wet for planting, or at least that's my excuse for not getting wet outside.

My little hoard waiting planting
Amongst my little cash of treasures and rather expensive ones I might add, there is the Cercis 'Hearts of Gold' and Calycanthus 'Hartlage Wine' that I've spoken of already, a purple leaved Lorapetalum that I fell in love with but I fear may not be hardy and some impulse purchases including Acanthus 'Holland's Gold', the dark leaved Viola  'Heart-throb'  and a wonderful Euphorbia called 'Excaluibur' with wiry red leaves, highlighted with silver veins. I've also got the dark leaved Sambucus 'Pink Thundercloud' which is good for its flower as well as its foliage and a golden yellow leaved Dicentra ' Gold Heart' which amazingly tones rather than screams with its pink flowers. And of course I'm reminded that I should now call this a Lamprocapnos rather than a Dicentra! Give me patience! Finally a couple of very ordinary plants, Berberis 'Orange Rocket' to be planted with Weigela 'Briant Rubidor' in an attempt to recreate the planting pictured below,  seen in a friend's garden. I haven't yet obtained the silvery leaved plant  in the picture which I think is probably a dark leaved weigela.

Mark and Keith's beautiful garden near Birmingham


  1. That's a nice collection of new plants there, so many gems. I'm particularly drawn to the dark leafed Viola and the Euphorbia, just love the colour on those foliage.

    Despite the deluge in April, fortunately we managed to continue doing some gardening (albeit not as much as what we wanted) in between showers. Doing most of the tidying up during the dry spell in March is paying dividends now.

    Little Princess and Little Beauty are both...beauties!

  2. That is quite the planting task to come, probably more numbers than goes into the average yard in my neighborhood. Yards...yuck! My 8 plants I just bought at a plant sale were just what the doctor ordered, and some of my neighbors must have been concerned I was planting a jungle. In your case, you must be dreaming up some very interesting design...can't wait to see.

    The fountain scene in the last photo...nice!

  3. I have planted a number of apeldoorn elite tulips which (colourwise) are almost identical to Little Princess. The ones that bloomed early and were more exposed to the wind took quite a bashing with the recent downpours we've been having in the South East( but the ones less exposed to the wind are doing pretty well. So I know the varieties are different, but hopefully it's just the wet weather (laughable considering it's still technically a drought) that has damaged your little princess.

    The plants and fountain look lovely.... hope your creation turns out just as striking:-)