New Beginnings

Planting a garden from scratch is a very pleasurable thing to do, but it does require patience. 😉 Until the beginning of March there was nothing to see out there apart from my Hellebores, and the two flower beds – just large patches of brown soil – did not look promising!

Last autumn I posted here about my new Herb Bed and Butterfly Bed. I planted both mainly with small plants, delivered from my favourite nursery in 9cm pots. Bulbs were then also planted and since February a few additions have been made. So now I invite you to come along with me and see how the garden is looking a few months later.

Here is the Butterfly Bed in spring…

Yes, it still looks rather bare! But I am very optimistic as I believe almost every single plant has come through. (One aster is still not showing any signs of life, and I am not sure the Verbena bonariensis will have survived.) The Hellebores are still going strong – here is the star of the show, Ice ‘N’ Roses “Rose”…

It has just flowered non-stop since October, and the flowers seem a much deeper pink than when I first planted it.

And here is another I planted earlier this year: ‘Double Ellen Pink’…

I love those frilly petals!

And ‘Double Prince White’…

This one can hardly be called white, rather a lovely cream with beautiful green centres as the flowers fade.

The bulbs were very slow to come up and flower, but that may be due to the fact that there is so far no shelter in this very exposed site. That should change next year, as ground cover and grasses fill out. The last week or so has been warm and sunny though, and the grass is growing and the first tulips have opened.

Tulip turkestanica…

… and my old favourites ‘Heart’s Delight’. The stems grow a little each day, and the colour deepens within days from almost white to a deep coral pink with a gorgeous canary yellow centre.

The Anemone blanda opened at the weekend too. You can also just see a Geranium phaeum seedling on the right here – brought over from the old garden. I am hoping it will spread itself around here too.

I also brought back some Primula seedlings and this Pulmonaria, which was right next to one labelled ‘Wuppertal’, so I am callling it that since I know no better!

I haven’t managed to get any photos yet, but the butterfly bed has had some butterflies visit already – Peacocks, Tortoiseshells and Brimstones. Plenty of bees too. 🙂

Now let’s take a very brief look at the Herb Bed as it is still looking rather empty…

Although predominantly herbs, there are a few other plants as fillers, and naturally plenty of spring bulbs. I am pleased to see that all the Stipa tenuissima seem to be alive as I was warned young plants may not be entirely hardy. And the Rosemary didn’t bat an eyelid at being buried under a mountain of snow that fell on it from the roof! Talking of snow, a splash of blue Glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa) is nice against the brown soil. 🙂 (That is lemon Thyme in the background).

One lesson learned this winter was that wooden lollipop sticks for labels using normal pens is not a good idea. After rain, snow and wind they are practically indecipherable! I am writing down every single plant added to the garden, but I wonder how long I will keep that up. I do have a few black plastic labels and find that silver or white markers work very well and last for several years. But perhaps you have another labelling system that is more environmentally friendly?

Do share!

Thanks for joining me.

Happy gardening!

🙂

In a Vase on Monday: Charisma

Over the past few weeks I have been taking liberties and showcasing my lovely potted Amaryllis instead of cutting flowers for a vase, just so that I can join in the weekly meme that Cathy hosts at Rambling in the Garden.

I planted four Amaryllis/Hippeastrum bulbs in early December and all of them have been fabulous, blooming nicely one after the other and not simultaneously as is often the case. And each has produced two spikes, some still to flower. This week this lovely small pale red one is flowering. It has remained as straight as a rod so far, and with the relatively small flowers it will hopefully remain so.

Hippeastrum ‘Charisma’

So over the past few weeks I have shown you Red Pearl, Alfresco, Apple Blossom and now Charisma. I think Alfresco was my favourite. 💕

Have a great week!

In a Vase on Monday: Apple Blossom

Ha, I wonder how many of you thought I would be showing a branch of apple blossom! Hope this is not a disappointment…

Hippeastrum ‘Apple Blossom’

This is my third Amaryllis this winter. The first one, Red Pearl, is flowering on a second stalk, and last week’s ‘Alfresco’ is still looking wonderful with another bud just showing.

Our snow has almost melted away and I can feel the first ache for some spring colour. Just a little green would be nice. Still, I have these lovely indoor plants to tide me over, and today I will be looking at all the other vases participating in Cathy’s meme. Do go and visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what treasures she has found (in more ways than one) today!

In a Vase on Monday: A Fairytale

Monday has come round again and I am happy to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her lovely meme.

Many of the ingredients for a fairytale found their way into my forsythia vase today. After all, the hot weather has made the forsythia look past its best, and the vase deserves to be used more than just once a year!

The inspiration was the wand-shaped stems and fairy-like white petals of my sweet-smelling shrub which I assumed was an Exochorda, but since it looks so different to all those I have seen elsewhere I have decided it must be a Spiraea. The flowers are so tiny and the scent quite sweet, but the growth is somewhat wild!

At the centre a prince and a princess – I will let you decide which tulip is which, or is the red one perhaps the wicked stepmother and the pale one Cinderella?

The perfect white Anemone captured me in its spell – it shines out from beneath the yew tree in my spring corner amid wilting naricissi and tulip foliage. Can you hear it whispering its magic spell over you?

Then the Epimediums, called ‘elf flowers’ in German, always entrance me with their nodding little heads and pretty frills. The orange one is the fairytale queen ‘Orangekönigin’ and the yellow one is E. versicolor ‘Sulphureum’, which I think sounds rather sinister but she is wearing a pretty disguise.

The hint of blue is Omphalodes verna and in royal purple a Geranium Phaeum (the first to open!). White Brunnera also makes a fleeting appearance as well as an unfurling fern, looking rather like an evil uncle, but which I seem to have missed in my photos.

And finally, a second vase with three tulips… the magical fairytale ‘three’ being the link here. You know, three little pigs, the three bears, three wishes, etc.

The one in the centre is possibly one of Cinderella’s ugly sisters! LOL!

We have had fairytale weather over the past two weeks now (but would love some rain if anyone has any to spare?).

Have a great week!

😉

In a Vase on Monday: Growth

The grass is growing, the fields are losing that dirty mud colour as fresh crops start pushing upwards, and the trees are rapidly turning green – you know that fresh lime green of sycamores that stands out so dramatically against a blue sky?

Talking of blue, my Grape Hyacinths are looking exceptionally good this spring, having spread everywhere I look. Plenty for a vase for Cathy’s Monday meme.

In fact, there are quite a few white ones too, as well as the pale blue Muscari ‘Peppermint’ which I especially love.

But not only the Muscari are enjoying the unusually warm temperatures this April, with the odd shower and cool nights as refreshment…

A jar of joy!

Tulips, daffodils, pulmonaria, cowslips, mahonia, snowflakes, hyacinths…

I must also show you a photo I took on our outdoor table so you can see what the rain brought with it – no, not pollen, but Sahara sand!

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme… I am late posting today, but am always glad if I have the time to join in! 🙂

My Heart’s Delight

I planted a few tulips in pots last autumn, and the first ones to open were Tulipa kaufmanniana ‘Heart’s Delight’.

 

I have grown these for several years now, and find they don’t last many years in the ground, producing just leaves. So I decided to try containers for a change. They stood outside all winter, close to the wall on the north side of the house, and were basically ignored until I noticed them showing shoots!

I watered them sparingly and moved them into a sunny position. They started flowering  about a week earlier than those in the ground.

They have dark green stripy leaves, which add to their attraction both before and after flowering. Sadly I have more leaves than flowers these days – this picture below of the spring corner was taken several years ago.

The Spring Corner (under the Yew tree)

At first the flowers are mostly white, with an egg-yolk centre, but gradually they turn pinker and pinker – a kind of sunset orangey-pink. In the picture above you can see them at both stages. Delightful, don’t you think?

With Corydalis ‘Beth Evans’

The name of this pretty little tulip reminded me of a wonderful song you may have heard of. And not only beacause of the title but also the singer! The English title is ‘You are my Heart’s Delight‘,  but the original was German – ‘Dein ist mein ganzes Herz’. It is an aria taken from a Franz Lehar operetta and Jonas Kaufmann  sang it at the Last Night of the Proms in the Albert Hall in London a few years ago. I have been smitten with it ever since! Here is a German version with Placido Domingo…

Or if you prefer to hear it in English here is Richard Tauber singing it; he was the man who made it internationally famous after its success in Austria and Germany. The lyrics are lovely in both languages!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JtgmKpcgQ30

 

Have you ever grown this pretty flower, or maybe a similar early tulip?