Miscellany and detritus, from the writer of Is This Mutton?com

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

The spring garden

As the tulips and narcissus bow to a close, the garden is looking busier than usual at this time of the year and it's all down to my new policy of not digging out the border for winter.

Inspired by some of the gardening writers, who said leave the perennials and enjoy their wintry shapes, plus, do not dig the soil, I left everything untouched. There were a couple of surprises. Two trailing fuchsias, bought last summer and supposedly tender, survived.  The winter casulties included my most prolific duo, a salvia and and a perennial nemesia. I got rid of two phygelius because they had started to become thugs.
The daffodils were stunning this year, particularly "Dick Walden," and the delicate pheasant eye narcissus.

But the tulips didn't float my boat. I'd ordered two red types and the plan was to put them in the border at the front of the house, fringed with muscari and forget-me-nots I'd grown from seed. But when I started planting them, I realised I didn't have enough red bulbs for the space, so I changed plans and put them in the back garden instead. The orange and purple bulbs originally destined for the back went in the front border, and somehow didn't work very well because I'd also had some "free" purple bulbs and a few white ones which were different heights and colours, and it looked messy.

I've decided to treat my tulips as annuals and have a new display every year, which gives me the flexibility of using the containers for more plants during the summer.

Meanwhile, in the back garden, I've put in some new plants - monarda, which can tolerate most conditions, and nerines for a late summer display. I'm hoping that gladioli will be the new showstopper, having decided that dahlias and my garden don't really get on.

The two clematis Montana have been outstanding so I added a third, and I think this may be the year that honeysuckle Serota finally delivers on flowers. I've planted "Rambling Rector" to scramble up the obelisk and was pleasantly surprised to find the perennial sweetpeas all reviving to do the same.

Dicentra "bleeding heart" really went for it this year
The main colour theme is pink and purple with a few white highlights
The hawthorn is also in full flush. It always reminds me of David Hockney, whose exhibition we saw a couple of years ago. It featured lots of paintings of hawthorn, like big curly caterpillars, and apparently he adores it, waits for the flowering and then rushes out into the countryside with his easel.


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