We have had glorious weather recently, for most of our nearly four week lockdown in fact, with warmth and sunshine every day – a coat might have been needed perhaps only a couple of times for our daily permitted exercise (unless you are the Golfer, who has worn jumper, coat and hat and sometimes scarf on all of them). Whilst we have been leaping and bounding around the countryside (like newly born lambs? I think not…) the garden has been coming on in leaps and bounds too, its natural spring exuberance boosted by the warmth and only needing a bit of moisture to go into overdrive.
Gazing out of the kitchen windows and admiring the tulip and appleblossom I have noticed that the choisya in the shrub border (above) was really living up its name: Choisya x dewitteana ‘White Dazzler’. In the sunshine its whiteness was indeed dazzling and closer inspection proves it to have the most glorious fragrance too. It has only been a resident of the border for a couple of years and this is the first time it has been in full flower, only offering a token blossom or two before, so it must be happy in its location which of course is good to know.
As gardeners, those of us in the UK who have welcomed the sunshine to take the edge off the lockdown have nevertheless been aware that our gardens would also welcome some rain – and some of us will have been rewarded with a shower in the last 24 hours. Here in the Midlands we have only had a few millimetres but a cooler day has reduced the chances of evaporation and allowed some of it to soak into the ground so the garden at least looks Damp. It certainly seems a long time since I have seen raindrops collecting on alchemilla and sedum foliage:
We have both enjoyed watching the progress of our remaining magnolia, but for different reasons, the Golfer perhaps not being 100% behind my decision to remove the other one. I have mentioned before that this one, Magnolia ‘Susan’, was squeezed into a less than ideal spot and struggled to produce anything other than the odd flower or two for a number of years. It may be coincidence that this number began to increase once we removed some of the trees that were overshadowing parts of the garden, and last year Susan gave us a small but generous helping of her deep purple-pink flowers; this year she has truly forgiven us and given us a veritable banquet, a Delightful Display of blooms, which look perfectly at home against the backdrop of the Gallery Fence:
Tearing myself away and turning at 180°, I spotted a clump of species tulips which were planted last autumn and were now in flower for the first time, Tulipa bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder, with just-going-over T humilus ‘Persian Pearl’ behind them. I love these Diddy species tulips and plan to add several more clumps to grow amongst the roses in the Gallery Border, to the left of the magnolia.
In these herbaceous borders, various perennials have been quietly bulking up, building up to bursting into bloom at their allotted time, and their Discrete progress has led to a few surprises, with buds already opening on the first of the aquilegia, geranium, astrantia and allium, proclaiming many late spring and early summer joys to come:
The last of my Six on Saturday Ds, shared with others on Jon the Propagator’s SoS meme, are Delicacies, rare edibles in our almost exclusively ornamental garden. When we bought the property in 1995 we found various soft fruit bushes dotted randomly around the garden and when we first had time to devote to the garden rather than the house we dug them out and moved them to the bottom of the garden, protecting them some years later from the ravages of the greedy local bird population by the addition of a fruit cage. Trial and error have resulted in the current selection of blackberry, raspberry and redcurrant bushes, with the latter two now showing promising blooms. Having moved one of the redcurrants since last year, this is an especially pleasing sight: