It is inevitably the time of year for ‘firsts’ in the garden, and above is the first of the summer clematis to bloom. ‘The Vagabond’ is an early and mid-summer variety, a type I rarely buy because of their lack of continuity of flowering – supposedly flowering May-July and September-October, it never seems to have a second flowering, although its label is now not next to the plant itself and it’s possible it has been cut back as if it was a Group 3 rather than the Group 2 clematis that is, which may have affected its flowering. Nonetheless, it’s very big and very striking when it does flower.
Another clematis has moved on, not in the flowering stakes but geographically, as it was becoming fairly clear that one of my mystery plants was a herbaceous type and even without knowing the variety there was a spot available for it, which it moved into today. Even though herbaceous, I have learned through experience that they often prefer some support rather than trying to scramble through their neighbours, so I utilised some of my freebie willow stems. As suspected, the stems were no longer flexible enough to weave in as side supports and hence have been tied on with string, but I might look for more attractive alternatives when cutting back around the garden.
In the same border I have found a flower from another of the Touchwood aquilegia grown from seed, but there was no sign of it last year and I think this must be a seedling from the parent plant. The original strain was entitled ‘Dragon’s Breath’, a mix of bicoloured red and yellow blooms, and they used to flower for months on end, unlike their more pastel coloured cousins, so I am very happy to see this one again.
Centaurea are hardworking plants in the garden and although the more common blue variety doesn’t believe in social isolation but is easily removed when it oversteps its mark. Here, it has just started flowering, along with a white variety along with deep burgundy C ‘Jordy’. I haven’t had either of the latter for more than a few years but I get the impression they are quite well-disciplined and so far they have both formed nice tidy little clumps.
Roses have been in a rush to flower this year, and ‘Mme Alfred Carrière’ has lost the title to ‘Olivia Rose Austin’, closely followed by ‘Rural England’, and came into flower only a day earlier than last year. She is so hard to photograph as her blooms are always way above my head, but now she has started she is joined each day by others on the same well-established plant. Each ramble has become a game of I-Spy as other varieties join her and below we have, clockwise from top left, ‘Susan Williams-Ellis’, ‘Regensberg’, the lady herself, and teeny tiny ‘Cécile Brunner’:
Moving on, the Golfer has been visited in the shed by a hedgehog and from the leaves and other bits that have been appearing it looks as if she (?) is starting to build a nest. It may be dry in there but it certainly won’t be the most peaceful of hotels (although she seems quite a tolerant soul as she wasn’t put off by a recent accidental drenching with a hosepipe) – it would be very exciting to see a nest of little hoglets if that did indeed come about in due course!
Jon the Propagator hosts this popular Saturday meme and I am sure many other gardens will be sharing the excitement of their May gardens on his blog, so do pop over and have a look.