Six on Saturday: Moving On and Moving In

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.

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23 Responses to Six on Saturday: Moving On and Moving In

  1. bcparkison says:

    Oh!…Baby hedgehogs would be fun.

    • Cathy says:

      It certainly would! We know there are hedgehogs passing through the garden, and our neighbour often sees them in his garden

  2. I LOVE the ruffled petal edges on Vagabond!

  3. Kris Peterson says:

    How exciting to have hedgehog babies! Before the pandemic cut out special programs, my local botanic garden advertised an evening outing to see nocturnal animals. The advertisement featured a hedgehog. Some of the volunteers were chagrined to have to point out that, while hedgehogs are undeniably cute, they’re NOT native to the US, much less our western coastal peninsula. Skunks and coyotes are less of a draw for an event like that…

    • Cathy says:

      Well, we are not counting hedgehog babies until they are hatched! When were hedgehogs introduced to the US and how widespread are they now?

  4. Pauline says:

    A very handsome Vagabond, he looks beautiful! A wonderful time of year when everything is coming into bloom, we are so lucky in our gardens, a lovely prison to self isolate in ! Do you keep your shed door open, mine is locked, I’m worried about your hedgehog getting in and out.

    • Cathy says:

      The shed door is usually left ajar, as the Golfer doesn’t always think to bolt it – security is not an issue with the garden being surrounded by other properties. We will cut a hedgehog hole in it though, for when it’s needed

  5. Heyjude says:

    I think the only things in my shed are mice and rats and spiders… hedgehogs would be much more welcome! And everyone’s clematis are flowering except mine. I wonder if that is because mine are in more shade and only get late afternoon sunshine. Vagabond is a lovely colour and I like the frilly petals.

  6. I love the burgundy centaurea, such a deep colour. I’m looking forward to roses, just a few on a white rambler opened today, many more to come!

    • Cathy says:

      It is so exciting seeing those first roses, especially as we know that in a few weeks they should all be in full bloom. Our Rambling Rector is going to be early this year, we think – what is your rambler?

  7. The clematis “The Vagabond” is spectacular and divine. I love aquilegia. I really like your collection of centaureas. Cathy all your roses are magnificent, I love them. A hedgehog making a nest in your shed: I hope it’s mom and have their babies running around your garden: I’d love to. Take good care of yourself and the golfer, Cathy. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you Margarita. We know hedgehogs do pass through the garden as I have heard them but only occasionally see them. Our neighbour puts hedgehog food out and often sees them!

  8. Anna says:

    Oh Susan Williams looks rather delightful Cathy. My first roses opened today with a solitary rose on each for now. Oh hedgehog babies would be most exciting. Sadly the last one we saw in the garden was no longer in the land of the living.

    • Cathy says:

      S W-E is quite a straggly bush, sadly, and I don’t know if this is something she makes a habit of – I might prune her more severely next time to see if she will become more bushy. Glad to know you have some rose blooms appearing too and sorry to hear about your deceased hedgehog… 😦

  9. tonytomeo says:

    That columbine is very distinctive. I would not have recognized it as columbine. It sort of reminds me of the swept back look of the Bolivian nasturtium.

  10. I would think it is a thrill to have a hedgehog in the garden let alone a nest. Good luck little hedgehog.

    • Cathy says:

      There is definitely activity there – I saw two hedhehogs yesteday, one scuttling into the back of the shed and one nearby. Very exciting! I must look up how long gestation is…

  11. cavershamjj says:

    sorry for the late response, has taken me all week to wade through the links! my centaurea has collapsed rather unattractively, so it is now sprawled across the border. it is still flowering but i am tempted to cut it back to tidy it up. decisions decisions. love your roses.

    • Cathy says:

      I wonder why centaurea is much later to get going than yours, as it’s nowhere near floppy stage yet, when I would cut it back. The roses are going to be superb when all those promising buds open, but my new Olivia Rose Austin is already a star – definitely a good choice!

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