I am fortunate to have a number of witch hazels in the garden and this year, for some reason, given the summer drought and severe pre-Christmas freeze, most of them are flowering better and more profusely than ever before. You may have guessed that my favourites are the coppery oranges, rather than the yellow varieties: the one above is ‘Magic Fire’ and you can clearly see the variable red, orange and yellow shreds of a flickering fire.
The witch hazels are not however, the only things given me pleasure in the garden this week, as I very belatedly began my January sowing, always an exciting seasonal task, and was rewarded within 2 days by thoroughly reliable and easy annual limonium (statice) seedlings popping up in their trays on my improvised stand next to the Aga. This is the most trouble-free annual I have ever grown, coming in a range of shades, and I would highly recommend it. The three trays were moved directly to the greenhouse after germination, and the other trays on the stand moved up to take their position.
Rambling round the garden this week in slightly milder conditions than the previous one has thrown up one or two more examples of the garden waking up – several big fat buds on Clematis armandii and a couple of leafy buds on a very young and still twiggy specimen of greeny white flowering Ribes laurifolium – something to look forward to.
Preparations for our garden opening on February 12th are well underway – the signs on the roadside went up this week, a little delayed because the ground would have been too hard to drive a stake into any earlier, and I have managed to update all the in-garden signs too. Even though there is much of winter interest, there will still be empty borders, and it is helpful for visitors to know what they might expect later in the year. Photos provide updates of changes that have taken place in the garden, mostly subtle in this last year.
Visitors will expect snowdrops to feature prominently, so not only are all the named snowdrops individually labelled, there will be an overall plan to show where they are. This year, in addition to the black stick labels with white writing, I am also labelling them more conspicuously during the growing season with extra large yellow T labels, with a writing area of 10 x 6 cms, and a total height of 25cms – so all but very shortsighted should be able to read them without bending down, and even they should be able to avoid inadvertently standing on the snowdrops! It may look a little odd, but they will be removed once the snowdrops have died back, and in the meantime it will also make it easier for me to check on their progress in the first year in their woodland home.
That’s my (extended) six for the Six on Saturday meme kindly hosted by Jim of Garden Ruminations. At this time of year we all seem to be sharing very mixed bags, so who knows what you might see if check out his blog and the links others have left!
You do look after your garden visitors.
Yes Rosie, I like to think so – I try to think of everything that I would be pleased to encounter when I visit a garden – but labelling is certainly a priority
Very impressed with the statice and quite envious of your labels! I might try statice myself – they would likely grow nicely with strawflowers.
You wouldn’t regret trying limonium, Chris👍
It is an interesting time of year, isn’t it? Some of us are deep into winter, while others are moving quickly into spring, and still others are simply shifting plants in their mild climates. Love the witch hazels. I don’t have any here in my garden, but there are many in the area, including some native species.
Definitely a time for spotting things beginning to pop up here, Beth
A great idea to name your snowdrops ❤ I have tried different ways to name my plants over the years. I have a collection of Roses, salvias and bearded irises, that I like to keep track of. I tried sharpie texta on fake rocks this year that didn't work, the sharpie faded in the sun.
Yes, labelling is important to me, Sarah. I find the black stick labels best for their discreteness, which I used to use a fine white permanent marker on. I ended up with so many redundant labels that I couldn’t clean, so went back to using a label printer, printing white text on clear stick on strips which were then stuck on the black labels. Once I know I plant is permanent, I will use the marker pen instead! I wonder if a clear varnish on top of your Sharpie pen would make a difference?
Annual statice naturalized in coastal areas of Monterey County, where it had been grown as a cut flower crop. I remember it as an annoying lawn weed in Fort Ord. It was never a major problem, but was somewhat persistent. Yet, I could not get it to perform well in my garden.
Yes, the native spevies, known as sea lavender, grows ariund the coast of England and Wales, paricularly saltmarshes and mud flats. It tends to grow taller than the cultivated forms though
Oh, Limonium perezii is a completely different animal. It does not naturalize here, but is a splendid perennial on the coast. The blue color contrasts strikingly with the bright orange of Aloe arborescens and other species of Aloe.
The labels for the snowdrops are a good idea Cathy. I was surprised that you have seedlings in the greenhouse already. The stand next to your aga is a great idea too!
Seems daft to use a heated propagator when I have the Aga! Many hardy annuals and perennials can be sown from January, and starting then helps even out the sowing – it will be a continuous priduction line into April now! The limonium germinates in 2 days and I have learned to move them to the g/h immediately so they don’t get leggy
Your woodland walk with the snowdrops is a lovely feature of your garden, and I do like the owl and fern presumably both metal.
Yes, there’s a lot of choice of rusty metal sculptures around these days, as I discovered on Etsy
‘Magic Fire’ lives up to the name Cathy 😀 Is it a newcomer to the fold? I sowed my first seed sown in the heated propagator today – cobaea scandens. Mine perished last year but the plants I gave to a friend flourished 😂 I will now sit on my hands and hold back on any more seed sowing activity until later in February. I think that the yellow plant labels, although perhaps not the most attractive to the eye, are an inspired short term measure. They should certainly enable id ease for visitors as well as help avoid any accidental damage to your preciouses.
No, MF came at the same time as Spanish Spider and Amethyst, so probably 8 or 9 years now. Hurrah for seed sowing – but why are you waiting till later Feb to get stuck in? We all have our own routines, don’t we? I had a few near accidents involving my feet and the preciouses, so the big labels are definitely a boon!
How courageous to open your garden in February. However, it would be worth a visit just to see the snowdrops.
Is it courageous? Perhaps 😉 It’s our third Feb opening and both times the weather has been dire (wet) – but people still came, especially last year when we were on the HPS snowdrop opening list. At least the ‘commons’ are beginning to open now – and the witch hazels are wonderful (all but over last year)