Thursday, 8 May 2008

Waiting patiently…

… for colour to return to the garden. The warm sunny days have boosted both foliage colour and buds into flower in my garden here in Scotland. I mentioned in a previous post that I was adding a new colour to the garden for 2008. I do have this colour already but I am looking for more impact with it this year. I wonder what the 'in' colour for Chelsea Flower Show will be for 2008 - not long to wait now.

It is the deep colours that I am looking to enrich my predominately green garden with at the moment. I have planted dark, almost black, hollyhocks in my sunny front garden which should tower up and through the flowering stems of stipa gigantica. I also planted some dark sweet peas to grow up and through my obelisks – sorry birds the plants need them now!

I do like to mix the balance of colours every couple of years. I think the dark colours look fantastic against the acid green of the euphorbia flowers. As do the more coral reds like the pieris. I don’t grow bedding plants so foliage is always important to me in texture and form too. This year I am also adding more plantings of the black grass Ophiopogon in my front garden.


Brown may seem a dull colour for the garden but I love it too - once again I think it looks fantastic with the euphorbias and golden colours of my ornamental grasses. I always look forward to seeing the new growth on my Physocarpus Diablo especially this year! I planted have a mixture of deep tulips and alliums in front of it and to the side I have a bargain Japanese pink anemone ready to plant. This is looking a very interesting area now.


My wisteria however, is still the star here and now its buds are starting to put on growth. It is likely to be into June before a see them fully flower but they are well worth the wait. In the afternoon they bask in the sun and in the dappled shade the opening fronds of the ferns are heading skyward too. Even the hostas in full shade are looking like they are about to launch. Yep the whole garden is just taking off now.


Oh yes… now the tulips have launched into flower and what a delight they are! Like the crocus I am really warming to them this year. I have enjoyed waiting them to open their buds almost as much as I do the alliums. The white tulip above was a gift from a friend and is also my namesake ‘Shirley’.

The red one is
an alien! Well… it transported from somewhere anyway! I don’t plant pure reds! However, it looks quite good with the burgundy red Acer leaves behind it and deep red grass and heucheras on the ground. I might just leave it be. Mm… am I getting soft?

Now the most serious planting of tulips I have ever planted, in my silver border, are just starting to open and I really have been waiting patiently to see this. However, I was perhaps over zealous in my planting! So, a bit dangerous perhaps, I have just moved some to the border with the Diablo.

This is where my planting in pots in the ground has really worked as I lifted the pots and planted the bulbs straight into the ground in their new home. They are looking okay now. Fantastic, I will do this again. I love the tiny blue flowers of the brunnera Jack Frost growing through the tulips. I really bought this plant for its beautiful leaves and didn’t pay attention to its flowering time. Another bonus! I expect I will be taking lots of photos from this area very soon once they all come into flower – there are three different tulips here. No aliens please!


Allium bulbs were also potted up last year as I didn’t plant them in the ground as I wanted to wait until now to decide where to plant them. By potting them they got a good start and I had great fun walking around my garden with them and planting where I could see spaces in the foliage. I did have a good idea where I would plant them however I most definitely would not have planted some where I have. I am thrilled that I had this freedom.

I love new fresh greens in the garden and the alliums are great for that too although they will loose their leaves once the flower takes over. I especially love the green leaves of my tiny domed Acer at my back door which at the moment is matched by the fresh leaves of my Bowles Golden sedge grass which will turn almost yellow in a few weeks. It looks lovely in flower now too.

This post could have gone on and on. However you will most likely be spending more time in your garden at the moment too. On a more practical I have been clearing out my shed to have it replaced and need to finish cleaning the glass of my greenhouse. I only got the job half done last week and what a difference it makes! There is so much to see in our gardens at the moment.


The montage above shows some more snippets from my garden taken yesterday. Photos top to bottom, left to right show: Chives with flower buds and Alpine strawberries with flowers; Blossom on weeping pear; Delicate white magnolia flowers in the shade; Rhododendron flowers and buds waiting to open; Sunshine glowing through bergenia leaves; Glossy saucer leaves of assarum in the shade; A mining bee (still to be confirmed) in the hot sunshine of my front garden making holes/tunnels in the sand between paving slabs; a popular bird bath dried out with the warm weather and finally topped up again with water from my water butt. The final photo below is of the alien looking drumstick primulas almost on their way out. I loved the colour in this capture.


Finally, could there be something else I have been waiting patiently to see in my garden…

All photos above were taken in my garden on May 7th 2008.

13 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

All of the colors look gorgeous in your garden Shirl. I also like the way you can montage your pictures and show so many of them in one post. It will be interesting to read what you think of the Chelsea Flower Show. I would love to attend some day. However I can't seem to even get to the Philidelphia Flower show here in the States so it won't be likely that I get to England any time soon. sigh~~~~~~

shirl said...

Hi there Lisa, hoping you are having good weather too :-D

Thank-you I love playing with colour - but what gardener doesn't! It is perhaps easier to change things when you have a small garden as I have. I bet you've been busy with new plantings :-D

Chelsea, my dear, I do plan to share with you in more ways than a posting! You are in for a treat. I will say no more for the moment :-D

BTW - did you guess what I meant at the end of this posting? I have some news from my Nestbox :-D

Nancy J. Bond said...

Your garden is truly delightful. I hope you enjoy Chelsea! Looking forward to seeing what surprises are in your nestbox!

Border Reiver said...

Your comment about green in a garden is very important, given that 90% of a garden is green few take time to think about green as a colour. I'm biassed, as love green. Especially at this time of the year when new unfurling leaves are still lime green colour, with sunlight behind just wonderful.

Yesterday in Devon sunlight picked out a Dryopteris Felix-Mas in a shady bluebell wood, the effect of subdued blue and a burst of green was stunning. Try and recreate that in a garden would be almost impossible.

Great post as ever Shirl, thank you for sharing.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Shirl, your spring garden is looking splendid.

I hope you'll take lots of pictures at the Chelsea Flower Show and share with those of us who will never have the pleasure!

shirl said...

Hi again Nancy, Border and Robin :-)

Nancy – thank-you! Although I would like to find a way of showing areas of planting using my wide angle lens but it gives very unsharp photos! Yes, I do hope you visit again later to see my Nestbox posting but Chelsea will be an even bigger surprise for you - if my plan works out :-D

Border – Great to hear of another green fan. We opened our garden a number of years ago with others in our area in support of a local charity. At the time my Mum offered to lend me her pots with bedding to add some colour which I kindly declined. Some visitors probably didn’t like my garden but the ones that did stayed for ages. Each to their own. The bluebell wood sounds wonderful. Funnily enough I planted bluebells last year too but seeing them in a natural setting is quite, quite different and with ferns and dappled shade what can really top that :-D

Robin – On no… I’m not going to Chelsea this year. But I do have a plan to share Chelsea with all my visitors especially those outside the UK who may never get the chance to visit. I’ll not say any more :-D

Karen Hall said...

Shirl, what a lovely tour around your garden - you have some wonderful texture and form in your planting.
Regards
Karen
An Artist's Garden

Karen Hall said...

Shirl
Blogger gave me a big error message
So I hope you got my last message
Karen

Barbara said...

I like the way you play with colours, Shirl. I have also noticed that the dark colours are almost missing in my garden. Here I have to catch up. Your beautiful colours give me a new "kick" to think about my colour scheme. I mostly buy the plants according to my particular liking...and then I search the place to plant them ;-) !!

Cinj said...

What a lovely tour! I have only leaves growing yet. Well, except the annuals I bought.... I too like the way you were able to put all of those pictures together in your posts. I don't seem to make as much time for my creative endeavors as I used to.

I like the idea of potting your bulbe before planting them in their permanent homes, I just may have to borrow that idea from you!

shirl said...

Hi again Karen, Barbara and Cinj :-)

Karen – Thank-you, I’m glad you enjoyed your visit. I have always experimented with textural planting but now I am being bolder (for me) with colour. Sorry you had a prob with Google –I did too and lost completely the lengthy comment I made on another blog around the same time. Have a great weekend, hope you are having this great weather too :-D

Barbara – Thank-you, I am really enjoying the colour aspect now – although foliage colour will always come first. Yes, dark colours really do give a different interest and I really don’t know why I haven’t explored them more over the years myself. I am sure you will have fun using them too and once you start…. Hope you are having good weather in Switzerland too and the rain has had a break! Have a great weekend :-D

Cinj – Thank-you, I am glad you enjoyed it. I’m surprised that your garden isn’t further on than mine being in Wisconsin, USA. This is where exploring garden blogs outside your own country is fascinating isn’t it? I see you have been busy planting up hanging baskets with coleus. This plant is usually grown indoors here but more and more it is seen as a valuable bedding plant too. I bought some seed this year too. I should sow it over the weekend. I have absolutely no idea where I would plant them and I may even give some away – but a hanging basket sounds an interesting idea! It is great to pick up ideas from other gardeners. Funnily enough I put up hanging baskets at the weekend with hardy plants for all year interest and am growing on and taking cuttings from an almost black flowering trailing geranium. I have left spaces in my basket – at the moment covered with grey/blue pebbles. I won’t plant out the geraniums until the middle of June here then the baskets will get a serious transformation. Thanks, I do love playing with layout and presentation on my blog – the former graphic designer in me just has to experiment! Have a great weekend :-D

Sylvia said...

Great post Shirl and some interesting comments. I do agree with your comment about the different climates/countries, for me it is half the fun of blogs.

I will be interested to read your post about Chelsea, I can't help getting excited waiting for the TV coverage. I did go one year it was an interesting experience. Very crowded though, we get to see nearly as much (sometimes more) on the TV but the scent in the marque was something unforgettable.

Best wishes Sylvia (Dorset, England)

shirl said...

Hi again Sylvia :-)

Thank-you, I agree that it is great to get interesting comments on posts then they become an extension of the post itself. I also agree that blogs are both fun and informative.

Ah… Chelsea, I cannot wait to see the TV coverage too. I watched GW coverage of the Malvern Show tonight and it has got me in the mood :-D

Yes, when I visited Chelsea the crowds in the Marques were bad as the rain was so heavy and the ground so very muddy outside that everyone poured into the Marques.

You definitely have a different experience walking through and smelling the flowers but when you cannot get close to see the displays it is a shame to travel so far to see so little. I agree that watching it on TV, even if it is through the eyes of the presenters, is a great way to see it albeit brief glimpses sometimes.

Have a great weekend :-D