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A Lakeland Alpine Diary - Holehird Gardens

This entry: May 2014 by Alan Oatway

Holehird has beed wonderfully colourful throughout the month of May, so I begin with a picture taken across the Rock Garden reflecting that. 

The foreground of that photo is dominated by "Molly the Witch", Paeonia mlokosewitschii, the Caucasian peony - one of the loveliest of a fabulous genus, so let's enjoy it in close-up!

Also flowering well this season - for the first time since planting - is a clump of Ranunculus gramineus. The flowers are undoubtedly buttercups, whilst the leaves are less expected, but indicate why the species is so named. The rabbits have left it alone this year, perhaps finding something more expensive to eat!

Towards the end of the month, plants of Rhododendron campylogynum (myrtilloides?) produced their attractive thimble-like flowers in quantity. This is a charming dwarf, and valuable for its late flowering.

In the wooded area above the Rock Garden, much work has been going on to reduce the invasive native plants to provide more planting opportunities. One such has been taken by introducing a white form of Roscoea humeana, which I hope you agree looks really stunning.  

Now that the three-year trial of Meconpsis cultivars has been completed, the collection is now being re-organised so that the gardens can benefit more from the best varieties. Several have been added to the Rock Garden - M.Dalemain and M.Marit are in flower, but others have not settled in sufficiently this year - but should have done so by next year. M. Great Glen can be seen on the Lower Terrace.

Nearby can be found the yellow Cathcartia villosa - previously also within Meconopsis. The similarities are clear enough.

May wouldn't be May if there were no Primulas in the diary, so let's finish with two. Alongside the Cascade, looking quite at home, is a fairly new planting of P.pulverulenta. They look very natural there - with their enviable "borrowed landscape" beyond.

Lower down the garden, in a fairly damp area created by run-off from the lawns, is a mixed planting of P.prolifera, P. Red Hugh and P. aurantiaca. The latter is shown in the photograph, a fine species with distinctive dark stems. Some interesting hybrids have arisen within this planting - they have been removed to grow on and study, and to see whether more follow another year. 

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