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Plants in the Garden: Early April in the Garden

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Started by: Jon Evans

Go to latest contribution by Martin Rogerson, 30 May 2014, 11:06. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Jon Evans 28 May 2014, 16:26top / bottom of page

This was my front garden at the beginning of April, looking remarkably tidy.  But things are starting to wake up, particularly the pulsatillas in the foreground.

Pulsatilla vulgaris

I'm always fascinated when the pulsatilla buds get covered in frost.  This spring there wasn't a morning with a heavy hoar frost, and I had to make do with dew.

Pulsatilla vulgaris

Here is the same plant a week later, in sun.

Primula vulgaris

One of the pleasing things about the front garden, now it is settling down, is the way that many common plants, including primroses and cowslips, seed themselves gently around, and make their own plant combinations.

Primula vulgaris
Rhododendrons

Because of the absence of hard frosts, it was a good year for flowers on the rhododendrons, though one harsh night blitzed the bloom on R. x cilpense.  I can't put names to most of the plants here; lost in the mists of time and repeated garden makeovers.

Rhododendrons
Rhododendron Moonstone

One I can name, however, is Moonstone.  I have had this plant for over 20 years, but it has rarely flowered as well as this.

Rhododendron Moonstone
Paeonia mlokosewitschii

The first of the peonies to flower is always this one; it is lovely with a pink flush to the cream flowers.  I'm not sure of the name, but I have come to believe that it is probably a seedling of P. mlokosewitschii

Paeonia mlokosewitschii
Pulsatilla vulgaris

One of the other plants which seed around here is Pulsatilla vulgaris; I thought this seedling was rather a nice colour with the sun shining through it.

Pulsatilla vulgaris
Gladiolus tristis x huttonii

An accidental exotic planting; a bulbil of this gladiolus must have been introduced in used potting soil.  I didn't expect it to be hardy, but it has survived here in the shade of the house for several years now. Rhododendron Razorbill in the background.

Gladiolus tristis x huttonii
Trillium rivale

Alongside the gladiolus, a more normal woodland plant.

Trillium rivale
Clematis alpina

Above the trillium, entwined among the Clematis cirrhosa I showed in January is a lovely spring clematis from the C. alpina group.

Clematis alpina
Troughs

Finally, I spent two happy afternoons in mid-April doing a makeover on three hyper-tufa troughs in the back garden.

Troughs

Contribution from Martin Rogerson 28 May 2014, 18:50top / bottom of page

Thanks Jon, pretty plants to brighten up a decidedly dreary day. I hope you'll still describe Primula vulgaris as 'seeding gently' around in a couple of years. I thought just that but it has now become enemy number 1 in my rockery. I'm curently removing them by the hundred!

Contribution from Jon Evans 29 May 2014, 10:43top / bottom of page

Martin

Didn't they tell you - that's what retirement is for. There are a lot of stiff contenders for public enemy no 1 down here, all of which would take over the garden given a chance: Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum),  Alkanet, Cleavers, Bindweed, Aquilegia vulgaris (blue), the beautiful Dandelion, Poppers, willowherb, Camassia leichtlinii (never, ever let it seed!), Pusatilla vulgaris (I have taken to removing the seedheads before they ripen because I am so fed up with digging seedlings out of the crevice garden, and out of the middle of cushions), and last but not least a small dingy pink violet that grows everywhere and can't be pulled out without leaving its roots behind for another day.

Contribution from Martin Rogerson 29 May 2014, 16:25top / bottom of page

Yep, got most of them.....in the last week I've filled the wheelbarrow 10 times just with Cleavers!!!!! We currently have a local epidemic of the stuff.

Interesting plant if only for the number of local names it has..Cleavers, Sticky Willy, Soldiers Buttons, etc, etc

Contribution from Della Kerr 30 May 2014, 07:56top / bottom of page
Cleavers/goosegrass

I hate this stuff, but recently read an article about eating weeds, which recommended cooking it like spinach, so thought I would give it a try. I quite like the idea of eating my enemies! However, after steaming it for about 20 minutes (much longer than spinach), it did not seem to have softened at all, though the stickiness disappears as soon as you wet it. After one mouthful, I decided that 'edible' did not necessarily mean 'palatable'! If you want to try it, I think the solution is probably to pick off each leaflet, rather than trying to cook the stems, which I believe are full of silica. I feel that life is too short for this!

Contribution from Martin Rogerson 30 May 2014, 11:06top / bottom of page

That was brave Della! I think I'll goive it a miss if you don't mind. Like many so called 'heritage' vegetables there is a reason no one eats them any more.



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