May 31st – This is, we hope, the last of the Lockdown Galleries as garden visiting returns in June. Many thanks to all who contributed this year and last!
Weather: Summer is here!Warm sunny days and no rain
Ruth Baumberg received identifications for the plants she asked about last week – the Narcissus was Pipitand the Geranium was G. tuberosum. She also has a fine Peony grown from seed to show us this week
Glenda Wray has some interesting plant combinations
Ann Fritchley says that everything in her garden has been watered and battered. Looks like it’s thriving though!
Liz Hall’s submission of beautiful Aquilegias is tinged with sadness. She has discovered that downy mildew is affecting some of her plants, so it may be the beginning of the end for her collection
Judith Ladley has a mystery for you to solve
Sue Gray asserts that Ladies of the Night do better in the rain…
Carine Carson joins the party very late – but not too late!
And finally,the Hackett garden is still looking decidedly scruffy after that iffy spring, but there are still a few blooms here and there
At Junction 34 take the A19 to Selby. At the first roundabout, turn right towards Snaith on the A645.
After the level crossing turn right at the traffic lights onto Church Lane, go over the M62, left at the T junction onto Main Street, past the Church to the T junction, virtually straight across to car park.
Weather: The cool showery spell continues, but more settled weather begins to appear in the second half of the week
Ruth Baumberg has a late Narcissus for you to identify
Now we all know that hardy plants should not be jet-washed – they are not quite that hardy. Unfortunately Denise Dyson was visited by someone whose aim was not all it might have been – here are some of her survivors!
Weather: At last, the frosts have ended and the air has warmed up, even if there are plenty of showers about
Judith Ladley kicks off this week, with some of her favourite regulars
For Sue Gray, the mood is blue
And here’s Maggie Sugden – one of the most regular contributors to Gallery ’21
Ruth Baumberg offers the first Peony of the season and another Dodecatheon. If you are wondering about that name, by the way, it means ’12 gods’ and refers to the 12 principal Greek Gods who lived together on Mt Olympus. Pliny the Elder was the first to use the name for a plant, but he applied it to a Primula.
What to choose among all the exciting, newly opening, plants for May this year?
Should it be that reliable old friend, Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’, with its brilliant blue flowers for semi-shade? But this year some of it seems to be sadly burnt with more brown leaves (and you have to remove them to get the plant looking decent) than usual, particularly in this drought.
There are the Paeonies, but I have spoken about those before, and I am not an expert on the various smart varieties the specialist nurseries (like Kelways) sell. Pulmonarias are beginning to go over and are generally quite dull, though a reliable filler, as are the Erythroniums where the standard varieties hang on’ but the fancies die out within a year or two.
Iris sibirica varieties are a favourite of mine but they are really June flowerers, apart from Perry’s Blue, Silver Edge and Shirley Pope. And Dodecatheons (in the primula family) from the western USA are very beautiful but do not really thrive in my garden. They hang on just in the shade, though a passing rabbit dug them up last year, but I replanted them and they are in bud now. It could be defined as an alpine really, rather than one of ours.
So I will choose a wildling that clothes a north facing border under a beech hedge. Herb Paris or under its proper name Paris quadrifolia, with its four leaves and mostly green flowers (though the narrow petals are yellow and the fruit is black) can be found blooming among Bluebells and Primroses in May and June.
It is known as a Herb of Equality among medieval herbalists, seemingly because of its symmetry and was used both in marriage rituals – and to guard against witches. What connection do you think that denotes?
I have photographed it in the Picos mountains of Spain (2012) :
Swedish Lapland (early July 2019) :
and the Alpes Maritimes of France (2017) :
as well as my garden yesterday (April 24th 2021) where the drought makes the leaf edges curl slightly :
And of course Paris in my garden has mostly 5 leaves instead of 4 while the one I photographed in the Picos mountains of Spain has 6 leaves.
They are akin to Trilliums which have three leaves consistently, but despite the quadrifolia part of the name, this plant can have 4-12 leaves! At any rate it is a good grower and runs gently but is not a nuisance and I love its interesting flowers.
It is difficult to give flowering dates these days as our weather is so changeable and, if a plant flowered last year in May, this year with a late spring, it can flower any time from May to July. Of course, flowering times vary with altitude and weather, but you can see from the dates on the photographs, how our climate is changing before our eyes.