April 22nd, 2006


(no subject)

Once a month, from September to April, our local NCCPG group meets on a Saturday afternoon. You can bet your boots that if the previous three Saturdays have been miserably cold and wet, this one will be glorious. So it proved today, when a hundred keen gardeners spent the best Saturday afternoon of the year so far inside a community hall, with the curtains drawn, listening to a talk. Luckily, it was a very good talk. So I was unable to spend the afternoon putting in the bargain plants I'd bought earlier at the market.

A chap there had a notice saying, 'nursery sale' and he was selling perennials in two litre pots for a pound each. I bought a new variety of geum, an eryngium and a phormium. He'd unfortunately lost the label from the phormium pot and the name he told me I know to be impossible. It has very narrow, purple leaves and I shall wait to see what it will do. I also bought, from another seller, that super plant Erysimum 'Apricot Twist'. A strange name, as it is more orange than apricot but it's a real doer, flowering for months. Sadly, like most perennial wallflowers it is short-lived and soon looks gawky, so you really need to take cuttings every year to keep it going. I'd failed to do this and the plant didn't enjoy the bitter winter, so I lost it. I wanted to reproduce the effect I'd got last year by planting it in front of Spiraea 'Goldflame',which is such a bright little bush at this time of year. I managed to stick it in before lunch and it looks something like this:

but brighter. In other news, here are the epimediums which were slashed to the ground about three weeks ago.

Worth doing that little job, eh? One of my favourite plants at this time of year is Lathyrus vernus. This is a bone-hardy perennial which makes a neat little bush smothered in purplish-blue pea flowers.

Even prettier is the form 'Alboroseus'.

These plants are very easy, if slow, to raise from your own seed, collected in June. I never pass on any plants without letting them flower first, as you can get all sorts of variations. I now have a white form and a pale mauve one.

I was in the middle of photographing my lovely erythroniums when the batteries gave out on the camera, so a chat on those will follow.