With cold temperatures at night, there is ritual of moving plants out into the garden, or back under shelter, each end of the day, covering or uncovering plants with fleece. This week we have had a little rain, but not sufficient; light levels have been excellent. Growth is fast and some of the early spring plants are starting to melt away soon covered by nearby early summer herbaceous plants, with hardy geraniums showing beautiful fresh leaves.
1. The clumps of Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' are now in leaf and the first of the stems of blue forget me not looking flowers are ones I often use in my small posies which I show each spring on IAVOM. Later in the season, when the flowers are long over, the leaves often feature in arrangements. I have grown this plant in several of my previous gardens, and would not be without it. Not long after moving, my neighbour offered me a plant, and this is it now nicely bulked up.
If you have ever felt the leaves of Brunnera its surface is the opposite of smooth or silky and not at all shiny. They are covered by coarse hairs which can be quite rasping and which is why I use gloves when handling this plant. When looking up the common name, which is Siberian Bugloss, this led me to wondering about the name Bugloss.
2. There is a wild flower called Viper's Bugloss which is a type of Echium. In summer it stands out beautifully with its blue flowers For great detail and photography do visit Brian Johnston's post: on Echiums. This one is a biannual, that I fancied growing just the once maybe, as it is one of those plants that several butterflies and bees love. Last year during its first year, it quickly grew handsome looking rosettes which in themselves added a good structural element to the area. I am sure that we shall have some fine flower spikes in a couple of months time.
Bugloss comes from the Greek for Ox-tongue and the name bugloss comes up in several plants in the Borage Family, and of course Borage also has those hairy leaves. Yes that one too is part of the Boraginaceae Family, and so is Forget me Not, and also Pulmonaria. I was beginning to twig that plants in that family share the same characteristic of coarse hairy leaves.
3. Earlier this week, I cut right back to the ground all the Pulmonaria Sissinghurst foliage and spent flowers, after these had provided a feast for early bees. The few gentle showers during the week are helping this plant bounce back, within the last five days.
|Pulmonaria Sissinghurst cut back|
I often get further flushes of flowers.
Several members of the newly formed local WI gardening group would welcome some of these. By splitting a plant, more than one person may profit. They are now planted back out into the garden, and will be available to be collected bare rooted some time in the coming months. We have a few experienced gardeners, and some novices and the whole idea is that we share.
Previously I would have grown them on potted into compost, watering the plants etc, I have taken on the idea that if the plants are quickly being picked up and replanted in a nearby gardens, this is a better way: the only thing is that I loose a little soil. I am gradually also realising the benefit of sharing seed. Encouraged by other members of this group, I am starting to enjoy this activity and have benefitted from their generosity.
|One Pulmonaria split, with five small plants settling in|
4. I happen to have brought one of my Kenilworth weeds with me in the soil and it is one I like. I used to search out ones with different colours, and I also have the white form of the dog violet...the ants distribute the seeds, and many plants can be found near their nesting areas.
5. A few years back on a visit to Birmingham Botanical Gardens I saw one of its 'American cousins' and it was love at first sight! I am quite patient and have waited five years and now have a Viola Pedata. More information of location in sandy soils, and how best to try to keep these plants going has 'passed' some pleasurable time.
6. Viola Tricolor is now ready to be planted out in odd spots around the garden. I grew these from seeds received from Jim: one of the very experienced and knowledgeable SOSs, last November, and then pricked them out into this module tray when they were showing the true leaves. I'll try them in different places and see where they like it best!
Joining up with Jon and other gardeners, whether it is just to see and read, or if you are tempted and would like an interesting way of noting six items in your garden each week on your own blog, and sharing, is open to all. Any rules and guidance are on The Propagator's blog.