Himalayan Foxtail Lilies

In the autumn of 2020 I planted three strange roots that reminded me of an octopus – Eremurus himalaicus, Himalayan Foxtail Lilies.

Here is a photo I found online which shows what I mean about the octopus…

They were carefully positioned in the new Moon Bed, between the giant white Alliums ‘Mount Everest’ – after all, I wanted them to feel at home! 😉

Well, in the spring of 2021 only one showed any signs of life, with no flower. So I had more or less written them off. But this spring three clumps of leaves appeared mid-April. Hooray!

They are a bit difficult to distinguish from the allium foliage in this photo

One fell victim to slugs I think, but soon buds appeared on the other two plants. The excitement mounted, and suddenly the buds seemed to have doubled in size overnight! (Things like that happen here in May! 😉)

Or tripled?! This photo was taken on the 13th of May.

My attention was now well and truly focussed and I have been checking them daily since. By May 16th these imposing and majestic spikes had just started to open…

May 16th

The next day a few more flowers opened from the bottom upwards, clambering towards the blue skies…

May 17th

They love sunny, dry spots, and I have heard them called ‘Desert Candles’, as well as ‘Cleopatra’s Needles’. Maybe you know them by those names? Eremurus himalaicus was the first of the lilies to be taken to Europe in the early 19th century. It is also the earliest flowering one.

By May 18th both stems were open over halfway…

 

The bees like it too. 😃

On May 19th they were almost completely open. Who would have thought just two plants could make such an impression!

Well, here we are on May 21st, and I am completely bowled over by these flowers.

It is a plant with character, shining out above most of the other plants. It has presence. Whereas with other favourites  my reaction might be to grow more of them in a clump, with the Himalaya Foxtail I feel these two flowers are enough to make a statement. Well, three would also be lovely of course, and perhaps the third one will flower next year. I have since read that they can take a year or two to get started. But there are several other species that have different coloured flowers, some of them even taller than these…. perhaps I will be tempted to try some orange or yellow ones in another part of the garden. 😉

This is one of the loveliest plants I have ever grown. 😃

Would you give this plant space in your garden? Or perhaps you already grow them?

 

The Spring Garden, 2022

It is high time for a garden update as April is now in full swing and the garden is taking off! The month started out very cold and damp, but the last few days have warmed up the soil and everything is coming to life.

The early tulips are here!

This white botanical one, with delicate pointed petals and a rich bluish mauve eye is Tulipa humilis ‘Coerulea Oculata Alba’. It is perfect in the Moon Bed, where it is accompanied by blue and white Anemone blanda…

… and some pretty Narcissi.

This bed has developed into a lovely area for spring flowers. 😃

 

There are lots of Narcissi Cheerfulness in my Herb Bed… they certainly brighten up this area until the herbs start growing. You can see chives in the foreground, already tall enough to cut. 😃

The Herb Bed is also home to a few tulips. These are the first things to catch my eye when coming through our gate – a welcoming sight! They were planted a few years ago so the name is forgotten… maybe ‘Apricot Emperor’.

And here this morning with the Actaea Narcissi.

Apart from a few bulbs, the Herb Bed is still looking rather sparse, so let’s move over to the Oval Bed. There are some other early tulips in flower here, including these deep ruby ones: T. aucheriana. The buttercup yellow centre is such a contrast to the dark petals.

New perennial sweet pea shoots are emerging from the ground, the Viburnum is in bud, and the Pulsatilla are flowering.

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Next, The ‘Edge.

Those red dots are the ‘Showwinner’ Kaufmannia tulips. They are a dwarf tulip, but seem to have unusually short stems. Hopefully the stems will get longer as they do with many other early tulips.

They show up very well against the woodchip mulch and catch the eye even from the house. This is the first Spring for The ‘Edge, and I am going with the flow and seeing what works and what doesn’t. The Miscanthus and Calamagrostis stood there all winter and the red-stemmed Cornus have been lovely since January.

 

The Butterfly Bed succumbed to mice this winter, so I am waiting to see if many tulips have survived. The broom in the middle is wobbling, either due to strong wind or to root damage, but I will wait and see if it flowers before digging it out. The hellebores still look wonderful here.

 

And this Pulmonaria (P. ‘Benediction’) is a striking blue. The bluest I have found yet!

The hellebore below (in the Sunshine Bed) is my favourite at the moment. It turns from creamy yellow to pink and green. (Another one with no label…. where do all these labels disappear to?)

And between all the beds, dandelions!

Still, if they attract wildlife I don’t actually mind them, and they are such valuable plants. As long as they stay in the grass and out of the flower beds. 😉

The hedgerows planted around the perimeter of the garden in 2018 are well established now and the blackthorn opened yesterday. This was a few days later than the ones just down the bottom of the hill, which shows me what a difference it makes being a little higher and more exposed to the elements.

And these buds are about to burst. I wonder if you recognize them….

They are what we call ‘false elder’ as they do not produce the heavenly scented flowers people love to use in syrups and liqueurs. European Red Elder (Sambucus racemosa) is named so for the red berries produced. They start leafing out at about the same time as the scented Black Elder (Sambucus nigra) but flower much earlier.

Finally, one of the new raised planters is looking really promising, with radishes and salad leaves sprouting and some new parsley and chive plants too. If you are sowing  seeds that should only be barely covered with soil, I can recommend covering the surface with a little hay or straw to keep in moisture and to protect from wind, strong sun or cold nights. They will germinate much more quickly. 😉

The other planter will hold my butternuts, but I can see I need even more space for vegetables this year… Plans are being forged, so watch this space! 😉

I wonder if you have any specific garden projects at the moment?

Have a great Easter weekend.

😃

And Happy Gardening!

🌷🌷🌷

 

 

 

In a Vase on Monday: Allium Praise

I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday meme while also bathing in the glorious shower of flowery photos being posted on my Week of Flowers. I am a little behind with visits and comments, but as I write it is already getting dark and I will spend another pleasurable evening poring over my iPad, wrapped up in a blanket with a big mug of tea. 😃

My vase today is simple: an Allium seedhead

 

Actually, to be precise, Allium ‘Mount Everest’.

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I found a lovely poem praising the Allium, and here is the opening line and a link to the full poem. It is rather charming, and by a poet I didn’t know of until now, Denise Levertov:

In Praise of Allium
by Denise Levertov
 
No one celebrates the allium.
The way each purposeful stem
ends in a globe, a domed umbel,
makes people think,
‘Drumsticks,’ and that’s that.

https://voetica.com/voetica.php?collection=2&poet=821&poem=7919

And this is what the Allium looked like when it was in flower. Only one remains standing now, but I managed to save a couple for vases. 😃

Have a lovely week everyone!

The Garden in November, 2021

The garden is still doing well in November, which somehow surprises me – but perhaps it is always so!

(I managed to get almost all the beds onto this one photo, taken from the terrace – albeit on Sunday 31 st October, so cheating a bit!)

Our first frost this year was October 10th, so a little later than previous years. Since then a few more have followed, so quite a few flowers have gone over now. But there is still loads of colour to cheer up these grey November days. 😃

Let’s start with the Butterfly Bed, sporting the Chrysanthemum ‘Anastasia’ I used in my vase the other day. It takes over from the adjacent pink Aster in mid October and will flower for another 2 or 3 weeks at least.

Another highlight in this bed is the leaves of perennial Geraniums changing colour… I like this unplanned combination with the lime green Euphorbia still looking lush.

At the back of the Butterfly Bed is my lovely ‘Red Chief’ Miscanthus. It isn’t as large as some, but from late October onwards the leaves and seedheads add some drama with their deep pinky red.

Moving across to the Oval Bed, two tall Miscanthus and the now faded Aster ‘September Ruby’ dominate. A mix of ground cover plants will provide winter interest for a month or two. I wonder if we will get much snow this winter….

The Miscanthus on the left is ‘Beth Chatto’, and the other one is ‘Federweißer’ – my favourite. To give you an idea of their size, the Aster is just short of 2 metres. I would recommend both Miscanthus, although my ‘Beth Chatto’ is a little later in gaining size and flowering than my others.

Beyond the Oval Bed is the Moon Bed, which was mostly planted in autumn last year and added to in the spring this year. Almost all the plants were in 9 cm pots, and still managed to put on so much growth, benefitting from the damp summer.

The colour scheme is white, cream and blue, drifting into purple. The white Aster ‘Ashvi’ and the Boltonia ‘Snowbank’, along with Aster ‘Barr’s Blue’ have kept this going into November, so I am pleased they seem to have settled in so well. Looking at it now I find it hard to believe that I could barely see the woodchip mulch only a few weeks ago. White Cosmos, Cleome and Gaura filled the spaces.

This Prickly Poppy, grown from seed, has flowered for months on end.

And naturally there are several grasses in this bed too. The Pennisetum is looking lovely at the moment.

Now a brief look at The ‘Edge, where my sunflowers were in the summer. The seeds were devoured in record time by the birds (and mice?!) and the remains are now on the compost heap. But there is still a lot of colour in this bed from plants like Cornus, Physocarpus and Pyracantha ‘Orange Charmer’.

A small yellow Chrysanthemum also adds some sparkle late in the season. 😃

The Herb Bed is simply glowing with another Pennisetum and my Witch Hazel adding golden hues…

And finally the Sunshine Bed, which is very very dry due to the trees behind it, and yet the Helianthus did well and the Chrysopsis does not seem bothered even now…

November is not such a bad month after all, as long as the sun keeps popping out every now and then! Still, I am glad I have managed to get all my spring bulbs in as it is rather chilly these days.

Hope you have plenty of mild and sunny days ahead now the nights are drawing in. Happy gardening and thanks for reading!

🤗

 

In a Vase on Monday: September Sparkle

September is proving to be a fabulous month so far, with temperatures in the lower 20s, sunshine and blue skies, and a light breeze every now and then. I think October is still my favourite month, with all the autumn colour and golden light, but September comes a very close second. The light is softer and the humidity is low. The house martins are still here at least for the first week or two, and there are still so many flowers blooming.

My vase today celebrates that special light and the soft sparkle of flowers, foliage and grasses.

Cosmos, Scabiosa, Miscanthus, Asters and lots more. I am being lazy with names today. 😉 As always, a big thank you to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who hosts this wonderful meme. 🤗

Have a lovely week, and happy gardening!