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!

🌷🌷🌷