The Mid-May Garden, 2023

It seems like the perfect time to give an update on what my garden is up to. ๐Ÿ˜‰ May has been mostly mild and damp so far (although last night it went down to 1.8ยฐC!), and plants seem to be popping up from nowhere. Left, right and centre!

My first oriental poppy started opening this week. Its silky petals have the ‘wow’ effect, and in a day or two it will be wide open for the bees to enjoy!

It was a humid day when I took these photos, with thunder clouds and the occasional rumble in the distance. This kind of day in May, especially in the evening, produces a wonderful light where all the shades of green stand out and provide a magnificent backdrop to the fresh colour in the garden beds.

One of the brightest colours in the Oval Bed right now is this Aquilegia, bought a couple of years ago. After having mostly purple ones reseeding in my last garden, I wanted a different colour to get established hereโ€ฆ there are some seedlings already. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

The Camassia are starting to add blue to the spring colour scheme in the Butterfly Bed and are spreading too. They disappeared completely one year, but are now back in force.

I also have a paler Camassia in the Moon Bed. The creamy white shrub behind is Broom – Cytisus praecox ‘Albus.

In the Sunshine Bed some Geums are already open. This one is Scarlet Tempest – a lovely healthy plant that has filled out nicely, despite being planted just before the terrible heat and drought last summer. The Euphorbia polychroma is a great plant for sunny dry spots, and all my Euphorbias did extremely well last summer with no watering at all.

And this is Geum Mai Tai. Such a pretty colour, and reliable too.

At the back of this bed is the yellow broom, Cytisus praecox ‘Allgold’. It likes my garden and also does well in the soil around here. I always look out for it when I drive to town, as it grows wild along the roadsides.

The poppy I showed above is in The ‘Edge, along with a few late red and yellow tulips. Euphorbia polychroma makes an impact here too, but something that surprises me every spring is the beautiful new golden and orange foliage of Spiraea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’. It looks dead until about late March, and then slowly but surely comes back to life with bright orange shoots, fading to yellow and then lime green. The flowers are a rather insignificant pale pink in summer, barely noticeable, but in the autumn it will again take on these wonderful rich colours.

To finish off, this (unplanned!) grouping caught my eye: Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’, Yellow tulips ‘Texas Gold’, Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervivens) and, in the background, Physocarpus ‘Lady in Red’. Helctotrichon is perhaps an alternative to the enormous Stipa gigantea, albeit not so long-lasting. It is the first grass to flower in my garden and looks lovely in the evening light especially.

It has been comforting to see that I had very few losses due to the drought last summer. Choosing resilient plants contributed to that. And perhaps the wet winter helped a bit too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Has your garden suffered any losses this winter?

Thanks for visiting my spring garden. Do drop by again soon!๐Ÿโ˜€๏ธ๐Ÿ

 

Wild and Weedy Wednesday: 17th May, 2023

I have chosen a very weedy plant this week; each Wednesday I post about one of the wild flowers and/or weeds I find in my garden, and read up on its common names and uses. So many of them are edible, and this one is no exception: Red Sorrel, also known as Sheep’s Sorrel or Field Sorrel (Rumex acetosella).

It is small, pinkish red and spreads like mad via rhizomes, but has many benefits for wildlife. In fact, while reading about this plant for today’s post I discovered that it is beneficial to the Small Copper – a butterfly that I had photographed only a few days ago! The Copper depends on it for food, and it is also a food source for groundfeeding songbirds such as sparrows, of which we have plenty! So although its big sister, Common Sorrel orย Rumex acetosa, also called dock leaf, caused us problems when we moved here (perhaps I’ll do a post on that too), I am happy to see this small and pretty one growing in the tall grass.

Here is the Small Copper, visiting one of my flower beds. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Below you can see it is surrounded by several other wild plants or ‘weeds’, such as veronica, wild pansies and plantains, which may also feature in future posts.

It thrives on poor, sandy, slightly acid soil, in the full sun, so we have perfect conditions for it here. Drought is not a problem for it either. It grows to about 30 cm, and can flower all summer if not mown. It can give larger areas of fields or heathland a red shimmer.

I mentioned that it is edible, but only in small quantities due to the toxic oxalic acid. This makes it taste sour, which explains the German common name (Sauerampfer) meaning ‘sour bitter’! But a few young leaves and flowers can be added to a salad to pep it up. It is one of the seven herbs used for the famous ‘Frankfurt Green Sauce‘. (The other six are Borage, Chives, Anthriscus, Parsley, Salad Burnet and Cress.)

I would love to know what weeds and wild flowers grow in your gardens, so if you would like to join me on a Wednesday, please leave a link below.

Happy gardening!

๐Ÿ๐Ÿž๐Ÿชฒ

Wild and Weedy Wednesday: 10th May, 2023

This week I have chosen a very pretty wild flower to share, with a pretty name too: Lady’s Smock, or Cardamine pratensis.

These delicate looking flowers nod their heads above tall grass in damp meadows, which is why it has reappeared here this spring after our rather wet winter. And I am so glad to see it.

This is another edible wild flower, full of vitamin C, and quite peppery. It is also called the Cuckoo Flower, perhaps because it flowers just as the first cuckoos are commonly heard. (I haven’t heard a cuckoo yet). The name may, however, be due to the ‘cuckoo spit’ often found on it – ย produced by spittlebugs which produce a kind of foam around their larvae as protection. The German name reflects this: ‘Schaumkraut’ – ‘foam weed’.

The colour varies from almost white to a soft lilac. The one above grows in partial shade and is paler than the ones in the full sun. It is a valuable food plant for the Orange Tip butterflies, as well as for various bees including wild bees and for bee flies and other butterflies.

The Flower Fairy’s poem describes it as ‘Dainty as a fairy’s frock’. And that is, I find, a perfect description. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

If anyone would like to join me on a Wednesday in posting about weeds/wild flowers in your garden, just leave a comment with a link below. Thanks for reading!

๐Ÿ๐Ÿž๐Ÿฆ‹๐Ÿชฒ

 

 

Wild and Weedy Wednesday: 3rd May, 2023

Each week I look at a wild flower or weed that is growing in the garden, Well, May is probably the best time of year for the weeds and wild flowers, so I have to be selective for my posts this month!

This cheerful yellow flower has caught my eye in the past week or so: Potentilla verna/neumanniana, or spring cinquefoil. It is only a few centimetres tall, with leaves that are finger-shaped, hence the German name ‘Fingerkraut’. The flowers are relatively small, about 1.5 to 2 cm across. But make up for their size with vibrant colour.ย It has only been spotted in the meadow so far, but I expect it will turn up in the flower beds at some stage. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Another Potentilla is growing wild in the meadow too, but is not in flower yet. Let me know if you see this one or something similar in your part of the world. And please do share your weeds and wild flowers too. Just post a photo and leave a link here on a Wednesday. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Thanks for reading!

 

Wild and Weedy Wednesday: 26th April 2023

I am continuing my weekly look at weeds/ wild flowers with a very familiar plant to most of youโ€ฆ

So, when you see this photo, what is your first thought?

  • Oh no, so many dandelions! ย OR
  • Oh, how lovely!

So do you consider them as weeds or wild flowers? ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

In any case, this is a wonderful sight in spring. The bees are enjoying them, and Anouk looks like she approves of them as well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yes, this week’s wild flower is the Dandelion, or Taraxacum officinale.ย 

It may in fact be the most common weed, growing in lawns, nooks and crannies, fields and cracks in city paving They are masters at spreading and invading tiny spaces.

I assume these grow more or less all over the world, but do let me know if they don’t grow where you live. There are hundreds of different species of them. And, like the plant I featured last week (Wild Erodium), these are also edible. A few leaves added to a salad will aid digestion due to the bitter substances they contain, and will boost your vitamin and minerals intake. (Take a look here at Cindy’s delicious salad and her wonderful bouquet!) Or add a few leaves to soup or sauces and sprinkle some flowers on top for decoration. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

The colour alone makes me smileโ€ฆ

Why not join me each Wednesday with a post about a weed or wild flower in your garden. And leave a link in the comments below.๐ŸŒฑ

Thanks for reading

and

Happy Weeding!

๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Wild and Weedy Wednesday: 19th April, 2023

I have decided to share some of the wild flowers, and/or so-called ‘weeds’, that grow in my garden and will post each Wednesday over the next few weeks. At times it may be hard to define what is a weed or a wild flower, but the Merriam Webster dictionary defines a weed as:

a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth. especially : one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants.

If anyone would like to join me, and share a local wild flower or weed each week, please do. And leave a link in the comments below. I would be really interested to see what pops up in your garden or countryside either to please or annoy you!

Today I will share a wild flower that I have noticed for the first time this year, growing here in our meadow:

Erodium cicutarium, or common stork’s bill.

The flowers are tiny, about 1 to 1.5 cm in diameter, but bright pink so immediately noticeable. According to Wikipedia, the young leaves are edible raw or cooked, tasting strongly of parsley if picked young. I have yet to try them. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I haven’t spotted this pretty wild flower spreading to my flower beds yet. But I am now sure I would be able to identify it if it did attempt to invade. And I may redefine it in my book as a weed!

Perhaps you have seen this flower in your garden? Do let me know in the comments below.

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(Almost) Silent Sunday: The Spring Garden 2023

Spring flowers, Easter 2023.

Ice 'n' Roses Hellebore Early Red

Ice ‘n’ Roses Hellebore Early Red

It’s still chilly, but the garden is coming to life at last.

The bees are busy, despite the cold and frequent rainshowers.

And the first larch flowers are opening. I think they are quite magical, don’t you?

Larix decidua

Happy Gardening!

๐Ÿ˜ƒ