May 28, 2012

Confused early summer garden


Somewhere on the forum some evil person says ‘if there’s no photo it didn’t happen’.  THANKS A LOT, WHOEVER YOU ARE.  I thought it was about the leg warmers, but I have just looked through that thread, and if it’s there, it’s hiding, no doubt to escape the wrath of the hellgoddess.*   So here are some photos of a Confused Early Summer Garden.   From a plant’s perspective, first it was warm, and then it was cold, and then it was warm, and then it was cold, and then it was cold and wet, and then it was very very warm and dry.  What’s a poor leafy thing with incipient flowers to do?

            It varies.**

The Baron Girod de l'Ain

Yes, she really is that colour.   (Long time readers–and rose growers–already know this.  I’ve posted photos of her pretty much every year, I think, because she’s kind of spectacular.)  She’s another example of a ridiculously large rose that is very happy in her pot.  She’s doing a whole lot better in her pot than she did in the ground back at the old house.   She was also about five feet, in the ground at the old house, and easily eight or nine here, the better to embrace me lovingly as I try to get into the greenhouse. 

more of the Baron

She starts out crimson, and as the flowers get older they turn this amazing purple.  And you might notice what, if I were a tacky and vulgar person, I might describe as rose hickeys on my arm.  Speaking of loving embraces.

the jungle

It’s still mostly green.  Early and confused, as I said.  That big fat pink bud a little to left of centre is Lady of Megginch (who is also happy in her pot, although this is only her third year and the Baron has been there since the beginning, which is seven? Eight? years now), and the stem of little white buds just coming out slightly to her right is what is supposed to be a pink delphinium.  Stay tuned.

The Herbalist

She’s in a really terrible position (and a pot) without nearly enough sunlight and if she were going to flower at all she should at least do it late and sparingly to drive it home to the gardener that she is being hard done by.  But no.  She flowers early and lavishly, although there’s not a lot of flowers later.  She supposed to be a sort of repeat-flowering version of gallica offinalis.  Well, sort of.  But with flowers like these and a positive attitude, I am not complaining.

Frelling Agnes.

Frelling.  Frelling flowering a good eight foot overhead.  Arrrgh.  She did this at the old house too, but the garden was A LOT BIGGER and you could, you know, stand back away far enough to see all of her.  Although one of the reasons I wanted her in this little garden is that she smells divine.  Supposing you can drag her down far enough to enjoy it.  I’m so cross about the eight-foot main stem with the posy on the end I’m considering lopping it off and bringing it indoors and putting it in a vase.  (I am one of these peculiar people who mostly can’t bear to cut flowers.)  I got this photo via . . . extreme blood loss.  She’s also diabolically thorny, even as roses go.

Gertrude Jekyll

Having a go at trying to fool you into thinking she’s Queenie.  She’s not.  (Besides, Queenie always comes out late.  Queenie likes coming on with a last-minute burst just when I’m really starting to worry about her.)  But she’s pretty fabulous.  And like several of her friends and relations, she’s doing better at the cottage than she did at the old house–although she is drastically in the ground here.  She’s also reputed to have the strongest scent of any modern-bred rose.  I can’t vouch for a lot of roses (no, I haven’t grown them all) but it wouldn’t surprise me.

the jungle, continued

You can see a small outbreak of my pot mania here.  And yes, several of those pots are empty.  There are still roses waiting to go in.  Ahem.  And dahlias waiting to come on enough not to be utterly swamped in a big pot.  There’s the last of a pink rhododendron in the lower middle, Sophie’s Perpetual (rose) just coming out slightly above and to the left, the white spots to the right are nicotiana and that small blaze of pink and pale green perched on the yellow pot (waiting to be planted in it) is a variegated fuchsia.   The flowers are standard little red and purple dangly things but the leaves are fabulous, and year-round.  So long as you remember to take it indoors in winter.

Old Blush in riot mode

Tell me again that you can’t grow a big rose in a pot?  What’s that you say?  I can’t hear you.  Old Blush also went in my first year here at the cottage.  I will say, however, that roses are even hungrier than you realise.  I’m sure you can overfeed a rose, but it’s hard.  Poor Old Blush took a good bit of the brunt of my learning curve about roses in pots, those first few years.  But she seems to have forgiven me.

Old Blush

You darling.

first Louise Odier this year

And she is poised to be fabulous, for the first time since I put her in three years ago, in the next few days.  I’ll tell you all about it soon. . . .

* * *

* Who isn’t as young as she used to be, and her mind wanders, even when she’s doing deeply interesting/provoking things like reading forum comments.^ 

^ She finds herself wondering what Kes and Maggie would think of each other.+ 

+ Or the Silent Wonder Dog and Mongo.  Snork.  

** I’m a little worried about Mme Alfred Carriere.  Atlas and I hacked her back hard last autumn^ because she was taking over the town, and I think she may be feeling put-upon.  But she’s usually one of the early ones, and I can see one flower, hiding behind my neighbour’s chimney. 

^ I did the stuff from ground level.  Atlas did the twenty foot ladder.


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