Friday 23rd April 2021

Narcissi and Primula vulgaris simply sing of spring.

Plant ident.

Narcissus ‘Actaea

Loved passionately at Garden House. This is an old-fashioned variety with large, white, outer petals and a small yellow cup fringed with bright orange. Known also as Pheasant’s Eye or Poet’s Daffodil. Simple, pretty, and comes with the most delicious scent. A.G.M.

Narcissus ‘Thalia’

Shown here at the top of the photo

A pure white Narcissus, ‘Thalia’ features two flowers per stem. Looks beautiful alongside blue Muscari and blue Wood Anemones, and stunning when planted in grass with Tulips. It’s vigorous, and is therefore a good bulb for naturalizing, and will multiply quickly. Very fragrant.

Iberis sempervirens

The perennial or evergreen Candytuft. A fresh and vivid display in white and green, just perfect for spring. Clusters of 4-petalled white flowers form each flower head, making for a striking contrast with the dark green leaves. Low-growing and spreading, it is a good plant to use for edging paths, as ground cover, or in rockeries. Grow in full sun for best results, and cut back by about one third after flowering. Apparently, it is drought, deer and rabbit tolerant!

Tulipa ‘Little Princess’

An excellent, miniature, rock garden Tulip. The yellow centres of this species Tulip complement its red / orange petals. Resilient and long-lived, it’s a good choice for rockeries or in spring containers.

Ipheion uniflorum ‘White Star’

A pretty, bulbous perennial with narrow, light green foliage. A single, white, star-shaped flower is borne on each upright stem – hence, ‘uniflorum’. Each petal is striped with a slim purple line. Easy and requires little in the way of maintenance as it doesn’t need deadheading. Resistant to deer and rabbits – but keep an eye out for slugs and snails. No mention is given to its reaction to puppy-dogs’ tails.

Ribes speciosum

Aka the Fuchsia-flowered Gooseberry. This deciduous, spiny, medium-sized shrub has small, glossy, gooseberry-like leaves. The bright red flowers look like tiny fuchsias with extended stamens, and hang down along the stems from mid to late spring. Good against a wall in full sun and copes with most well-drained soils.

Activities for the Groups

As we are currently meeting in small groups, each set is assigned a different job in the garden.

This might involve working on the area which will be the Dry Garden

Or seed sowing

Or designing a new planting scheme for another bed, using grasses such as Anemanthele lessoniana (Pheasant’s Tail Grass) – a terrific ornamental grass which provides year-round colour, structure and movement.

Ah. Must have a word with the picture researcher. Yes, you’re a pheasant. Yes, you have a very lovely tail. Yes, there’s grass. But – not quite what we were after, I’m afraid.

Some might be set to weeding and clearing a raised bed underneath the arches (below). Here the challenge is to remove clumps of Spanish Bluebells, which tend to spread and dominate other plants. Best keep those bulbs out of the compost heap.

The Herb Bed needs attention too. Everything is gradually being removed, including the blighted box edging. The soil can then be thoroughly weeded and revitalised before a new Myrtle hedge is planted along with a myriad of herbal delights

The greenhouse always needs checking, of course.

To see what is happening to seeds and seedlings

and pussy cats

There’s always plenty to do at this time of year

Jobs for the Week

Check out gardens to visit in the county. Get hold of the National Gardens Scheme Yellow Book, and you will never be short of ideas.

Deadhead Narcissi

Once they have finished flowering. Don’t remove the foliage though – the plant uses it to feed the bulb, helping to promote good flowering the following year.

Above all, make time to enjoy the fruits of your labours. If not now, when?

You know it makes sense