There is excitement building in the rose garden.
We have had a little rain; we have had a little sun.
I can hear everything growing.
If I’d put a ruler up to these salvias, their flower buds would have elongated an inch in a day. The purple stalk will stretch out and become more visible between the flower nodes, and petals will emerge from each cupped calyx.
The bed-knob buds of Peony ‘Coral Charm’ are fit to burst. They are starting to ooze a sweet, sticky sap which the ants love. The ants don’t do any harm; in fact they may help the flower to open.
I seem to be raising some eccentric lupins. Here are some neuro-typical types.
And here are my uniquely wonderful ones. This one is split into triplets at the top of the flower stem. Three heads are better than one.
These two are canoodling in a love-fest.
And this one, my favourite, is doing a loop-the-loop. A loopin’ lupin. I think I must have knocked it at some point, and so it had to re-set its direction. Plants generally like to grow upwards, but can adjust themselves if the unexpected happens. This is one resilient lupin.
Each flower bud has its own nest. A calyx of leaf-like fingers protects the developing flower. Knautia likes heights. Each flower is in a crow’s nest. But they do like to tickle one another.
Roses like to rub noses. That way they can appreciate one another’s delicious scent. ‘Hansa’, being a rugosa rose, has the smell of a sweetshop. It mingles spice scents like cloves and aniseed, along with old rose.
Sweet Williams have fluffy feather-beds. They like a little luxury.
The best buds are the oriental poppies. They wear thick woollen tights, but silk knickers beneath. This one is about to burst its breeches.
Oriental poppies are one of the easiest perennials to grow. Once established, they are indestructible. You can did them up and split a clump to distribute around the garden. Even if you think you dug up the whole clump, it will sprout again from a juicy piece of root left in the ground. I have about twelve plants from one clump I found growing near the compost heap when we moved here. It is still growing well next to the compost bins, and has babies all around the garden.
This is Gladiolus communis. I bought it as the more glamourous form Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus (you can see that marvellous creature in this post here). Mine turned out to be the less glitzy species form. It has a freshness which suits this time of year.
Gladiolus communis does a good job at supporting all the other flowers in the garden. It is going to look lovely with the peonies when they burst their buds. Peonies are another low-maintenance plant. You plant them as bare-roots in November and then leave them to be beautiful for the next fifty years. The herbaceous peonies might like a little support around their middles when they are in flower, but the intersectional peonies are quite able to support their own weight. Once the flowers are over, their foliage provides a gorgeous backdrop for other plants for the rest of the summer.
Erodium manescavii is one of the longest-flowering and most prolific-flowering plants in my garden. It was still flowering in December, and started up again in April. It will keep producing its stained-glass flowers all summer long. You can see more of this plant in this post from last year.
I am fit to burst with the excitement contained within all of this new growth.
As a little sneak preview, I can show you the first rose in the garden. It is always this climbing rose, now identified as ‘Abraham Darby’.
The blooms are humungous, with ruffles of pinky-peach petals. These fade as they age. If it has been a cold winter (as it was last year) then the first flower is a really rich, deep pink. The perfume of this rose is incredible. It is fabulously fruity. You really have to sink your face in and spend a moment with it.
I hope you will return to see the poppies and peonies in full flower. They are going to be marvellous.
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