Some years you can feel spring in the air but with few sunny days and the lingering reach of a cold winter, this year I’m forced to look harder for signs of spring. Plenty is happening in the garden…
Paeonia daurica subsp. mlokosewitschii – Peony ‘Molly the Witch’
The nickname ‘Molly the Witch’ is a charming simplification of this Peony’s tongue twister botanical name and only adds to the appeal of an already sought-after gem. If you’re on garden social media in May you’ll see a smattering of pictures of this glorious yellow herbaceous peony posted by proud growers. I doubt I’ll have flowers any time soon as mine is still a tiny plant, but fortunately I have some pictures taken at Borde Hill Garden two years ago to you show all.
These plants are a cross between the yellow tree peonies and pink herbaceous perennials and are a gorgeous clear primrose colour. One flower at Borde Hill was bordered in pink but labelled Molly The Witch. Was she a mutant molly or something else entirely? It’s a mystery I never solved but here are pictures of both.
I’m very keen on wood anemones and planted lots of lovely worm-like rhizomes a year and a half ago. If you want to know how I planted them you can read more here. Very little happened and last spring there was just a smattering of leaves. I was disappointed. Salt was rubbed into the wound on seeing a fabulous display in the grounds of a local hotel last March, just ahead of lockdown. These may be a variety called Anemone nemorosa ‘Robinsoniana’ as they have a beautiful blue glow.
This week I was surprised to see several healthy-green clumps of wood anemone leaves under the base of the tree where I’d planted them – hope is not lost. I’m reminded how much gardening is about patience. It’s just as well I’m pretty patient as this area is yet to sing in the way I hoped.
Anemone blanda are much less tricky than wood anemones and they are popping up everywhere at the moment either side of my woodland path. The first are in flower but I’m sure the peak display is a couple of weeks away.
Rock Garden Tulips – Tulipa humilis Violacea Group black base
These short-stemmed tulips are early spring beauties and have even beaten the miniature narcissi into flower. They are a very strong magenta and are shouting “look at us” so loudly, they are visible from every window of the house.
I have too many tomato seedlings as I think I shall only grow 6 plants this year. I have ten times that number taking up valuable space in the greenhouse. A friend from my gardening club is running plants sales in May for the local Scannappeal and says tomatoes are popular so I’m sure these seedlings are destined for good homes.
Mostly sown three weeks ago, the sweet peas are going great guns, although a few are taking their time. I grow these for cut flowers and also for the local show. The show is cancelled again this year which means I will have had the sweet pea cup in my house for three years before it is next contested. Lockdown has much to answer for and I feel like a fraud every time I see it on the shelf.
I choose my sweet peas as good ones for the show bench, germinate them in tubes in a warm place, before moving them to a colder spot in the greenhouse to grow on. They need heat at first but afterwards it’s definitely worth moving them somewhere cold. Treating them mean keeps them healthier and stockier. I’ll pinch out the growing tips this weekend and will probably move them outdoors soon.
This seasonal diary is part of a weekly link-up of garden bloggers from around the world, called Six on Saturday. For more information and links to other blogs crammed with gardening activity, check the blog of host The Propagator.