Sunday, 21 April 2019

Daily Perennials: 15th to 21st April 2019

Between health and being away on holiday, I've not been posting Daily Perennials for a couple of weeks. I've decided that previously it was requiring too much work/energy researching each plant, so I've decided to simplify it with a picture and a fewer words.

Friday 19th April - Tulip Humilus Eastern Star

This is species tulip: Tulip Humilus Eastern Star. It's the last of the species tulips (meaning, closest to the wildest ones) flowering in my garden this year. Great colour, and loved by the bees.

Saturday 20th April - Ajuga reptans 'atropurpurea'
I have this in my mini Forest Garden Border. It's a good evergreen mat-forming ground cover plant and helps cover bare soil so there are less weeds. Another one loved by bees. It also has purple leaves and flowers. I love purple.

Sunday 21st April - Pulsatilla vulgaris
It seemed appropriate to post the Pasqueflower, the Easter flower, on Easter Sunday. Do stroke this plant, the flowers and leaves. It's so tactile with it's silky fine hairs; like stroking a cat. Mmmm. Another purple flower :)

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Friday, 19 April 2019

Photo Essay: Llanthony Priory, 8th April 2019

Our recent holiday was in Pembrokeshire, but on the way there we stopped at one of my favourite places, Llanthony Priory (Welsh: Priordy Llanddewi Nant Hodni), in the Black Mountains, between Hay-on-Wye and Abergavenny.

It was a day with really low cloud, so much so that we had to drive very carefully through the clouds, up the single-track road to the priory, where sight was often no more than a few metres ahead. So this is the priory on a darker gray day, which I think gives you some idea what it would have been like when it was first built in the early 12th century.

Kevin here gives you some sense of the scale of the priory

The building on the left is now a hotel, and has a bar in the monks old cellar.


Sunday, 7 April 2019

Daily Perennials: 1st April to 7th April 2019

Monday 1st April - Pulmonaria 'Blue Ensign'
Pulmonaria are commonly known as lungwort.

This species has the deepest blue of all Pulmonaria and is my favourite, but you can also get them in blue-pink, pink and white. The leaves are usually green with  spotted grey-white patterns on them.

You can grow Pulmonaria in part or full shade. It grows to c. 30cm high and wide over time, and looks good at the front of the border.

It's best to cut them hard back after they have finished flowering. This will rejuvenate the leaves, which will otherwise become less attractive. The leaves may remain during milder winters.

Pulmonaria are called lungwort because traditionally they were used medicinally for lung conditions. They are an excellent plant and are very easy to grow.

***bad ME, so missed a few days***

Saturday 6th April - Viola odorata
This is a semi-evergreen perennial and flowers at the end of winter/early spring. Not only does it have pretty lilac-purple flowers, the leaves are pleasingly heart-shaped.
I have planted some both in my new Forest Garden Border, but I've also inherited a large patch under the beech hedge between us and our neighbour, which catches the midday sun rather nicely.

On top of this, both the flowers and leaves are edible and can be added to salads. And it's well loved by bees.

Sunday 7th April - Fritillaria Uva Vulpis
This is also known as fox's grape fritillary.

Flowering in early to mid-Spring, this has an upright habit, and one stem can hold up to seven flowers. It is happy in part-shade as well as sun, but it doesn't like damp soil when dormant.

I feel it's an elegant addition to a border.

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Sunday, 31 March 2019

Daily Perennials: Thu 28th March to Sun 31st March 2019

Thursday 28th March - Chionodoxa forbesii
For my first #DailyPerennial I give you: Chionodoxa forbesii which is also known as ‘Glory of the Snow’.

It’s a fabulous Spring blue, though it’s only 10 cm tall. It looks good at the front of a border, in containers or under deciduous trees. You can also naturalise them in grass, and they will happily self-seed. You can also get pale pink and white Chionodoxa.

In this picture you will notice a little black beetle on them. This is a pollen beetle. It doesn’t cause any damage to the flowers, and in fact it an important pollinator for Oilseed Rape. Just remember to give any flowers you cut to bring inside, a good shake outside first to dislodge any of these beetles so you don’t end up with them in your house!

Friday 29th March - Tulip Turkestanica
Tulipa turkestanica is also known as a 'species tulip'.

Species tulips are those that haven't been hybridized and are from where original tulips descend. The Turkestanica species come from either Turkey or Turkestan - my research came up with both for it's origin. It's a dwarf tulip, only coming to 30cms high.

It can have up to 12 star-shaped flowers per stem, quite a lot for a dwarf tulip! It likes full sun and because it's small, should be placed at the front of a border. It grows happily in pots, and in heavy clay soil if you add some grit/sand when you plant the bulbs.

Like all bulbs, let the foliage die back naturally. This is the time that it captures and stores the nutrients and energy back into the bulb for next years flowering.

Saturday 30th March -  Tulipa Humilus Odalisque
This has the most fabulous deep pink-magenta petals and it's quite the star in the border. The petals open when the sun is on them, then closes when it goes.

It has the same growing requirements as the previous species tulip (above post). It also has a sweet-spicy fragrance that stays with you. It's another favourite will pollen beetles too.

T. Humilus Odalisque is only about 10cm high, but it really has the wow factor.

Sunday 31st March - Fritillaria persica
This is also known as the Persian Lily.

These can grow up to 1.2 metres high. Mine about about 90cms, but it's their first year growing. They need a sunny spot and well-drained soil.

You plant most bulbs at twice their depth, but for F. persica, you plant then 4 times their depth. The bulbs themselves are c. 10cms wide and tall.

I think they are very beautiful, and are a dramatic addition to a border.

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Introducing: Daily Perennials

Crocus 'spring beauty'

I love Hardy Perennials and most of the ornamental plants I grow fall into this category. On Mastodon (the great alternative to Twitter), I've been posting Daily Perennial photos and information, and also sharing everything under the #Florespondence hashtag. #Florespondence is very popular on Masto with both gardeners and non-gardeners alike, and lots of people join in and share photos of flowers they see as they go about their daily lives.

I'm aiming (within the context of Gardening with ME) to post weekly blogposts covering each of the daily perennials I've posted during the past week (Monday to Sunday). And each date and name will link to my PixelFed account (alternative to Instagram) where you can find more photos of each plant.

Visit: Daily Perennials: Thu 28th March to Sun 31st March, to view my first Daily Perennial post.

About my daily perennials
Hardy perennials are plants that survive frost, dying down each autumn and coming up again the following Spring. Most of the perennials I grow tend to not need to much fussing apart from some dead-heading in Summer and early Autumn to get repeat flowering.

I let the foliage stay in Winter for small bugs like ladybirds, to hibernate in them. Plus, often the frost looks beautiful and very architectural! Early Spring is when you remove the old foliage in readiness for the new growth coming through.

Unless otherwise stated, all plants I grow have a hardiness rating of H5 for the UK, and zones 7 and 8 in the US. That is, they will survive down to -15 degrees Celsius.

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You can follow me on Mastodon at @GwenfarsGarden@Sunbeam.City, or on PixelFed (the great alternative to Instagram)