Soldanella montana comprises exquisite delicate nodding violet/blue flowers, the undersides are greyish in colour, with fringed petals. This little gem will flower from April - May, and can be planted in any good soil, and thrives in part shade.
Bumblebee queens are emerging now and will be hungry after a long hibernation. Crocuses provide valuable food in the form of pollen and nectar, and are eagerly visited by the queens. Other useful plants for early bumblebees are late-flowering mahonia such as Mahonia aquifolium, hellebores, pussy willows and winter heathers such as Erica carnea and E. x darleyensis.
Despite the cold frosty weather there is already a tiny bit of colour appearing from early spring bulbs. The winter aconites have come out but have had no chance of opening their flowers yet as it has been too cold. Snowdrops are just showing a bit of white at the top ...
Once the containers were filled I started planting. I have already planted a few Sarracenia plants such as S. flava and two hybrids, also several sundews such as Drosera filiformis and Drosera rotundifolia, and three Venus fly trap plants (Dionea muscipula).
I was egged on to take the secateurs to our yew by my friend Mary who was visiting one September. Unlike all the shapes above, I originally intended to make a spiral, as we had hoped to do to our box pyramids in pots either side of the front door when we lived in London.
The second article I ever wrote on this blog was to tell you about planting our mixed native hedge along the 40 meter long orchard boundary in December 2014, and this article is to tell you about its growth in the subsequent years, and its current status.
The only bumblebees I still see flying around are common carder bumblebees (Bombus pascuorum). They are normally the last bumblebees you see in your garden before winter arrives in earnest. Good late-flowering bumblebee plants are single-flowered dahlias and Verbena bonariensis.
The apple tree and its fruit are well represented throughout history, in mythology and early worship. Rameses III, an Egyptian pharaoh, encouraged people to make offerings of apples at a temple in Thebes, but he also allowed the more realistic back-up option of bone-marrow extracted from a camel, if you were short of apples.
Still flowering is Clematis tangutica ‘Golden Tiara’. I love the small yellow lantern-like flowers which are followed by large, fluffy seed heads. I also have Clematis tangutica ‘Golden Harvest’ which is scrambling through the rambler rose ‘Albertine’. The flowers are smaller and have less purple stamens but are equally pretty.
Butterflies have been plentiful in August, especially peacock butterflies and admirals. But there were also many large and small whites, some commas, small tortoiseshells, brimstones and painted ladies. Echinacea purpurea is always a favourite with butterflies ...
I love caterpillars and I am always on the lookout for new species I have not seen before on the allotment. A few weeks ago I found a chamomile shark caterpillar (Cucullia chamomillae) for the first time on my allotment, feeding on some Anthemis flowers. They like feeding on the centre of the flower which leaves a tell-tale hole ...
Geranium x oxonianum ‘Fran’s Star’ is doing well in my garden this summer, full of flowers and with lots of lush leaves. It is a clump forming plant, but with long stems of small star-shaped pink flowers and mid-green leaves with brown markings.
Before we could replant the top half of the subshrubs and bulbs border this winter, we had to remove the giant in the bed. Removing the Lavatera cachemiriana was such a big decision, and it was such a big plant.
Plus - how to side shoot tomato plants.