The fabulous Paeonia rockii now has to be called Paeonia ‘Gansu Mudan’ which means tree peony from the Gansu district of China. For details see my post Paeonia suffruticosa ssp. rockii. The most desirable one is the white one with the maroon blotch. I grew the above two from seed bought from Chilterns and I was quite disappointed when they turned out to be pink and magenta. But still they are wonderful and this year at nine years old, they have about twenty buds each. Watching them unfold is a source of utter delight. Still, I longed for the white one and all my hopes were pinned on my six year old plant which has two buds for the first time this year. The seed came from a scion of Stern’s plant at Highdown and was given to me by Ivan Dickings who propagated the Highdown peony and returned a plant to Stern’s garden at Highdown after the original died. But Ivan grows a lot of tree peonies and the bees have obviously been busy and this one is going to be pink too. As it takes tree peonies at least six years from seed to flower you have to wait a long time to see what you have… Blow.
I have been away and every day I was anxious in case I missed the the tree peonies which really deserve a party and fireworks when they are full in bloom. But we gardeners are always worried about missing something when we go away. I have been absent from the blogging world for a while too, because of a malfunctioning tablet but I have a new one now and I hope to catch up with everyone soon.
We have been visiting family in Cornwall and the wonderful ravine gardens of Trebah and Glendurgan never fail to delight. They are tantalisingly full of plants which I can’t grow. For instance, you can walk through the gunnera grove at Trebah which is like walking through a forest.
I wish I could grow rhododendrons, enkianthus or Chilean Fire Bush.
The succulents at Trebah are amazing. I wish I could leave mine outside to grow as big as this.
At Glendurgan, amongst other delights, there is a maze and the biggest, oldest tulip tree I have ever seen.
At Cross Common Nursery on the Lizard, I saw plenty more plants which I can’t grow. What fun it would be to grow a Wong Wonga vine or a Banksia.
But I have lovely things too which I didn’t see in the West Country. As soon as I saw it last year, I put my name on the waiting list for this fabulous new clematis which won Plant of the Year award at Chelsea last year.
Gladiolus tristis comes from South Africa and is not reliably hardy, it gets its grassy leaves in the winter and then in late spring the lovely flowers appear. I took a risk and planted it outside and it is rewarding me with its pale yellow, scented flowers which don’t look at all triste to me. I wonder how it got its name.
I have a late flowering Magnolia laevifolia ‘Gail’s Favourite’ with pretty little lemon-scented flowers emerging from cinnamon coloured buds. It used to be a michelia but has been reclassified. I don’t know who Gail is but I admire her taste.
They say that crime doesn’t pay but a stolen cutting of the shrubby Lonicera tatarica is doing well. Stop tutting, it was a huge bush and a tiny cutting. I had never seen it before but I read that it is invasive in some parts of the world. It will serve me right if it takes over the garden.
The apple blossom is always a welcome sight but even lovelier in my eyes is the quince, Cydonia oblonga ‘Vranja’.
I don’t want the lovely month of May to go too fast but the first roses are always a joy. ‘Canary Bird’ has been blooming for ages and this year is the best it has ever been.
I love single roses and last year I bought Rosa ecae ‘Helen Knight’ which is similar to ‘Canary Bird’ but has darker, buttercup- yellow flowers and ferny leaves.
Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ is another yellow early flowering rose. It is a rambler and boy, does it love to ramble. Mine which was grown from a tiny cutting has now reached the top of the apple tree where I expect the flowers are delighting the pigeons but I can’t see much of them. It is now heading for the garage roof and on to the next village.
More manageable are the lovely roses with chinensis genes, Rosa ‘Mutabilis’ and Rosa chinensis ‘Bengal Beauty’. They both bloom for weeks and weeks and the first buds have just opened.
I just managed to catch the camassias before they went over, they are lovely but they bloom so briefly that blink and you will miss them.
There are so many buds of promise still to come and some pretty groups of plants that have kept looking good for some time. The white flowers in the next picture are the late flowering Narcissus triandrus ‘Petrel’. The euphorbia is Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’.
Here we have sky-blue Brunnera macrophylla with white Dicentra spectabilis and white-flowered variegated honesty.
It’s really good to be home to watch the rest of the darling buds of May unfurling. And I am looking forward to catching up with my blogging friends.