When I did my Top Ten April Blooms post several bloggers politely suggested that I can’t count. So as I join in with Six On Saturday this week I will keep careful tally. This first week of May we have to start with blossom.
1 Blossom. There seems to be lots of beautiful apple blossom this year. I hope it’s not too cold for the bees.
Even prettier than apple blossom are the cup -shaped flowers of the quince tree, Cydonia oblonga. They are white just lightly tinged with pink. They have lilac stamens and are fragrant. I grow the variety called ‘Vranja’. Last year I had an abundance of golden fruit.
I used to have a lovely little crab apple tree called Malus transitoria. It had dainty white blossom and fruit which looked like a profusion of little yellow beads. The tree was too big to bring with me when I moved, but I am delighted that the tree I grew from seed turned out be very similar to its parent.
Can I count Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’ as blossom? It is covered with pristine white blooms, what a shame they don’t last longer.
Now there might have been four pictures but it is all blossom so it counts as one. Anyway, that’s how I count it. So now I will move on to number two.
2. Roses. I have two roses which always bloom in April. As I was going away, I wrote my Top Ten April Bloom post in the first half of April so these two didn’t get featured. They are still looking lovely. First is the primrose yellow ‘Canary Bird’ which makes a large spreading shrub.
The second, ‘Helen Knight’ is deeper yellow, rather like extra rich butter from Jersey cows. The flowers are slightly larger.
3. Peonies. My first tree peony is coming into bloom, it has huge soft pink flowers.
I went all the way to the Gargano in Puglia, Italy hoping to find Paeonia mascula growing in the forest. Meanwhile back in my own garden it was blooming away and this is the last flower, at least I didn’t miss every bloom. How sad that some of the most exciting flowers are so fleeting. I seem to have missed the yellow Paeonia mlokosewitschii, ‘Molly the Witch’ entirely.
Another really fleeting flower is the starry blue Camassia. One clump of Camassia leichtlinii bloomed whilst I was away and I missed it completely. But this dark blue one, Camassia cusickii blooms slightly later and is still looking good.
5 Dwarf Irises. Irises are another brief floral pleasure. I love little Iris pumila but I wish it would hang around for longer.
Now I have seen them growing in meadows in the Gargano peninsula, Puglia I want to seek out Iris bicapitata and Iris pseudopumila and grow them en masse. There were enormous variations but Christina and I voted these next two our favourites.
6. Gladiolus tristis. It is difficult to choose number six because so far I have not featured any tulips this year which is a sad omission. And in the greenhouse Geranium maderense is in full glorious bloom. But I have decided to go with the modest beauty of South African Gladiolus tristis. What a strange name for it, as there is nothing sad about this beautiful flower. It must be the earliest gladiolus to bloom. It is difficult to imagine anything further away from Dame Edna Evarage’s oversized monstrosities than this delicate flower. It is the palest lemon with green stripes. And as if this wasn’t enough it is fragrant. I have read that it is not reliably hardy but mine has lived outside for three years now.
I have some really lovely epimediums that I would love to share with you but I can’t see anyway to sneak them in and I’m getting a bit sensitive about people telling me that I can’t count. So there we have my Six on Saturday. Many thanks to The Propagator for hosting this meme. It is the second anniversary and an ever- increasing circle of people round the world are sharing six things each Saturday. So a celebration is in order. It is always a lot of fun, so do join in.