What did T. S. Eliot say? ‘April is the cruellest month breeding lilacs out of the dead land’. Well this year he has got it wrong. May is being very capricious and cruel. On Saturday, I spent all day ducking and diving to avoid hailstorms and got repeatedly soaked. Yesterday the weather gods gave up any pretense of being seasonal and it felt like February. Only colder. Of course this is the May Bank Holiday practical joke, it often happens. So I brought armfuls of the garden into the house and settled down for a long leisurely lunch with friends.
First of all Spanish bluebells. I am overrun with them. I have given up trying to dig them up. I know they hybridise with our beautiful native bluebells but I hope that I am far enough away from the nearest bluebell wood. In the meantime the best way to stop them seeding is to gather armfuls and bring them inside.
The next vase uses shades of yellow and orange.
I started off with some acid yellow Smyrnium perfoliatum. This plant seeds around once you have it and is lovely for flower arrangements. It is like a cross between euphorbia and cow parsley but in bright acid yellow.
The epimedium is ‘Amber Queen’ which is the biggest flowered and showiest epimedium I have. The flowers last for ages.
There is a little sprig of pale yellow Epimedium sulphureum. It is very dainty and doesn’t have the long spurs of ‘Amber Queen’.
I used two narcissus, the first is the neat little Jonquilla Narcissus ‘Sundisc’ which is a lovely fragrant heirloom variety.
The second is even more fragrant. It is the white Narcissus ‘Petrel’ The gleaming white doesn’t quite go with the other colours but it is staying in because it is so pretty and smells lovely.
Tellima grandiflora is also handy for flower arrangements. I have never planted it but it seeds about with great enthusiasm and it is very useful for shady areas. It has rosettes of hairy scalloped leaves and greenish flowers. You can see the little bell shaped flowers on either side of the next photo.
The cowslip is one I grew from seed called Primula veris ‘Sunset Shades’. It comes in various shades from deep yellow to orange to red. I finished it off with a sprig of lovely Rosa ‘Helen Knight’ which I featured in my Six on Saturday.
For the table I did a small arrangement because my chef doesn’t like it if I distract from the food with big arrangements which get in the way of the food and the conversation.
Fortuitously the pink bluebell, the Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Ingwerson’ and the little epimedium all match each other and the vase.
I have never planted this geranium and it spreads with great enthusiasm but I quite like it for its early appearance. The epimedium is called ‘Pink Elf’ and it peeps out demurely from amongst the leaves rather than shouting ‘Here, look at me!’ in the imperious way of ‘Amber Queen.’
A bit of blue looks quite nice with these colours so I used a primula and a couple of sprays of lovey Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Starry Eyes’. I love its little blue and white Forgetmenot type flowers.
Just for fun this year I grew some double daisies I think they were called Bellis perennis ‘Pomponette, you can see them in the centre. I am curious to see how long lasting they are in a vase. I might grow more next year.
The mauve flowers are from a dark purple leaved honesty called Lunaria annua ‘Chedglow’. It is a lovely plant, unfortunately storm ‘Hannah’ blew her over and I have not got round to propping her up.
The next photo has nothing to do with my vase but while we are talking about Honesty, I think the very best is Lunaria annua var. Albiflora ‘Alba variegata’. The plants get as big as a shrub and are very showy.
Thank you Cathy for encouraging me to pick flowers to cheer up a chilly Bank Holiday Monday. If you pop over to Rambling in the Garden you can see what Cathy and other vase fillers have been doing. Now I had better put on a pinny and pretend to be helpful in the kitchen, although as usual The Pianist has everything well under control and I am quite superfluous.