Well the clocks go forward to night so at last we can really say that it is spring. Yippee! But the sharp wind doesn’t feel very spring-like and it has created rather fuzzy photos, but never mind we have to celebrate the garden in its spring party finery and if the photos are a bit blurry it is because the flowers are dancing.
My number one is this really pretty little peach tree.
When I was a child my grandmother grew a peach tree from a stone and every year it was laden with luscious fruit. My endeavours to grow peach trees have all ended dismally until I found this wonderful Prunus persica ‘Meldred’. The reason for my failures have all been because of peach leaf curl, caused by the fungus Tafrina deformans. This fungus is caused by rain falling on the tree in spring and the leave curling disease weakens the tree each year until it dies. This tree is dwarf and lives in a pot in the greenhouse where spring rains can’t get at it. I brought it out today to photograph it and to give the bees a chance to pollinate the flower. I would grow this tree for the lovely dark pink blossom alone but in late summer it gives me small but very juicy fruit.
Flowering currants are ubiquitous and I have kept one of the shocking pink one which seeds everywhere and was all over the garden and I also grow several different sorts which are more sophisticated. But I am very fond of this white flowering one which blooms before the buds on the pink one open up. It is called Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’ which seems a good name for it.
I love early cherry blossom and I also love dainty blossom rather than the big blowsy ones that bloom later. Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ fits the bill perfectly. The name means ‘Flight of Butterflies’ which is a beautiful description for the masses of delicate little flowers. This is a dwarf shrub and it sits perfectly in my winter garden because even when it is not in bloom the zigzag twigs of the bare branches look lovely.
A favourite shrub in March is the lovely Stachyurus praecox which has racemes of primrose yellow, bell -shaped flowers like strings of beads dangling from each bare branch. I believe Americans call this ‘Spiketail’ but I wish they wouldn’t, it is such an ugly name for such delicate beauty. In a previous garden I had a stachyurus with beautifully variegated leaves in summer after it had finished blooming. It was called Stachyurus ‘Magpie’ and I have never been able to find it since I left. I am still trying to hunt it down.
I love any sort of sweet pea type flower and the little perennial spring- flowering one is a gem. It is called Lathyrus vernus ‘Alboroseus. The flowers are pink and white and the clump gets bigger every year. I also have the purple Lathyurus vernus but it always blooms a bit later. Occasionally, you get seedlings. Bees love this plant and so do I.
Fritillaries are amongst my favourite spring flowers and I have quite a few different varieties but the first one into bloom is Fritillaria imperialis ‘Early Fantasy’ I love Crown Imperials and I have clumps of them round the garden in red, orange or yellow but this peachy one is new to to me this year. I just bought the one to see what it is like but next year I shall have to empty out the piggy bank and have a big clump of them. It is so pretty.
I like it against the cinammon -coloured bark of Acer griseum with a pool of apricot violets at its feet.
So here are my six on Saturday to join in with The Propagator and his ever growing band of enthusiastic followers who find interesting horticultural things to share with us each Saturday. Do go and see.