Step 3: Now that I’m happy with my evergreen skeleton, it’s time for the fun bit; adding the herbaceous perennials which are flowers that come back every year. I dug up some Christmas Roses from my back garden, Helleborus niger (pink form) and transplanted them in, yes you’ve guessed it, groups of three. They are propped up with metal plant supports until they get over the shock of being uprooted. A few days on and they look very happy in their new position and are even putting energy into producing new flowers. This is one of the earliest flowering perennials, coming into flower as early as January and continuing into April. They are incredibly easy to propagate as well. Just let the seed heads form and drop and next year you will have so many baby Christmas Rose plants, you won’t know what to do with them. So, my hellebores are the first plants to produce flowers in this successional planting scheme. Out at the same time are the Fritillaria.
Very excited also that my Snake’s Head Fritillary are flowering now. They give me a thrill every time I walk past them. The chequerboard pattern is amazing. They are a very delicate bulb and need a lot of TLC but they are worth the effort. The soil must be kept moist at the root. The stems are thin and quite spindly and I am worried about my insane Labradoodle Charlie, crashing into them every time she sees a cat on my neighbour’s fence. I’ve noticed that the flower heads are dropping off the stems as well. Either they have become too heavy or the darn cat is biting them off. I will investigate.
The Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae which I planted in the shade as part of the evergreen skeleton, has come into flower. Euphorias have an understated flower but beautiful nevertheless. They grow in clusters called cyathium, plural cyathia and can be the most amazing lime green, or almost fluorescent red, depending on the variety. My favourite is Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’. Must try and find three for the garden.
I’m planning on doing some prep this month, so that I have more in flower next month. I’m going to plant some Allium bulbs in the green, which means, they are sold in pots, rather than as bulbs and are already producing some leaf. Another favourite plant, Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Black Barlow’ (literally a black flower), some Dicentra spectabilis, common name Bleeding Heart and a few lavenders. This will give me flowers in May to replace the Fritillary and the Hellebores. I want to cram so much more into this tiny space but I will restrain myself.
Oh, and finally, look what popped up this week. So pretty. I wonder what other surprises are under the soil.