Tales from the Garden – June at Redcroft

 In Anna Buxton, Blog

The weekend of 11th and 12th of May, when we had the garden open, seems like ages ago.  We were very lucky with the weather as the Saturday was sunny and warm and if the Sunday was not as bright, it was mostly warm and dry except for a smattering of rain towards the end.  We had about 450 visitors, served 300 teas and sold masses of plants.  We handed over a satisfactory amount to our two charities, the Saughton Food Bank and Little Sparta, Ian Hamilton Finlay’s amazing garden near Biggar, which is much in need of funds.

Things have moved on since then. Now it is geranium time and this tall elegant Geranium palmatum is a great asset to the garden here – it seeds itself profusely and is allowed to grow in several different places.  It is seen here on the South side of the house behind the line of Nerines.  Most of the geranium plants here are from last year when strangely they did not flower, so we had the benefit of their beautiful leaves throughout the winter and they got off to a good start this year. They out-paced the species peonies which are supposed to be the focal point in this area at this time. I usually treat them as annuals and bin them once they have flowered, keeping a few for self-seeding.

Also an enthusiastic self-seeder is this Geranium sanguineum which also grows in many different places, always choosing a gap where it catches the sun.  It provides a lovely splash of colour but doesn’t last long in flower though. Behind it is Astelia nervosa and just visible is the royal fern, Osmunda regalis.

The blue geranium is Geranium magnificum, or so I’m told, not Johnson’s Blue which you used to see in many gardens. In fact, these old varieties have been rather superseded by ‘Orion’ or Rozannewhich repeat flower and are much longer lasting. These ones have been here since before we bought the house and this clump is now a good 4 metres long and has ousted what was a similar sized contrasting clump of Alchemilla.

It is also the time for irises, so many of them so beautiful, but so fleeting.  This Iris chrysographes is in the Siberica group and originally came from China and North-East Burma.  There is a darker, almost black form of this iris but most Sibericas seem to be bright blue and bigger and taller than this one.  The books say it likes moist conditions but it seems to do okay without here.

It is hard to control the thin, bendy tentacles of this Actinidia kolomikta. It is related to the Kiwi plant which grows in a similar way. Here it does a good job of lightening a very green area.

This cut- leaved elder comes from a large family and I can’t give it a name. I grew it from a cutting from a garden in Ireland many years ago. This very profuse flowering is unusual, perhaps the result of the very wet winter and spring, but perhaps also a hint that we have been pruning it too much.

Crinodendron hookerianum is not my favourite shrub and it always seems to have a great deal of dead wood at the end of the winter.  The leaves are very dark and don’t give out a cheerful message. But this year’s heavy crop of bright red ‘lanterns’, again probably partly due to extra rain, makes me think we haven’t normally got the right conditions for it and goes a long way to redeem it.

Best of all for the last few weeks has been this Cornus kousa ‘Couronne’.  It came from Glendoick about 20 years ago. It has an elegant shape and the incredible number of upward curling bracts come every year and last a long time. For a while it didn’t look very well, especially after flowering, but it has improved this year and perhaps it too has benefitted from all the rain. On the right of it is a bright green Cotinus ‘Golden Spirit’ which always looks good once its leaves come out.

June is a good month for gardens everywhere, and so it is here. Although nearly all the rhododendrons are over, all the green colours are still looking fresh, the foxgloves are everywhere and the long grass in the orchard is seeding and waves in the wind. In the grass where we have snakeshead fritillaries in early Spring, we now have tall buttercups and yellow rattle and even the odd orchid turns up.

Anna Buxton – 10th June 2024
All photos taken recently at Redcroft

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