Tales from the Garden – Mid-spring at Redcroft

 In Anna Buxton, Blog

This is the latest blog from Anna, highlighting what is doing well and looking good in her garden this week.  If you would like to visit Anna’s garden to see it for yourself, you can.  Redcroft, 23 Murrayfield Road, Edinburgh, is open under Scotland’s Garden Scheme on the 11th and 12th of May from 2pm – 5pm. There will be a very good plant sale, teas, music and an apple pressing demonstration. Children are very welcome and so are dogs on leads.  Entrance is £6, children are free. You can find out more here.

Mid-spring at Redcroft

For the last few weeks this Clematis alpina ‘Pamela Jackman’ has been putting on a great show to greet people as they come into the garden. Last year we cut it right back, and sacrificed the flowers, so this year it has put on tremendous growth and has had masses of flowers.  Alpinas are among the earliest clematises to flower and are very trouble free and reliable.

Sadly, the Fritillaries in the long grass are almost over.  They have been more numerous than ever this year, no doubt enjoying the extraordinary amount of rain we have had. Here they are seen in front of the tall blue Camassias which should be in full flower for the garden opening.

Cardamine pentaphyllos seems to favour this rather hidden spot under the rhododendron as though it is a bit shy, and its flowering is rather brief.  It does seed in the gravel though.  I wish we had more of the wild Cardamine pratense or lady’s smock in the wild parts of the garden but the few plants we have don’t seem to spread.

This view of the end of the herbaceous border shows the brightly coloured Bergenias in front of the two different types of honesty, the purple of the annual honesty, and the paler colour of the perennial one, Lunaria rediviva. I was pleased to read some praise of this plant recently as it is one of the mainstays of the garden here in early spring. You might call it invasive as it seeds everywhere and it is not all that easy to pull out. However, it forms these good clumps and we like it a lot here.  There will be some for sale at the garden opening.  Bergenias, loved by Gertrude Jekyll, have perhaps been rather neglected lately, but they are tolerant and robust plants, perhaps more often used for their foliage, but sometimes the flowers are surprisingly attractive.

Looking more towards what will be on show is this pot of tulips, Florijn Chic, (strange name), from Bloms which I have never had before.  It has already been in full flower for a couple of weeks and I am hoping it will last for another 10 days.  We have got about 9 pots of tulips and most have done well, but not all, and there have been a surprising number of rogues in quite different colours to what they should be. I specifically choose May tulips, or lily-flowered ones, mostly orange or purple, I don’t usually mix them, and their role is to brighten up the very grey yard where we have the plant sale and the tea.

The green of the pleated leaves of Veratrum viride is matched by the new leaves of the Epimedium. I like the Veratrum best when it starts in growth like this. Later It gets quite tall, the leaves are inclined to be eaten by snails and the flowers are not attractive. In the background is Menziesia ‘Plum Drops’ which has been there for quite a few years without being at all noticeable. It is doing quite well now and I think the continuous rain has helped this too.

I have been trimming the cloud pruned conifer and it has taken a ridiculous amount of time as whenever I look at it, I find it necessary to ‘improve’ it.  The Japanese pruning was started by Jake Hobson who is now well known for the wonderful Japanese tools and ladders he sells at Niwaki.  The rhododendron, a Yakushimanum hybrid called ‘Cupcake’, is a rather garish carmine colour but is a wonderful performer, reliably covered in large trusses of flowers, and helpfully retains this neat shape.

Anna Buxton 1st May 2024                                                                                                

All photos taken recently by Anna

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