Tales from the Garden – The arrival of spring

 In Anna Buxton, Blog

This is the first blog of the year from Anna, giving us an update on her beautiful Edinburgh garden, Redcroft. It is always interesting to compare your garden with others – is your garden further on or further behind, how does what is growing in Anna’s garden compare with other parts of Scotland or even other parts of Edinburgh? Anyone growing in Scotland will know of the multitude of weather conditions that can be experienced – sometimes all in the same day. If you would like to see Anna’s garden ‘in the flesh’,  you can visit when her garden is open to the public on the 11th and 12th of May. You can find out more on the Scotland’s Garden Scheme website.

Read on for Anna’s blog.

The Arrival of Spring

I am a bit late with my first blog of the year but Spring has been slow in coming in this garden, although as usual there are some early flowerers. Now we are well on our way as our two main cherries are in full flower even though the daffodils underneath them seem to be still in short supply.

It has been a good year for camellias. This Camellia x williamsii ‘Donation’ has done very well, it has been in flower for weeks and luckily this year there have been no frosts to damage it. You see it often in Edinburgh gardens and every one of them is full of flowers. It grows here in a wall of evergreens, having to hold its ground against the vigorous Skimmia ‘Kew Green’ below it and Mahonia bealei, so beautifully scented and over now, beside it.

These stately snowflakes, Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’, provide a nice memory of the snowdrops and the smaller snowflakes we have round the trees in the orchard. Until a couple of months ago they were growing amongst vigorous green and cream hostas, sometimes providing an interesting colour match. But the hostas have recently been evicted as they were too susceptible to the slugs and snails, so for now we have a better view of the tall snowflakes. We found there were masses of them so we have created a whole new bed of them elsewhere. The hostas will be for sale at our plant sale!

On the rockery there are several clumps of different Epimediums. They provide very good ground cover with attractive leaves which we cut back in the winter before the flowers show if we remember in time.  There are a great many Epimediums and it is difficult to identify them – these bright yellow flowers, which pack more of a punch than other flowers of the species, might be ‘Sulphureum’ – that seems right, but may not be.  I like the way they have found their way through the rocks and stand out against the gravel path.

After the yellow of daffodils and forsythia, blue is one of the dominant colours here in the garden in early Spring, with several different blue Pulmonarias like this one, for which I haven’t got a name,  which grow very well and seed themselves on the paths.

These Chionodoxa have also spread themselves generously, both on the rockery and here at the front of the herbaceous border.  My plant app says they are Scillas and perhaps that is how they used to be known, as Chionodoxa is a tricky name to remember. The name merits a nice entry in Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names. Chion is Greek for snow, and doxa for glory making the name it used to be known by, the glory of the snow.  As Stearn says, Among the very earliest of Spring flowers, they often bloom when snow is still on the ground. Almost no snow here this year though.

Several rhododendrons are poised to flower soon. This Rhododendron floribundum which I bought many years ago at the old Botanics auction is one of the earliest. Here the Ribes has infiltrated itself amongst the flowers and created its own space. It is a good variety, ‘King Edward Vll’, which has deeper coloured flowers than the ordinary flowering currant, and provides a good match for the rhododendron before its flowers open fully and quite soon become much paler.

I like this little scene at the foot of a tall double cherry. I moved the Trillium chloropetalum from under the Sarcococca just behind it. It has grown well in this gravel and been very successful at propagating itself and we now have it in another place as well.  In front is Hacquetia epipactis a delightful early Spring ground hugger which has strayed from its parent clump nearby.

We now have our garden opening in mind and it is a bit alarming to think that it is only about 6 weeks away. There is a long way to go before the garden is in ‘show condition’. The dates are Saturday 11th May and Sunday 12th May, 2pm -5pm as usual.  There will be a very good plant sale, a delicious tea, music both days and children and dogs on leads are very welcome. We hope Caley members will support us.

Anna Buxton 1.04.2024
All photos taken recently at Redcroft by Anna

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