Six on Saturday | Orchard flowers

Six on Saturday is hosted by the lovely Jon, AKA ‘The Propagator’ where you find links to many more wonderful garden enthusiasts from all over the world who share six things from a garden on a Saturday. I usually join in from my garden in Cornwall which is recorded on my Cornwall blog, naturally. But this week I shall be travelling home after a week away from the county, the first time in almost a year!

So what better way to re-open my garden blog (which has been dormant for 18 months) than a visit to the lovely orchard in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey where tree blossom and wild flowers were a heady delight. The scent of cow parsley and hawthorn drifted through the air which was alive with the music from a choir of songbirds.

Hawthorn blossom

“Six things, in the garden, on a Saturday. Could be anything, you decide. Join in!”

See here for the participant’s guide.

Six on Saturday

Flower of the Month: May

May is the most floriferous month in my opinion. Everything seems to spring into life as the soil warms up and the daylight hours increase. Trees are green once again and many are full of enticing blossom, but the ones that are noticeable in Cornwall are the Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Cornish gardens are simply at their best from March to the end of May.

All these photo were taken in Trelissick Garden.

Flowers on Friday

This month is when the Allium comes into flower filling the gap between tulips and summer perennials. These plants, known as the ornamental onion, are grown for their showy flower heads which come in a wide range of sizes and shades of purple, blue, white and yellow. Even when the plant dies back the seed heads remain as attractive sculptures in the garden.

Bees love them too.

Flowers on Friday

A charming, old-fashioned cottage garden plant with bonnet-shaped flowers, often two-tone and with long graceful spurs these herbaceous perennials are invaluable for flowering in May and early June .

Aquilegias fill the seasonal gap between the last of the spring bulbs and the first of the summer flowers. Self-sown they can look charming naturalised amongst shrubs and roses although some people find the colours become muddied. They lend themselves to cottage or semi-wild settings. Most relish dappled shade. They love deep, rich soil.

Two different birds lend their names to this flower – Eagle and Dove (in Latin, eagle = aquila and the dove = columbus). The petals are supposed to resemble the outspread wings of these birds, and the spurs their arched necks and heads. All aquilegias have wonderful foliage that emerges early in the year, creating clumps of bright green among the sharp verticals of daffodils and other bulbs.

Flowers on Friday

Iris confusa

Iris confusa or  the bamboo iris. It is a rhizomatous perennial plant, native to Western China. It has flowers which range from white to a soft lavender or pale blue in colour, with orange-yellow crests and purple dots. The plant’s broad, shiny leaves are attached to bamboo-like stems. Wikipedia

Flower of the Month: April

Tulips are like exotic birds. They come in different shapes, heights, colours and flowering times.  You have early single and doubles and late singles and doubles. The early flowering ones open in cooler weather, right when winter is just disappearing, and tend to last longer. Their flowers have a distinct cup shape consisting of six petals. The single late tulip is one of the last to bloom, and is also the tallest variety averaging heights of 18 to 30 inches. Also known as the May flowering tulip, these tulips come in the widest variety of colours. Doubles are often known as ‘Peony’ tulips and have heavy heads so need a sheltered position and may require staking.

‘Apricot Beauty’ is an early flowering single and although I found it to be rather a wishy-washy colour to begin with, the more mature the flower the deeper the colour, silvery salmon pink on the outside and spectacularly apricot and yellow on the inside. This started flowering in March and finished in mid-April.

Another early one to flower is ‘Cairo’, with a rich orange colour which lights up in the sun. This is a Triumph style tulip and long lasting and is scented so a bonus. It is very similar to ‘Brown Sugar‘ also scented and in the same orange, copper, red colours.

The next to flower in my collection this year was ‘Ronaldo‘ a delicious blackcurrant coloured Triumph which starts off a deep carmine red but darkens with age. This flowers for absolutely ages and looks gorgeous with the oranges and the pinks.

Cairo was soon followed by ‘Apricot Foxx‘ a golden orange with hints of pink. This is a Triumph, a single mid-season flower which doesn’t grow too tall. Handy in the wind.

A late flowering double is ‘La Belle Epoque‘ which actually opened in early April and has been flowering for a couple of weeks now. An unusual colouring of coffee, pink and apricot this is probably not the best tulip for my windy spot, but it is a wonderful flower.

Lily-flowered tulips are late spring bloomers. Their star-shaped flowers have long pointed petals that arch outwards.  I am a big fan of this shape of tulip, finding it very elegant. Among those I have grown are ‘Ballerina’ and ‘Purple Dream‘.  Ballerina (below) is very good at repeat flowering and is also scented. ‘Sarah Raven‘ is a delightful deep red one (seen centre of the collage)

Purple Dream has rich, purple petals which open as the flowers age, revealing a glowing white eye (as seen in the header image).

There are many other types including the Botanical or  Perennial species of tulip, which are smaller and more delicate than modern hybrids, but are normally very hardy and long lived. ‘Whittallii’ is among these, a lovely deep coppery orange.

I have grown Kaufmanniana Hybrids which are supposed to come back every year, but mine haven’t been too successful. Last year the leaves appeared but no flowers and the leaves were eaten by slugs I think. I also grew Parrots, a cultivar with unusual fringed, curled and twisted petals. Mainly late-flowering. I didn’t like them and the heads are too large and heavy for a windy garden.

Next year I will try some more of the Viridiflora which are distinguished by having green streaks or markings on their petals and are normally late flowerers. Given the choice of tulips I am sure there is one that must appeal to you.

 

Flowers on Friday

Erythronium californicum ‘ White Beauty’ has numerous large white flowers with yellow centres which sit proudly on stems up to 20cm and has pretty mottled leaves. The header image is Erythronium ‘Pagoda’ a beautiful hybrid between E. tuolumnense and E. californicum ‘White Beauty’, bearing 3 to 4 sulphur-yellow flowers on a 25cm stem in April.

Flowers on Friday

Amomyrtus Luma

This large evergreen shrub can grow to 20 feet (6m) so not one for a small garden. In spring it produces abundant clusters of creamy-yellow flowers and both they and the foliage are scented. It usually flowers in May, but in some years can flower in March. These were seen in March here in Cornwall this year.