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  • Writer's pictureDebi Holland

Garden News May

Mother nature has been doing her best to ‘magically’ infill all the blank spaces in my garden with foliage. There has been a succession of tulips coming and going and it never ceases to surprise me how many different varieties there are. Each individual bloom’s shape and colour fascinates me. A couple of the late flowering tulips are absolutely off the chart! My all time favourite is ‘La Belle Époque.’ Who can resist these peony-petalled cups that change colour with age, starting life bright apricot and fading to a romantic antique pink, planted against a backdrop of vibrant blue forget-me-nots.

Tulip ‘La Belle Époque’

I have purposely planted my back border with pollinator-friendly plants and let some ‘weeds’ go a little wild. Along the back is a trench of stinging nettles, which can provide habitat for around 40 insects and are an essential food source for the caterpillars of peacock and small tortoiseshell butterflies as well making fabulously nutritious nettle tea for the plants and me.

Red-tailed bee on dead nettle

The back border contains some fairly invasive plants but they are a hit with the pollinators. Vinca minor Alba, cow parsley, creeping buttercup, honesty, comfrey, buddleja mint, forget-me-nots, dandelions and the Red-tailed bumblebees have been enjoying the variegated yellow archangel (dead nettle). When I sit here quietly, it doesn’t take long before I am surrounded by insect activity.

On the opposite side of the garden I am excited to introduce our new grasses border. It was originally our wild garden but had gone completely feral so it was time for a change. The plot hosts Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’ Zebra grass, Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light,’ Carex oshimensis ‘Everest’ Japanese sedge, Carex buchananii ‘Red Rooster,’ and our much-loved clump-forming bamboo which has been desperate to leave its pot for the last year or so! Hoping to also add Hakonechloa macra and Stipa tenuissima ‘Pony Tails.’

Planted our Gingko biloba tree in the ground! This 20-year old Gingko was grown from seed by a Japanese friend and finally has its roots down. I will have to keep a careful eye on its growth or it will grow taller than our house.

In other garden news our Pulsatilla vulgaris, Pasque flower has put on a spectacular display, kale ‘Redbor’ has been left to seed and is covered in stunning yellow flowers and I’ve harvested our first crop of rhubarb ‘Early Timperley.’

Fred, our cat, has found himself a new favourite spot. In this warm weather I find him curled up in the dry remnants of soil in the potting tray, catching the last rays of afternoon sun. A smart spot for a snooze. I wish I could curl up in there too!

Highlight: Seeing my front lawn spring into life for Plantlife’s No Mow May.

All photos © Debi Holland 2021

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