Fur and Flowers

Stachys byzantina

I work in Mr and Mrs Bun’s garden once every three weeks or an approximation of that.  This means that a lot changes between visits and at certain times of year these differences are more extreme.  Like this time of the year.  Today fragrant roses had replaced tulips, forget-me-nots were mere memories, clematis flowers like saucers were peeping out of shrubs and the lemon verbena had fully recovered from its winter sulk, sharing its sherbet scent as it was brushed past.  The new meadow was a full foot taller, dahlias were just beginning their show, hollyhocks were pushing skyward and scabious cushions supported industrious bees.  All was doing what it was supposed to be doing.  Well most of it anyway.

This Stachys byzantina has grown too large for its position and is scheduled to be moved at some time in the future.  Until then, and its inevitable cut back, we can enjoy both fur and flowers.

We’ve Got the Power

Calendula Power Daisy Sunny

If there was a flower that summed up this glorious day it would be the Power Daisy.

I must admit that when Mrs G spotted this in a plant catalogue, although new to me and for no reason other than snobbery, I tried to steer her away.  “I think there is something really good on the next page” trying to divert her attention to something more worthy “did I see something about free Monster Munches with every purchase?”.  What I was thinking was “What kind of name is Power Daisy? Sounds like another gimmick to me.  A trap for the horticultural vulnerable”.  Of course as it was Mrs G’s party she was free to Power Daisy if she wanted to.  And she did.

And it transpires that I was quite wrong.  Well I was right about the naff name, but not about the plant.  From small beginnings last year they grew strongly, giving a fine display until late autumn. Not only have they all successfully over-wintered, they began flowering over a month ago and look likely to continue that way.  They have had no special treatment.  Just my usual love and the odd tune.

It is a calendula hybrid.  This one is called Sunny and never has a plant been more accurately named.  There is more on their story here in Mr Fothergill’s Blog.  Apparently more colours are on the way.  Bring it on!


Paeonia x lemoinei ‘Souvenir de Maxime Cornu’

Paeonia x lemoinei 'Souvenir de Maxime Cornu'

I’m still reliving last week’s Plant Heritage Road Trip.  If you like you can come along too.  Jump off now if you’ve got better things to do.  Just don’t tell me, I will be hurt.

Now we have arrived at the Bishop’s Palace Garden in Wells.  It is still raining.  Waterproofs are being challenged.  There may be seepage.   We are all being very brave.  And dripping quite a lot.

Unlike our motley crew,  a little precipitation could not sully the beauty of this tree peony.  Its name, Paeonia x lemoineiSouvenir de Maxime Cornu‘, as extravagent as the bloom.  Her head hung low, unable to endure a combination of excesses; a myriad of petals, a torrent of rain.  When a friend lifted the flower for my inspection I doubted there would be a scent, but there it was, delicate and fruity.

The sun shone for a moment.