These are the emerging leaves of glaucidium palmatum, the Japanese wood poppy. I thought I’d lost it, but I’d just forgotten where I’d put it until I dug it up by mistake while forking over the iris border behind the ruin. It has yet to flower with me, but these unfolding leaves dragging themselves out of the cold soil into the sun, I find attractive enough to be going on with.
In a late year, such as this one, the altitude I garden at is driven home to me. Down at sea level, people have been mowing their lawns and looking at the blossoming hawthorn. Here, at 600 feet, even the birch trees are not yet in full leaf. But there are the beginnings of colour:
The problem with marsh marigolds, is that they look wonderful at this time of year, but exceedingly ugly once they have finished flowering. I usually cut them right back, and they don’t seem to mind, but it is a task which involves clambering around in the mud. Speaking of which, I contemplate the pond weed with dread. It is time to clamber into the water and haul it out. I keep putting it off, hoping the pond will warm up a bit….but it will have to be done soon. There’s no escape. The older I grow, the less I look forward to it…
The scree garden is coming to life. The late snow and frost has not done anything to improve the shape of the plants, such as silene acaulis, which are supposed to grow into neat cushions. They now look like cushions that several mice and the family dog have played with. But here’s a gem:
Vitaliana primuliflora, an alpine native to the Pyrenees, should cover itself in yellow at this time of year. Mine doesn’t; in fact it has failed to flower for several years. But I read somewhere that it prefers really poor soil, so I dug it out of the nice fertile clay, and gave it pure grit to feed on. And it’s working..
Another rock plant I struggle with is this: androsace primuloides. The androsache family are marginal, at best, in this climate – and even in my scree border, it is too wet (as you can see by the infiltrating moss. But I love its strangely mechanical growth habit: flowers – straight up; new rosettes rigidly out at right angles into each quadrant. I really ought to find it a dry, gritty slope. I don’t have one. But I have ideas….