Green at last

It’s still cold at nights, but It must be spring: everybody’s either nesting:P1010562

or unfurling:P1010569

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:P1010575

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:P1010572

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….


11 thoughts on “Green at last

  1. Love the cozy adorable bird image. And the surprise unfurling. Oh! I just looked up images of the Japanese wood poppy, such blooms! Kininvie you MUST get them to bloom. They remind me of Cornus canadensis, a wildflower here which I have unfortunately killed a couple times but I just bought again. So glad the sun has returned to Scotland.

    • That cornus looks lovely. I see it likes things wet and cool, so I might try to get some. Does it spread fast? I think I might be going to be lucky with the wood poppy…if so, I’ll post the pics.

  2. Hi Linnie, I have been in touch with akismet and they have just told me they have fixed the problem. Just doing a test run to see if this comes through without having to retrieve it from your spam. Please just delete this. Thanks for your patience. Alistair. I will be back with more conventional stuff later.

    • Well, they do seem to have fixed it . That’s a mercy. I hope they’ve also rescued Fay. (Mind you, if you post comments on the wrong blog, it’s hardly surprising they disappear!)

  3. That’s a steely glare from the nesting bird, Mr K. What is it? I can’t tell. It seems the effect of the pocket in which the Priory sits and your altitude are similar – birch leaves still not in full leaf, and hawthorn not yet flowering though elsewhere here in Sussex they are. Mowing on the other hand I have been doing for several weeks. Dave

    • It’s a chaffinch, Dave. Lots of chaffinch nests around; maybe because they have so much moss to build with. I’m astonished to hear about your birch trees not yet being fully out. It’s (another) weird year, that’s for sure.

  4. Hi Kininvie, It is good to get a bit of warmth in the sun, 20c here today. The Marsh marigolds can look a mess once the flowers go over, not quite as bad as the Skunk cabbage though. I find myself clearing away a lot of the leaves and consider what the consequences will be, never makes any difference as far as I can see, although I wouldn’t want to chance my luck with some others.

    • I cut marsh marigolds right back, and they never seem to mind. Do the same with the earlier white variety c.pal. ‘alba’ (which I commend). I’ve never managed to bring myself to like skunk cabbage: I’ll leave it to you….

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