After nearly a year of photographing these monthly garden moodboards, I’ve come to realise that getting the main shot is a little like taking a group family photo.
You line everyone up neatly, check they’re standing in a good position, look through the lens, go back to the group, move someone a little, ask someone else to take off their glasses and, click, take what you think is a great photo. And it’s only when going through the photos later on your computer that you realise someone always had their eyes shut, or someone’s hair is blowing in the wind, covering up the face of the person to their left. And you scroll through all the photos, to discover that though you have one in which every individual person is looking good, there isn’t one of them all looking good together…
(My family are notorious eye closers. From all the events of the past few years — four weddings for each of my siblings, new babies, first birthday parties and so on — there is not one single photo where we all have our eyes open…)
This month, it was the artemisia letting the side down. Look at that photo above, everything looks magnificent except for the bit of slightly wilty green foliage, snuggling a little too close to the blossom and just generally looking a bit drab. But, the artemisia is a glorious little plant really, here it is showing off its colours with a little more panache.
It’s got lovely silvery foliage, covered in fine hairs, and it smells absolutely wonderful rubbed between your fingers. This cultivar is ‘Powis Castle’ – it’s growing in my front garden, but looking a bit bedraggled, overall, after being buried under scaffold planks and who knows what else for the most of the winter. I think I might need to take some cuttings and hope to start again with a sturdier plant now.
But it’s full on spring outside now, so there are plenty of lovely flowering plants as well. I’ve got two different types of bluey / purpley bulbs that I can’t identify. A big prize for anyone who can give me names for these two (small print: no actual prize will be forthcoming):
Others are more familiar to me. The gorgeous grape hyacinths are nearly over, but I managed to find a few still poking their heads up, though the bottom flowers on the stalk are already shedding seeds as you can just see here:
The yellow primulas are still going strong as well. I know I showed you these last month, but I’ve since dug out my macro lens, so I thought they deserved a better close up photo this time round:
Ditto the last of the magnolia flowers, from next door’s front garden. I was reading something in my RHS magazine this month (uh huh, I’ve just subscribed, I’m getting serious about this gardening lark!) from a garden designer who said that in a small garden, every single plant has to perform to the fullest and provide interest in every season of the year. So he wouldn’t put any plants into a design that only had a short season of interest — no matter how appealing they were in that time. But the magnolia! I immediately thought to myself. How could you miss out on such a wonderful couple of weeks, even if it does very little for the rest of the year?
I planted lots of Leucojum aestivum bulbs (common name, Summer snowflake, says the RHS) in the front garden when we first moved in, though only a few have come through again this year. In the back garden, though, I’ve suddenly got loads around the pond, which is really beautiful. They look a lot like snowdrops, but grow on much taller stems.
Most pleasing of all, though, is the proliferation of blossom on my plum tree. I hold out hope for a good plum crop this year, unlike last.
And for a little variety in colour, I had to show you a little of my forced rhubarb with it’s heavenly pink stems…
But back into the front garden again for my last two plants. My batch of white snap dragons from last year have self-seeded back into the same pots and, so mild has it been, some have even started to flower, a good three or four months early:
Once I’d finished photographing all these little beauties, I bunged them into a tiny jar so I could continue to admire them. Sweet, no?