Monday, 6 May 2013

Housesitting

Jenny and Philip spent the weekend with Katie, helping sort and decorate her new house, which left us in charge of their house, children, ducks, and dog. Undeterred, we've actually managed to get some stuff done, and even visited RHS Harlow Carr, to take advantage of their spring flowers, a spring plant sale, and the chance to see my parents.


Daffodils at RHS Harlow Carr (© Ian 2013)

On Saturday, I had some child help pruning out the wind damaged shoots on the berberis and similar shrubs in the lower border above the vegetable garden. These took the brunt of the cold east wind that characterized the weather in March/April, and led to a lot of dead, brown foliage. I've cut out the worst of it (there's a bit still to go), and they look better. There's a chance they won't grow back very well, which I'm actually pretty sanguine about: I don't particularly like any of them, so it might just prompt us to cut them down, and replant with something prettier. There are plenty of options!

One of them, in fact, is another rhododendron. We have a few, but none are particularly distinguished, but the pure white rhododendrons we saw at Harlow Carr on Sunday caught both our attention. The bulbs are also looking good, although we didn't see as much of the gardens as we'd like. There's a good drift of Erythronium 'Pagoda' (I think) that was pretty, as well as a number of snakes-head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris), naturalizing happily under the trees.


Snakes-head fritillary (© Ian 2013)

The garden was hosting a spring plant sale, which had a number of different stalls. There were several offering a very pretty white pulsatilla, which I might, at some point, have to track down (Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Alba'), and the holders of the national heuchera/heucherella/tiarella collection, Plantagogo, were there.


Erythronium (© Ian 2013)

This was rather dangerous, as we then promptly overspent our pocket money on five new plants: 'Ginger Ale', 'Hercules', 'Pear Crisp' (all three heucheras), 'Brass Lantern', 'Golden Zebra' (both heucherellas).

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