Well there’s been a little bit of progress on the bank.
Although it has to be said the eye has left the ball somewhat this month. I’ve been waylaid by multiple shrub relocations and the completion of the hedge around the lawn. And then for the past few days the weather has been dire. Seeing half an opportunity on Monday I dashed out hoping for an hour or so of weeding only to be showered with hail after the first five minutes.
Not waving but drowning..
Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’
Self seeded wild grasses are so thick up here that I’m effectively turf cutting. When it’s very wet the clay soil is almost impossible to separate from the grass, making it difficult to weed without throwing away great wads of earth. In any weather it’s been a slow process, picking my way up the slope with a hand fork, carefully extricating the grass from any surviving plants.
Muscari and Primula vulgaris
But there have been one or two changes. You can see from the top photos that the Anemanthele lessoniana (Pheasant’s Tail Grass) left of centre has moved. After my frustration last year with one of its contemporaries further down the bank I came to the conclusion that a single plant on its own doesn’t always work so well. Especially when the plant is big (they can grow to about a metre high and as much wide) and the space relatively small. I think I described it then as something akin to ‘The Blob’ having descended from outer space. So this year I have rounded up the isolated examples, complete with assorted offspring, and offered them residence in a capacious abode up on Elephant Pass where hopefully they can spread to their hearts’ content and provide me with a substantial drift.
Anemanthele lessoniana. The more the merrier. Seven in all, two out of shot.
The elder statesmen with the benefit of a short back and sides, the youngsters enjoying the wind in their hair courtesy of Storm Katie.
They’ll also help to soften the foundations of a former building.
Our original plan had been to demolish the structure but having rationalised it a bit more, or more to the point the amount of work involved, I wondered if suitably colonised by plants it might actually look quite rustic. Its origins are undoubtedly far less romantic. My first theory that the ‘steps’ left of centre above might have served as an ancient horse mounting platform was called into question by the discovery of modern breeze blocks. But, hey ho, covered as it all is in moss and ivy, who’s to be any the wiser?
Back on the bank, one of the only two unmolested rhododendrons left in the garden. This one was lifted as a self layer a few years ago, a straggly looking thing. And now, here it is, covered in buds.
Oh dear. It has suffered from wind rock and probably a couple of years ago too I’m ashamed to say. It had settled comfortably into its lean, sufficient to require the two of us to get it back upright.
There is a tried and proven technique. Mike drills a hole in the nearest of the old conifer stumps and inserts a metal eye. I then apply my full weight (fortunately in Spring there’s always a fair bit of winter excess) to the trunk of the tree and haul it in the required direction whilst the rope is pulled taut and secured with a knot. In an ideal world the tree tie would have been placed a little higher up the trunk but I was fearful of wrenching the multi-stemmed tree apart.
Here’s one we did earlier.
It gives me confidence that the rope does, eventually, lose some of its eye catching whiteness. I’ve no idea what this tree is. It bears the most gorgeous late Spring blossom, followed in Summer by tiny fruits. They never last the distance, the birds make off with them before I can even be sure what they are. I thought perhaps crab apple, but it may even be a cherry. Hopeless, me, when it comes to trees. This year I’ll take more detailed pictures and perhaps between us we can identify it. Somehow it managed to survive in the middle of a copse of conifers 50′ high. No wonder it’s such a peculiar shape.
No doubting the identity of this one though.. Cornus kousa ‘Wieting’s Select’ is absolutely smothered in buds this year.
It’s going to be a picture.
And finally, I couldn’t leave the bank without a quick snap of this serendipitous combination..
Helleborus ‘Penny’s Pink’, which seems to have been blooming for months, and Pulmonaria.
Onwards and upwards.
Linking to Helen’s End of Month View at The Patient Gardener. Click through to find out what other gardeners have been up to this month, or maybe even join in too?