Well, I’m another year older- not quite at the big 50, but getting perilously near, so a very Happy Unbirthday to all my fellow green-fingered bloggers!
Each year, the Head Gardener’s birthday usually coincides with, firstly, dire weather (no exception this year – once again this weekend, it is sleeting and snowing in equal measure) and secondly, and more happily, the arrival of some new plants for the garden!
This year, the family has given me a Medlar tree, a rhododendron and some Snakeshead fritillaries.
The medlar variety (Mespilus germanica), is Nottingham Royal, which apparently produces better fruit than the more common Nottingham, although it is a bit of an acquired taste, I believe. It does though have beautiful white apple-like blossom, and we are going to plant it in the rear, orchard part of the Walled Garden with the free-standing apples. It was a tree quite common in Victorian times so there might well have been one growing in our garden at one time, (it actually has even more ancient roots being grown by the Greeks and Romans in the 2nd Century BC!). More recently, the Medlar has rather fallen out of favour. Not entirely surprising as the fruit isn’t exactly that beautiful to look at, and it needs to be ‘bletted’ (allowed to go well beyond fully-ripe stage) before you can eat it! Well, the flowers will be nice…
‘Horizon monarch’ is our new rhododendron variety. It has beautiful very pale yellow, slightly pink-flushed blooms, with its buds a much more pronounced pink. Every year or so, we try to plant another rhodo in the woodland, although I’m keen to broaden the range of species, inspired by other bloggers with excellent woodland gardens. Last year we opened the woodland up by spraying out the nettles and it’s given us quite an exciting new area to explore.
Finally, around the old free-standing apples in the walled garden, we’ll be naturalising the Snake’s Head Fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris) in the grass. We grew them in our previous garden but haven’t had them here until now. A real thing of beauty with its chequered purple (sometimes white) flowers so early in the season!
All I need now is some dry weather to plant them in and that, I think, may not be for a little while!