Happy Unbirthday!

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.

Medlar pome.jpgThe 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 blossomMespilus germanica 003.JPG, 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)Fritillaria meleagris 002.JPG 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!

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22 Responses to Happy Unbirthday!

  1. Jean says:

    My birthday is a few days before yours, but I have more than 15 years on you. This year I officially became a “senior citizen” and celebrated by going to the Boston Flower Show and taking advantage of the lower-priced “senior” admission ticket :-). Happy Unbirthday and Happy Spring.


  2. Helen Johnstone says:

    Happy Unbirthday. I too am heading towards the big 50 but best not to mention it. Lovely birthday presents. I am thinking of getting some small rhoddies as despite fashion I like them very much


  3. Anna B says:

    Happy Birthday! I love garden related presents too! I tried growing that type of Fritillaria a few years back but they grew no heads??!! Just green shoots year on year, then the disappeared altogether 😦 Shame because they look so cool! Hope you have more success than I did with them. 🙂


  4. Happy Unbirthday to you!!!


  5. pbmgarden says:

    Happy Birthday! The coloring on the new rhododendron is beautiful.


  6. lyntochter says:

    Ah, a very Happy Birthday or Unbirthday – just wait until you reach your three score year and ten which I will be reaching next week! Today has been a day of rain mainly, although sunshine late afternoon. Everything is so slow this year. Just hoping the blue-tits use the nest box again this year. I hope you have a great gardening eyar.


    • And an early Happy Birthday to you too! Yes, there is really very little to talk about at the moment as, while there is some growth, it is very slow and you really have to look for it! I do like the idea of getting some more small bulbs in the autumn, though, as these really lift the spirits! Enjoy your celebrations next week!


  7. Happy un-birthday to you and what wonderful presents…I have the checkered fritts and love to add more.


  8. What a great family to buy you plants for your birthday. I’m not at all familiar with Medlars.


    • Absolutely! Always happy to get something growing for the garden! Medlars are a bit unusual,it’s true. Good tree for a small garden, though, with a slightly weeping habit. Not quite sure what the fruits will be like, but I understand you can make jelly out of it!


  9. Pauline says:

    Such lovely birthday presents, Happy Birthday to you! We have an area of the woodland which is always rather wet, I planted a few bulbs of Fritillaria meleagris many years ago and now just spread the seed, they are coming on very well so must try some more in a patch of lawn which always stays damp, looking forward to photos of yours!


    • Thanks Pauline. Yes, I’m delighted with my presents. Plants are just such great value for money aren’t they, compared to the other things we give and receive, bringing pleasure for many years to come…

      P.S. didn’t mention this in my post, but couldn’t resist treating to myself to a young Magnolia Soulangeana plant when I was visiting our local ‘home improvement shed’ this morning. Price: £9.98 (just over $15)- how about that for value for money?!!


  10. My birthday was on the 15th, so fellow Pisces, happy day, despite the weather. Garden marathons going on here–transplanting, feeding, seeding peas, forking earth, and mulch by the van full. Rain called for next few days, which I welcome to wash in the organics.


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