My friend and I went to Harrogate Spring Flower Show on Thursday, it’s been an annual treat for us for nearly twenty years, we love having the chance to buy direct from the specialist nurseries, getting plants that aren’t easily available locally. Unfortunately this year we were so disappointed in the show it might be our last one. We’ve given it a chance to recover post covid as we do feel you need to support these shows if you want them to continue, however there were so few plant stalls it was ridiculous. The show seems to be full of ‘stuff’ now, not plants.
Anyway, I did manage to buy a few!! Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been clearing a bed where the chickens and the compost heap used to be. As you can imagine the soil is the best in the garden! Unfortunately it’s quite a shady corner up at the top of the garden and it’s got a fair amount of bindweed too. I’ve spent the weekend trying to dig up every scrap of bindweed root I can find, digging out old plant pots, paving slabs, rusty metal, all things that got buried as we added shreddings to the chicken run. There’s still a large sheet of mesh under there too from when we put it under the compost heap to deter rats, as it’s 8-12″ down there’s no way I am digging it out so plant roots will just have to go through it.
A couple of months back we were wandering round Otley Garden Centre when I saw a display of golden leafed plants, it looked really nice, not too much either, so that gave me the inspiration for this bed, it will hopefully light up a dark corner. Gold leafed plants often like a bit of shade too so their leaves don’t get scorched.
So I planted a philadelphus shrub and a pieris at the back of the border, they should both eventually get to about 6′, but it will take a few years, I spotted these on Otley market yesterday. I’ve a cluster of three hostas near the front, a lovely lime green heuchera (which came from Otley market too) and a pretty yellow aquilegia. A variegated euphorbia is mid bed as this should reach about 90cm. There’s also a couple of astilbes and a Japanese anenome mid bed which were bare roots at the show so nothing to see at the moment. It’s a big area, about 8′ by 12′, so a handful of plants doesn’t go very far!
Over by the pond there’s a very pretty erythronium Pagoda. If I see them for sale again I might get some for my new border, this one has been in about 10 years! The iris leaves are appearing and the Solomons Seal, which are the tall droopy stems are still pretty numerous despite being thinned last year. Having picked up a catalogue from a pond plant specialist I’m all enthused about my pond again, I just need to get on top of the duckweed before I order some plants.
I’ve been sorting out my pots too, I got a lovely silver thyme at the show to add to my rosemary, I’m trying to get a few more fresh herbs in the garden. My mini pond cum bird bath now has a little reed and a miniature waterlily. The two big pots which look empty have some lily bulbs and a peony.The violas a bought a couple of weeks back have settled into their pot nicely.
Opposite the pots the Jack Frost brunnera is looking lovely. It’s offspring hasn’t got as much variation as the original but the forget-me-not flowers seem to show up more with the plain foliage. I love the variegated leaves though as they look great for most of the year.
Up in the Amber and Amethyst garden there’s a pretty perennial wallflower already in flower, it’s one I planted a couple of years ago. It’s mingling beautifully with the two pots in front and the skimmea behind. They are more commonly seen with purple flowers but other shades of yellow and reddy-purple are available now. They’re pretty short lived, only a few years, so I do buy new ones fairly regularly. I think they exhaust themselves from flowering so much.
All the perennials are shooting up now, this is the long lefthand bed in the Amber and Amethyst garden, I think the peony is trying to escape from it’s support! The cammassia look ready to flower and I don’t think the Spanish bluebells will be far behind them, I think I need to thin these a bit as they are getting a bit rampant!
I’ve actually managed to get all my plants from the show planted within three days, this is a new record, it usually takes me weeks, mind you it also reflects how few plants we actually bought!
Amazing as always! We are still having nightly frosts, though the iris are beginning to peek out and my hyacinths are up.