Priory Beauties

Over in the meadow, the first Camassia quamash has flowered.  I planted 200 of these small bulbs last autumn so this better not be the only one.  (Or else there’ll be trouble).  Very pretty, I think and a little startling when I first saw it.

I really like Aquilegia.  Does anyone not?  A few years ago I nabbed some seed from a friend’s garden.  I now have several of this blue form and encourage it to self seed where it will:

I also grew a dozen or more Aquilegia william guiness from purchased seed and released it into the Priory garden to run amok:

But my all time favourite is this little alpine species, Aquiliegia canadensis.  What a gem.  (It’s only four or five inches tall.  Bless).

The very last of the Priory daffodils are now flowering.  Daffodil actaea is delicate and fragrant and extends the daffodil season well into May.  At least normally it does but everything is a couple of weeks early this year.

One of the few plants to survive the-years-of-neglect is a clump of Solomon’s seal.  I dug it up last year in order to increase my stock.  I’m not sure any visitor to the garden would even notice it.  But I do.
On the walls of the house are two honeysuckles.  One of them, of huge size and presence, grows in a courtyard-like space and so the scent, in such a semi-confined area, is even stronger than normal.   Knocks you flat.

Talking of a good scent, the first rose has bloomed.  In April!!  I don’t know the variety I’m afraid but this smells good and repeats.  Being against a south-facing wall has helped bring it on so early.

And the iris bed is doing what is demanded of it.  Again this is a survivor from the-years-of-neglect so variety unknown:

I couldn’t be without Allium christophii and have planted a hundred or so at the Priory.  That infinitely-slow-motion-explosion as it unfurls over several days.  Mesmerising.

I was up in Margaret’s wood a couple of days ago, enjoying the light (but working very, very hard obviously).

I was cutting bean poles from some old coppiced hazel.  And whilst blundering around with my big fat feet and humming loudly, I almost trod on and squished this elegant little beauty.

I’ve had to scratch my head somewhat, think long and hard and attempt an identification.  It’s not an orchid I’ve come across before.  I’m going to be very brave (what with all you plant fiends out there) and say categorically and without fear of contradiction (fingers crossed) that it’s an Early Purple Orchid.  And what a little corker she is.  I like the fact that no-one else on the planet has seen this particular plant.  That it has been growing unobserved and unappreciated in this unvisited, private wood; just quietly getting on with what it has evolved to do.
Glad I didn’t squish it.

10 thoughts on “Priory Beauties

  1. Thanks Nancy for your comment (since deleted by the Blogger problems of a few days ago). Glad you can back me up on the orchid id. And good luck with the camassia for next year.



  2. Some really lovely photos in here and elsewhere on the blog! Lovely to see your camassia flowering. I planted some in a pot last year (yet to find space outside) and we've yet to see a flower. Can't wait, they're so pretty!

    And yes, looks like an early purple orchid to me too. Beautiful!


  3. Hi Janet, a drift of the camassia would be good but yesterday I only counted 4! And I know what you mean about the aquilegias. I bought one from the shop at Sissinghurst and was really disappointed when it flowered and revealed itself a double. When I recently moved house, I didn't dig it up and bring with me.

    Thanks Holley, now that I no longer live 'next door' to the Priory I don't tend to see it in the evenings (I used to walk my dogs down there when not working). The honeysuckle on those early evening walks was incredible.

    Hi Katherine, I guess given the sheer numbers of alliums at the Priory the likelihood was that one of them would be out before Jason's. Again though against a south facing wall.

    Hi Ronnie, thanks for visiting. Yes the weather this year has been extraordinary. Last year we had a really late frost in early May that did loads of damage so I've been holding off planting some non-hardy stuff out. Must be safe to do so now though. Mustn't it?

    Hi Girlsprout, they've got several names haven't they? I particularly like Granny's Bonnets. Funny to think of you growing such similar plants in New Mexico!!

    Hi Karin, the orchid (above) is actually in the local farmer's wood but there is also one or two growing on the east lawn. I'll post a photo when it blooms – it's a different species.

    Hi Stacy, odd to think of it growing in the wild!? I used to work in an alpine nursery and so, for me, it comes in little square pots and whole trays of them bloom en masse. Sounds like a smashing spot in the NE US. May need to add to my fly-drive itinerary!


  4. When I lived in the northeastern US I used to see those little A. canadensis on forest walks–one patch in particular grew right at the top of a shalestone gorge overlooking a waterfall. (I'm going to go all dreamy-eyed for a minute.) Even with those bright colors they blend into the forest until you're right on top of them, and then suddenly you have this lovely surprise. (If you don't squish them.)

    That allium is really stunning!


  5. More lovely photos of lovely flowers. I think my favourite is the Aquiliegia canadensis, although I'd be very pleased to see any orchid growing in my garden.

    I'd like to think I would notice your Solomon's seal should I walk past it. I tend to look quite carefully.


  6. Hi, I am visiting your blog for the first time via Plataliscious/Janet – glad to be here.

    What fabulous pics. I love aquilegia and how they self-seed themselves in the oddest places. I had William Guinness a few years ago, it disappeared sadly. As for honeysuckle out now in April, its mad isn't it??!

    Please feel free to visit my blog


  7. VERY glad you didn't squish it, so lovely – and that camassia… Hope you get more, I'd love to see a photo of a drift of them. Or perhaps visit and wander around with a glass of chilled wine?! Beautiful aquilegias too, I have too many of the overly fussy ones it is so easy to get seed for, and not enough of the more simple, elegant type. An ongoing project.


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