I didn’t show you …

… the alliums in flower.


The long borders in June

After last year’s disappointment (when they were mostly reduced to sludge by heavy rain) they were a fine sight.


I originally planted one hundred A. aflatunense,  twenty A. rosenbachianum and ten A. globemaster.  They have increased dramatically in number and bulbs have mounded up to the surface.  I won’t need to buy any more.

DSM_3424Dotted about the place (but not in the long borders) are a personal favourite: A. Christophii.  But then you all know and grow this one.  Don’t you?

DSM_2624I didn’t show you the aquilegia fest this year either.  I prefer darker colours like A. vulgaris ‘William Guiness’ but


surprisingly I’ve softened on my former disdain for the self-sown pinks and


even the yellow and pink.  Who’d have thought?

DSM_2790From a single plant bought at Great Dixter, I now have plenty of A. chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’ – it flowers for longer than the others but is an equally prolific self-seeder.  I’ve rather let it run riot.


I only recently learnt that columbine (one of aquilegia’s common names) is derived from columbus – Latin for dove.  I’d never noticed them before, but now I find the five, fine-necked and intimate doves blatantly obvious.  I can’t say that I see eagles though; aquilegia comes from aquila meaning – you’ve guessed it – eagle.  Does anyone see eagles here?  Very long-necked eagles maybe.


Photo taken in 2011

Sadly, I no longer have my favourite – A. canadensis.  We used to sell these little darlings at the wholesale alpine nursery (they are only a few inches tall) and trays of 30 in flower would be snatched up eagerly by customers.  But strangely I can’t recall ever seeing them in a garden centre.  If I had I would have grabbed a couple or ten.


Another plant that is over now and I don’t see for sale is pretty Silene fimbriata.  (Well, I saw it for sale once at an open private garden and bought a small pot).  It spreads by rhizome and I now have two large clumps (it doesn’t self-seed in my experience).  I shall dig them up and divide as I can certainly use more of it.  It is happy in dry conditions – I grow mine under


a Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ in the rock border.


Did I show you my rhodohypoxis collection in flower,


my self-perpetuating nigella patch


or the peonies up against the house?  I think not.


And my pride and joy – Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’ – flowered and faded without a murmur from me.  I planted this out fours years ago from a five litre pot and it has grown faster than I hoped.


Common spotted orchids flower in patches of unmown grass

May and June zipped by so very quickly and whilst I did take some photos


Hawthorn and rhododendrons – June 2013

I didn’t get round to posting any.


So – there has been a lot happening down at the Priory


Rosa moyesii ‘Geranium’ above a cappuccino (!) of Alchemilla mollis

I just didn’t show you any of it.


33 thoughts on “I didn’t show you …

  1. What a treat, I so love alliums and on mass like that they look spectacular. Worth the wait. I like the Aquiligia chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’ and Allium combination especially.


  2. There comes a point each year when the garden grows and flowers almost too fast to keep up with, and dozens of photographs are taken and set aside in the flurry of activity, never to see the light of day! Glad that you shared yours with us!


    • Or maybe more than dozens, Sara. I was so busy that I couldn’t seem to find the time (nor inclination) to post about all that was happening. Bit more on top of things now, especially as the heat has slowed the grass right down and so there is a lot less mowing. D


  3. That border with alliums is stunning, Dave. Did they really increased their number in only one year time? Incredible. I have too heavy soil to grow them successfully, shame.
    I like that dark aquilegia very much but indeed I like all aquilegias. I’m trying to get them established in my garden and I hope they self seed and create new colour mix.
    Rosa moyesii pairs beautifully with that alchemilla, please make the gardener know…


    • No, Alberto. The alliums have been there for four years or more now – really time I dug them up and used some of the bulbs elsewhere in the garden. Gardener informed re moyesii – he blushed. D


  4. Wow, look at all those beautiful things we didn’t see! The gardens look great, Dave — I am envious of anyone who can get a border to hold together, let alone look superb. I have a dwarf version of the A. chrysantha with upward facing blooms that I’m really loving. It needs a LOT of shade… And I apologize for being a know-it-all ex-musicologist, but I think columbine refers to Columbina, a pantomime/commedia dell’arte character who often dresses like Harlequin. (Only with a bonus apron, of course.) No idea about the eagles. (Except that they’re a rock band from the 70’s.)


    • Jim reckons the eagle comes from the talons of one?!? (Just checked Wiki actually and they say this is the case. Who knew?). Can’t find any mention of it being derived from Columbina on any site. They all go with the dove story, I’m afraid. Perhaps it is a ‘special’ musicologist theory – and a fine one. I don’t suppose it really matters though, eh? I’ve always liked the name Granny’s Bonnnet myself. Dave


  5. I have A. canadensis – grew it from seed from Special Plants. It is just popping its seedheads I could try and collect some if you would like.
    Love your rhodohypoxis – bought my first one at the weekend at the local alpine show. Any advice on growing. I plan to keep it in a pot


  6. I’m glad someone else feels this summer is going at a faster rate than usual and I’m glad you’ve managed to share these great plants with us. The aliums are superb and put my flowering leeks to shame. I wonder if the aquilegia have aquiline shaped petals?


  7. Nope, you didn’t show me Dave! Beautiful photos and garden and plants, every particle of them. I especially like your Alliums. Why is my garden such a scraggly old wreck in comparison? Humph!


  8. All absolutely fantastic! Love them all but especially all your fantastic alliums, Aquilegia canadensis, Silene, rhodohypoxis and your lovely orchid. An orchid has popped up here, here’s hoping it will seed around.


    • Hi Pauline, most years I have two or three common spotted orchids in the gardens. Often they pop up in the least expected places – ie nowhere near where they have been in the past, so I’m not sure how the seeds traveled. Sometimes they are in the middle of the lawn and I have to spend weeks carefully mowing around them. They are my favourite wild flower in the garden certainly. Dave


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