Yesterday was a special day.
A five-minute walk away at Margaret’s farm, the cows were being let out to summer pasture. I’ve written about this annual event in the Priory calendar before (see ‘A Stampede of Cows‘).
So, here’s just a handful of photos of a spectacle I always enjoy.
After several months indoors, the cattle’s exhilaration at being released is thrilling to watch.
And amusing too. But it is less so when all that separates me from a herd of galloping, huge beasts is a thin hedge.
Margaret and I watched them sprint down into the fields above the Priory. It always makes us smile.
But I don’t need thudding hooves as a reminder of springtime. The gardens are a giddy green swirl and I find it difficult to keep up with all that is going on.
Flag irises are colonising the ditch between the two ponds and there are more of them each year. That’s a good thing;
as is the slow spread of cow parsley on the meadow.
My ‘Fern Boat’ is …. well, full of ferns. Though I’ve added foxgloves too.
The shuttlecock ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) are at their best. Unlike these Musa basjoo bananas; I’ve only recently stripped away their frost protecting, straw jackets.
I hadn’t realised that shuttlecocks are so invasive. Though I remove loads of the blighters, there are always plenty more popping up from their underground ‘suckers.’ Here they jostle a hosta.
Talking of hostas (seamless isn’t it?), in early April I dug up one, spilt it and stuffed the two bits into pots (left). They don’t look like they’ve just been ripped asunder, do they? (I’m becoming a little obsessed about hostas in pots. I suspect there might be more next year).
Still not much going on in the long borders
but the alliums are always a delight.
Box hedging is spurting away too and will need trimming soon. Here I use box to encase a standard Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ underplanted with heuchera.
This is what the bed looked like in January 2012.
In this triangular bed, I use box to surround an Acer dissectum. The acer has grown far quicker than I was expecting. I shall need to rethink the layout.
Last week I dragged the (very heavy) Priory boat over from the east pond and paddled out to the island on the west pond. I needed to strim, as undergrowth was swamping the four young acers. It’s looking a bit bald now but the acers will be happier. In the background and going from strength to strength is my startling (and much-loved) Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’.
Behind the kidney beds, rhododendrons are in flower. (I told you it was all happening).
Honeysuckle perfume is another fine May-marker.
There’s another honeysuckle on the east face of the house. And the everlasting sweet-pea, Lathyrus latifolius, has begun to scramble up a wall with Geranium phaeum in front.
And finally, I’m pleased with a white saxifrage on a west-facing wall. I put them in as stopgap groundcover whilst two Cotoneaster horizontalis matured.
This is the same area in January 2012. I had just added a second pyracantha and, oddly, was deliberating about taking out the pointless, ugly patch of lawn. I didn’t hesitate for long.
This is only a few snapshots of how the Priory looks on a particular day in May (I’m lying – the above photo was taken the day before). Even with all the excitement in the gardens around the house and within the rabbit proof fencing, my eye also regularly scans the surrounding valley. There is simply too much to notice; let alone to record and photograph.