The gardeners have sent me some lovely images which will appear in this blog over the next few days. However, browsing through them tonight, none strike me as Nature Table material. So, I’ve browsed through my own images taken in the last week.
I’m the world’s worst photographer, and looking at these, I feel like the world’s worst gardener. All the organic material that has been lavished on the beds and borders was completely swept away by the winter floods, a multitude of weed seeds brought to the surface, and the prolonged hot, dry weather has mean that the native clay looks like a dried out lake bed and must now be gardened with a hammer.
This is a long way round of saying please excuse the weeds. I’m working on them. However, if you can identify them along with the plants I point you to, there will be Brownie points. I mean it.
So, for my gardening groups, see what you make of the following:
1 The multicoloured shrub in the centre
Edited to add: Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’. This suckering shrub grows to about a metre in height, with coloured leaves in spring and in autumn, and white plumes of flowers inbetween. What’s not to like? Oh, and untouched by rabbits, unlike the acer next to it.
2 The purple and white flowers
Edited to add: Tree peony, name unknown.
3 The crimson flower in the centre. If you can name any of the other three visible clumps of foliage, please do.
Edited to add: Herbaceous peony ‘Felix Crousse’. It’s surrounded, left to right, by Aconitum napellus (don’t put that in your salad), Geranium pratense, and Sedum ‘Herdstfreude’ (Autumn Joy).
4 The blue flower. This was taken about five minutes after planting, so not looking her best, but it may be a while before I get another one to show you.
Edited to add: Clematis ‘Mrs Cholmondeley’ (pronounced Chumley). The flowers on this cultivar are huge – up to 23 cms. She was raised in 1873. How about that? One person got this right. How about that, as well!
5 The purple flowers, and the white flowers just coming out behind them.
Edited to add: In front are purple Aquilegia vulgaris, columbine, granny’s bonnets. Behind is not another aquilegia or a geranium, as some thought. It’s Astrantia ‘Wattisfield White’. The flowers are only just opening, and normally the plant is far taller, but the hot dry spring has rather dwarfed it. Last offered in the RHS Plant Finder in 2009, so not a common cultivar.
6 The pink-flowered plant centre stage.
Edited to add: This was a stumper for most, but one person got it right. It’s a rather uncommon plant, Lamium orvala, the balm-leaved red dead nettle. The blurb says it’s clump-forming, and so far, it is, but this will be its first full season. It’s taller than other lamiums, with larger pink flowers. It’s only problem with me is that I have rather a lot of wild dead nettles of one species or another, to which this bears a passing resemblance before it really gets into growth. I weeded a lot of the clump up before realising my mistake. It seems to have forgiven me.
7 The flowering plant.
Edited to add: This is Geum ‘Cosmopolitan’, one of the Cocktail collection. I won’t have geum in the garden – the wild geum, or avens, is another plant I’m waging war on (and losing right now), and I have accidentally weeded up many other cultivars when they were not in flower. But, I couldn’t resist this one.
8 The silver-leaved plant. The others count extra!
Edited to add: Again, someone got this. It’s Brunnera, yes, but it’s ‘Looking Glass’, a lovely sport from ‘Jack Frost’. It’s surrounded by golden feverfew, foxglove, coltsfoot, creeping buttercups, and others too numerous to mention, apart from the goosegrass and stinging nettle coming from the clump. Time for the Really Strong gardening gloves…
So, there we are. See what you make of them. On the whole, they aren’t at a stage where you could reasonably expected to recognise species or cultivar, so genus name will do fine. Anything further than genus really gets you some virtual chocolate.
Identities will be revealed after Friday.
Edited to add: Well done to everyone who had a go, even if I don’t know you did! And well done if you got any right. Treat yourself to some virtual chocolate…