In my humble opinion, May is the loveliest and busiest month in a year for the gardener. There are seeds to sow; seedlings to transplant; plants to move and divide; vegetables to sow and plant (I am seriously lagging behind on this one); lawn to reclaim (each year it shrinks a little, although not as fast as I'd like). And everything looks at its prime - so fresh and lush, no ugly fungal diseases marring plants yet, no pests (although a number of red lily beatles has been sighted already doing you-know-what on the lilies, so some spraying will be in order some time soon to kill off those nasty larvae, which strip a plant of its leaves in a matter of seconds).
And then there is a marathon of unashamed plant shopping.
Talking of which, a week ago I went to my favourite plant fair, which is some 1500 km away. Seriously... It's in Ghent, Belgium (of course, I flew there, what did you think?). And I love it, don't know why.
The plant choice is superb, plants are reasonably priced. Ghent is a very beautiful town by itself, and people are friendly and lovely. And the fair is at the time when everything is dripping with wisteria blooms - magnificent.
And yes, I brought the plants back packed in suitcase. The bounty is not bad at all - some 50 plants, including some gems: Baptisia 'Purple Smoke', Thalictrum 'Black Stockings' and 'Splendide', Veronicastrum 'Erica', to name but a few. I know it may sound silly, going to such excesses, but, oh well, things we do for love.... And it's the best holiday ever for a gardener.
So, anyway, at the moment I am busy with planting them. And plenty of other plants and seedlings, that I've raised, bought, got on exchange from fellow gardeners. But in a meanwhile there plenty of other garden pretties to show. And it is very heard to choose which are the worthiest of the lot :)
The Paeonia rockii are in flower: I have them in white, pink and fuchsia, but the reigning queen (or is it a king?) is 'Yeguangbei'. It is one of the few P.rockii cultivars, considered to be black. Well, it is not really black, but a nice rich purple. And very fragrant. I am looking forward to when in some 5 years time it will turn into a magnificent specimen...
And here is one of my favourite garden plants - Dicentra spectabilis 'Goldheart'. I suppose one could call its colouring blatantly vulgar, but, well, that's me for you. I simply love it. And the feeling seems to be mutual, for it is in the best of health, looking quite radiant (if a bit eye-watering acid yellow :)
The next one of the shocking pink squadron is Geranium cinereum 'Signal' from my last year's shopping trip to Ghent. A very good, strong growing plant.
And the last for today is Heucherella 'Stoplight'. Come to think of it, they all have someting in common :) Yes, yellow/lime green foliage with some pink or purple to tart it up. And here it is with the aforementioned Dicentra spectabilis 'Goldheart' and Paeonia suffruticosa 'YashioTsubaki', which has a very distinctively purple-flushed foliage in early summer, in the background.
And to finish it off, yesterday I managed to squeeze in Hosta 'Rainforest Sunrise' (a gift from a generous garden friend). Now, if you are familiar with hostas, you'd know that this is one of the most perfect hostas ever introduced. I don't know about you, but for me this is a perfect plant combo for the shady spot..
So much for today, I'm off... Talk to you next time, probably when herbaceous peonies kick off their show, which looks just around the corner, seeing as Paeonia tennuifolia and Paeonia officinalis are already in bloom. In a meanwhile, happy gardening to you all :)
Text and photos ©Rasa Laurinavičienė