Small mercies

I am hoping that next year the garden will be a bit less digging and a bit more tinkering. I wait, impatiently for leaves to appear on the trees. But at least my ‘February Gold’ daffodils are in full bloom – even though my ‘February Pink’ cherry tree is steadfastly holding its buds closed. Any bit of colour is welcome so hats off to my hardy perennial violas. I have always liked these because they are tough and (usually) don’t set seeds so they bloom on and on. Most are very sweetly scented and when they get scruffy you just shear them back and they make compact new growth again.

Last year I planted a batch under the roses and they have stood the winter and are now flowering really well considering how little else is flowering. They are ‘Grey Owl’ and ‘Blue Moon’ and I admire them greatly. They were raised from cuttings which root well now. You must take basal cuttings and not straggly shoots which will have hollow centres and will not root. If you do not have suitable, basal shoots just cut the plant back hard – to just a few cms – and new shoots will quickly be produced. Last week I took cuttings of ‘Ivory Queen’ for another part of the garden, and they are already rooted.

Even without flowers, the new shoots of peonies are attractive and hold the promise of so much beauty to come.










5 Comments on “Small mercies”

  1. tonytomeo
    April 3, 2020 at 7:28 am #

    They are cool season annuals for us. They get planted in autumn to bloom through winter, but then get roasted in warm and dry spring weather. They can be perennial, but we do not bother with renovating them through summer. In my own garden, I would dig them, and just bury them deeper with only their tip foliage sticking above the soil.

    • thebikinggardener
      April 3, 2020 at 10:14 am #

      pansies and violas raised from seed are definitely cool season annuals here too – they extend too much and get mildew in hot summer weather. These perennials are tougher but still prefer cool weather. many of the older kinds were bred and grown as show flowers in Scotland – where it tends to be cool in summer!

      • tonytomeo
        April 3, 2020 at 5:35 pm #

        Some annuals (and perennials) take some time to get acquainted with. I can’t tell if fibrous begonias are warm season annuals or cool season annuals. If planted in autumn, the perform all winter, but get roasted in spring. If planted in spring, they perform all summer, but get damaged by frost. Now, why don’t those planted in autumn get damaged by frost?! It makes no sense, but they seem to know what they are doing.

  2. digwithdorris
    April 5, 2020 at 8:11 am #

    Peonies have such interesting foliage and the promise of sweet smelling flowers. Something to look forward to

    • thebikinggardener
      April 5, 2020 at 11:02 am #

      Indeed. They may not bloom for long but the plants are always interesting.

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