Summer has a spring in her step

It is foolishness to judge summer’s arrival until there is at least one swallow but – there are loads of them. And two days of comparative light winds and hot sunshine ( it was 24c yesterday) and it feels as though spring has finally arrived. I know it should be summer by now but who cares – I am just delighted that plants seem to be doubling in size every day. Peony buds are almost showing colour, iris are busting out all over and I have started to plant bedding.

After a nominal attempt last year, the deciduous azaleas are starting to bloom again and better this year. The few early ones had to cope with April’s frosts so were a washout but ‘Silver Slipper’ is just reaching perfection.

In a more typical colour, ‘Anneke’ is just at the perfect stage, with intense yellow flowers and sweet scent.

And talking of yellow, walking into the greenhouse is a treat because I am swathed in the sweet, lemony fragrance of Cytisus racemosus.

Or is it? I bought the plant last spring and it just abut made it through winter in the polytunnel, sufffering from drought as much as cold. It is quite commonly sold in spring as a delightful potplant but I doubt that many survive. It is not very hardy and it is usually sold in small pots that dry out so quickly. The irony is that it (well its parents) are from the Canaries and are very drought tolerant. When planted out its roots can delve deep but when in a small pot of peaty compost it soaks up water quickly and dries out in hours. Then the buds drop and the leaves wither.

The complication is that this is really Genista x spachiana and is a hybrid of G. stenopetala and G. canariensis. It is supposed to be sterile and I must say that I have never seen pods on it. As a windowsill plant it is a problem because the spent flowers drop everywhere and it is also very prone to red spider mite. If you have a sheltered garden, that rarely gets frost, it would be lovely outside. For me though, it will be repotted after flowering, given a light trim and, all the new growth should be covered in blooms next spring. It may spend summer outside but it will be brought under glass (or plastic) for winter. But I need to keep it moist. The fragrance is a welcome reminder that it deserves all the attention I should lavish upon it.

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4 Comments on “Summer has a spring in her step”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    June 2, 2021 at 6:55 pm #

    Growth in the last week has been extraordinary and the garden is filling up amazingly quickly. We can’t give out too much about the rain as the credit must go to it!

    • thebikinggardener
      June 6, 2021 at 9:53 am #

      For once I am not going to complain about the rain – It has been falling vertically which is how I like it, rather than sideways which is so often the case!

  2. tonytomeo
    June 3, 2021 at 6:38 am #

    Cytisus and Genista (or one or the other) have become available in nurseries here during the past few years, but I am surprised by how popular they are. Some species have naturalized as some of the most aggressively naturalized exotics here. Nowadyas, I doubt that anyone realized that they are such horrid weeds, and if they do, they are not aware that those in the nurseries are related.

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