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.
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.