Random blooms

As it gets bigger and has more blooms I admire Ribes valdivianum more and more. It is similar to, but more subtly coloured than, Ribes x gordonianum. But there appears to be a problem and Ribes valdivianum should have separate sexes on different plants and have downy racemes of flowers. So my plant may not be Ribes valdivianum at all. The true species is native to Chile and Argentina and was introduced in 1926 from San Martin de los Andes in Argentina. If this is not the right plant I would like to know what it is because it is a lovely thing: not as showy as Ribes sanguineum but pretty.

I am delighted to say that one of the pears is full of flowers. ‘Beth’ has decided not to produce a single bloom and nor has ‘Clapp’s Favourite’ but ‘Concorde’ is covered in bloom. All three are the same age and have had similar pruning though ‘Clapp’s Favourite’ has had the odd long branch removed because they get very leggy and then collapse under their own weight so I have had to shorten them. Fortunately ‘Concorde’ it is self-fertile so I should still get a pear or maybe two. Last year there was none, though there were very few flowers. Perhaps this year?

In the raised beds Ipheion ‘Wisley Blue’ is in bloom. This (and other cultivars) are brilliant spring bulbs and although my bulbs were planted about 15cm apart and the show is decidedly spotty at present, they rapidly increase to form clumps and I will soon have a galaxy of bloom. The flowers are produced one after another and are fragrant, though the bruised leaves smell of onion. It is native to Argentina and Uruguay and totally hardy and easy to grow.
Some plants are put in not so much because I adore them or because I just must have them but because they serve a purpose. Such is Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’ which is planted in a corner by a raised bed and under a purple berberis to cover the ground. Although the site is wet in winter it has covered the soil admirably and is currently a mass of bloom, much to the delight of the bumble bees.

My seven Prunus padus ‘Colorata’ are just starting to bloom. They were only planted in the autumn but I am pleased that most have produced a few clusters of bloom. The flowers are small and pale pink, opening from pink buds, and lightly (ie. barely detectable) fragrant. I now have to wait for them to grow so I have great clouds of pale pink flowers.

5 Comments on “Random blooms”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    April 25, 2022 at 9:11 am #

    My one pear tree – ‘Conference’ – has limped along year to year in poor health and I have dithered over removing it or not. Similarly, I have Cydonia oblonga which I adore when in blossom but it becomes covered in mildew and loses all its foliage in summer and rarely produces fruit yet I can’t bring myself to remove it as I like is so much. Ipheoin is a very strong grower here as is Ajuga ‘Caitln’s Giant’ and I love the latter. Those ribes are very beautiful.

    • thebikinggardener
      April 26, 2022 at 8:37 am #

      That does not sound good about your pear. I am hoping my ipheions do as well as those in the grass near the house at Mount Congreve – but I doubt it!

  2. tonytomeo
    April 25, 2022 at 3:12 pm #

    Ajuga reptans looks great. I have never seen it do well. Yet, it is still available from nurseries. I have no idea why it does not perform well here.

    • thebikinggardener
      April 26, 2022 at 8:36 am #

      It hates heat and drought and gets mildew badly in those conditions.

      • tonytomeo
        April 28, 2022 at 4:27 am #

        I do not see mildew, but I do not get close enough, and the leaves do not get big enough to show symptoms. They do get crinkly and crispy though, so likely have mildew underneath.

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