I am ashamed to say that I have almost ignored ‘Katherine Havermeyer’ this year with so much else going on. She is one of the oldest plants in the garden and is flowering for the third year and is really looking rather good. I know that not everyone admires lilacs but I am pleased with how she has done and appreciate the rather heavy heads of fragrant double blooms. This is an old, French, Lemoine hybrid dating back to 1920. Like all lilacs, it is best, if possible, to snap or snip off the old flowers as they fade and along with any weak shoots. No other pruning is needed.
I barely dare to mention my other lilac because of the topically unfavourable name. ‘Beauty of Moscow’ (‘Krasavitsa Moskvy’) is actually even lovelier. The double flowers are silvery lilac in bud but open to white, but not the cold white of most others. It is very fragrant, better than the above and already, in its second summer in the ground, it is producing some blooms.
I mentioned, yesterday, that I had been on a plant-buying spree Friday. One of the new plants that had to come back with me was Rhododendron atlanticum ‘Snowbird’. This hybrid of R. atlanticum has blue/green leaves and a compact habit. It is said to need moist soils and full sun which is a worry but, after some immediate losses, all my other deciduous ‘azaleas’ have settled down. These particular plants were on a bench I walked past and it was not the rather small, slender blooms that grabbed my attention but the perfume. It smells like the very best of these azaleas with a ‘cold cream’, sweet scent with a hint of cucumber – I adore it. I am off down the road tomorrow to sweep up the fallen leaves beside the road – they should be fairly composted by now – to help make this plant as comfortable as possible.
Just to show that some plants actually do survive being planted, here is ‘Soir de Paris’ an ‘azalea’ that was planted two years ago. I have a dozen or so in the garden and this is definitely my favourite. I love the sugar pink flowers and it is wonderfully fragrant too.
One other plant I had to get, and I have been thinking about it for years, is Daphne ‘Eternal Fragrance’. I have grown it before and I have to admit that it is not absolutely brilliant, in my opinion, and the scent is rather dull compared to the rhododendrons above. It is valuable because it is a fairly tough plant and actually does flower for many months. It is now in the raised beds next to where a bench will be placed on some decking – one day. Maybe the daphne will still be in bloom when that happens!