After a retarded March, April has been exceptionally warm and dry to date so that I’ve had to play catch-up with the garden. Planting in dry weather is never ideal but needs must and here in the Buxus bed, a variegated Osmanthus is settling in with Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Mount-Olympus White’. In the other shade corner, Polystichum ferns now fill the gaps between a variety of Sarcococcas accompanied by Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Munstead-White’.
Trans-seasonal is an apt description for the plants currently blooming. Daffodils and hyacinths have come and gone but still going strong are the cyclamen in their winter display container. The dwarf rhododendron, which has been known to flower in February, has only recently burst into its ‘morning cloud’ pink. I’ve twinned it with a pot of buttery wallflowers for a Christopher Lloyd moment.
In the tile garden, plants are rotated according to the season. The three Acers are emerging in green, maroon and spotted cream. Hostas have been potted up again and now take their place in an island surrounded by slug-resistant gravel. At the other end of the garden, Photinias catch the last of the afternoon light in a shrub bed of salvias that grasp at every ray of sun they can catch.
And being dry, its time for a refreshing tea and a watering of pots and beds, taking care not to disturb the honey bees that are collecting in the wet gravel by the dripping tap. The sheer number of these visiting water carriers suggest that there is a high demand in the nearby hives. 1. Little wonder – its 64F today.
A garden is not an all-in-one show but rather a composite of vignettes glimpsed from various angles. At the end of my hours of gardening, I sit and take the time to look…. and listen…and inhale. For what is absent from this post are the powdery fragrances of wallflower and viola, the happy hum of bees, bird song, alarm calls, cooing pigeons, cackling corvids, and the occasional startling screech of parakeets. And in the background, the muffled hum of a central london highway in perpetuity.
Dedication: For my good friend Joice who assisted in the garden whilst I was recuperating last year and whose sweet, calm energy the plants surely appreciated
1. Water collection by bees
Written for Diane so that she can stay in touch with the Courtyard Garden wherever she is in her travels.