" To plant trees is to give body and life to one's dreams of a better world " Russell Page

Monday, May 28, 2012

Garden at Heart is on Facebook

Just in case you haven't noticed, Garden at Heart is on Facebook now with plenty of news from plant fairs, interesting plant informations and other goodies...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Amazing pictures- Hoopoe

This picture is not mine ( I wish it would!!) but found it incredibly beautiful.

 Hoopoe - Upupa epops

This birds are quite rare now, alas, and the few times I saw one - I remember it as a very special moment.

Sony Picture Awards

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What's blooming now: Rose Hot Cocoa

My only modern  Floribunda Rose Hot Cocoa has 10 gorgeous buds! 
After a very bad year, I suppose due to a sort of virus which killed most of the bush, followed by a drastic pruning - she is gaining her health again.
I do not grow moderns - this is my only concession - due to its unusual brickred colour fading to a sort of silvery maroon. Hard to describe and even more difficult ( for my very poor photographic skills) to show the proper shade... 

I quite like this shade because it is not too showy, quite subtle and it mixes well with bronze and orange shades foliage like Heucheras Caramel . I tried it next to some very dark blue -almost indigo spires of a Salvia Farinacea and the result was quite pleasing.

It is actually quite a healty growing rose ( a part from this viral incident) with very glossy foliage and a bit of perfume.
Floribunda Hot Cocoa was obtained by Carruth in 2003. (PP15155, aka WEKpaltlez, Hot Chocolate)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What's blooming now: Roses

I'm inaugurating  a new rubrique called "what's blooming now" with the first flush of roses :

 R. Rugosa Therese Bugnet

 R. Therese Bugnet

 Rosa Hibr. Muschiata Crimson Globe (bud and opened bloom)

 R. Veilchenblau

 Unlabeled Miniature Rose (could not resist at the florist arround the corner...)
planted together with Campanula Portenschlaghiana

 First bud of R. Hot Cocoa after a sulking year

Unknown bulb flower that came out in one citrus pot

( I have thrown away the package label after it failed to show up last year and now it's a nameless kid) If anyone has any suggestion?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Take your Thyme

Now that summer is almost here, that we have struggled with mildew and aphids on our roses & co and that we are almost there savouring the garden at its best and most lavish moment... a sudden crave for outdoor meals and garden partying overcomes the busy gardener.
After digging, planting, trimming and pruning there is a well deserved break to enjoy the fruits of our labour - and plan a good BBQ with friends ( I almost think there is a tiny streak of malice in that - what we really want is our friends to admire/envy our lovely Raubritter in a flush of pink corollas or the Digitallis that finally came to show its proud spike of flowers).
But who says barbecue, says herbs freshly picked from the garden! 

So here is a small vademecum to pick out your Thyme:
Thyme forms a quite crowded family of tens of different species and belongs botanically to the     Labiatae Family. An ever present ingredient in almost all cuisines it comes in an infinity of different "flavours". Some are plain, ( T. vulgaris, T. Serpyllum) but there are lemon (T. citrodorus) and orange (T. Orange Balsam) scented types, thymes that recall cumin (Herba Barona) and liquorice (T. Camphorates), wooly thymes (T. Lanatus) and so on.
Although associated with Mediteranean areas, Thyme species grow spontaneously from Northern Europe,  Russia , Central Europe till Northern Africa.

What they all have in common is their love for sunny and well drained soil - more on the dry side than not. Do not give those fellows the best compost soil you have - they will loathe it! Just a shovel of gritty, sandy poor soil will do perfectly.

 Thymus Serpyllus

Thymus Aureus

Thymus coccineus

Thymus Herba Barona/ Caraway Thyme

Apart from its many culinary and oficinal virtues, Thyme is also an admirable groundcover.
Its many species of creepers reach from ground huging types to 20 cm high varieties - all with a bushy and spreading growing habit.
Variations on the green are many and include 'Coccineus' (= 'Splendens') with red flowers, 'Albus' and 'White Moss' with white blossoms, 'Annie Hall' with pink flowers and superior fragrance, the gold-variegated 'Mayfair' (= 'Aureus'), and the compact dwarfs 'Elfin' and 'Minus'. 'Hall's woolly' is a much less flat than regular woolly Thyme, has larger leaves, and is more floriferous, but not so vividly silvery. All these are fairly hardy.

Thyme forms dense carpets of tiny flowers which range from white to pink and purple of many shades. Foliage as well  can come in plain green, leathery grey shades or variegated forms in gold and silver.
A tough and drought resistent plant, Thyme is a good alternative to grass where a low maintenance ground cover and little water are required. It is relatively resistant to being walked on and requires only little maintenance. Generous harvesting for the kitchen use usually keeps it in shape.
The flowering period occurs between May and June, but the dense matt of tiny leaves stays quite attractive even outside the blooming season.

 A very exhaustive article about growing Thyme :http://www.arthurleej.com/a-thyme.html

Thursday, May 3, 2012

An amazing oasis of peonies

Every year for ten days between the end of April and beginning of May, a remote corner in Romania witnesses an amazing show - the blooming en masse of the wild Peonia Tenuifolia. A rare and particularly beautiful type of botanical Peony - also called Steppe Peony, grows wild in an area of 3 hectares. A whole meadow explodes with the blood red simple blooms of this peony.
The place is called Zau de Campie (Mures district), and has been since 1934 a natural reservation dedicated to the preservation in the wild of this plant.

The particularity of this Peony is its very fine and delicate foliage, so different from all other types.
The blooms are simple and a clean bright red with a big bunch of golden stamens. As all peonies , the plant is sturdy and longlived - they can live for 60 years or more, even if in garden conditions it my prove slightly finicky at taking its place and start blooming.

Alas as for all Peonies wild and not, the blooming period is fleetingly short, depending as well on the weather conditions. Rain or a sudden blast of heat can reduce the already short display of flowers.
Never the less the sight of a whole meadow of blooming wild peonies has no equal!

The Zau de Campie Natural Parc can be visited during the blooming period.

Specialised nurseries which sell botanical species of peonies can supply the P. tenuifolia.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Muguet de mai

Today, the 1st of May, French people use to give each other  bunches of Lily of the Valley . This costom is said to date back to the 16th century and is a luck bringer .

Though if you want to give the Lily of the Valley ( Convallaria majalis) a place in your garden, Cotswold Garden Flowers carries an amazing variety. You can find botanical species as the C. Transcaucasica or hybrids in pink, variegated or double forms.
 Easy to grow, give it a shaded place and forget about it. In a couple of years you will have a nice meadow of Convallaria growing all by itself.

So who can resist to this lovely luckbringer at this stage?

 Convallaria majalis Rosea

 Convallaria Majalis Variegata

 Concallaria Majalis Prolificans

Cotwold Farden Flowers: www.cgf.net, UK

So here is lily of the valley for you!