As summer sunshine warms us, nature’s early blooms enchant with colour and beauty…
What late spring/early summer flowers are nodding in your gardens?
Aquilegia: often known as Granny’s Bonnet or Columbine, the common name ‘columbine’ comes from the Latin for ‘dove’, due to the resemblance of the inverted flower to five doves clustered together. This flower is one of my favourites. It surprises me every year with its array of colours and varieties, from single star like petals to full, double, frilled and hooded flowers. It blooms amid my meadow of grass with gorgeous nodding flowers from white, to pink, to red, and every shade of purple you could imagine. Each year some interbreed and arrive with the most delightful combinations.
Astrantia: such a simple flower with pink blushed white petals infused with green, or strong ruby red. They are commonly known as masterwort. Grown in cottage gardens, they offer medicinal properties containing an essential oil which can help with digestive problems.
Tulips: the ultimate late spring flower, a companion to daffodils, but flowering on into early summer. I love tulips, and although there are so many varieties, parrot, frilled, single, double, tall, short – my preference lies with simple bold colours, usually reds, purples and white. I adore white tinged with green!
Ragged Robin: lychnis flos-cuculi, is a perennial that’s often found growing in wetter areas such as marshes, fens and wet meadows. Its ragged petals never fail to enchant me!
Solomon’s Seal: another cottage garden plant which produces beautiful arching stems and an arc of green tinged white dangling bells. They’re more associated with woodland shade, but look gorgeous strewn throughout the garden, a delight planted with dicentra, bleeding heart, in late spring.
Iris: one of my most favourite plants. The iris sibirica or flag iris flowers earlier than bearded irises, and my favourites are a mixture of white and purples. I have a stunning clump of water irises in my pond and they make me excited to wait for my bearded irises! Little iris reticulata, dwarf iris, flowers quite early, and the rule of thumb is the smaller the iris the earlier it flowers.
Clematis Montana: I love all clematis, but the montana, spreading across vast spaces and festooned with blooms is amazing. They also flower earlier than the large flowered varieties. Subtle in pink and white, when you see a cottage covered with clematis montana it’s a real sight to behold!
Arum lily: zantedeschia, again, although I love calla lilies and stargazer lilies, and all varieties of lily, the arum with its pure simplicity is the one that bewitches me. A white spiral that opens into a delicate spathe just delights me. It dies away completely over the winter then has the most gorgeous green leaves that push through in spring and I can’t wait for it to flower!
Campanula: another cottage garden flower that I get impatient to see. A carpet of purple, a sea of blue, and I love how it grows in ever-expanding clumps and waterfalls across garden walls. I think it reminds me of my love of bluebells, which have just stopped flowering when the campanulas blossom. There are so many varieties and sizes, but the Star of Bethlehem is my garden favourite.
Ox-eye Daisy: again, pure simplicity plays its part in my garden, and I love how it grows along the road-side, across fields and everywhere! Leucanthemum vulgare a large, yellow centred daisy, that enchants with ease.
These are my garden staples for early summer…how is your garden blossoming?
What are your favourite flowers as the sun peeps through?