The warm weather has arrived here at Hyde Hall, the wind has died down, but the rain still graces us with its presence when we need it. Our planting is in full swing now, bulking up the perennials and adding new shrubs for interest, and in the next couple of weeks the tender plants will go out. We bask in the summer sun and get soaked in the April showers that never fail to come in May. We are blessed with a beautiful tan, and some of us (well, plants mainly) are producing a show of fresh lush leaves to illuminate the borders. In amongst all this delight we do a constant battle with the dreaded weeds that our trusty volunteers will clear for us as they keep the borders in check.
A beautiful blue - but not from Peru!
Around the Hilltop Garden there are some beautiful bulbs for early summer colour; a particular favourite of mine is Scilla peruviana which is a hardy bulbous perennial with large metallic dark-blue flowerheads, preferring a well-drained sunny spot and growing to 20cm (8in) in height; this is perfect on our Dry Garden on its south facing slope.
Originating from the Mediterranean, they travelled to Britain in the 17th century on a boat named ‘The Peru’ – therefore earning the name peruviana.
They will grace your garden with their riches for many years and will only need dividing every 10 years when they become congested - do this in July before the new growth starts. But, as a small tip; at this time of year they will be dormant - so make sure you have remembered where they are, and I usually find a photograph does this better than any marker. Come by and see them on the Dry Garden in the next couple of weeks.
I have been planting some Arabis which will dress up the rocks and tumble over them, making a riot of colour in April and May alongside the alyssum and the aubrietia, which all visitors seem to love.
Along with some assistance from one of our apprentices we have also added some new alpines to our Bastion wall, tucking them into the cracks and crevices. They prove to be challenging to establish, but will do well as long as I can get enough water into them. As a rule we don’t water the Dry Garden, but when new plants are put in, then we must give them a drink or two to assist their establishment.
A wide variety of alliums such as Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation' and Allium 'Ivory Queen' are all starting to flower now too – globes of purple, white and pink all dressing up the borders and blending in perfectly in and around flowering plants such as Iris pallida subsp. pallida. They are a perfect match for early summer colour, growing to varied heights from just 20cm (8in) to 80cms (2ft 6in) or sometimes taller if the wind allows! They are well suited to a sunny situation.
The lawns are well into growth now also, requiring a cut every week and sometimes more. Soon they'll be reminiscent of a thick fresh green carpet, as it always is during the summer months because of the hard work of the turf team.
Come and take off your shoes and feel how soft it is, also there is fun to be had dodging the sprinklers at times too, which is a real treat for the children!