Hello there, and welcome to this week’s Six on Saturday! It’s pretty dry in the garden and frankly, the place is flagging a little; I’m sure it’ll pick up as soon as we get some rain (by the time you read this, we may have had some). In the mean time, shrubs, with their more substantial root systems, are a lot more resilient to these sorts of stresses. As a reward for their sturdy constitutions, I’m featuring a few spring flowering shrubs this week. As usual, this post is part of a wider selection of Six on Saturday posts, available for browsing at your leisure on The Propagator’s mighty blog.
1. Spiraea ‘Bridal Wreath’
I’ll start with the only shrub in the garden that was here when we moved in. It’s name is up for debate, it’s either Spiraea ‘Arguta’ or Spiraea x cinerea ‘Grefsheim’. Both are known as Bridal Wreath and in less scrupulous circles, the names are used interchangeably. The main difference I can find between them is that ‘Grefsheim’ is slightly smaller; that would point to mine being ‘Arguta’. I notice Fred put a picture of ‘Arguta’ up on Twitter this week – it’s an absolute cracker too! If anyone can enlighten me in this taxonomical conundrum, please do.
It has a slightly strange shape at the moment. When we moved in it had been given the ol’ short, back and sides treatment (and presumably had been for several years previously). I’ve been removing old stems every year to encourage some new growth from the base, allowing it to develop those long, arching, flower-smothered stems. The left hand side of the shrub is looking really good; the right hand side seems to be dancing to it’s own tune, so we’ll see how it progresses.
2. Berberis darwinii
In the picture on the left, it’s a little drab looking. The flowers are not quite fully out yet either, however it’s about to come into it’s own and put on a show of orange blossoms. It’s a bit of an acquired taste in some respects, but I like it. Ultimately, it probably can’t stay in this small space for ever as it’s natural tendency is grow a little larger. When the time comes, I’ll dig it up and send it on it’s merry way to someone who has a space for it. I got it for free, so it only seems right to do someone else a good turn.
3. Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’
This is a plant I actually paid good money for, and I’m glad I did. It doesn’t look too impressive at the moment, as both leaves and flower are only just showing. Before long, it will be covering the fence and putting on a great display of white flowers. It grows fairly sedately, so training it up the fence is a long term project, but one that is beginning to pay off.
4. Buddleia alternifolia
This is a lovely shrub, with long branches covered in lilac flowers. The closeup doesn’t show any buds, but they’ll be there somewhere, I promise. It has proved very obliging, cheerfully allowing me to train it against the fence. This section of border is thin, so bigger shrubs have to behave themselves. There’s also a stray daffodil in the photo. I’m not sure where that came from!
5. Ribes sanguineum ‘Kind Edward VII’
Ribes seem to be the flavour of the month, and it’s not hard to see why. This went in as a very small little thing, as they so often do, but has romped away with admirable enthusiasm. I give a judicious hack every year after it finishes flowering, and it responds very graciously. As far as I can find out, this was the first cultivar of R. sanguineum, dating from 1904. It was named after the king of the time. It’s nice to have a plant of such regal heritage on my humble patch of earth.
6. Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Alba’
I’m sure I don’t need to point out to you that this isn’t a shrub. Pulsatillas are so photogenic that I couldn’t resist. You just point the camera in their general direction and end up with a picture you could put on the mantelpiece. It’s burgeoning shoots featured in a previous Six on Saturday, and it’s finally living up to it’s promises.
Thus ends this weeks Six on Saturday. Do pop over to The Propagator, to take in the sights and sounds of some other posts. Enjoy your weekend!