May is the best month in our garden and we have it open again on Sunday 17th (for details see Scottish Gardens website). It is has changed so much in the month since our first garden opening in April . The huge horse chestnut tree is obliging with its candles in full flower and the green of the leaves, the lawn and the ferns retains its Spring vividness. The rhododendrons are much later than usual though, and I am surprised more are not in flower.
The other evening when I was waging war on the bluebells in the rockery a mallard and his wife entertained me. I am suspicious of these ducks as I think they eat the frog spawn and the tadpoles, but they are charming and the pond benefits from their keeping it clear of duck weed.
Veratrums have beautiful pleated leaves which are shown to their best when they are young. This photo was taken on 26th April. As they grow taller they always seem to look rather ragged, and their flowers are not attractive. Beside this group, the early leaves of an Epimedium provide a perfect colour match, and they are both set off by the red leaves of a shapely dwarf Berberis .
I grow quite a number of different tulips in pots as we have a very grey yard which sets them off well, and needs enlivening. But this year they have done badly. They have been decimated by mice – I think it is mice as I saw one – but some have survived. Beautiful Angelique should show off her pink frills on Sunday, and I have been sheltering in the greenhouse two large pots of Menton, recommended by my sister-in-law who is a smart garden designer. They should be fine for Sunday. I have been very pleased with the combination in this photo. The cream fritillary – Fritillaria persica Ivory Bells is a star – it is beautiful and has flowered for ages, and is easy to keep upright. If only 2 out of 3 have flowered that is not bad for Fritillaria persica which is temperamental. A shame that only 8 out of the original complement of 20 Ballerina tulips survived the mice but they are just about doing what they are meant to do.
The alpinas are some my favourite clematises, they flower for quite a good period and seem trouble free. Three of them drape themselves elegantly through a large apple tree overlooking our yard. This is ‘Columbine’, slightly less deep in colour than ‘Pamela Jackman’ and more vigorous than the very pretty pale pink ‘Willy’ which came from Binny Plants a couple of years ago.
Anna Buxton, Edinburgh