Blooming Evington! May
Here we feature some of the flowering plants we’ve spotted around the Evington area this month. We expect you’ve seen them too but, if not, keep a look out when you’re on your walks! In case you see anything you’d like to grow, we’ve included a few ideas and links to help you.
If you have images of and information on your favourite blooms at any time, please email them to us and we’ll include them in the appropriate monthly section.
Flowering Currant (ribes)
If you’re looking for a brightly flowering shrub for early spring colour, this flowering currant comes highly recommended. You can grow it as a shrub, ideally in a fairly sunny spot or, like this one, as part of a hedgerow. It’s easy to look after and will provide early nectar for bees. If you have a friend or family member with one of these in their garden, see if they will sort you out with a cutting. Here’s how to take cuttings. If not, buy one in late summer/autumn and you should get a nice display next spring.
Growing guide: https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants
Similar to but, in some ways, better than the well-known snowdrops. These easy-growing bulbs produce several flowers, rather than the one and flower a later in spring and summer, which helps to lengthen the flowering period in your bulb garden, In autumn, we planted a few small groups of them in our shrub and woodland bulbs corner and are pleased with this immediate show of flowers. Hopefully the bulbs will form clumps and thicker groups of flowers over time. They are readily available online in September. All you need to do is plant them out and wait till next May!
Growing guide: https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/leucojum-aestivum/
Look for this beauty on the edges of ponds and boggy areas. They can be found in wild; we’ve planted one on the edge of our pond. The flowers come out in spring and add a lovely splash of colour as well as being attractive to bees. Our began flowering in April and hit full colour in May but if you plant it in full sun, it might come out in March. If you would like your own, find a friend or relative who has one and see if they will split off a bit of root for you in late summer or early spring. The link below leads to a video in which Monty Don plants his out in a pond but don’t worry, you can grow one much more easily in a boggy bit of garden or in a bowl with no drainage holes, as long as you keep it wet.
Growing guide: https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/maintain-the-garden/create-a-wildlife-garden-part-four/
We’re really excited about these as they have added a new dimension to our woodland bulbs corner and our wild-flower lawn. In both cases they’ve come up strongly and not been badly affected by the recent wind, rain and cold air. In addition, they have flowered a little later than most of our bulbs, just as the grass is getting longer. So their height is important. The flowers are beautiful and there are at least two per bulb, which is great. They have also coped well in our heavy, damp soil. Our planning for next year has already started as we’re thinking of adding some of the white-flowering varieties. As with most spring-flowering bulbs, buy them in September and plant them out where their height will be beneficial – especially in the wild patch in your lawn 😀 Follow the link below and scroll down to the section numbered five.
Growing guide: https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/five-best-may-flowering-bulbs/
Poached egg plant
Of course these have a ‘real name’ but we can never remember it. They are lovely, quite dainty, yet robust and come up faithfully every year. When they do reemerge in early spring, they do so in a greater clump than the previous year as they self seed very successfully. Ours started off as a small clump, donated by my mum in Norwich and were planted in the front of our border. They have now invaded the edge of our wildflower lawn. We should probably thin them out a bit but we’re always happy with the straggly clumps we get.
Growing guide: https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/limnanthes-douglasii/
Our native hedgerow has been grown to provide more shelter and food for wildlife and has been grown around a few existing shrubs which we’re hoping will blend in and continue to thrive. One of these is this tree peony which produces the most exquisite flowers. This year, we’re getting the best show so far and we’re putting that down to the annual mulch of home-produced compost we’ve provided… If you fancy growing one of these, you’ll need a sheltered, sunny spot. You can buy them and plant out in autumn or you can scrounge an off-shoot from a friend.
Growing guide: https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/popular/peony/tree/growing-guide
Sometimes you just have to make compromises and this plant is one such example. In hopes of attracting more butterflies, we considered growing thistles. However, this might not be a good look in our pollinators’ paradise area in our front lawn so we chose this ornamental thistle. It’s made a good start by flowering in early May, having been planted out in September. If all goes well, the flowers should be long lasting and then form seed heads to feed birds. Hopefully some seeds will make it to the ground and we’ll get more plants next year. In the meantime the flowers should attract bees, butterflies and moths.
Growing guide: https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/cirsium-rivulare-atropurpureum/
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get a show of flowers is to allow part of your lawn or grass verge grow wild – even if only for one month.
Growing guide: just let your grass grow for a month or so and you’ll most certainly find the buttercups were there all along.
Sometimes a wildlife gardener just needs to have a little patience! Last spring we mowed, scarified and seeded our front lawn in hopes of making a mini-meadow. One of the species in the seeding was ragged robin – also known as meadow campion. Despite our best efforts, there was no sign of ragged robin or many of the other plants we had sowed. This spring, there seems to be a few more signs of life – maybe the seeds needed a little longer; the winter cold spell may have helped. Suddenly we have four ragged robin flowering happily. As this plant is perennial, we should get more and more over time, which is great as they blend in with the grass so well.
Growing guide: https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/lychnis-flos-cuculi/
Cabbages in the front garden – what are they thinking off? Well, bees and butterflies naturally. In fact we planted a few cabbage plants between the perennials in our front border to provide food for caterpillars and just left them to it. The leaves have been barely touched by any little critters but the cabbages have flowered beautifully.
Growing guide: Amazingly, there is no guide we could find to growing cabbage flowers. So, all we can suggest is grow some cabbages, eat some yourself and leave the rest for the wildlife.
Wild garlic – ramsons
One of the regular walks takes in the lane between St Denys’ Church, Evington and Stoughton. Just by chance we spotted, in the greenery at the side of the road, a beautiful bunch of star-shaped flowers. A glance through our ‘Woodland Wildflowers identification chart showed that they were wild garlic – also known as ramsons. We discovered these bulb-based plants available to order online and thought we’d give them a try. Here’s one that came up on the edge of our woodland shrubs and bulbs corner – perfectly naturalised in the grass. Over time we hope they will develop clumps although we know our damp, heavy soil might hinder their chances. You could grow ramsons from seed but ordering bulbs ‘in the green’ for the autumn might be easier. If, like us, you have heavy soil, maybe dig a hole much bigger than needed and add some grit or sand to improve drainage around the bulb.