I looked at the budding rhododendron at the front door and thought what a wonderful transformation it performs, this deep pink bud opening up, bursts into a beautiful creamy yellow blossom with a maroon throat. It was inherited with the house, so I have no idea what it’s name is but it is my harbinger of spring.
The two other varieties I have, bloom at slightly different times, and like the yellow bloom, they were inherited with the house.
They are usually awash with bees and other pollinators. The tiny garden at the front of the building is left almost tidy, but untidy enough to allow it to be shared with other forms of life.
It’s an old building with plenty of nooks and crannies for welcome – and unwelcome guests. The ants have lodged at the front of the building for a very long time and providing they don’t come indoors, they can get on with their own lives.
The little carder bumblebees have found their way into the void between outer and inner walls and have made a home there, with their entrance gateway through the air vent. They are very amusing to watch, some are experienced pilots and can zoom out and in the vent holes, without trouble, but others must have been following a modern SatNav instead of their own homing devices, and appear to lose their way a bit.
There are plenty of perennial flowers and shrubs to keep them going, making their appearances at different times over summer and into autumn. Lilac, pieris, fuschias followed by penstemon, Saxifraga × urbium (I know it as Nancy pretty or None-so-pretty it may be), peony, agapanthus, crocosmia, ‘Lucifer’, crocosmia (standard orange), bluebells. primrose, digitalis and whatever other plants I can fit in.
There was/is a Juniperus horizontalis which is looking quite shameful after it was cut back some years ago and has never gained it’s prostrate appearance, but looks more like a ‘pudding basin’ haircut gone wrong. It’s barber didn’t realise you didn’t cut it like a hedge! Now frost damaged, it may be better to have it removed. There are also a couple of conifers and what should be a lawn, is mainly moss and daisies.
Centranthus ruber (red valerian) and Alchemilea mollis (lady’s mantle) are lovely plants but very invasive, I tried to remove them but there are still plenty of little plantlets popping up each year.
Now with the rhododendrons bursting into bloom, it will be time to see what other plants have decided to make their appearance this year.