Staking aquilegias? Or not.
Big brassy yellow jobs have their place but my favourites are the ‘granny bonnets’ and all the variations of that theme from mother-of-pearl creamy pink through to ruby wine and violet blue. This, of course, all comes about by magic (or actually cross-pollination brought about by bees and hover flies and other busy insects without any intervention from me.)
Sometimes striking combinations with neighbours happen accidentally – Lysimachia firecracker with the bog-standard blue one, for example.
It’s the randomness of it all which appeals. I couldn’t be happier if I had spent hours pouring over influential garden magazines and books and attended endless jolly courses on ‘planting partners’ and devised and followed a strict planting plan.
The lucky accident always gives me the most pleasure.
…and then there’s the gusting wind and the rain reminding me about the importance of supporting some things in time.
Some things have to take their chance though. Bistort was a casualty last week. Not sure if it’s retrievable. I’ve had a go at propping some of the flowers up with hazel sticks but it will never look the same. Can’t imagine how you could stake it in advance.
And I know that the aquilegias under the copper beech nearly always get flattened by heavy rain dripping off the tree. So I’ve also propped them up with hazel sticks. The flowers seem to have a very efficient mechanism for ravelling themselves together so it takes a bit of time and patience to untangle them so that they look as if you haven’t just propped them up.
…and the bonus from the operation is that there are always some which don’t look quite right so you have to pick a bunch for the kitchen table.
A perfect opportunity to look at the detail of the flowers. When they have been happily cross-pollinating for years, as mine have, it would appear that flowers from no two plants are the same, producing an infinite variety of permutations of colour and form.
So will I get around to staking them before the early summer gusty gales next year? Probably not.
And this week the wind has dropped a bit and it’s all looking lovely…