Farewell Spiraea ! Hello, more alpines.

In the garden, after a summer which saw triumphant delphiniums flowering several times, some changes. After a long battle which left me with aching arms for quite some time, the Spiraea Japonica was unearthed last week and put aside.

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I had meditated on this for a long time : it was in the wrong place, standing at the front of the sunny border (les places y sont chères, notre jardin étant orienté Nord) and hiding the sun from everybody behind it.

My husband loves that bush, and I have to admit that it earns its keep for most of the year, starting with its beautiful pinkish golden young leaves, followed by its vibrant pink flower clusters and tarnished gold autumn head. I know it’s a classic in suburbian gardens, and I can see why – I am not a snob in gardening matters (can’t afford to be, with my tiny plot and my beginner’s skills). I have taken two rooted bits of it and thrown them in pots – but my success rate with cuttings has so far been… inexistant. Even with easy dianthus ! To be fair, I just dipped the cuttings in rooting hormons and then in an indefinite compost, without the plastic bag, the heated tray nor anything proper, so I am not surprised if a little disappointed (I had counted on my supposedly green fingers).

But I need the space, and especially the light. I am starting to realise that I get most pleasure from looking after little Alpine species, and most of them need full sun. I love the fact that they are small – allowing me to plant a number of them in spite of my lack of space. But what strikes me about them, is their definite and strong personality. When I look at them, I get this strange feeling of being in front of little people, and I feel this urge to speak to them, to give them special attention, to care for their well-being and I feel sadder at the thought of losing them than for most other plant – although I would be devastated if my maples died. (I am considering buying a red dissected leaf maple, but shhhh, not yet, no space, no money). I also love their hardiness, their strength – I picture them covered in snow for many months in the mountains, and waiting for Spring, and baking in the altitude sun, brave, happy and free, and yes it sounds cheesy. Some of my little friends :

  • Leontopodium alpinum

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  • Santolina chamaecyparissus, not happy because it’s been moved

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  • Saxifraga Carpet Pink

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  • Sedum Lime Zinger

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  • Sedum pulchellum Seastar

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  • Sedum reflexum Yellow Cushion

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  • Sedum spathulifolium purpureum

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* Silene uniflora Druett’s variegated

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In fact, I don’t know how alpine they are, really, as most have been manipulated by breeders, but nevermind, I still love them.

As it is the season, I have bought a few bulbs. Nothing fancy, as I have little space (have I already said that ?). Some narcissi Sun Disc, some Pheasant’s eye, a few Queen of the Night and Spring Green tulips. I have ordered Glory of the snow bulbs, along with Eremurus stenophyllus and Eremurus White Beauty (if they flower, I’ll be soooo happy). But the most important thing ordered is a new Eryngium called Neptune’s gold. It was apparently presented in Chelsea this year and is supposed to be a gold and blue sea holly (picture from its Facebook page, yes, it has a Facebook page !).

I love eryngiums, I always have. Those I ordered last year as bare root plants rotted in the rain. This time, I’ve bought a potted plant, fingers crossed !

I leave you with a picture of my beloved Osakazuki maple.

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