This Month in the Garden with Kate Hill

The beautiful orange poppy at the top of the page set itself several years ago and it’s a welcome addition to the garden – in fact, I’d like more of it but it doesn’t seem to want to spread no matter how many times I’ve sprinkled the seeds around. This year, however, a new plant has emerged right next to the fence and where I’ve definitely not sprinkled seed. Perhaps it prefers the rougher ground to the well-fed soil in the border. I’d hate to lose it so I’ll just leave it and the parent plant where they are – at least they’re growing where they’re happy!
Staying with orange coloured flowers, a favourite has to be this geum Totally Tangerine which, although not fussy about soil type, in contrast to the poppy will nevertheless appreciate the addition of some garden compost. There are many varieties of geum with a wide range of colours but this one’s popularity is well deserved and it’ll flower for months if you remove spent flower spikes.
This charming little hardy orchid is one which my uncle Derek gave to me a couple of years ago. I grow it in a terracotta pot and over-winter it next to the house for a bit of protection. I must confess I didn’t pay attention when Derek told me what it was called but on watching BBC2’s Beechgrove Garden recently similar orchids were featured so I was able to do a Google search and I’m pretty sure it’s one of the Pleione varieties. If there are any orchid experts reading this please forgive my lack of knowledge!
Another plant that belonged to Derek and Vi which they wanted me to have is this lovely bougainvillea, which now lives in my porch where it gets plenty of sun. They are such exotic looking plants and this one has variegated leaves.
Less exotic but no less lovely was the woodland floor at Prior’s coppice near Oakham where our birdwatching group visited recently, which was covered with wild flowers including bluebells, cowslips, violets and red campion, although it did occur to me that these can also be found in my own garden: many would call them weeds but as the saying goes, a weed is just a plant in the wrong place and I don’t have the heart to rip them out.
In fact, I have noticed on my forays to nurseries and garden centres that more and more wild flowers are being sold, which is no bad thing; they are after all very beautiful, it’s just that, being native plants they do tend to spread rather quickly but, as Derek used to say – if dandelions were sold as garden plants people would buy them!