The Darling Buds of May – the first Alliums, fragrant Roses, lilac, flashy tulips and buttercup fields –


Alliums and ironwork in the Cutting Garden at Petersham Nurseries – elsewhere the first of the roses coming into flower – so many more in furious bud; I had to wait until July last year for the first roses to bloom – March was so bitterly and consistently chill, day and night, that the whole season was put back. Some plants caught up quite quickly but we lost almost six weeks when we might reasonably have expected some flower from the roses. Any flower!


Fragrant climber, Crimson Glory (above) with shrub rose, Dusky Maiden (below)   (a link for Crimson Glory Clg)    (a link for Dusky Maiden)




Fragrant shrub rose, Ellen Willmott – clusters of large, single, fragrant cream blooms flushed with pink, with distinctive claret stems and dark foliage. Continuous flowering. Introduced Archer, 1936

‘Ellen Willmott’ is a rose that dances, opening to light. In darkened or cloudy light, the rose’s petals close over stamens as if in a prayer pose. Warmed by the sun, the petals open gracefully as if they were wings on a meditational butterfly. The opening of petals is in tune with the mysterious timing of nature, because it is just in time for the bees that unobtrusively parade to receive the pollen that she graciously provides on top of wine stained stamens. The plant is about 3 feet high and like an upright tea, with plum colored new foliage, which darkens to a matte green. Captain Thomas wrote that the rose had remarkably fine foliage, and the plant is blessed with good health. The ivory petals are scalloped and warm to shades of peach along the edges. The slender buds come in small clusters, sometimes singly. The parents of ‘Ellen Willmott’ are ‘Dainty Bess’ and ‘Lady Hillingdon’. The rose was developed by Archer in 1936. The rose is strong on its own roots. ‘Ellen Willmott’ was an extraordinary artist, gardener, and writer of The Genus Rosa. If roses had eyelashes this one could certainly bat her eyes.


Syringa Sensation – a bi-colour lilac that looks much better in this photograph than it does in real life…


Tulip Estelle Rijnveld (above and below)


and home, passing the buttercup fields, edged by Hawthorn, with views up to Richmond Hill



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