Six on Saturday: 08 May 2021: A walk up the front path

Looking down the path, sunny side on the left, shady side on the right with the big yew ball. The forget-me-nots have colonised the sunny side, and I’m hoping the white Honesty will too.

I associate May in Belgium with paddling pool weather, as when my son was younger he loved a splash in the garden at this time of year. But it’s far too chilly for paddling, I’m still wearing my woolly cardigan! At least it has rained, so the plants are content. I’ll only be content when I can sing along to “Here Comes the Sun”.

This week I’m going to show you the front path, which was once dolomite, laid to grass on either side, with some old roses on the sunny side. It made for extremely awkward mowing and represented, mais oui, a wasted planting opportunity. So, little by little, turf was lifted and things became more interesting. My first choice for this week’s Six on Saturday goes to a sun lover by the front gate:

1 Iris germanica (I think). The first time I’ve had an iris flowering in my garden. It’s with its other iris friends in the sun-baked front-end of the front path, right by the gate, but none of its friends have come out to play with it, which means it looks a bit silly all on its own. What’s the secret with Irises, are they tricky, do they need more than just sun?

2 Geranium. I’m a big fan of geraniums, if only I could remember all their names. This one is further up the front path, a nice, clean blue. I like the simplicity of the flower too.

3 Rhododendron ‘Horizon Monarch’. More front path action, but this is on the shadier side. I was horrified when the buds started to emerge in a saccharine peachy pink in the first year after I bought it, and I thought a terrible labelling error had occurred. Thankfully, the peach is just a teaser, the soft Cornish clotted cream yellow reveals itself splendidly when they open up, with just hints of peachy pink, phew. It’s an impactful shrub that doesn’t grow to the monstrous size of some rhododendrons, max 2 metres high.

4 Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’. Neighbouring the rhododendron is this bright wood spurge which has been adding zingy tones to this shady spot for weeks now, but got shoved off the Six on Saturday slot by limelight-hogging tulips. It’s time to remedy that, as this really is a super plant for those tricky spots in dry shade. I wish I had planted another patch on the other side, so I’ll try some cuttings this year. Has anyone tried this with Euphorbia? Behind it are ‘Fire King’ wallflowers, which seem happy enough here, but are out of sniffing range.

5 Tiarella ‘Pink Skyrocket’. Such a dainty little thing, but tougher than it looks, I’ve got three of these in the dry shadow of a large yew, shaped by the previous owner into a giant ball. They don’t seem to mind at all. When they’re not in flower, the deeply dissected leaves make an attractive ground-covering slowly spreading mat of purpley-green. Highly recommended for tricky spots.

6 Strawberries. When we laid new gravel on the path last year to replace the dolomite, the workmen thought I was a bit of an eccentric/batty English lady, insisting that they don’t remove the self-seeded strawberry plants that they called weeds. Belgians, I find, tend to favour clean straight lines and perfect symmetry in their gardens, but I like the ways these cheekily break into the gravel, and who can complain about picking wild strawberries just outside the front door? I will have to watch those runners though, otherwise the front path may become a strawberry field.

Well, hope you enjoyed that little stroll down the path, I’ll revisit it soon when the roses, catmint and more geraniums erupt into a frothy cottage-garden flower fest. So much to look forward to, and hopefully some paddling pool weather will be on its way too. There’s much more to see over at the Propagator’s Six on Saturday page, pop over and have a look. I need to decide what to do with all my pots of going over tulips, and hopefully do some planting out of seedlings in the greenhouse if the weather allows. Have a great weekend everyone.

49 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 08 May 2021: A walk up the front path

  1. I certainly enjoyed the walk through your garden and the flowers that are in bloom at the moment. Finally the temperatures rise a bit, but showers remain. Not a major drought like last year (that is still a positive side of the story). Have a nice weekend !

  2. I think this is the first time I have seen your front garden, the garden path, and it is so very beautiful. Then again, why wouldn’t it – anybody who chooses that colour iris has the best possible taste! – because it is the colour I adore! LOL

  3. ‘Horizon Monarch’ is a beauty. I also grow it here for years and you’re right, it isn’t a monster. I love the way the colour change… I will post soon on Twitter/ IG a short video about it.
    Irises are gorgeous and they only wait some rain to open. That’s it now…

    1. It is a really nice rhododendron, I look forward to seeing yours – does this mean I have to get back into Twitter? It scares me, the endless feed, and with plants it could get to be a serious addiction 😉

  4. I’d be very tempted to put the lovely Euphorbia in a shaded section here. Tempted also by that Rhododendron. That’s what happens when we see and read about beautiful gardens!
    Here’s hoping for sunshine and paddling weather.

    1. I know, I know, this Six on Saturday thing really feeds our planting addictions, doesn’t it? I do highly recommend both plants though, and the Euphorbia also has lovely purple foliage through the winter.

  5. Sel – what a treat this week. Your path is simply beautiful and crammed with fantastic plants. I love love love the rhododendron but then I’m a sucker for peachy tones.

  6. That’s looking great and some brill plant recommendations too. I love the look of the tiarella. The iris in my garden have been held back by the cold weather this year, which did kill off a few of the flower spikes. In a normal year the first to flower is a mid height purple variety, and the rest follow a week or two earlier. Some seem to be as tough as old boots and old rhizomes I’ve chucked in a corner start to regrow while others I’ve bought curl up and die.

    1. Thank you, and thanks also for the info on your irises, it may be the cold in that case, as it was very cold indeed here, down to minus 11 in winter.

  7. That Tiarella is so pretty. What a lovely front path you have. I have some wild strawberries that have appeared behind the apple trees this year, they may be small but such a strong flavour.

  8. What a lovely walk down your front path. I do like it when sixers show us views of their gardens. I am not a fan of rhododendrons, but must admit that the colour of that one is rather splendid and the name Cornish clotted cream is irresistible! I hope the white honesty spreads too, it looks great with the FMNs. Tiarellas are pretty and I have tried a few, but they all die off in my garden. I rescued one and it is now in a pot. I wonder if my soil is too moist for them, given yours is in dry shade. Heucheras on the other hand do OK. Hope we see more of this lovely part of your garden. How long have you lived in Belgium then?

    1. Lived here 12 years, but in this house only 4 – it’s my first proper garden here as before we were renting: hence years of pent-up gardening urges are expressing themselves! PS I wish the rhodo. was called Cornish Clotted Cream, rather than Horizon Monarch which is a bit boring! I think they grow rather well in Cornwall, don’t they?

      1. They do indeed. And I know well how frustrating it is to be a gardener without a garden! I went 12 years!

  9. My iris (similar but don’t flower until June) are in a raised bed against a low brick wall, in full sun from noon onwards in summer and they do really well. I don’t feed or water them and their roots/corms are only half buried, so mine at least like to bake. They don’t last long though – a week or two at best.

  10. Oh yes the walk to the main door looks so inviting love to visit u have transformed the place very cheerful.

  11. I enjoyed your apt description of the rhododendron’s lovely combination of colors. I have also been appreciating the virtues of euphorbia this year. Foliage and flower color, exuberance, and let’s not forget the sheer strangeness. I am also hoping to propagate mine by cuttings, but sadly no experience to share, only beginner’s optimism.

  12. The Iris looks good! Hopefully the others will catch up. I’ve just replied to your comment about how I grow mine: let the roots get as baked as possible. I’ve read somewhere that they like rich soil too.

    That’s interesting that your Tiarella is a grow-anywhere plant – I have one that sulks whenever it dries out! I’ll have to keep an eye out for ‘Pink Skyrocket’.

    1. Thanks, will head over to read that! Strange re your Tiarella, as this spot really is pretty dry, the Yew shields the rain, I suppose subtle differences in micro-climates play a part too.

  13. I am also very fond of Geraniums. I think my favorite is ‘Johnson’s Blue’, but I just planted several ‘Brookside’. I also love strawberries. When the kids were small we would drive out to a U-Pick farm in Michigan and pick our own, then Judy would make pies and preserves. Oh, for a strawberry-rhubarb pie!

    1. I wouldn’t say no to a strawberry-rhubarb pie either! I’ve got some G. Brookside too, in pots waiting to be planted out, adding to my ever-growing geranium collection – great plants.

      1. Hmm. I only have those two varieties. I planted ‘Biokovo’, but it must have been in the wrong place because it disappeared. Do you have particular favorites besides ‘Brookside’?

      2. Oh yes! Impossible to choose just one favourite. My top 3 at the moment are G. sylvaticum, a lovely blue for shade; G. phaeum Springtime for its wonderful marbled foliage and G. sanguineum Cedric Morris for its striking magenta flowers. Love them all! I feel a post on geraniums is in order.

  14. A lovely walk, what a great place. Definitely right to keep the strawberries, I also have a recalcitrant iris patch which I divided last year in an attempt to reinvigorate it but no action at all this year while the two feet away is doing well. I like the orange wallflowers and the euphorbia combo. Can you divide the euphorbia?

    1. Thanks! I have a feeling I might not succeed in ‘baking’ the iris, despite all the good advice I’ve received here – too many plants to squeeze in! I’m quite new to euphorbia so I haven’t tried dividing – will investigate further.

  15. Such a pretty stroll up your front path Sel. I love Forget-me-nots and wild strawberries too. They spread well but can be easily plucked out if they get too much. Seeing your lovely blue geranium reminds me mine will be opening very soon I hope. G. phaeum is always first and is already flowering. Yours looks like my G. Rozanne, which is a fabulous plant flowering almost non-stop all summer until the frosts. Hope you have had some warmer weather the last couple of days like us… it was 27°C today! Phew!

    1. Thanks Cathy. I spent a while this morning pulling out forget-me-nots! They’ve outworn their welcome now, but they are still lovely when they first appear in spring. I’ve got Rozanne too, incredibly long flowering – but this is another blue geranium, I must try to find the label, I normally keep them in an effort to remind myself what everything is! Enjoy the weather, it’s nice and mild here, not quite 27 degree though.

  16. What a lovely six. I hope that your white honesty spreads for you. I love that rhododendron. What wonderful colours. Tiarella is a plant I’ve always liked the look of, but never thought it would do for me. Yours is looking great. I am going to investigate for our conditions.

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