White wonders

It struck me yesterday, when Karen from An Artist’s Garden came round to visit my meadow – just getting into its stride – how much I have moved away from the plantaholic I used to be.

(Admittedly I’ve swapped my ornamental plant addiction for vegetables and the meadow, where the narcissi are just opening…)

But there are all sorts of joys already present, and I don’t think I’ve been appreciating them enough. And how many whites there are, among all the yellows (all those daffs, and all the the primroses)…

There are a few white fritillaries out; by and large, they open later than the purples:

I can never get over how unlikely fritillaries are. The whites look almost normal – not like the illustrations in a colouring book which the purples resemble – until you look at the backs, and you can see the faint traces of the squares.

Enough of the meadow for a change.

The whiteness is concentrated in the bottom garden, really, where the Magnolia stellata is now doing its thing, flowering away and resting on the roof of the old pigsty.

When I moved in, I had no idea at all this was here. It was obscured – as was so much – by a big Rhododendron ponticum. It had leaned on the rhody for years, so had to be supported (by a very dead section of rhododendron trunk – can’t think where we got that from, ahem). But it still flowers its socks off.

Some magnolias are very blowsy, almost over the top, but not my stellata. For one thing, it can’t grow much more unless I move it, and there’s no way I’m doing that. Also under the Portugal Laurel are my two camellias, and they are good this year too:

Beneath the magnolia and this double camellia, the ground is covered with ramsons – that would be more whiteness, but they’re not quite in flower yet. Then there’s the single camellia, which usually flowers after the double has turned into an unattractive browny-yellow camellia. This year, they are just coinciding.

Absolutely no idea what either of them is – that’s the trouble with inheriting some lovely plants. Or maybe it’s an advantage; I’d rather have large, mature, abundant camellias and not know what they are, than a spindle with a name that I bought last year. (Actually I want both.)

So now I’m not only fondling my beans, I’m going around peering closely at camellias and the backs of fritillaries. Um…


8 thoughts on “White wonders

    1. kate Post author

      Aren’t they gorgeous? It seems to sit there and do nothing for weeks and then suddenly – boing. Lots of flowers all at once, and then it fades into the background again…

  1. Balisha

    I’m visiting from An Artist’s Garden. I envied her visit to see your gardens. You have such a natural look…my vision of spring. I’ll be back…Balisha

    1. kate Post author

      Hi, and welcome! I think my natural garden is largely lazy, but it works… except when we have to cut the meadow. Then it’s not so lazy!

  2. Janet/Plantaliscious

    A bean-fondler who stares at fritillaries – I’m not sure there is any hope!

    I’ve never actually seen white fritillaries. I’ve never managed to grow them, whatever the colour, but having just seen Karen’s photos of your Flowery Mead I am plotting for when we move. FIL wants a lawn, I think they are a waste of space that could be used for plants. This might be the perfect compromise. Assuming he does the mowing…

    I am a magnolia stellata addict too, couldn’t be without one now. never been a fan of camellias, but I rather like you single white one. Just as well I have no room…

    1. kate Post author

      Do have a go… but mice really, really love fritillaries – mine have multiplied since next door’s cat decided my garden was part of his territory. It’s worth the occasional oops in a flowerbed…

      I must try and repair my scanner so I can show some pix of the meadow when it was a lawn – just a featureless expanse of not-very-impressive grass. I’d like to think my motivation was artistic, but I suspect laziness played a part…

  3. Karen - An Artists Garden

    I was struck when I visited your garden by the jewel like quality of the colour – and I think the white in your garden contributes to that feel – both your magnolia and camellia are quite lovely.

    I am mulling where I can put fritillaries here ……

    1. kate Post author

      Thanks – and now I have a rather nice arch (thank you, Wilkinsons), I can feel the need to add more. Clematis viticella rubra hot fave at present…


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