Sunday saw me on a Mother’s Day trip to the National Trust’s Mottistone Manor, towards the eastern end of the Isle of Wight. The garden is quite small by NT standards, and probably best known for its herbaceous borders much later in the year, but at this time of year there was still plenty to see, not least the stunning naturalised daffodils above and below.
As well as the bulbs, there were a number of new plants on me – the Fritillaria imperialis (which I know and don’t particulalry like), looked stunning against the Libertia peregrinans ‘Gold Leaf’ which I didn’t. It was used elsewhere in the garden, and I looked for one for sale but although there were some described as ‘nursery stock’ there were none actually for sale – maybe worth a return visit!
New growth was, on occasion, almost extra terrestrial – see the Rheum palmatum ‘Atrosanguineum‘ just breaking through the soil’s surface below. Amazing to think that by the summer it could be two metres high.
I also liked the new growth of the Restio Elegia capensis, another new one on me, which is also likely to be around two metres later in the year. (Entertaining to see the creeping buttercup to the right of the photo, now that is one I do know…)
The herbaceous border was still (understandably) looking quite bare, but I love the repetition of the Eryngium spires (I think it’s mutabile) with the Euphorbia behind.
And lastly, not a plant at all, but who can resist an early butterfly? See below the Polygonia c-album, according to the Butterfly Conservation website a good news story:
“The Comma is a fascinating butterfly. The scalloped edges and cryptic colouring of the wings conceal hibernating adults amongst dead leaves, while the larvae, flecked with brown and white markings, bear close resemblance to bird droppings.
The species has a flexible life cycle, which allows it to capitalize on favourable weather conditions. However, the most remarkable feature of the Comma has been its severe decline in the twentieth century and subsequent comeback. It is now widespread in southern Britain and its range is expanding northwards.”