My selection of blooms for February include a lot of flowers that were flowering last month. It seems to me that spring flowers last longer than those in the summer. I wonder if it is something to do with the temperatures or whether they flower longer to give them more chance of being pollinated by the pollinators which are scarcer than in the summer.
A couple of clamps of Eranthis which are slowly clumping up. I did have Eranthis schwefelglanz which is a pale Eranthis but I haven’t spotted it so far which is disappointing.
My first daffodils or narcissus are flowering – Narcissus ‘February Gold’. I planted these bulbs back in the Autumn in a new area where the compost bins were previously. The flowers are more delicate than I anticipated and I am really pleased with how they look, I will definitely be adding more next year.
Probably the last bloom on the Iris ungicularis looking a little chewed but still providing a welcome splash of colour at this time of year.
One of the many clumps of snowdrops around the garden. I am really pleased with how big the clumps are now; I will probably do a little splitting of clumps in a month or so once the flowers have finished.
One of my more specialist snowdrops – Galanthus ‘Wendys Gold’ – different because of the gold ovaries and markings on the inner petals.
And a selection of my favourite hellebores
So these are the floral highlights from my garden.
For more garden bloggers blooms check out May Dream Gardens, where Carol kindly hosts this meme.
When I went out to take the photos for this blog post I was surprised at how much was in flower dotted around the garden. I have already posted this week about the snowdrops but they aren’t alone in bring dashes of colour to the borders. In the front garden the star is the Euphorbia rigida – its my favourite Euphorbia, well probably. I love its acid yellow flowers against the glaucous leaves.
The first hellebores are already in flower and definitely a few weeks ahead of previous years probably due to the warmer weather. They do seem a little washed out in their colour this year but that’s probably just my imagination.
The Witch Hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’) has just started flowering and there are definitely fewer flowers than last year. I suspect this is because it was so dry and witch hazels really benefit from moisture in the summer to help them form flowers. I did water it from time to time but obviously not enough for a stunning display.
I’m quite pleased with the photo of the winter jasmine as my photos always seem to be out of focus due to the smallness of the flowers. However, as there are so many flowers this year a photo showing more of the plant has proved to be quite interesting. I know lots of people don’t like this plant but I cut it back very hard each year and this keeps it in check and not too woody.
Rosemary is at its best at the moment, covered in dainty lilac flowers and the odd pollinator looking for food.
As well as the snowdrops, the Eranthis hyemalis are starting to flower. I do love these little bursts of sunshine in the border.
The other gem in the border is the Iris unguicularis ‘Walter Butt’ which is fragile tissue like petals which seem to disappear as fast as they appear due to the wind and rain we have had recently.
Primila palinuri is something of a miracle. I grew this plant from seed some years back and it has lived in a pot wintering in the greenhouse. However, with my new approach to the garden I decided back in the Autumn to risk planting it out as the plant never looked that well and I thought it might benefit from the move. Primula palinuri grows in a rocky location in South Italy so I decided that it could probably withstand low temperatures if it had good drainage. Despite the yellowing around the older leaves it is already looking at lot healthier and I love the farina on the flower which I’m sure it didn’t have in the greenhouse. Having just looked it up to ensure I spelt the name right I have discovered that it is on the Red Threatened List in its native South Italy so now I am concerned I planted it out!
For more Garden Bloggers Bloom Day posts check out Carol’s blog May Dreams.
I think that Spring has definitely sprung in my garden, there is certainly a lot of colour, lots of pastels.
The hellebores are certainly beginning to go over with the colour starting to fade although the yellow hellebore seems to retain its strength of colour and picks up the yellow of the Forsythia well.
The garden is animated by the clumsy wanderings of the Bumble Bees bouncing from one spring flower to another one. They are accompanied by smaller bees, whose species I’m not sure of, which take more time to spot but are inevitably on the Pulmonaria turning them from blue to pink.
My apologies for the delay in this post which should have been published yesterday. I have been somewhat distracted by a lack of heating, hot water and reduced cooking appliances since Thursday. I won’t bore you with the details suffice to say it’s not due to am oversight on bill payment. The situation should be resolved on Tuesday but in the meantime I have been unbelievably distracted with staying warm. The persistent cold and damp weather have not helped the situation and sitting by a fire hand quilting a double quilt has been more attractive than sticking my head outside all of which makes me sound quite old!
Anyway, I have woken to sunshine this morning and a light bulb moment of “goodness it’s the start of April and I am late on the EOMV post” so here goes – at least the photos are sunnier than if I had taken them yesterday in the rain.
The above photo is what I call the bench shot because I stand on the patio bench go take it. I was going to say that not much has changed over the last month especially as we had yet more snow but actually things are starting to happen. The first daffodils are flowering adding extra sparkles of colour to the hellebores. I plan to add loads more narcissus for next Spring and will try to remember to make some notes of the gaps that need filling over the next few weeks. I also want to add lots of the tiny blue and pink bulbs – Scillas, Chionodoxa, Pushchkinia and Ipheion. There is a mass of these at work which just looks stunning at the moment.
And it’s not just the bulbs that are making an effort the Prunus kojo-no-mai has started to flower and should shortly be followed by the large unidentified Prunus and the Amelanchier and Elder are both beginning to unfurl their leaves. My gardening friends at HPS agree that spring is going to come with a rush this year and we will be playing catch up so I’m off this morning to sow some half hardy annuals in the greenhouse.
Whilst it might not seem like much has changed over the last month in the garden I have been busy when the weather has allowed. I have made real progress in redoing the back of the garden and am now starting to think about what plant needs to go where. My task today will be to dig up the Buddleja salviifolia, which you can just see behind the top bench, and bring it down to a more sheltered position on the patio. Hopefully it won’t be a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted; as you can just about see it looks a little bedraggled and has suffered in the cold winds. The Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Swan’ in front of it will also probably be moved as it’s grey leaves may not work with the new planting but we shall see. I can’t quite visualise it yet but if I pot up the Euphorbia it will clear the space and I will be able to see it with fresh eyes.
As I break down the back terrace to make a slope I am having to dig up all sorts of seedlings and perennials and relocate them around the garden. It is amazing how many aquilegia seedlings there are although I suspect they will all be that dirty pink that aquilegia seedlings tend to be. Nevertheless, I have been popping them in any gaps I can find in the borders so we shall see.
So this is my garden at the end of March and I am amazed how much colour there is despite the cold and damp.
If you would like to join in with the End of Month View meme you are very welcome to, the more the merrier. All I ask is that you link to this post in yours and leave a link to your post in the comments box below so we can all come for a visit
This month we have moved on from snowdrops to the hellebores, although the snowdrops are still just there in the background as if frozen in time due to the cold snap.
I love hellebores, they are one of my many weakness. I love their nodding demure heads which only reveal their real beauty when you lift them upwards.
I have quite a selection accumulated over the years, normally adding at least one a year, bought from Ashwood Nurseries, so they are all Ashwood hybrids. They are slowly bulking up and merrily seeding around the garden.
But it’s not all hellebores and snowdrops flowering in the garden. They are now being joined by crocus, hammelias, and violas which have been flowering since October.
So these are my floral delights for March. Thank you to Carol at May Dream Gardens for hosting this wonderful meme.
As I slowly re-engage with my garden it seems to me that this autumn has been unusually mild. Even a couple of cold nights this last week seem to have made little difference to the garden. It all looks as green and verdant as ever with some plants seemly thinking it is Spring like the potted Crocosmia which are already re-shooting.
I presume the mild weather is also prompting the hellebores to flower earlier. My experience is that the whites tend to flower earlier than other hellebores with the yellow, if I remember rightly, flowering last but I’m sure this hellebore doesn’t normally flower before Christmas. I only stumbled on it by accident amongst the neglected border because at the back of my mind was a notion that I should be removing the hellebore leaves around now.
I remove the leaves religiously every winter so the flowers stand out but I often find myself wondering what the consequences would be if I didn’t. I suspect there wouldn’t be any consequences as in the wild Mother Nature doesn’t go along removing leaves so the hellebore flowers stand out better. Apparently we remove the old leaves to also help reduce the likelihood of hellebore leaf spot (Microsphaeropsis hellebori (syn. Coniothyrium hellebori). Some of my hellebores do show some signs of this disease so presumably I should continue with this approach but I feel more relaxed about my gardening practice these days so maybe a few plants won’t find themselves as thoroughly de-leafed as before.
It seems inevitable that hellebores would feature this week especially after seeing so many at Ashwood Nurseries on Saturday.
I have realised that I have quite a few hellebores in the garden particularly as I seem to be in the habit of going to Ashwoods at this time of year. This weekend I was looking at yellow hellebores but ended up buying a very dark one, which was good as today when cutting the flowers I realised that I had more than one yellow hellebore already.
I have a plain clear glass dish that I normally use for hellebores but it is quite small and couldn’t accommodate all my blooms. Then I noticed the pale green dish in the dining room table which lives there day in and day out. For some reason it hadn’t occurred to me to use it for flowers. The dish was a present from a work colleague to thank me for some work I had done for her.
Yes from the sofa as I have been incapacitated since Tuesday and spent every day stuck on the sofa wary of any movement which might cause me excruciating pain. It all goes back to an injury I incurred when planting a new Sorbus in the front garden just after Christmas coupled with a long term problem with tension knots in my neck. I have been for treatment at the osteopath and things were improving however for some reason it got worse over the weekend resulting me feeling physically sick with the pain on Tuesday morning and a trip to the doctors. Anyway, several packets of powerful pain killers and anti inflammatories later things are slowly easing and hopefully I will go back to work on Monday albeit probably reduced hours and with a lift rather than driving.
I don’t think I have ever experienced such pain and for 24 hours it seemed impossible to find a position sitting, lying or standing which didn’t lead to me whimpering. Whilst I have called this post Musing from the Sofa I don’t think I did a lot of musing until yesterday. I slept a lot or stared at whatever was on Netflixs – fading in and out partly from exhaustion and partly due to the strength of the tablets. I haven’t been able to eat properly as I couldn’t sit up long enough to eat a proper meal so I have eaten lots of rubbish like chocolate and biscuits but there has to be a bonus somewhere in all this.
I knew I was in a bad way as I had no interest in the garden, reading or surfing the net but the other day when the sun decided to shine I noticed a small blue thing in one of the borders. At first I thought it was some sort of rubbish maybe a sweet wrapper but yesterday the pain had eased sufficiently for me to shuffle round the garden. I was thrilled to discover that the blue splodge seen from the sofa was an Iris. It is probably Iris ‘Cantab’ as I have had a number over the years and last year I decided to plant out the contents of various pots of bulbs in the borders. The trouble with iris reticulata is that they aren’t very reliable on producing a second year’s worth of flowers so I suspect I was fed up with a pot of iris leaves and unceremoniously tipped it up on the border.
Another thrill came from spotting flowers on the Hepatica nobilis which are starting to bulk up having been planted a couple of years ago.
I have since grown some from seed which are planted out in another border and I am waiting to see if they will flower for the first time this year.
Another delight today on my second excursion into the garden, this time with camera in hand, were the first daffodils. I suspect these are February Gold but that is just a guess as they were already growing in the garden when we took it on. However, they are always the first to flower every year. Whilst I’m not that keen on the big trumpeted daffodils at this time of year it is great to see any sign of Spring.
Whilst the snowdrops are looking fabulous, there are so many in the garden now that my new neighbour even commented on them, I get more of a thrill from spying the Eranthis coming into flower. Eranthis ‘Grunling’ is bulking up well – you can tell it is ‘Grunling’ as it has a green stripe on the petals. However Eranthis ‘Schwefelglanz’ which I have had as long is being a little slower to bulk up. It is in a shadier position than ‘Grunling’ so maybe that the reason or maybe ‘Grunling’ is generally a stronger plant.
I am hoping that by next weekend I will be able to garden properly and sew again. But for now I will have to content myself with musing from the sofa.
This week was a real struggle so I almost didn’t bother to write this post but in life we have to go with the rough as well as the smooth so here’s this week’s vase.
I wanted to do something with my witch hazel but the flowers are only just opening and they are so tiny. I also thought about snowdrops as I have quite a number now but that was last week’s theme so I think I should let at least one week pass with no snowdrops. Instead I found a hellebore which was full of blooms opening and lots of buds to follow so I decided to take three stems for the post.
What to put with them was the next struggle and I thought some woodlandy foliage would work well, so I used some epimedium foliage and fern fronds to give a background and I took photos …
…and then I thought No I really don’t like that its too fussy and not me at all. So I ditched the foliage and the pink pashmina – too much pink and went for one of the random bottles I have in my cupboard. As background I have gone for the grey velvety pashmina as I thought it was an interesting contrast to the second hand everyday bottle.
Anyway, there you go two for one – choose which you prefer!
Finally a glorious spring weekend which has seen me bumbling around the garden just like the big lumbering bumble bees that have been visiting the hellebores and primulas. My head has been spinning with ideas and plans over the last few weeks so it was a real relief to start putting some of them into action. I have one of those long mental lists with one thing dependent on another and I am sure I will forget the sequence so I must write it all down when I write up my garden journal later.
My first task was to round up the various coloured primulas from around the garden. I love coloured primulas. I know a lot of people can be quite snobby about them but I think they have a lovely old fashioned charm to them. I had been using them along the paths but they were dotted around, one here and one there, and really made no impact whatsoever. So I collected all the pink ones up and have planted them in the shade of an Abelia by some deep pink/mauve hellabores. The hellebores leaves will eventually cover this area so will mask the primulas’ leaves when they are looking tatty during the summer. I see this view from my living room window and I am amazed how much just planting a handful of same primulas has lifted this area with the pink of the hellebores intensified. I have done the same with the purples which are planted with the Crocus ‘Pickwick’ and the yellow/orange primulas which are under the Hammelias.
Next on the list was the Big Border. I have decided to move the asters and some of the grasses to the new borders in the front garden – yet to be dug. I want to use this space for sweet peas and dahlias this year so I wanted to clear everything that needed moving so I could see the space left and to start thinking about the layout and how I can fit in the plants I want to include. The asters have been divided and potted up and are now cluttering up the patio so hopefully they will start to irritate me which will push me onwards with the front garden. The bright fresh green leaves you can see are Camassias which should look great in about a month. I like the little Narciussus Tete a Tete as well and I think I will add to these for next year. I am also thinking that I might risk tulips again and hope the badger doesn’t appear and dig them all up. I would love to fill the gaps between the plants in this border with bright tulips in the Venetian colours I love at the moment.
The other job crossed off the list was the replacement of the shambolic bamboo supports for the step over apples with a more organised pots and wire system. I painted the posts the same colour as the highlight on the shed to give a more cohesive look and my eldest son wired them up. It was amazing how much difference it has made, without the bamboo canes with the branches tied to them you can actually see the structure of the step-overs. Whilst we haven’t had a lot of apples off the trees I am hugely proud of the apple step-overs as I know little about pruning fruit trees and started with 3 apple whips and some limited instructions from the nursery.
The sweet peas sown last week are starting to germinate in the garden and today I sowed a batch of Cerintheretorta which I prefer to Cerinthe major. Cannas and Agapanthus are also showing signs of life in the greenhouse and the Dahlias have been potted up with hugh expectations.
Wherever my gardening mojo has been lurking for the last few years it seems it has decided to come home – thank goodness.