At this time of year, although bulbs and spring growth speckle the ground with colour, my garden is at its most bare. This is particularly true of the pond bed, as I finally cut back all the dead grass growth to allow the new growth to spring up unhindered. More to the point, it avoids the necessity of cutting back stem by stem because I’ve left it too long. I still tend to leave quite a bit of dead plant material around.
I like to leave the bugs somewhere to shelter from the cold snaps we are still prone to, and I love to watch the birds gathering nesting material.
The Magnolia bed is sprinkled with yellow from the crocuses and the dwarf narcissus ‘Téte-à-Téte’.
But all these little sprinklings of jewel-like colour look a lot better with a different perspective.
Looking more closely, I can see welcome signs of healthy new buds on the hydrangea that I was worried about last month.
The bed is filling out nicely, although I am a little concerned about the Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’. It seemed to survive all the heavy frosts really well, but it is suddenly looking rather limp and exhausted. I also think it looks rather ugly since we pruned it hard back last year, and although if it does survive it stands a good chance of regaining a nice shape in a couple of years, I am feeling rather picky and cavalier. It wouldn’t take much for me to dig it out and replace it with something more exciting.
There are some mysteries, too. I wish I could remember what this is, planted behind the Veronicastrum: (Update: Thanks to Liz, Christina and Sylvia who all identified this as Anenome blanda, which makes perfect sense, and I know I’d thought about putting some here, just hadn’t realised I’d done it…)
Over in the pond bed, alongside the crocuses I know I planted, and that I have the names for, various other bulbs are springing up. It seems that all the soil improvement I did last year is making things that previously only came up blind actually flower. Unfortunately I cannot for the life of me remember what any of them are. I know this is an allium, and its lovely, but I have no clue which one: (Another update – and how wrong was I, not an allium, though more controversy about this one. Liz and Christina reckon Chionodoxa luciliae alba, Syliva that it is Puschkinia. I think it is probably the former as the blue markings are only on the inside of the petals and the leaves are broad. I’ve added an extra photo showing a flower in detail below. I love that people are willing to help me out with these little mysteries!)
Over the coming year I am hoping to add lots of new plants to the pond border, giving it a longer season of interest. Faced with all the bare ground, it is hard to believe that it will become a mass of plants. It was around this time last year that I sowed the seed for the Kanutia macedonica that is now flourishing.
At this time of year everything seems to change so quickly. The tulip foliage that a couple of weeks ago was barely making its presence felt is now getting quite tall.
The Astrantia ‘Shaggy’ that I split last year is throwing up healthy new growth.
The self-sown hellebores that were triffid-like buds are now showing their true – and varied – colours.
For me, though, this time is all about the crocus. I can’t get enough of them, so at the risk of boring everybody stupid with yet more photos, I am going to finish the post with some plant porn.
To nose around what other people’s gardens are looking like at the end of February, visit the Patient Gardener’s blog, who hosts the meme. Better yet, join in! Its a great way of developing an area of your garden and noting progress.