What a difference a month makes at this time of year! Last month I just had snowdrops, hellebores, the very first crocuses and my wonderful Iris reticulata. Even then the hellebores were mostly just buds, with the exception of the newly purchased ‘Tutu’. Now all the hellebores are in full swing.
We still have some snowdrops hanging on – though one of them looks rather startled…
The early, small flowering crocuses are gradually going over, and relinquishing the stage to the larger flowering varieties – a phenomena the hoverflies appear to approve of.
Lurking under a shrub at the back of the garden, the first of the small collection of large daffodils is open. I must admit I prefer the dwarf forms, but these were free and it is good to see them pop up as we planted them very late in the year. The Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae is the first Euphorbia to flower in my garden. I love it, the rosettes of leaves would be worth having alone, but the lime green flowers last for weeks and really brighten up a shady corner. It also spreads itself around quite happily, which I love because it colonises places that I otherwise find it hard to plant, under trees amongst roots I would hesitate to disturb with a trowel.
I have three colonies of my favourite narcissus, ‘Tète-á-Tète’, and I love the bright splashes of yellow heads. They do rather look as if they are deep in conversation with one another. I enjoy the fact that, due to the vagaries of different soil conditions and shelter, the three colonies bloom at slight different times, stretching the flowering period out over more than a month. The first, alongside the decking in the magnolia bed, appeared back in late February. They are still flowering, and have now been joined by the denser, more established clumps near the compost bins. The final clumps, in front of the silver birches, are still in tight bud and won’t flower for another week or so.
Adding another splash of yellow, albeit tantalisingly tinted with purple, the Violas in the pots on the patio are at their sunny best.
The most subtle flowers – and hardest to capture on camera – are provided by the diminutive Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’. Mine is now growing in a large pot. It began life out the front, in a small bed on the corner of our drive. This was fine when we were just a two car household. Once we joined forces with FIL and MIL, and two became four and now a more manageable three, it suffered. It was driven over, several times. I confess I nearly cried when a large portion of vigorously flowering branch fell victim to a slightly careless reversing manoeuvre. I dug it up, trimmed it and put it in a rather ugly pot. I was hugely relieved to see it flowering profusely, if a little raggedly, and altogether very awkward to photograph.
There is, however, one plant above all others that I obsess over at this time of year. I have a sad tendency to photograph it most days, observing the buds swell, the colour of the petals beginning to break through the furry casing, the first tentative unfurling.
It isn’t strictly speaking, quite in full bloom yet, but I couldn’t leave it out. My Magnolia stellata is the star of the Spring garden, and the process of watching it unfurl the pale creamy-white petals from bud after fat furry bud makes my heart sing. If, like me, you love to nose around other people’s gardens, pop over to Carol@May Dreams Gardens who hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day so generously and delight in gardens from across the globe. Happy gardening, whatever season you find yourself in.