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…

Last lingering snowdrops
Last lingering snowdrops

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.

Crocus Prins Claus
Crocus Jeanne D'Arc
Crocus vernus 'Flower record'

Crocus vernus 'Flower record' with Hoverfly
Crocus vernus 'Flower record' with Hoverfly

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.

Large Daff
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae

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.

Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai'
Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai'

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.

Magnolia stellata
Magnolia stellata

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.

Magnolia stellata

80 thoughts on “GBBD March 2011

  1. Hi,

    Wonderful photos, so jealous…. My Japanese cherry was killed by workmen… It isn’t even close to the fence and I thought it would be safe from their feet, but no. Three of the main branches were snapped at the middle, so I expect disease will get in and kill it. So I now have half a tree. So disappointed, I too had it in a pot, for around 6/7 years and planted it last year. Bah. So I bought a new one yesterday, if the other does survive then woo hoo, I have two! Lol.

    I’m also jealous of the stellata, I really hope mine flowers this year, there are a few fat buds but I fear they were killed by the late snow we had a few weeks ago. It hasn’t flowered for three years, I think I might have to move it or get rid.

    So nice to see colour in the garden, and I have to agree that things a re so much earlier this year, but last year was exceptional with all that snow in Jan, fen and even into march.

    1. Hi Liz, I have my fingers crossed for your all-but-destroyed cherry – I hope you extracted the cost of the replacement from the owners of the destructive boots? Sad about your stellata – is it really so much colder up there? Maybe! Mine is actually in a quite exposed place in the garden, and seems to have shrugged off the hoar frosts, snow and ice with no problem at all. Curious. If you are hoping to move, maybe your new home will already have one?!

      1. Hi Janet,

        I hadn’t considered getting the money off the workmen, if that was the case then they’d be owing me a lot as they’ve trampled numerous other plants, which I hope will come back but I don’t think they will. Agapanthus, Astrantia, Jacob’s Ladder, Carex, Dicentra… the list goes on.

        To be honest I’ve no idea why the Stellata is so unhappy, the temperature difference is only around 1 maybe 2 degrees cooler here. I originally had it in a massive pot when I lived elsewhere around 5-7 years ago, it stopped flowering in the pot so I planted it in the ground hoping that would help and it still hasn’t flowered. It’s a south-west facing garden so I’m not sure if it gets too hot for it in summer, I’ve tried to make sure I water it will when it was hot last summer so we’ll see if these buds do turn out to be blooms.

  2. I love the way spring is YELLOW, its not a colour I used to favour except in spring when it is so cheerful; actually I like it more now and enjoy all the yellow and golden Hemmerocallus that will soon be flowering. I’m envious too of your Magnolia, (I would photograph the buds every day too!) I’d love to find a place for one here, but the garden seems full – perhaps I need more space! or I could replant the central formal beds to be different from each other, though I enjoy the formality so would keep the general scheme. Christina

    1. Hello Christina, good to know that there are some things even you can’t work out how to fit in! I agree about yellow, I have started to embrace small bits of it at other times of year, particularly crocosmia, but it is definitely the colour of spring.

  3. Lovely photos Janet, especially the unfurling magnolia. Also, I’m a sucker for violas, so sunny and sweet. Happy Bloom Day!

    1. Happy Bloom Day Cyndy, glad you like the viola, they do make me smile, even on a dull day.

  4. Janet, I love all your images, but the Magnolia bud is my favorite. You captured it at a really creative moment. Nagnolia is such a pretty flower open, but at this stage it is really interesting of form and fuzziness. The crocus are so dainty in their pretty pastel, and the hellebores are gorgeous. What a pretty GBBD you have.

    1. Hi Donna, I am delighted you picked out the magnolia buds – it is exactly that half-way-house stage that I really love, particularly when they are still wearing a “hat” of part of the furry seed casing, as if to protect them from the cold nights.

  5. You are so far ahead of us–no daffodils here yet. The back-lit hellebore photos are beautiful. I really like Euphobia robbiae but it often gets ruined over the winter so flowers on ugly brown leaves.

    1. Hello Carolyn, curious about the euphorbia – it seems to be one of those always-reliable plants in my garden, one of the reasons I appreciate it so much. I guess it is that much colder in your garden over winter?

  6. Oh my how absoultely gorgeous your hellebores…and all the wonderful spring blooms…wow flowers are sure popping around your garden

    1. Hi Donna, its that time of year when it feels as if suddenly everything is happening at once. Exciting.

  7. A wonderful feast of blooms. I’m really looking forward to bringing our magnolia stellata home soon (it has been in a pot at a relative’s house since we moved and began work, along with two dicentras and several other splendid plants that I can’t wait to be reunited with). Such beautiful creamy petals. I like your prunus too. Sara x

    1. Hi Sara, can’t wait to watch your garden gradually come together as you are reunited with old favourites and add new friends. But paths come first ;-)

  8. What a lovely spring show, Janet! I understand your obsession with your magnolia. We had a magnolia at our previous home, and each year I watched as its buds opened up. It’s a magnificent bloom.

    1. Hi Rose, I knew you gardeners would understand! I suspect we all have plants we get more than a little obsessed about. The first flowers are fully open this afternoon.

  9. Must admit to preferring the mini daffodils myself – my larger ones were also free. Our magnolia soulangeana fowers later but the buds are beginning to swell.

    1. Hi Sue, I like the fact that the miniatures stand up to any gales etc. without being flattened, plus with tete-a-tete you get multiple flowers per stalk – bargain! Will look forward to seeing your Magnolia. I must get to Westonbirt to admire theirs.

    1. Hi Donna, for some reason your comment got thrown into my spam box by Askimet and I’ve only just found it – sorry about that, and to hear you have a non-blooming star magnolia. Is it small enough to move? I know they like a fairly sheltered position, although mine gets hammered by easterly winds and just seems to shrug it off. Curious things, plants!

  10. So many wonderful blooms in your garden but the magnolia takes the cake! I love the fuzziness and the crisp white of the blooms. I fully understand why you enjoy taking pictures of it.

  11. A fine welcome to spring you’ve got going on there in your garden! The magnolia is simply stunning! Happy GBBD!

    1. Happy GBBD Cat. Spring is so exciting. I always feel that at this time of year if you blink you could miss something wonderful.

  12. So many lovely blooms you have to share. I really like those faintly blue crocus. Just a small tinge of colour but it’s so pretty.

  13. Very happy spring garden, Janet! Aren’t magnolias truly stunning? A few years back, we had some late ice and it ruined all the flowering trees…it was very disappointing…but yours look like they are on their way to their spring glory. :)

    1. Hi Hanni. I must admit I was getting nervous earlier in the year, watching the fat buds and hearing other gardeners tell tales of woe where the buds never opened. So glad it has survived – I think this may be its best year yet.

  14. Your garden is bursting with color! How wonderful. Glad you are a fan of Tete-a tete as well.
    I think your Stellata is stunning, the pure white blooms really stand out in the landscape. Quite lovley.

    1. Hello Janet, I love to see the Magnolia blooms against a clear blue sky, one of my favourite sights in the garden. Tete-a-tete have to be the perfect narcissus – hardy, strong, upright, multiple perfect blooms on each stalk. What’s not to love!

  15. My reaction, looking at your bloom day flowers? A great big sigh of happiness, and wishful thinking…could I have a small corner of my garden for spring bulbs when there’s no spring here in the tropics?

    1. Hi Rosie, I have to admit that I really love having all four distinct seasons, although in the depths of winter I would gladly swap the grey wet February for your blue skies and exotic blooms!

  16. You seem to be ahead with many blooms in your garden. Yes, I notice that your snow drop seem startled. Although we have nothing like this in the tropics, I have noted that they normally have their heads down unlike yours.

    1. Its not something I have ever seen before – I hope it doesn’t mean it is sick.

  17. What wonderful spring blooms in your garden! They are all delightful. I can imagine the fragrance of those beautiful magnolias!

    1. Hi Linda. Funnily enough, I never notice the fragrance from the Magnolia. I will have to go and have a good sniff…

  18. You have such gorgeous looking blooms and its not even a full swing of Spring! I love all the colours in your garden, the bright daffodils and violas, the lovely hellebores, the many blue and purples hues of crocuses, sweet and pretty light blue Kojo-no-mai and the enchanting magnolias! Such great shots of them too Janet!

    1. Thank you, we decided last year we needed lots more Spring colour, and it is beginning to work. More plants and bulbs to put in for next year though ;-)

  19. Oh my word – I’m not exaggerating when I say I started nearly hyperventilating when I saw your hellebore photos. The one on the top right is just stunning, with the dark nectaries. I’ve got hellebore fever badly, mine are just sprouting. I also have a Magnolia stellata, so I understand the obsession.

    1. :-) They are rather addictive, aren’t they. Hope your breathing has recovered! I am trying to persuade myself I can be patient and wait for some of my self-sown seedlings to flower rather than rushing off and buying a new one, because I do want more, they work so hard – even if they do like to hide their beauty. But I must get myself a Christmas Rose…

  20. Your shots are beyond fantastic! The hellebores and crocus look like they are jumping through the screen! However the last one of the Magnolia is my fave! Spring has truly sprung for you!! Happy GBBD :)

    1. Hi Melanie, what a lovely compliment, thank you. The magnolia is a had act to beat.

  21. Such pretty pictures Janet – your garden must look lovely. I walked around my garden this evening afterwork and apart from the daffs there is very little in bloom :-(. I will have to wait until 15th April for the next GBBD day.

    1. Hi Ronnie, we are reaping the rewards of much bulb planting in the rain last Autumn. For years I only really had daffs and a couple of hellebores – and the magnolia of course. I have added hepaticas to the list this year, having seen so many lovely ones on other people’s blogs. Dangerous thing, this garden blogging venture ;-) Look forward to seeing your garden in April.

    1. Hi Helen, no idea what is going on with that snowdrop, but it is rather amusing! Your photo of your Prunus is better than any I got – why does such a lovely plant have to be such a pain to photograph?!

  22. I know what you mean about tiny white blossoms being difficult to capture in photographs. You did a great job holding the detail of your Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ — it’s lovely, as is your Magnolia stellata. Plantaliscious indeed! Happy GBBD.

  23. I know what you mean about tiny white blossoms being difficult to capture in photographs. You did a great job holding the detail of your Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ — it’s lovely, as is your Magnolia stellata. Plantaliscious indeed! Happy GBBD.

  24. A truly awesome collection of photos, of some stunningly beautiful flowers. I’m glad I’m not alone in appreciating Euphorbia! I like the Prunus best though – it epitomises Spring for me, perhaps even more than the Daffodil.

    1. Thanks Mark. I think euphorbias can be rather over looked, but I wouldn’t be without them. There is something about Prunus blossom – though for me it is the Magnolia that steals the show every time.

  25. Enjoyed your March blossoms Janet ~ oh what difference a month makes. Glad to read that the prunus survived being run over ~ plants can be tough customers at times :)

    1. Hi Anna, it is amazing how quickly everything changes at this time of year. I am so very happy that Prunus proved to be tough enough to survive its ill-treatment. The challenge with it will be to give it a nice shape – it looks a little wild at the moment, but FIL is a great pruner, so he will take it in charge.

    1. Hi, thanks for stopping by – good to know the photos are loading well, I am trying out a new tool to make it easier.

  26. Your garden looks in the same state as mine, everything coming out at one time. The May gap will need to be moved to April.

    1. Hi Les, I am relying on the tulips to hold the fort while everything else catches up. The aquilegias are looking promising, but the other things I was relying on to fill that gap are refusing to germinate :-( Ah well, better enjoy the flowers while I can!

  27. You are about a month ahead of me. I just glanced under the snow and Oak leaves and there they were — the Hellebores emerging! Oh joy! I probably could have counted them as blooms for GBBD, but I’m still feeling protective and loosely piled the leaves back on as a protective mulch. Your photos are fantastic, Janet, especially the Crocuses and the Hellebores. Although I have a thing for the Magnolias, too!

    1. How exciting to see the hellebore emerging from their winter blanket. Will look forward to seeing them next month – I’m not surprised you are feeling protective of them! Glad you enjoyed the photographs.

  28. I enjoyed your flowers and the lovely way you organized your gallery. Your star magnolia is coming along beautifully. Like you I vote for it being a wonderful plant worth the close scrutiny you’re applying to it!

    1. Thank you James – though I am too embarrassed to admit how many photographs I already have, and I know it is not over yet…

  29. You have lots of wonderful blooms in your garden at the moment. My favourites have to be the hellebores, you have some beauties there.

    1. Thanks Jo, I love the endless variety they show. I have lots of seedlings to rescue and pot up in the hope of even better ones to come.

  30. Janet – the photos are lovely. My favorite narcissus is also tête-à-tête – I love the fact that it gives early color, then dies back gracefully and humbly without too much in the scraggly foliage department making a dog’s breakfast of the beds!


    1. Hi Marianne, you are so right, they do die gracefully – unlike tulips!

  31. what a cheery uppy garden you have. How lovely it will be when it’s warm enough to just sit and sigh happily and soak up the sunshine while the bees buzz from flower to flower. Bring it on!

    1. cheery-uppy – I like it! I’ve had my first lunch out in the garden, but it would be nice to do so without a fleece… Bring it on indeed!

  32. Oh, wow, Janet, look at all those gorgeous flowers! I’m particularly charmed by the sight of the magnolia blooms bursting out of their fuzzy buds. -Jean

    1. Hi Jean, glad you are a fellow fan of the fuzzy bud to gorgeous flower transformation. I particularly like it when I catch them half way, it feels as if I am watching a horticultural striptease!

  33. Beautiful Janet, beautiful! All those blooms pretty much sums up the joy of spring. Love all the daffodils in bloom all over the place. But my favourite are the spring flowering trees, especially Magnolias, they are divine to behold!

    1. It is a fabulous time of year isn’t it! But I’m with you, the trees are the truly spectacular components in it all. I’m hoping to get to Westonbirt to admire their magnolia collection.

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