I love this time of year. It is the season when, despite the cold weather, the garden is full of new growth. Everything is full of possibility again, seed packets plop through the letterbox seducing you with images of beautiful flowers or glossy vegetables. Every bit of tired old dead growth cut back seems to reveal fresh new shoots underneath. Here are a few of the things bringing a smile to my face in my back garden at the moment.

Tightly Furled Crocuses

I have a bit of a thing for dark purple, and my favourite crocuses are these. Still tightly furled at present, when they open the contrast between petals and stamens is joyful. The sight of them brought a grin to my face, but I am a little perturbed – a lot of my other crocuses are currently no-shows. Hopefully they are just a little late to the party…

Sneaky Beauty Of Hellebores

There is a sneaky beauty to most hellebores, they hang their heads as if bashful. I don’t have many “special” ones, and the very pretty pink double is currently too difficult to get at to photograph due to the wet soil and the fact that I can’t find my kneelers. Still, I love them in all their forms.


We don’t have great drifts of snowdrops in our garden, but over the past two Autumns we have planted lots of cheap bulbs in the hope that some would reward us with small clumps of dancing white. They smile out at us from the back corner under the acer tree, an area I am christening “snowdrop corner”, at least for now.

Snowdrop Corner

I’ve been wanting to see snowdrops flowering alongside the black leaves of Ophiopogon for a couple of years now, it’s nice to see it finally start to take shape, though it will be whoever inherits this garden who will really reap the benefit. Assuming they don’t hate black leaved plants, as I know some people do…

A lot of the delight comes from signs of things yet to come.

Euphorbia Buds

Buds on Euphorbia robbiae.

Raindrops On Aquelegia Leaves

Raindrops sitting on the fresh new leaves of aquilegia.

Best of all, I had completely forgotten that I had planted up a second terracotta pot with dwarf iris bulbs. They have come into bloom just as the last ones finally stopped, so I get another couple of weeks of velvety purple loveliness (spotting a theme?) sat on the table outside.

Second Bowl Of Irises
Second Chance Irises

I can’t wait to see what is next to pop up and bring a smile to my face. Viva Spring!

73 thoughts on “Delight in small things

  1. I share your weakness for purple and love your crocuses and irises. You seem to be a bit further on than we are. I have snowdrops but not much happening on the euphorbias just yet! Fabulous photos. I think it is quite funny than your take on February (everything just starting) is so much more positive than mine (aargh, winter been going on far too long)! I shall take notes!

    1. You are clearly a woman of great taste ;-) For me, February spins on a moment, going from your “its been going on too long” to “oh wow” as soon as crocuses appear and I keep spotting perennials poking their heads up. Plus I am in need of hopefulness right now, so I think it all means more? Who knows, we are emotional creatures, us gardeners!!

      1. Wow! Your photo’s are quite stunning. Some of our perennials are waking up too! I think Spring is around the corner and getting excited at the prospect! Enjoying reading your blogs~Thank you

  2. Great blooms in your garden Janet, good to see the leaves of the Columbines coming through, too early here to see this. Your Iris Reticulata look lovely, the ones which I planted in pots have opened and looking good, I think I mentioned that I planted dozens of them in the borders, total failure!

    1. Hi Alistair, sorry your border-planted irises failed. There is something about their delicate beauty and petite form ideally suited to growing in pots. Re columbines, I am already wondering what sports I will have collected this year, given that I planted some tall yellow ones, very different to my normal deep purple ones. What progeny will they have produced, I wonder…

  3. Hi Janet,

    Lovely photos; isn’t spring wonderful with all its promise of things to come.
    I’ve been on a little bit of a plant buying spree over the past two days…………. Whoops!!! :D

    Excellent idea contrasting the snowdrops and black lilyturf… I may have to steal your idea. I imagine the purple of dwarf iris will also look amazing next to the lilyturf… Hrrrmmmmmm hahaha, talked myself into buying more now!!

    1. Hi Liz, good to hear you are still prone to buying sprees! That idea of lilyturf + irises is genius, that would make an amazing pot display, just have to work out what summer flowering plants to add in for later interest…

  4. Viva Spring indeed! These blooms are a lovely sight at this time of the year, a taster of what lies ahead now that spring is just around the corner. I think Iris’ are my favourite spring flowers, followed very closely by the others. I’ve just seen some of our Crocus are sprouting, can’t wait to see their bright flowers!

    1. It is a wonderful time of year, isn’t it, that sense of everything gathering itself for the big Spring push. I am very fickle about my favourite Spring flowers, I think I change according to what looks best when, switching from the irises to crocuses to erythriums to tulips. *happy anticipatory sigh*

  5. Am ‘off’ hellebores but dwarf iris and snowdrops among my favourite flowers. Have neither this year – iris because I forgot, snowdrops because I’ve given up.

    1. I thought we’d lost all our snowdrops, everyone else seemed to be posting lovely photos of theirs, ours were either non existent or just leaf. The patch under the magnolia have completely failed, the ones under the acer seem to to be doing OK. Dwarf iris are so lovely, perhaps because they seem so improbably exotic at this time of year.

  6. Lovely photos, it’s surprising just how much colour there is at this time of year. I had a quick wander round the garden this afternoon and was amazed at all the flowers peaking through here and there. Spring is not far away!

    1. Exciting, isn’t it! I always get a thrill from seeing perennials poke their heads up above the soil yet again.

  7. Spring has taken hold in your neighborhood. How lovely! The deep purple Crocuses are so unique. And your photo of the water droplets on the Columbine is definitely frame-worthy. Most years I would probably be about a month behind you with the spring blooms. But I noticed buds on the Daffodils already–the earliest I can ever recall here. No sign of the Snowdrops yet, but I just planted them last year and there in a very shady spot. Thanks for the glimpse of spring!

    1. Enjoy your early Spring – I’m sure your snowdrops will pop up eventually, ours are always later the year immediately after planting, and then get earlier as they become more established. No daffodil buds here as yet, but plenty of leaves.

  8. It is such an exciting time of year. I love having a poke around searching for new buds and shoots appearing. We started off with only a few snowdrops and they are slowly forming good sized clumps. Are you planning on taking any plants with you when you move?

    1. Wonderful, isn’t it, how almost every day you can spot something new springing in to life. We’ll definitely be taking plants with us, some I will divide and replant some sections, pot up others, and there are others that I will just dig up and replace with annuals to fill in the gaps. My sister-in-law has offered her garden as a holding place for them until we get settled.

  9. how wonderful you’ve got so many lovely plants starting to pop up. Love the new leaves of the columbine. and real proper blooms. cheers to spring!

    1. I do love the little patches of colour. Spring always seems to creep in, quietly, before really starting to show off once the daffodils open. Hope you lose the snow soon and see some signs of Spring yourself!

  10. Strangely enough, I had to divide and move some ophiopogon in the autumn, and I planted them near to some snowdrops. My display is a bit patchy at present, because the ophiopogon haven’t fully established yet. But I’m hoping for better things next year, and your photo has certainly given me encouragement.

    1. Hi Crystal, great minds think alike! I do love knowing that plants are just going to get bigger and better as the years go on, so rewarding seeing an idea grow into fruition in front of you. Enjoy your new combination!

  11. That deep blue of your iris reticulata and your crocuses is very rich. I love purple and other rich colours in the garden but find them quite hard to photograph. It must be milder where you are, Janet going by the euphorbia and aquilegia. Lovely photographs.

    1. Hi Janet, it took me an age to get a half way decent shot of those crocuses, it is a difficult colour, somehow the lens doesn’t seem to like focusing on them. This is proving to be a bit of an odd spring, some things are earlier than last year, others later. Still, eventually it will all come good!

    1. I admit to craving a deep purple one, but I agree, all lovely – except the really frilly ones. I prefer the simpler forms.

  12. Enjoyed your post as nothing seems to be happening in my garden except for a few daffodil leaves poking through – my very small clump of snowdrops still haven’t opened their flowers but I have noticed one or two single plants away from the clump which have obviously seeded there – so maybe in about 20 years time I may have an established drift – I won’t hold my breath obviously.

    1. Hi Elaine, how lovely to have some self seeding going on, but definitely don’t hold your breath. Though you could join the snowdrop counters and keep a log of how quickly they increase?! Glad to have given you a small taste of spring.

  13. Lovely! I am always so pleased to see the first crocus on the plot as it really does herald the start of the new season and the many delights to come! Flighty xx

    1. They are such lovely little heralds, aren’t they. Though the birds seem to devour the yellow ones almost as soon as they appear!

  14. You are still amzingly ahead of my garden. I have one rather small dwarf hyacinth but no other bulbs at all. Purple is LOVELY! Christina

    1. Hi Christina, we didn’t have your snowfall to contend with! At least this year it doesn’t look as if everything will pop up all at once, tulips alongside crocuses. I prefer the slow unveiling process, it gives me more time to get used to it being Spring and become more active in the garden again.

  15. What a wonderful time of year, when everything is popping up and showing us their flowers. I hope you are going to take some of your bulbs with you when you move, by splitting your snowdrops you will soon have drifts in your new garden, they don’t take long to multiply. Your crocus and Iris reticulata are beautiful, I think everyone loves purple don’t they?!

    1. Hi Pauline, actually since bulbs – common ones, anyway – are so cheap I will leave any growing in this garden to be enjoyed by whoever comes after, though the irises will come with us as they are in pots, as are lots of the tulips. I’ll be taking plenty of things with me though!

    1. It is a great colour, isn’t it. In theory they pop up alongside some paler lilac ones which makes a great contrast. In practice, those seem to have disappeared on me.

  16. Just had to leave a comment – the first time I’ve visited your blog and loved your posting – small things are sometimes the most precious – thankyou for sharing… Miranda

    1. Hi Miranda, thanks for stopping by and commenting, always good to “meet” new people.

    1. I’ve never seen squirrels in our garden, or up at the allotment site either. A shame, really, but good news for the bulbs!

  17. Lovely. I’m enjoying our snowdrops and first half dozen daffodils bringing sunshine to the garden now. I have seen the shoots of the crocus I planted in the autumn, they are later flowering, so hopefully will flower next month. I love crocus, must add more in future years, particularly some of the fresh purple C. tomasinianus to spread themselves about.

    1. You have daffs already?! Goodness! I just have lots of leaves. I adore crocuses, and definitely want loads in any garden I have.

  18. So good to see the garden waking up again isn’t it Janet. I am not sure what is going on with the crocuses this year – those in pots have already croaked whilst some of mine in the ground have still to reveal flowers. Like the contrast of your snowdrops against the ophiopogon ~ I would be tempted to dig some up if I were you for your new garden.

    1. Hi Anna, now that you come to mention it, I was sure I had planted crocus bulbs in one of my smaller pots, but no sign of them at all. I suppose I am lucky that my favourites have reappeared, but fingers crossed we both get to see more soon. I think the amount of digging up I end up doing will depend on where we end up going and what state I am in when we leave! Not to mention how much help I get transporting the already large number of pots that “I really must take that with us to the new place”…

  19. Your purple crocuses are gorgeous even in bud! The color is deep enough you almost feel like you could dive into it. This time of year reminds me of being a little girl at Christmas, almost feeling ready to explode with excitement and having to wait and wait and wait. (And wait.) Every day now there’s some new little change, even if it’s just the buds on the trees being a hair fatter. Your aquilegia leaf looks like it’s ready to take off running!

    1. Hi Stacy, that is exactly how it is, perfetly put! Just a few days later and there are twice as many leaves on that aquilegia. Now if we just got a little sun, the beautiful crocuses might actually open…

  20. You have lots of special surprises in your garden at the moment. I don’t have irises yet, but the daffodils and hellebore are blooming. Although it is still winter, I think spring is bursting to come forth…

    1. Its hard to remember that it is still winter – we have extremely mild weather here at the moment. No daffodils yet though! Still, a magical time of year, as everything starts to shake off dormancy and break into growth.

  21. I envy your early bloomers! Most each and everyone is on my wishlist – these beauties would be so inspiring this time of year (when everything is still brown and gray).

    1. Hi Shyrlene, there is a special kind of magic to the early bulbs and perennials, I plant mroe and more of them each year. You will have lots of scope for planting these beauties once you start establishing your larger shrubs and trees etc around your boundaries to give you that seclusion you crave?

  22. Great photos, as ever, Janet. The one with the raindrops on the Aquilegia is just the sort of shot I like most! At least you’ll be able to taske the potted Irises with you when you go.

    1. Thanks Mark – I did find myself thinking of you when I was putting that shot in the post!!

  23. So lovely, Janet! I’m a fan of purple, too, so those irises really appeal to me. It’s still a little early for us here, but I do have crocuses blooming, and yesterday I found the first buds of my hellebores. Spring surprises are always welcome!

    1. Hi Rose, it is always so exciting spotting those buds appear, isn’t it! I am now on daffodil watch… No buds yet, but any day now…

  24. I like purple too. Looking at all those pretty bloom, has rewarded your effort on lavishing all your LTC into them.

    1. Hi Diana, the purple theme is even more in evidence now that the aquilegias have come in to full bloom! Thanks for your comment, sorry for the tardy reply.

  25. Viva Spring indeed. Lots ‘appening isn’t there? I’m not terribly keen on Ophiopogon but it does set off the snowdrops nicely! Those irises are lovely!

    1. Hi David, I do know what you mean about Ophiopogon, but it does make the perfect foil for so many other plants. Sorry for the tardy response to your comment, I have been a Very Bad Blogger.

      1. Three months tardy? Nah, seems pretty much on the ball to me, Janet. Glad to see your sunny orange flower about again. I was thinking of emailing you as you have indeed been such a VBB. But now I don’t have to – welcome back! D

  26. It is wonderful to see those small blooms poking through the soil, awaking for Spring. They often get overshadowed by the blooming Spring trees. Pretty images of them, Janet.

    1. Thanks Donna, and sorry that spring bulbs became a distant memory before I got around to responding to your comment…

  27. I remember, I remember! I’ll have to wait another 6 months for those early spring shoots here, where autumn has just begun, but I remember the feeling well. I love those Snowdrops with the black foliage, it’s good you got to see it before you have to move.

    1. Hi Lyn, it is strange seeing people’s garden’s six months out of phase with your own, isn’t it! Thanks for commenting, and sorry it took me so long to respond.

  28. These are all beautiful! I also love flowers because it’s a sign of new beginning. :) The photos are perfectly shot.. Kudos!

  29. Hi Janet,
    Your photography is so good. How are you? We have moved again this time over the border into Devon. It is lovely but l don’t have my own garden to work on as we are still renting. We hope to buy something soon but in the meantime l have put my name down for an allotment. We’ll see what happens. Keep up the good work, Regards, Trevor.

    1. Hi Trevor. Devon is very beautiful, but it must be getting more than a little frustrating for you not having a garden. Good luck with getting an allotment – have you looked and Landshare at all? That might also be an option given that plenty of people in South Devon have large gardens/paddocks etc.

Comments are closed.

Back To Top