It’s strange, watching flowers appear (or not) in a new garden. I’ve found myself feeling bad for the various shortcomings, real or imagined. No sign of any snowdrops, for instance. Only two hellebores, identical pale pink ones. I had been holding off photographing them because they were hard to get to and then, suddenly, they were blasted to smithereens by a recent storm. Intellectually I know I am not responsible for the presence – or lack – of any of the flowers currently blooming in my garden, but I still feel responsible. And expectant. As the temperature gradually increases, the days lengthen and the sun becomes higher and higher in the sky, every day seems to bring new surprises. More bulb leaves appearing – and of course I have no idea what they are. Flowers appearing on a plant I only had the vaguest idea about. Some things have been hanging on for months now, and despite being rather tatty are still belting out little pools of colour that catch me by surprise as I wander around – primulas.

Blue primulas
Pink primulas
Yellow primulas

I love the little pinkish stalks of the new flowers, nestling safely in the heart of the otherwise battered plant.

In the side garden I think I can almost see the colour of the pulmonarias. I should bide my time until they open properly, but I can’t say I am thrilled by salmon, not at the moment anyway.

Pulmonaria almost flowering

In the salad bed daisies are pushing their way up and smiling.


I suppose I should weed them out, but they are so pretty. There are tulips pushing their way up too, and some interesting leaves, but they can wait their turn.

In the front garden, the witch hazel is fading away, merging with the straw-like fronds of the stipa in the circle bed.

Fading flowers on the witch hazel

This is one of the plants I am most delighted with, I’ve never grown one before, and here it is, a lovely shape, planted in full view of the window by the dining table. It has flowered non stop for six weeks, so I think it deserves a break. It is handing the baton over to a much less refined plant.

Bright yellow wallflower

To describe this wallflower as “bright” is a bit of an understatement, and I am thinking of moving it into the back garden where it can smile at me when I am working on the raised beds.

I’ve already mentioned the first daffodils, I’m not entirely sure what kind they are, possibly tete-a-tete, but it is hard to tell as the flowers seem determined to turn their heads away.


I love narcissi, and I have three pots of scented Narcissus ‘Actaea’ (Pheasant’s Eye) ready to go in the ground when I have cleared the space for them, and will certainly plant more daffs this autumn, but if you really pushed me I think I would have to say that, of all Spring bulbs, my favourites are crocuses. I’ve planted some in the little pocket in the wall in the front garden, but the leaves are only just pushing their way up, and I plan to naturalise lots in the back lawn come Autumn, but it is those narrow straplike leaves that I have been most on the look-out for as I roam around the garden. I’m happy to see the occasionally solo appearance in the circle bed.

Blue crocus
Yellow crocus
Purple crocus

Crocuses are definitely best in large clumps, but these occasional jewel-like glints are welcome, nonetheless. But. I was excited to glimpse, in the very neglected raised bed that runs alongside the driveway, what appeared to be a little cluster of crocus leaves pushing their up. A few days ago they looked like this:

An unpromising cluster of crocuses lying on the ground

Beautiful colour, but not very promising. Until the sun finally made an appearance, and they were transformed.

Pale violet crocuses

They make me smile every time I walk past. Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – do pop over to Carol’s blog and check out what is flowering in gardens all over the world.

56 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day February 2013

  1. Your crocus are beautiful! It’s so funny that we gardeners really do feel “responsible” for the blooms, even though we have no control over the weather! I love that picture of the blue crocus spearing its way up through the soil into the sunlight. And your witch hazel is very pretty. Impressive bloom time.

    1. Ridiculous, isn’t it, this over developed sense of responsibility. I do adore the witch hazel. Happy GBBD!

  2. How fun it must be to walk around your garden and find so many lovely surprises in this first spring of your new garden. I never used to care that much for crocuses, but now I appreciate these little beauties as a welcome sign of spring’s arrival. I’m enthralled by all your blooms–I love the primulas!–especially since we’re still at least another month away from any signs of spring in my area.

    1. Hi Rose, it is, really fun, particularly with the bulbs. One minute, bare soil. The next, intriguing leaves. I’m glad to have been able to give you a little taste of Spring-to-come – apparently it is going to get cold again here next week, so I am glad I caught the crocuses in the sun.

  3. It’s the time of year for delicate and delightful surprises. Primroses and other delights, just wonderful. Thank you for showing us.

    1. Hi Lea, am hoping the clouds disappear and leave us with some sun to garden in. Happy GBBD!

    1. Do you know, I was looking at them thinking “they’re not tete-a-tete” but I couldn’t work out why, so thank you! They are lovely – and apparently quite early – so I shall enjoy them whatever they are.

  4. It’s sooooo interesting, seeing what will come up in a new garden, but it’s so tempting to get stuck in. Though you can never tell what’s going to manifest itself… I love crocuses too, and one of my joys when I first moved here was seeing that the previous occupant evidently had felt the same – drifts planted around the base of a big cherry tree. Since then I’ve added more, and more. Some might say too many, but I don’t care…. can you have too many?

    1. Hi Kate, I dream of large drifts of crocuses around the base of trees – of course you can’t have too many crocuses, they’re only tiny, after all. I’ve spotted at least one hyacinth bulb so I have no idea what is going to appear. I love it. I’d love it even more if the sunny day they had promised had appeared. Rain again. Ah well.

  5. Such excitement when you move to a new house, waiting to see what will pop up in the garden. You have some lovely plants and have lots of flowers already that you can add to in the autumn. The crocus are really pretty, we saw drifts of them in a garden we visited yesterday, hundreds had seeded in the lawn, it was magical, one day yours will be like that!

    1. Hi Pauline, I certainly plan to naturalise lots of crocuses in the back lawn, I might try fritillaries too. And I will probably need to relocate some of the bulbs already here given my plans…

  6. Hi Janet,

    Plenty of Primulas around; are they something you plan on keeping? Although, tbh they’re adding much needed colour…

    I’ve some Crocus pushing up now – mainly Tomasinanus but they so seem to be a little behind last year; hardly a surprise considering the snow we’ve had over the past few weeks. But the early Bees/Hoverflies actually love the cream/white ones and I’ve never seen them visit Tommy.
    And this is exactly why I love Tomasinianus so much; they’re magical when hit by the sun and have such a beautiful shade of purple I can’t help but take hundreds of photos of them!

    I know exactly what you mean about watching a new garden waking. This garden had been relandscaped when we moved in, so there wasn’t a great deal. I don’t think any bulbs in the back garden, one clump of Daffs in the front which I suspect self-seeded because they’re in an odd place and only the one clump?? Other than that the first year the only interest was in the pots I brought with me! :)

    1. Hi Liz, I am torn about the primulas. Yes, they are a welcome injection of colour, and they do make me smile. But I do so prefer the lovely pale lemon of the native primrose. I am really hoping mil and fil make it up here with the primroses growing in pots at the old house. The good thing is that all the primulas are hidden away in odd corners, so they don’t shout at me too much but do give that little spike of colour. I think you are right about the crocuses being later this year, it has been a colder winter – almost “normal” – after lots of mild ones. I hadn’t realised that you had started your garden from a blank canvas. That is what I did in my last garden. This is a very different experience.

      1. Ah, glad you’re similar to me; don’t like the coloured primulas… I stick to vulgaris too :)
        The garden wasn’t a blank canvas as such, there were shrubs and a few plants. For example a laurel (shudder), cotoneaster and Portugal laurel all in a 2m stretch which clearly can’t handle just one Portugal laurel! So yes, lots of shrubs, no bulbs and next to no perennials (one border of sweet Williams).

  7. I am impressed how much you have in flower already. Here in London you would think things would be slightly ahead but so far only 3 irises out this week.

    1. Goodness, that is surprising Claire, I am used to reading what is happening in London gardens with surprise and envy, maybe it is the maritime climate making itself felt? But hey, at least you have irises!

  8. This is a lovely reflection on discovering what’s in your garden. Crocuses are also one of my favourite flowers at this time of year, but although I’ve planted lots (particularly with my bees in mind), so few have come up. I’ve no idea why, but I’m guessing something has a taste for them.

    1. Hi Wendy, what a shame – but maybe they are just late because it has been so cold?

  9. Primulars are a bit under rated, maybe because they are sold everywhere not just in prpoer nurseries! I have some too in a pot and will plant them out although I doubt they will survive the summer without water. Christina

    1. Hi Christina, I have never come across pulmonarias before, but I confess I am rather enchanted. I only have three small plants, so I am hoping that if I move them to better soil they will increase.

  10. Hi Janet, as you would expect there is even less going on here at the moment but at least I am now able to get outside and do some much needed tidying up. You have Daffs already, I wonder if its February Gold, and Wallflower as well that’s fantastic. Great header picture to go with your new look blog theme. Those who comment on my blog, their link back url is not showing. When you commented on my blog today was the box where you would add your site url missing altogether. I will look back here and see if you have had time to reply…

    1. Hi Alistair, thank you, I think you must be right, February Gold. They are lovely, I shall get some more in the Autumn to give them some friends, they look a little lonely at the moment. Glad you like the new blog theme. I certainly added in my site URL when I commented on your blog, so not sure what is going on there. Good luck sorting it!

  11. Janet, you’re in the fortunate position this year of not being ‘responsible’ for any ‘lacks’ in the garden – it’s all down the previous owners…also I read: “the National Trust’s “Valentine’s Flower Count” reported significantly fewer flowers than in previous years” due to the retardation of Spring by the late snows. p.s. that cluster of crocuses look like mouths dripping with honey.

    1. Hi Laura, how interesting that the weather has had such an effect, we have become so used to wet mild winters, it has come as something of a shock to be back to “normal”. Today was warm enough to eat lunch outside in the sun, but it rapidly got cold again, and we woke up to a layer of frost everywhere, so definitely still winter really. I am never going to look at crocuses in quite the same way again…

  12. Janet it is exciting to see what will bloom in your new garden…I love primulas and hope the snow has helped save them from the critters…and crocus…they do make me smile as well…as the snow melts I will be crawling on the ground in certain spots watching and waiting for them.

    1. Hi Donna, I do hope your crawling around reveals lots of Spring loveliness, you must be ready for it after all that snow.

  13. Hi Janet, you guys just moved in so it takes awhile to get the usual spring flowers you’d want established. I’m sure you’ll add lots of spring flowering bulbs and plants in the following years for an even more colourful display :)

    1. Yes, I think I had better start saving for that Autumn bulb order now… And I have my eye on lots of spring flowering plants too, particularly epimediums… So many plants, so little time!

  14. It must be fun having a garden of discovery! I just planted some primulas. I have long admired them but thought they would not grow here until I found some native ones. I am eager to see how they do!

    1. Hi Deb, yes it is, great fun, particularly at this time of year, there seems to be something new every day. Enjoy your native primulas, I am hoping to be reunited with my own native primroses soon, I much prefer them to their brighter coloured cousins.

  15. Must be fun watching the bulbs emerge Janet – a bit of a lucky dip. No doubt that you will be doing some judicious editing as spring progresses. It’s amazing how sun completely transforms crocuses from bedraggled and woebegone to glorious splendour. Funny how we see colours differently as I do not think of salmon when I see your pulmonaria :) It must have been some storm to blast your hellebores flowers to smithereens as they are such tough customers. Hail perhaps?

    1. Hi Anna, yes, I suspect not all the tulips will pass muster, but it is great to know they are happy in this soil, it means I can have great fun choosing ones to grow next year! And the rest, so many bulbs. Am severely tempted to buy some snowdrops “in the green”. I think you may be right about hail, it was such a shock to see them looking so sorry for themselves, but the three I have in pots close to the house, where they were sheltered, are fine.

  16. Like Anna, I was going to comment on the transformation beween your last two pictures – wonderful. Your new garden is definitely a box of delights at the moment :)

    1. Hi Cathy, it certainly is, and too cold for many of the weeds to have made appearance yet, perfect!

  17. How exciting to be in a new garden and find all these treasures popping up for you to discover. The former owner certainly left you a sizable number of plants to play with.

    1. Hi Marguerite, yes, I was lucky to inherit lots of mature shrubs which gives a feeling of an established garden – though with large holes where I have removed the ones I hated!!

  18. It must be quite exciting waiting to see what pops up in your new garden. I can understand you being disappointed not to see Snowdrops – there are some flowers you always expect to see in your own garden and it can be baffling that other people have deliberately ignored them. Some Primulas can be garish but I admire the way they flower even when they are battered and tattered. Sun makes such a difference to a Crocus and I am quite intrigued to see what your blue ones look like when they are open.

    1. It is fascinating how gardeners vary as to what plants and bulbs they deem essential. I have to admit to not being particularly fond of the brightly coloured primulas, though their very vulgarity does make me smile, it is so outrageous. I do prefer the native primroses though, and will certainly be making sure I have plenty. I had a quick glimpse of the blue crocuses open in the sun, but no camera to hand – very large bright yellow stamens, so very cheerful.

  19. There’s plenty of colour and interest, surprisingly so for this time of year but most welcome.
    Those primulas do look rather sad don’t they. I don’t like salmon either as I always find it a wishy-washy colour.I like croscuses, and I’m waiting for my new ones to flower. xx

    1. Hi Flighty, I am intending to find alternative homes for most of those bright primulas, I prefer the soft yellow of the natives, but they are valiant little plants. Hope your crocuses flower soon – the ones I planted in my wall are still only little shoot tips, but at least they are on their way!

  20. I would be really excited waiting to see what appears every month though you’d think that every garden should have at least 1 little clump of snowdrops. I’m sure you’ll enjoy filling in the gaps with the missing spring bulbs come the autumn time. I really like all those stipa’s next to the witch hazel – lovely combination and you’ll have 2 seasons of interest with those two alone once autumn arrives.

    1. Hi Rosie, yes, the stipa with the witch hazel is a very happy accident, as I was just using the central bed as a nursery bed, but it works so well. Serendipity – and I love the way the wind makes the stipa look almost like ripples on water. The snowdrop lack must be corrected, though I will probably wait and try some bulbs first, that way I can try for more… I am seeing snowdrops and forget-me-nots round the flowering cherry…

  21. Lovely crocus – their slender buds are so unassuming until they open wide in the sun and suddenly you can’t stop looking at them in all their splendour. We had no crocuses here, just a few clumps of random daffodils, but I’m remedying that slowly – and adding more narcissus too of course!

    1. Hi Sara, those crocuses make me smile every time I walk past them, so unexpectedly exuberant once they open. I’ll be joining you with the crocus buying – and the daffs – come Autumn. I must remember to get some Tenby daffs while I am about it!

  22. I enjoyed your February collection of bloomers. The crocus buds are pretty striking up close, but they’re certainly lots more flashy opened up, celebrating the sun. It definitely does look like spring is almost here. I knew the nights had been long, but it’s only now with the lengthening days that I really appreciate how dark it had been. And it looks like your plants appreciate the longer days, as well!

    1. Hi James, I sometimes think that as the days start to lengthen again you can hear both plants and people sighing with relief and visibly standing more tall!

  23. I like that wallflower and may have to do a little research on it to see if it will survive the summer here, which is our killing season.

    1. They have fabulous foliage Les, and are called that because they love to grow right next to stone walls, so they might well cope with your “killing season”. You could always try growing some from seed this summer – they are biennial, but sorry, you probably know that already! Personally I prefer the soft pinks, vivid purples and shades of orange you can get, and will be searching out seed for later in the year myself. They are great for any pollinators that get out and about early in the year.

  24. I’m loving those daisies! That’s a different sight to all the bulbs we’re seeing posted at the minute :)

    1. I spotted more daisies in the grass today, I’m delighted. I really must sow some yellow rattle and see what pops up if I leave a patch of grass uncut this year. Enjoy the bulb-free zone while you can, I have already started my bulb list for the autumn…

  25. I love the salmon color of the Pulmonaria’s newest bloom opening. Your photos of the emerging crocus blooms are great! They are hard to get a nice clear picture of, congrats.
    I love the bright cheery colors of primroses. They make me smile.

    1. Hi Janet, thank you, crocuses always demand muddy knees don’t they, much like hellebores! I must try to get a decent shot of the pulmonaria now that it is partly blooming at last, the flowers are a gorgeous bluey-purple.

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