I am not sure that it has been the warmest day of the year so far as weather forecasters seemed to be predicting, although we did have a very sunny morning after what has certainly been the mildest night of the year. The successive and cumulative mildness of the last few days has been sufficient, however, to produce a number of surprises, seemingly overnight.
The wild plum (or whatever it is) is in full flower, the tiny globular buds which have appeared over the last few days opening as if by magic and allowing the wind to waft the petals down from tree to ground, already forming a speckled pattern on the path. This billowing was in full flow when I began my blog last year and I commented on it on March 20th, a good three weeks earlier but hopefully far advanced enough this year to avoid the worst frosts and allow the flowers to be pollinated and produce fruit, which we didn’t have last year. On the left of the picture are the gradually swelling buds of the magnolia, severely pruned last year, but still looking promising; I shall be keeping a close eye on the buds for the first hint of colour as they open.
Equally sudden was the sitting up straight of the wood anemone buds in the woodland, stretching towards the welcome rays of the sun; I was not surprised when I rambled this morning to see that they were not prepared to wait any longer, bursting forth with enthusiasm and starting to weave their colourful carpet – sheer delight!
I have been monitoring the progress of a single clematis bud, blithely saying it was my lovely Clematis Alpina ‘Constance’, so I had a shock when it opened yesterday to reveal a plain creamy white flower! Despite my mistake, its appearance did ring bells, ‘Jingle Bells’ in fact, as I recalled when I dug up ‘Constance’ in full flower from her previous position and unceremoniously dumped her in a temporary pot – as I untangled some of the roots I found another clematis entwined with her, a creamy white flower or two, and finally the label Clematis cirrhosa ‘Jingle Bells’. By the time I came I came to replant them I had forgotten that Constance was not on her own and the second label didn’t make it to the colonnade; why I didn’t twig when I became aware of other buds lower down that the buds and the leaves were completely different I do not know, but I am more than happy for them to continue their close friendship:
Finally, after enjoying my Sunday morning porridge with the addition of the rose hip syrup I made last year, I enjoyed a cup of coffee in the sitooterie (yes, I am making a big effort to do more sitting!) and on leaving to come back to the house I spied this fritillary in one of the pots outside! All the pots outside the sitooterie at the moment have random bulbs from last year, various ‘free’ collections from two years ago that were bunged label-less into the pots at the last minute – I would have recognised the fritillary leaves if I had stopped to look, but I hadn’t, so this was indeed a surprise. I shall make sure I move these to a permanent position while I still know what they are!