Better and Better

DSCN1750I was talking to a local acquaintance yesterday, an enthusiastic gardener and an occasional reader of my blog, who was bemoaning the lateness of the spring and the months without colour in her garden and it made me realise how fortunate I am, as the woodland edge border in particular has been providing colour since the beginning of the year and continues to thrill me every time I walk through it. The hellebores, having flowered through rain and snow and wind, are mostly looking even better than ever and some are still producing new buds, as this one demonstrates.

The surprises though, are still coming – is there no end to this box of delights? I knew I had planted some white Viola odorata in the species snowdrop border but it had never amounted to much – until today, when there was a sizeable clump in full flower!

DSCN1738
Continuing my rambling, more surprises awaited me in the woodland – big fat flower buds on the red rhododendron (helpfully labelled ‘Rhododendron (hardy) Red’ and presumably bought before I was fussy enough to demand named varieties) and another bud on Rhododendron ‘Cheers’, which had already produced a couple of flowers in December. I was particularly pleased to see the former as I especially like the deep red varieties and there were no flowers on it last year. Welcome back!

rhododendrons
In the blue & white border I have been entranced to see a white Brodiaea corinna appearing amongst the clump of blue, both equally delightful and new to me this year. Nearby, also apparently deciding on a whim that it was time to flower was Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’, smothered in forget-me-not blue flowers that will last for months, accompanied by the distinctive silver veined leaves:

brunnera
DSCN1752Today’s delights have been accompanied by end-to-end sunshine and warmth, the warmest day of the year so far with our weather monitor registering 18°C and our solar panels generating at their maximum for much of the day. Our first glimpse of magnolia flowers earlier in the week was superceded today by the bigger picture, many more magnolia buds outlined starkly against the cloudless blue sky. Can this belated spring get any better?

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14 Responses to Better and Better

  1. I planted sweatbox and hellebores so I have blooms starting in January and color as early as late February. Thank you for the pictures of your blooms; it is always so enjoyable to walk through someone’s garden to see the progress.

  2. Holleygarden says:

    I have to say, the hellebores have outdone themselves this year. Mine have just kept blooming and blooming. I don’t think I’d ever want a garden without them from now on. As you say, it’s so nice to go out and see something blooming when little else is.

    • Cathy says:

      I am glad your hellebores have been so successful this year too. I added to my collection again this year, probably 3 or 4 new plants (OK, at least 3 or 4), and although I felt self-indulgent buying them in retrospect I don’t begrudge a penny of the money spent because they have brought me such pleasure for months on end (and are continuing to do so). Hurrah for hellebores!

  3. I am also very fond of violas, I have a patch in the back garden where they make a sort of ground cover. They have white blooms in late spring,

    • Cathy says:

      They sound lovely, Jason – it looks as if the white ones I have will spread more quickly than the the more usual purple ones. Bring it on!

  4. croftgarden says:

    Your spring garden is blooming to perfection. Wild and field pansy grow on the croft and dog violet is common on the east coast. So perhaps I should try some violas to try and make the garden more interesting in the early spring. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • Cathy says:

      You are welcome, Christine – it gives me so much pleasure and it is good to share it this way. The common dog violets we have appeared from nowhere but still took many years to flower, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that these white ones, although from cultivated stock, were slow too. It’s good to have acceptable plants like these naturalising in the garden. whether they come by themselves or we introduce them.

  5. Helen Johnstone says:

    I have had colour in my garden for some weeks now, not as much or as early as other years but still more than in a large garden that is open to the public. I think this season has shown gardeners the importance of early spring flowers

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, I think you are right Helen – and they are so trouble free of course, most getting bigger and better over the years. Writing this blog has made me even more aware of how heart warming it is to have things flowering in all months of the year

  6. Anna says:

    An absolutely glorious day here yesterday – in fact I could not imagine better as it was just the ideal temperature to enjoy pottering about and pulling out weeds at the allotment for a good few hours. Today grey skies and rain but the latter was welcome. I can smell your violas from here
    Cathy 🙂

  7. Thank you for a lovely ramble through your garden, Cathy. Definitely set me up for the day 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for joining me on the ramble, Annette 😉 Oh, and you mentioned Tulipa Clusiana earlier – I realise that my ‘Lady Jane’ is one of these, and very nice she is too!

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