End of Month View: Watching and Waiting

February, already a short month, seems to have been very much a case of watching and waiting – watching all the spring flowers begin to emerge but waiting for confirmation that spring really is in its ascendancy and we are not suddenly going to be thrown into the depths of winter. Many of the changes since the end of January are small and imperceptible in photos – leaves breaking out on shrub and twig, shoots pushing forth from damp soil, but then there are the obvious signs of early spring: snowdrops, hellebores, primroses, narcissi and crocus.

The latter two are visible in the streamside grass on the right, but tulips can also be seen emerging in the pots on the left – and to see where these views fit into the garden as the whole you could refer to the map.


The woodland displays clear clumps of primroses but the wood anemones and bluebells are still preparing for a later display:

IMG_1489The main herbaceous borders look little changed, but again fresh shoots are growing from dicentra, geranium, astrantia, peony and the like, and clumps of species tulips are on the move:

IMG_1490Two views of the woodland edge border, walking down the garden and then looking back along the same route – one of the two star attractions at this time of year:

EOMV.Feb14.2The left and right side hot borders, waiting for the courage to face their conversion to ‘bold’ borders (them, not me). The red polyanthus seems to have got over its aversion to damp and is looking better for it, and provides the only splash (bold and hot) of colour amongst the new growth of geum, poppy, hemerocallis and  crocosmia, other than the odd flower still on the Bidens in the Baskets:

EOMV.Feb14.3A similarly cheerful blue polyanthus (a thank you gift) does the same job in the blue and white borders, although if you look carefully you might just make out a hint of purple at the base of the corner of the wall – a flower on a new purchase of Iris unguicularis, unknown to me until I saw them flowering at Plas Newydd in December and then on various blogs:

EOMV.Feb14.4The roses in the rose garden (left) are sporting many new shoots, but the underplanted lavender is still very tatty – maintaining beds of lavender is new to me, so I have been following guidance from fellow bloggers and hope to see fresh growth soon. The displaced urn has not yet been rehomed, as you can see! On the right hand side is a view possibly not seen before, from inside the clematis colonnade looking towards the start of the woodland edge border. I have been especially pleased in recent days to find a sprinkling of buds on the Clematis alpina ‘Constance’ on one of the pillar here, thankfully coming out of its prolonged sulk after it was unceremoniously moved during flowering in 2012:

EOMV.Feb14.5Although outward rambles pass the species snowdrop border I have kept the photograph until the return leg, but am regretting taking it from this angle! After a disappointing 2013 there have only been a couple of snowdrops that have not been ready to flower this year, and my systematic mapping and investigation has solved a few mysteries – a successful season for this other seasonal star attraction. The addition of a couple more hellebores, still sticking to the white/green scheme, and white geraniums should extend the interest beyond the snowdrop season. Some white muscari were also added in the autumn but there has seen no sign of them yet.

IMG_1488The hedge border is about a year old now and is gradually coming together, but I am especially thrilled to see the buds on the Camellia japonica ‘Nobilissima’ beginning to show a hint of their white flowers for the first time. You can just see ‘Harry’, my favourite witch hazel, still in flower beyond the section of wall.

EOMV.Feb14.6I am fascinated to look back on these end of month views, particularly now I am building a good record of them – they are so helpful to monitor differences from year to year as well as month to month – and I am grateful to Helen, the Patient Gardener, for hosting this meme. If you follow the link to her blog there will be more links to End of Month Views in lots of other gardens, so do go and have look round as I shall also be doing.


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18 Responses to End of Month View: Watching and Waiting

  1. wellywoman says:

    Thanks for the tour. It’s quite bitterly cold today, probably the coldest it has felt for a long time. I’m so eager to get going but trying not to get too carried away. My February Gold have just started to open. They are always late and only just sneak into February, even in a mild winter. Makes me wonder why they aren’t known as ‘March Gold’. 😉 I so love how you have designed your garden. Gorgeous.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks WW – even though the temp dropped yesterday evening it stayed above freezing and there was no frost, and today was chilly but sunny. We seem to have done well with sunshine in the last month or two, despite the rain. Others have suggested Feb Gold is misnamed too! ps Amazon has told me your book will be coming next week…!

  2. Pauline says:

    Lovely ramble round your garden Cathy, your woodland edge borders and your snowdrops of course grab my attention, but everything else is coming on. Harry is still looking very handsome and catching the eye, I wish my H. mollis would do they same, she is still only showing a tiny bit of yellow!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Pauline. When does your H mollis usually flower – is it normally later than the others? Harry was a bit later this year than the others, but they are over now other than Arnold Promise.

  3. Christina says:

    A lot going on Cathy. You’re lucky to have a flower on your Iris unguicularis they are notirious for taking time to settle before flowering, mine took three years before they really started to put on a constant show; this year and last their were flowers almost every day from the end of December until April so worth the wait.

    • Cathy says:

      I had 3 plants from Broadleigh Bulbs and one came with a spent flower and a half-open bud, so I am not responsible for the flower! They were good solid plants though, but I shall be prepared for them to take time to settle – and look forward for 3 months of flowering in later years!! Thanks Christina.

  4. Helen Johnstone says:

    I know what you mean about lots appearing but all so small you can’t see it. I have lots of tulips and perennials appearing but it is impossible to show them up in photos.
    Thanks for joining in again this month, I’m glad yiu find it helpful

  5. Cathy nice foliage and I like the splash of red in the hot border, from small beginnings lush foliage and flowers will come, nice to see those first shoots of promise, lovely fat buds on Camellia, Frances

  6. annette2121 says:

    I am really looking forward to watching your garden grow throughout the year. You have some lovely areas. I looked up the Iris unguicularis and apparently it needs neutral or slightly alkaline soil so not sure it would do very well here. Might look out for it though and give it a try.

  7. rusty duck says:

    February Gold made it by a whisker here.. opened today! You can’t beat the hellebores, alongside the snowdrops. Drop dead gorgeous.

  8. Spring looks ready to be sprung at your place. Plus helebores. I’m jealous.

  9. pbmgarden says:

    You have a lot going on Cathy. I’m a fan of camellias so look forward to seeing more of your Camellia japonica ‘Nobilissima’ .

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks. The buds are really swelling nicely – it’s a long time since I have had a camellia (I moved it and it died….) so i am really looking forward to seeing them open 🙂

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