Chloris introduced us to a brilliant quotation the other day: Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment (Ellis Peters). So perceptive, so true! We know spring is coming as it does reliably every year, tucked in somewhere between winter and summer, so there is no reason to be astonished by its appearance, nor by what it brings in tow. Indeed, after my mosaic of spring blooms for Garden Bloggers Blooms Day I checked back on April’s GBBD from the previous year and lo and behold I presented it as a mosaic in exactly the same way – and with most of the same blooms! Nothing to be astonished by at all then – but I am sure that we will continue to ooh and aah at every new bloom each spring and at every other time of year too.
Since this month’s GBBD I have therefore been able to ooh and aah at the sudden appearance of the first bluebells in the woodland, strangely on the side of the bark bath through the trees where the wood anemones and primroses are – so they must have seeded themselves from bulbs across the path, bulbs that haven’t in fact flowered very well in the last few years suggesting they may be overcrowded and need dividing. Obviously they don’t get divided in the wild but the fact that the new little clump and others like it are beginning to flower while the bigger clumps are not seems to make a point. They certainly look fetching against the sea of anemones.
Something more appreciative than an ooh or an aah was required for the first appearance of an erythronium in the garden, a bulb I have tried more than once with without success. This one, strangely, was planted not last year but the year before and seemingly disappeared without trace until I noticed the distinctive leaves I had seen on another blog a week or two ago – even better, the flower was not where I had first discovered the leaves but in another clump, and I now have flowers on two separate clumps! They are only the more common Erythronium ‘Pagoda’ as these bulbs were cheaper than the others, but perhaps I will try some of the others after this small success.
The shock of seeing this tiny slash of yellow in the woodland edge border was followed by a double take at the sight of another yellow splash, this time from an epimedium (below), probably E ‘Sulphureum’, one of the first plants planted in this border and missing its label for some time. I don’t remember when I last saw a flower on it – but seeing this you can understand why Helen the Patient Gardener and others love the species, and I can see that I will need to have some more of them! Interestingly, the relatively tiny Epimedium × youngianum ‘Niveum’ in the snowdrop border has flower buds on it for the first time this year.
I smiled (OK, there was probably an ‘ooh’ or two as well!) when I saw that Rhododendron ‘Cheers’ was flowering on GBBD after its early appearance before Christmas, but there was additional excitement yesterday to see flowers on the red rhododendron (just R ‘Red’) also in the woodland. This is a very woody rhododendron as it must be quite dry and shady here under the canopy of the neighbour’s beech tree and it never has many flowers but had none at all last year – so even a single flower is to be welcomed, as was the first sight of a flower on an Anemone coronaria ‘Sylphide’ in the cutting beds which definitely required a ‘whoohoo’!