A few weeks ago I would have stated categorically that the Crocus tommasinianus and Narcissi ‘Tête-à-Tête’ in the streamside grass are never in flower at the same time, with the crocus reliably flowering mid-February and the narcissi sometime in March – but as the narcissi began relentlessly pushing their way up in recent weeks it was clear that this was not going to be the case this year. I then checked back on the blog and it wasn’t the case last year either, when we had an exceptionally mild spell in February – instead, they clearly know what they are doing, and pop up when the time is right, but I do think it is a bit rude of those narcissi in the centre to whisper behind their hands like that, no doubt sniggering at the drunkenness of some of their crocus neighbours.
I have had a relatively chilled week in the aftermath of the garden opening, no longer with any pressing garden jobs to do other than more seed sowing and pricking out. Nevertheless, as expected it has taken time to put away all the paraphernalia required for the opening and get the house put back to rights; today it was the turn of the leftover plants and the remaining snowdrops, crocus, muscari and iris have now been distributed around the garden or, in the case of the crocus, in the verge outside.
As the season moves further away from winter (it seems) and closer to spring, new joys abound. I particularly enjoy the quality of the light at this time of year, especially first thing in the morning (my first thing is about 6.30) when there is something intangibly different about it. Ali the Mindful Gardener has written an interesting post about the importance of light to us humans, and I suggest you check it out. Increased light levels and day length also do wonders for our gardens, and I had to add several other things to my list of plants for our visitors to look out for – like the first bloom on dwarf Rhodendron ‘Ptarmigan’ in the entrance border (left) and an early bee feast of comfrey Symphytum ‘Hidcote Blue’ (right):
Taking me by surprise are the first Anemone blanda opening (left, in a sea of Cyclamen hederifolium) and a bloom and a bud on the planted-in-the-wrong-place-so-it’s-a-miracle-there-are-ever-any-blooms-on-it Camellia ‘Nobilissima’ :
Not unexpected but a long time coming are the first fragrant blooms in the Coop, Narcissus ‘Avalanche’ and Hyacinth ‘Blue Star’ (H ‘Carnegie’ in the background); the Coop has its own ‘glasshouse’ smell all year round, but in a couple of weeks the fragrance in there will be mind-blowing:
Puzzling those visitors who have never come across it before was Clematis armandii ‘Snowdrift’, its huge elongated glossy green leaves unlike any other form of clematis – quite a spectacle throughout the year but in these early months new flowering spurs unfurl and one-by-one the flowers begin to open, green at first before transforming into white stars, white fragrant stars supposedly but not that I have yet detected:
This clematis was new to me when the Coop Corner bed was created two years ago, and last year trailed across one fence panel and had perhaps two or three blooms; this year it extends 3 fence panels in both directions and is smothered in buds so we have a treat in store…
Talking about clematis, I recently ordered one from Thorncroft Clematis on behalf of the voluntary organisation I am involved with, and before paying for the order I was told I could add some label-less ‘lucky dip’ clematis to the order for £5 each without incurring extra postage. Despite normally being very choosy about the colours and varieties of plants I buy and a stickler for labels, I was unable to resist a bargain like this – after all, there is always room for another clematis somewhere! Isn’t there? As the leaves on the plants appear and unfurl it will be like adding another piece to the jigsaw puzzle, another clue to the variety. At least one of them is a C alpina as there is a flower bud appearing alongside the leaves, so a verdict might be reached on this one soon – as long as they are not all Clematis montana!
It has been good to have time to muse this week – and good last Sunday to share musings with our hardy visitors too. Meanwhile, Jon the Propagator invites us to share six photographs from our garden every Saturday, with or without musings, so do pop over there and see what other gardeners have been thinking about today.