Six on Saturday: Musings

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.

This entry was posted in Gardening, Gardens, greenhouse, Six on Saturday and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Six on Saturday: Musings

  1. Pingback: Six on Saturday: Musings — Rambling in the Garden – Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

  2. So nice to see all the early blooming flowers you have already. We just have snow drops, and barely that, but once things start coming on, it seems to all come at once.

  3. tonytomeo says:

    I have heard of ‘lucky dip’ seed, but not unlabeled plants. That is a cool tradition.

  4. Linda Casper says:

    Lovely clematis

  5. Heyjude says:

    Clematis armandii is lovely, is it planted in sun or shade? I quite agree that you can never have too many clematis. I was checking on some of mine this morning to see if anything was happening. As Cindy said, everything seems to start happening at once; if only we could have a few sunny days!

    • Cathy says:

      The Coop Corner is nominally shady but after observation I realised it had more sun than I thought – in the mornings as the sun was rising and later on when the it shone through a gap between the main bit of the house and the extension. When I ordered it I didn’t think about it needing full sun – but it clearly doesn’t need it as it is realy happy here

  6. Anna Higgins says:

    Oh interesting here to read about your tommies and Narcissi ‘Tête-à-Tête’ flowering at the same time Cathy. I don’t have them have growing in close proximity so can’t make the same comparison but the tommies in the sad excuse for a lawn have been ahead of the ‘Tête-à-Tête’ growing in pots at the back of the house. What I am wondering about is why the crocuses have only appeared on one side of the lawn this year. Are there still more to come or have they disappeared is what I’m asking myself.
    My parents had a clematis armandii which was fabulous. I hope that the pot luck clematis are stars.

    • Cathy says:

      I won’t plant the clematis out till I have a better idea of what they are though! I have noticed my tommies and T a T are not as proliferous as before too and intend to take a photo as a guide to where to plant more. I did hand trim the streamside grass far later than I meant to do though, so may have cut off emerging growth by mistake!

  7. Yes, the increasing light is so encouraging, isn’t it? You have some beautiful blooms there!

  8. cavershamjj says:

    There is ALWAYS room for another clematis. Always. I would have found that offer difficult to resist.

  9. Chloris says:

    The wind has played havoc with the poor little tommies, mine look as if they have been partying too hard. Your C. armandii is early mine is not there yet. Isn’t it a joy to have pots of colour in the greenhouse at this time of year?

    • Cathy says:

      Sorry about your tommies – not all have mine have been partying, but it certainly isn’t the usual February sight, and some of mine haven’t reappeared this year AND, thinking about it, I planted some more…hmmm Yes, a joy indeed with the pots of colour. I didn’t stagger the planting of mine very much but generally they seem to be staggering themselves

  10. Lora Hughes says:

    Tete-a-Tete will tete-a-tete, it does seem. Interesting that they bloomed w/the crocus & fortuitous, as well. Loving all those clematis you’ve got going. Gives me itchy plant ordering fingers.

    • Cathy says:

      It is so unuusal for me to order an unknown variety of anything, but I am quite excited about the prospect of discovering what these ones turn out to be – and generally clematis can be fairly accommodating in terms of location. Have you got any plans for new plants, Lora?

      • Lora Hughes says:

        I got 3 of the lucky dip from Thorncroft,o my! So thanks for the suggestion.

        • Cathy says:

          Oh I am glad I mentioned it, Lora – I got more than 3 in the end, as I made a second order after the first discovery, deciding it was too good an offer to miss as they were full size healthy plants

          • Lora Hughes says:

            Their size pleasantly surprised me, too. Mine had labels suggesting what they might be – all zingers! Did yours?

  11. Pingback: Six on Saturday 29-02-2020 – The Propagator

  12. Pingback: Six on Saturday 29-02-2020 – The Propagator - Home & Garden

Comments are closed.