The joys of our gardens may become an increasingly precious commodity in the coming months and as our knowledgable blogging friend Chloris invites us to share our top ten blooms each month, so why not join in if you haven’t already done so? This month I am starting with some of the joys of the woodland – wood anemone Anemone nemerosa, snakeshead fritillary Fritillaria meliagris and Rhododendron ‘Cheers’, shown together above and individually below. A comment from Jude of Cornwall in Colours made me realise how much earlier the anemones are this year, several weeks earlier in fact.
Also early are the first tulips, the random ‘Spring Green’ that appeared under the holly tree last year and one of the few remnants of my effort to add tulips to the shrub border – I especially chose mostly Darwin tulips as they were reputed to reflower more reliably (and planted them deeply), but out of perhaps 50 or 60 not even a handful have returned. I could check previous bulb orders to see what variety the one on the right is, but I am not going to.
All the tulips I planted last year are in pots and I don’t even try to keep them from year to year now as the success rate is so poor. Many of them came as end of season bargains from our local garden centre, snapped up minutes before some chap came in and bought up all remaining bulb stock. To fill the pots until the tulips came through they were topped either with Bellis perennis (below), bought as plugs, or Aldi’s bright primroses. The bellis came in mixed colours (light and dark pink, red, white) which unfortunately are not randomly distributed between the pots.
Behind this pot you can see some of the hellebores in the snowdrop bed, in theory at their peak as the seedheads are now beginning to form, but in truth standing taller and prouder than all the preceding weeks. Unlike the numerous hellebores in the woodland edge borders, the ones here quickly made sizeable clumps, presumably preferring the more open bed and less competition from other roots. All the hellebores here are white or green, but I have included ‘Anna’s Red’ too, despite her recent damage, as she still looks stunning.
Most of the snowdrops are over now, but a few have lingered longer, like ‘Fanny’ and ‘Polar Bear’ below:
I am not a big fan of larger narcissi, but this year I have been taken with the clump below, under the apple trees and next to the stream, the only ones remaining from those I planted when the stream was first constructed about 17 years ago, when I planted a mix of three varieties – early, middle and late. A pale yellow, these have a distinctive darker rim around the trumpet, but I can’t find them on the current Peter Nyssen website and I won’t have records of my purchases from then – any suggestions? I would remember the name if it was mentioned.
At the other extreme is a pot of ‘Little Oliver’ miniature narcissi in the Coop, at least that’s what the yellow ones are – tiny little cups on stems of around 20cm and very cute – but even cuter is the cuckoo in the nest, about half the height and with a very flat white head…absolutely adorable, but what is it please? I would like more of them!
I could include pulmonarias and primroses in my ten, but instead will include (as Chloris has done) early flowering Clematis armandii ‘Snowdrift’ and the first of the alpinas, Clematis alpina ‘Constance’, which is gradually opening the fat buds I showed you last week, and the bed of comfrey Symphytum ‘Hidcote Blue’ which any early bees will be grateful for:
These are just some of my March blooms, the culmination of the long haul through a very mild (and wet) winter and the rapid approachment of spring: April’s blooms will be very different as the new season’s herbaceous perennials start to make an impact. Thank you to Chloris for giving us the opportunity to share these monthly blooms with her and the wider blogging community.