March Blooms to Brighten Our Isolation

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.

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28 Responses to March Blooms to Brighten Our Isolation

  1. johnvic8 says:

    What a blessing to have spring flowers at these trying times. Thanks for sharing.

    • bcparkison says:

      I’m feeling sad for I am sure your garden visits have been postponed for a while. Every thing is looking so good.Thank you for letting me visit.

      • Cathy says:

        Yes Beverley, at first the NGS were leaving it up to individual gardens but advising non-contact visits; now we are instructed not to open at all, and the liability insurance has been cancelled. It’s unfortunate for all the charities that the NGS supports, but the right thing of course. It will be strange not having an awareness of opening dates on my mind whilst I garden…

    • Cathy says:

      It is John, it really is – and you are welcome, of course

  2. magpiesue says:

    Are your tulip bulbs being dug up and consumed by squirrels perhaps? Or maybe to avoid that you’d planted them too deep. Just musing. Thanks so much for sharing your garden with us. 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Not sure, Sue. I do try and plant them deeply, as recommended, and although tulips often don’t survive winters because of the wet rather than the cold our soil is fairly well-drained so I wouldn’t have thought that was a probem here. The squirrels certainly go for the ones planted in pots!

  3. Heyjude says:

    How lovely! I am afraid I can’t help you with naming the narcissi, but agree that the little white one is gorgeous! Hope someone can come up with a name.

  4. Pauline says:

    Your unknown narcissus is gorgeous, very like St. Patrick’s Day in shape and size, but much paler. Your bulbs seem to be lasting longer than mine, Snowdrop Polar Bear was over a while ago and most of my narcissus are over for another year, the lovely warm sunny weather that we have had for a while won’t have helped! Spring has certainly arrived, all your flowers are beautiful and I’m sure that you will be spending a lot of time in your garden in the weeks to come, we are so lucky to have the space to enjoy the flowers, birds, bees and butterflies while self isolating.

    • Cathy says:

      You might be right about St. Patrick’s Day as I distinctly remember one of the varieties I had having a greenish tinge…will check it out further, thanks. I agree, we are lucky to have our gardens – and reasonable size gardens at that. In fact, at the moment I haven’t many jobs to do other than keeping up with seed sowing and pricking out and so on, as I had done so much before our Feb opening. We have had some glorious days this week with cloudless blue skies and warmth in the sun – plus frosts though!

  5. I am SO grateful for my garden right now. What a fabulous collection of hellebores you have. So pretty.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, and I must make sure I don’t take it for granted! I am thrilled with the impact my hellebores are begining to have – they do take time to get established, but a good clump is a thing of real beauty

  6. Anna | Yes, Little Hummingbird? says:

    As always, your garden brightens my day ❤

  7. A bevy of spring beauties Cathy! My snowdrops are all over now except for the odd lingering bloom of ‘Baxendale’s Late’ and ‘Amy Doncaster. I’m sure I’ve gown the same tulip (on the right) but the name escapes me for now. It could return. What a sweet little cuckoo.

    • Cathy says:

      Aren’t they just? There will be a label somewhere near that tulip (which had a few friends once, but it is probably buried in woodchip! I would recognise the name if you remembered it, I am sure! Both these snowdrops have lasted for ages and have proved really striking

  8. tonytomeo says:

    ‘Cheers’? We used to grow one known as ‘Cheer’ (singular), but it had a slightly darker center, and did not look so pretty for us. We grew it because it did better for clients elsewhere. We grew ‘Christmas Cheer’ too, which I rather disliked. It was popular for blooming in winter. For us, the blooms deteriorated as fast as they opened. Yet, we could not grow enough for the demand elsewhere.

  9. Cathy says:

    It is always so interesting to see what is flowering when. Your Anna‘s Red has been wonderful this year and the Clematis is going to be gorgeous too. The wood anemones growing wild all around us are trying to open, but a cold north wind has been literally raging all week so they are keeping their buds tightly closed. Very wise!

  10. Chloris says:

    So lovely to see your March beauties Cathy, thank you so much for joining in. Sorry to be so late commenting but the weather has been so wonderful this last week that I have spent every minute outside and then come in exhausted. Our gardens are going to look better than they have ever looked this year with all the care and primping. What a shame we won’t be able to share them.
    I agree about the hellebores, they look fabulous for weeks and weeks and even now are still stunning. I love your Constance, what a gorgeous colour. That little white narcissus is a stunner I have never seen one like it. How exciting, maybe you have something new there.

    • Cathy says:

      I am adoring my woodland edge border just now with the snowdrop foliage and hellebores, and the woodland with primroses, fritillary and wood anemones – a lot of time is spent gazing! I shall pot up the narcissus oddity and nurture it. Let’s look forward to some more good gardening weather – and some rain too!

  11. I love anemone nemerosa, fritillary and Rhododendron. Tulips with Bellis perennis are lovely. I love hellebores. Snowdrops are adorable. Big daffodils and “Little Oliver” I love. Clematis are divine. La Comfrey is fabulous. Cathy your garden is a wonder in bloom. Spring has arrived! Keep you and the golfer safe. Take care. Loving greetings from Margarita

    • Cathy says:

      I am certainly enjoying rambling round my spring garden, Margarita! We are well here and hope you are too.

      • I am very happy that you are well: we are also well, thank you. Keep rambling around your Spring garden! It would have been fantastic if the Alarm Status had caught me in my country house and not here in Madrid in an apartment, thank goodness we have a large terrace, but it is a house. Stay safe and positive thinking. Loving greetings from Margarita.

        • Cathy says:

          So no garden with your Madrid house? That must be hard.

          • No, in my flat in Madrid there is no garden. There are the trees on the street and in front of a mini-garden of a block of flats that I see from my window and many cars parked everywhere. Of course, there are many trees and they are very large. But I have no garden. My garden is in my country house which I adore. But seeing your garden and your wonderful flowers make me happy. Thanks for showing them. Loving greetings from Margarita.

          • Cathy says:

            You are very welcome, Margarita

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