Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Equinox enthusiasm

It's astonishing how promptly some plants respond to the coming of the equinox. Daily I see more green growth, and daily more flowers open tentative petals.
The spring bouquet under the Corylopsis is vivid with colour now.

Among the blooms are double pink Hellebore 'Amethyst Gem', blue Anemone blanda and a creamy yellow species tulip, T. turkestanica. At the back are the pale green bells of Helleborus foetidus 'Wester Flisk'

Along the side of the house the primula-like flowers of Cardamine trifoliata shine crisply white in the shade.

At least I think that's what it is. The leaves are not three-lobed so it might be a different species.

Nearby is Ranunculus 'Brazen Hussy', with suitably bold yellow daisies above its dark, polished leaves.

It would probably flower better in more sun, but I'm wary of the spreading tendencies of its family. Here, with a concrete pathway on one side and a fence on the other, I've got it safely confined, I hope.

The flowers on Salix 'Melanostachys', which I mentioned a week ago, are fading already from black to silvery-grey with red tips, but  are just as pretty. It will be a lovely spring bloomer when it puts out a few more stems.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Colour Comes Back to the Garden

As the temperature settles into double digits, early flowers take it as the sign to bloom. Hellebores are always among the first, the buds shouldering their way up even through a late blast of snow.

It was after this episode that we had milder weather, and suddenly all the hellebores were in bloom. The clumps grow bigger every year, and so does my collection.

These are the stars of the spring garden, but other plants are also noteworthy. The tiny black tufts on Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys', the black willow, were so subtle that I had to photograph it against the snow to get a decent image.

This is such a pretty plant in bloom, with its contrasting red stems, but it's not very exciting the rest of the year. I keep it in a pot for that reason and because it has a tendency to spread rather too enthusiastically for a small garden. Not that mine has yet: growing from a cutting, it still has just this one stem.

Corylopsis pauciflora, a witch hazel relative started out slowly,

...but is now in full bloom and attracting early bees whenever the sun deigns to shine.

Although the snow crocus in full sun are over already, some in shadier locations are going strong.

And Iris reticulata 'Clairette', which I bought last year, is also blooming later than its relatives. It's a pretty colour combination, but not elegant in its proportions: big flower on short stem. I hope that's just because it's not established yet.

'Rijnfeld's Early Sensation' daffodils are living up to their name, flowering well ahead of my other narcissus. I need to plant a ground cover around them to prevent them being splashed with dirt whenever it rains. Fortunately, from a distance you can't see the dirt, and they add a cheerful sparkle to an area that doesn't have much in it yet. That will change once I start visiting my favourite nurseries.