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.

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