When we got back from a short trip to Mexico at the end of January, I continued to take photos of the garden as spring advanced, but I've been slow to add them to this blog. So here's a précis of what has been happening in the last couple of months.
Early February saw that wonderful early daffodil, 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' brightening its patch of ground. It really does lead the way for others of its kind, not just in being so fast to bloom but also for standing so sturdily against the rain and wind that we so often get in this month. And I do like that emerald green stripe on the back of the petals.
Almost as quickly the snow crocus sprang up, although they refuse to open on dull days, 'Gipsy Girl' is almost better closed because it too has stripes on the back that you don't see when it is fully open. Even ravaged by slugs, it was a cheery sight.
The pear tree branches, still bare, were festooned with brilliant green moss.
Snowdrops in the dappled shade under Corylopsis pauciflora pushed up through fallen leaves,
... and were followed by the bright blue flowers of Anemone blanda.
Another anemone nearby, 'White Splendour' came soon after. It is indeed a bright white on top, but the undersides of the petals are bright pink.
I have a small collection now of these tiny daisy-like anemones, including delicate A. nemorosa 'Bracteata''
Nothing special, you might say, but it's the cobalt blue at the base of the bracts that is one of its secret attractions.
Above them all, Corylopsis pauciflora burst into full bloom by the beginning of March.
By this time Hellebore 'Peppermint Ice' and a cluster of species tulips , Tulipa turkestanica, had taken over from the snowdrops and winter aconites underneath.
Hellebores were also blooming in the front garden: deep crimson 'Rachel' and pale pink 'Frilly Kitty'.
And Enkianthus perulatus produced a flurry of white bells, undaunted by being forever in the shadiest of the front garden beds.
We've had a warm, sunny spring so far and many plants are blooming ahead of schedule. My dwarf rhododendron
'Little Vixen' that I grow for the beautiful rich colour of the undersides of its leaves suddenly produced bells of garish pink, demonstrating why I much prefer it as a foliage plant. Fortunately the flowers are not long-lasting.