Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Perils and Pleasures of March

March was such a rainy month. I stood at the window, watching the rain pummel my struggling young flowers, when I would much rather have been out in the garden enjoying their blooms and their fragrance. I suppose the consolation - if you can call it that - is finding out the down side of some new purchases. Narcissus 'Rip Van Winkle' is a case in point. What a neat little double daffodil, I thought.
But add some raindrops to those small yellow sunbursts and they become too heavy for their slender stems. Mine spent most of their time like this.

 I'll transfer them to a pot that I can keep under cover next year, but I won't buy more.
I will, however, probably invest in another batch of a small early tulip called 'Peppermint Stick'. It stood up bravely to the rain, although I had to rinse off splashes of dirt to take this pristine picture.

So many of Spring's little treasures reward a close inspection, revealing infinitesimal detail and elusive fragrance only when you get down on their level.
 Double primula 'Sue Jervis' is one of these, just starting to bloom in front of blue Anemone nemorosa 'Allenii'. Its flowers are a strange rosy pink, and if you can bend all the way down to sniff, they have a suitably spring-like scent.

All of the little wood anemones, like 'Allenii' are welcome in my garden. Another now blooming is Anemone bracteata. Its white daisy flowers are only part of its attraction; the bracts with their cobalt-blue bases are hardly visible unless you inspect them from a worm's eye level.

I also have Anemone vindobonensis, which is a yellow form, rather like a buttercup but much more refined.

All these little gems arrive early and disappear by the end of spring, which makes them ideal for planting under perennials or shrubs that don't leaf out until late in April. Hostas make great companions for them, as they like the same dappled shade and break ground just as the anemones are done. My all-time favourite hosta, 'Krossa Regal', is one that starts late but soon takes over with dramatic new shoots that rapidly engulf everything around its feet.

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