Ambitious skiers go off piste; over enthusiastic gardeners go off list.
I had a plan today. It’s sitting in my back pocket as I type. All sorts of garden projects. And one big one in case of rain. Stay indoors and write this blog. Long, chatty, informative and above all decorative. The forecast did look threatening. And it is spring after all. Sunshine and showers.
And I wanted to take lots of pictures between the rain showers.
But the sun came out (as are the cherry blossoms on the tree outside this office – not entirely out, but promising more) and I seemed to spend more time playing in the potager than coming in to write.
I had to make a mad dash in the wrong light to snap the spring bulbs.
So you get a photo essay of not quite good enough shots.
The trusty Rijnveld Early Sensations which I planted last autumn are now up and blooming. They seem to take two years to really settle. Their first year of growth they are much shorter than one hopes. Not brilliant for vases, but fine in the far end of the garden.
I’m still coming round to yellow flowers. I’d much rather have these gorgeous Thalias out and delighting me from January to April. But as the name says, Early Sensations mean yellow is what you get.
The Thalias are only now coming into growth. But they are worth the wait. So delicate, so luminous in the dawn and dusk light. And of course I plan for them to be the perfect backdrop to the white cherry blossom on all the trees lining the road. They are coming into flower right now.
I mentioned that. Cherry blossom brain.
As I was snapping these patches of white in among the lush spring growth however I noticed all the gaps. Typical gardener. Never entirely satisfied, always thinking of improvements.
So I have drawn up a mini plan of where I want to plant about 400 this autumn to have a really stunning display. Next year.
I don’t really lose them to the mole rat in this part of the garden. And as long as I plant them deep enough, I seem to get a stunning display each spring.
The wild boar don’t eat them, but they do grub up the ground around them some winters. I lose a few to erratic snow ploughing whenever the village snow plough is actually in a fit state of repair to do its job up to the house.
Despite this, I do have enough for vases and gifts. They have a delicate scent. Not intrusive, but the sort of spring smell which makes you stop and inhale deeply with a smile.
I cut some quince branches to add to the vases this week. They give a bit of height, and don’t throw off a slightly cat scent which is the problem with euphorbias at this time of year.
Lauren came to the market to help with the deliveries.
Lucky me. And she has been brilliant with helping me do the vile spring job of getting all the heavy pots out of the potting shed and into the spring warmth.
The lilies are coming up in some of the pots, so I couldn’t put it off much longer. And it gives her a break from studying for her final exams. The end is in sight.
Back to bulbs. The muscari are one of my favourites. Such an electric blue.
And I can’t tell you how many shots were wasted trying to reproduce the zingy colour. So vivid. I should be up at dawn to capture them.
These are dotted in clumps all through the shade garden and the barn garden. Fabulous little bulbs. So pleasing.
And I love how some of them have escaped during the floods of a few years back. As I am trudging down to the orchard and the lower terraces I see a few of these electric blue bulbs poking out of the long grass. Bravo. I do like a plucky survivor. And minor coloniser.
The other bulb in the shade garden is just starting to flower now. Late but worth the wait: Narcissus bridal crown.
Yes it’s a double, so the bees aren’t keen. But I tell myself I have so many other flowers out right now that I am permitted to indulge in one type of overbred scented bulb.
I’ll be picking them quite regularly now for a month.
I was actually worried that the underground critters had taken most of them. I had planted 200 bulbs two years ago. The first year was a forest of scent and flower. And I would guess that I have half of them left. But I may be pessimistic and I just can’t seem them for all the other plants in the garden right now.
Here they are poised to erupt.
So there you have a glimpse of the garden in spring. And if you did the careful ‘where’s wally’ look, you can see Artur’s favourite perch in the sunshine close to the edge of the path. He likes to be near anyone going past willing to stop and give him a scratch behind the ears. And be part of the action.
Or maybe he is just lulled by the scented narcissus too.
1st April 2016 @ 7:17 am
I love the Thalias. I’m reclaiming a patch of earth currently under gravel surrounding a lonely Magnolia Stellata in my east facing front garden and have been looking through your shade garden posts with interest. I think my dreams of a Sissinghurst-esque white border in front of my 1971 house may be slightly ambitious but it’s nice to dream…
1st April 2016 @ 8:31 am
East facing can be tricky; but bulbs can be your answer. You can get a great sequence of white from snow drops to crocus, the Thalias (or other earlier white flowering tulips) to camassias and then the summer flowering galtonia candicans (also called summer hyacinth) which I love. And then getting some autumn crocus and do they do a white nerine? Finishing with cyclamens. A whole season of bulbs. You just have to work out the ground cover and lower ground hugging green contrast. Ooh, and don’t forget white anemones which for me come out now. Vita would be proud of you for trying.
1st April 2016 @ 10:15 am
White nerines – indeed they do. My mother had them in her bridal bouquet – out of her mother’s garden!
1st April 2016 @ 10:28 am
Hah! Lisa to the rescue from my ignorance of white nerine knowledge. She must have been an autumn bride.
2nd April 2016 @ 10:01 am
Thank you! All added to my wish list! Later in the season was what I was struggling with- lots of Spring flowering ideas- so that’s a big help.