Spring bulbs

springbulbshorizAmbitious 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. daffodildetails

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.

thaliaverticalThe 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.flowerbulbs

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.

laurenflowersLauren 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. muscaridetail

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.

bridalcrownverticalThe 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.