This post was supposed to be a continuation of my last one; ‘Why do We Garden?‘, but I can’t let Carol‘s February’s Bloom Day go by without joining in the celebration. Despite the awful winds and rain we have had for weeks and this morning’ s thick frost, the birds certainly think spring is in the air and so to the flowers.
Squirrels dig up any new crocus bulbs that I plant in the back garden, but the dear little Tommies; Crocus thommasianus seed themselves into ever increasing carpets.
Last year I noticed an unusual yellow one amongst them with a lilac back. This year, there are one or two more.
Each year, I plant a few more species crocuses and different kinds of Iris reticulata in front of my picket fence in the front garden and the squirrels don’t seem to go round here. I love the little species crocus, they are earlier flowering and to my mind, much prettier than the big, shiny Dutch ones.
Iris reticulata are like little jewels with their intense colours. Many of them disappointingly disappear after a year or two. The lovely yellow Iris danfordiae never reappears. The trouble is that their bulbs break up into lots of little bulblets. Iris ‘Harmony’ keeps coming quite well and so does the pretty pale blue and yellow, Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ which is a cross between Iris histrioides and Iris winogradowii. Very similar to ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ is Iris ‘Sheila Ann Germaney.’ A new one to me this year is the richly dark purple Iris ‘Palm Springs’. The last photo of ‘Palm Springs’ is taken in the greenhouse and you can see a little bloom of the dainty Narcissus cantabricus trying to get in the shot.
I don’t want to bore non-galanthophiles, so here are just a few. Shut your eyes now, if you can’t bear to see more snowdrops.
The other plant which has been enticing us into the garden for weeks now are the wonderful hellebores. They go on and on, getting better and better.
Daffodils are really early this year. Narcissus ‘Spring Dawn is a great favourite and one of the earliest. It always starts blooming in January.
Gradually the garden is getting is getting spangled with bright spots of colour. Pulmonarias are coming out, along with cyclamen, daffodils, primroses and hyacinths. The lovely little tiffany lampshades of Leucojum vernum are opening up.
I am very surprised to find this Fritillaria raddeana in bloom so early. I planted it last year and I wasn’t even sure that it was hardy.
Another delight is this little Cyclamen. I have lost the label and I can’t remember which one it is. As you see the leaves are far too large for C. coum. Anyway, it is very pretty and clearly hardy.
Two trees which are pleasing me at the moment are the vanilla scented Azara microphylla blooming much earlier than usual and the starry little flowers of Cornus mas.
I am always extolling the virtues of my favourite shrub Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ and she is still in bloom after weeks of delighting everyone who comes to the front door.
And for fragrance on a February day, Sarcococca takes a lot of beating. I grow two kinds. They are both intensely fragrant. Sarcococca prefers a shady spot, bright sunshine will make the leaves turn yellow.
An unusual Flowering Currant is the green Ribes laurifolium. I like its flowers very much, but it will loll about on the ground. I have read that it is a good plant to grow up a tree and I wish I had thought of this.
I will finish with my latest extravagance. It is still in the greenhouse because I have already killed two. At least I didn’t kill them exactly, they wilfully died when we had hard frosts. I promised myself I wouldn’t try again because Edgeworthia is so expensive. But I love all winter flowers, so I am having one last try with the gorgeous Edgeworthia chrysantha. Third time lucky, I hope.
So these are some of the blooms which make my garden an exciting place to be in February, even when the winds blow or it pours with rain. The flowers and I can smell that spring is definitely in the air.
Do join in with Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th of each month. It is hosted by Carol at MayDreamgardens. Thank you Carol.