A Spring Day at Last! Sunshine! Yippee!

Today is a red letter day in my part of the world.  Spring has made an appearance. It was a warm, sunny day and as it is Thursday  I have had some gardening help. This garden is quite large to look after single-handed, specially as I keep digging up ever more lawn and creating new areas. But now I have regular help, because Thursday is Hector Day. OK, he lacks finesse, but he certainly makes up for it in enthusiasm. He is keen on digging and very good at it.

Hector digging.

Hector digging.

He loves pruning.

Hector pruning the Rosemary

Hector pruning the Rosemary

He quite rightly thought the Stipa gigantea looked a mess and set about sorting it out.IMG_1587
The full wheel barrow was perhaps a little too heavy for him to push, but he gamely had a try.

He has an unconventional approach to hedge care and has taken a great fancy to the Lonicera hedge which is quite an unusual shape now, after his work on it.  He has also turned the compost heap over; so all in all, a good day’s work.  Cheers Hector. Most importantly, he is so full of high spirits and bubbling over with a zest for life, that he is a tonic to be with and brings a big foolish grin to the face, even when his love of gardening becomes a little over -enthusiastic. You can’t be depressed when Hector is around.

And you can’t be depressed when the birds are singing and the garden is full of spring flowers. Here are absolutely my last snowdrop pictures for this season. First,  Galanthus woronowii  with its distinctive apple-green leaves and secondly Galanthus plicatus which is always the last one to bloom in March.

Galanthus woronwii

Galanthus woronowii

Galanthus plicatus

Galanthus plicatus

It is amazing how long hellebores bloom for. They started in January and they are still looking wonderful.


DSC_0580The last Witch Hazel to bloom in my garden is always Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Promise'

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’

But enough of these wintery things, today I am celebrating spring. I  always get excited when the little spring woodlanders such as  Corydalis put  in an appearance. They seed around too, so there are always plenty to enjoy. They do disappear completely after flowering, which is worrying. I am always afraid that I might put a fork through the tubers.

Corydalis 'Beth Evans'

Corydalis ‘Beth Evans’

Corydalis solida

Corydalis solida

Corydalis 'Beth Evans'

Corydalis ‘Beth Evans’

I love the clear blue flowers which appear in spring. Lovely  Anemone blanda is taking over from the winter aconites.

Anemone blanda

Anemone blanda

Blue scillas are coming out. I love the starry flowers of Scilla bifolia.

Scilla bifolia

Scilla bifolia

Pulmonarias are spreading everywhere. I particularly like the blue ones.

Pulmonaria 'Blue Ensign'

Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’

Pulmonaria 'Roy Davidson'

Pulmonaria ‘Roy Davidson’

The pink ones are pretty too.

Pulmonaria 'Leopard'

Pulmonaria ‘Leopard’

There are quite a few  plump Dutch crocuses in the front garden. This pure white  one is called Jeanne d’Arc. It caught my eye because there is such a big fat bumble bee enjoying the nectar on the orange pistil.

Crocus vernus 'Jeanne d'Arc'

Crocus vernus ‘Jeanne d’Arc’

Celandines are a pest in my garden, but at least they disappear completely when they have done their stuff. But Christopher Lloyds’ ‘Brazen Hussy’ is always welcome with its lovely bronze leaves.

Ficaria verna 'Brazen Hussy'

Ficaria verna ‘Brazen Hussy’

And of course, spring means that  it is daffodil time.  I have plenty of big blowsy ones in the orchard.

IMG_7235But I prefer the little ones, such as the wild lent lily that Wordsworth fell in love with;  Narcissus pseudonarcissus .

Narcissus pseudonarcissus

Narcissus pseudonarcissus

I’m also very fond of this one with reflexed petals.

Narcissus 'February Gold'

Narcissus ‘February Gold’

In the greenhouse, I have a potful of the oniony-smelling Ipheion ‘Alberto Castello’. Actually, I think we have to call them Tristagma now, but let’s not bother about that .

Ipheion 'Alberto Castello'

Ipheion ‘Alberto Castello’

I also have a  Cyclamen rhodium peloponnesiacum in a pot.  It is a lovely little thing with speckled leaves and sweetly scented flowers.There should be more flowers, but I planted it upside down, so three of the flowers are growing out of the bottom of the pot. This is a stupid mistake to make. The topside of Cyclamen corms are usually bumpy and rough and maybe they have nodules.

Cyclamen rhodium pelonnesiacum

Cyclamen rhodium pelonnesiacum

So there we have some of the little beauties which I have been enjoying today. I will save some for another day, but I will finish with the Chocolate Vine, the scrambling Akebia quinata which is flowering much earlier than usual this year.

Akebia quinata.

Akebia quinata.

I hope you have had lots of sunshine today too and plenty of spring flowers to enjoy.

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60 Responses to A Spring Day at Last! Sunshine! Yippee!

  1. Just delightful, I am reminiscing about bulbs in my past ‘February Gold’ was a favorite and your Snowdrops are lovely. My favorite thing in your post is Hector. A garden hound in the making.

    • Chloris says:

      February Gold is a gem.I do love the smaller Narcissus, they are so dainty.
      Hector is a delight, but I am looking forward to him being old enough to learn a bit of garden etiquette.

      • hahahahah, I should send some pictures of my greyhound track to you. Waiting for the new dog to be 7…my husband said to me today ‘it would be fun to be your dog!”

  2. pbmgarden says:

    Hector makes a good garden mascot or at least an enthusiastic one. The Corydalis is nice. I love the daffodils in your orchard. Glad you’re having a sunny time.

  3. Pauline says:

    How wonderful to have such an energetic helper!!
    Love all your daffs, they look so spring like. My corydalis are seeding about too, but not Beth Evans. Some of the seedlings of C. tuberosa have come up just like Beth Evans. I must go and check on my Akebia, I hadn’t noticed any flowers last time I walked passed it!

  4. I really must have another go at getting anenome blanda established, so lovely. Your garden helper would put a spring in anybody’s step 😉 Love akebia quinata, just haven’t really got anywhere to grow one in this garden. Yet… Enjoy your spring garden!!

  5. AnnetteM says:

    Lovely cheerful post, Chloris. I had a laugh about Hector. Your ‘Host of Golden Daffodils’ are wonderful. Glad spring has truly arrived for you. We are due a warmer weekend I believe, so here’s hoping it will spur a bit more growth otherwise my end of March bloom day is going to look a lot like February’s!

    • Chloris says:

      It makes such a difference to be able to get outside at last, with the sunnier weather we have had. Spring weather and spring blooms- what a magical combination.

      • AnnetteM says:

        I think the mood of the whole country must have lifted Chloris. There can’t be many people who are not affected to some degree by wet dismal days.

  6. rusty duck says:

    Yippee indeed. Have you seen the forecast? Down here it’s supposed to be dry for a week! Can you believe it. Make the most of it, especially now you’ve got such a dedicated garden helper. For the other six days you can pick up from where he left off. Or pick up the bits he left..

    • Chloris says:

      It is heavenly to get outside at last isn’ t it? And thank goodness the garden is drying out at last. The Pianist has brought me lots of manure as a romantic present, I am rather dreading what Hector will do with that. Eat it? Roll in it? Oh dear.

  7. How lovely to see Hector again, it looks like he’s going to be a great gardening dog. What a marvellous selection of cheerful spring blooms, too. The light falling on the pink hellebore and corydalis is stunning.

    • Chloris says:

      I was so pleased with the late afternoon light on the hellebore, I don’ t often manage to time it like that.
      Hector obviously enjoys gardening but his enthusiasm is a bit worrying sometimes. As is his habit of eating peculiar things.

  8. Sam says:

    Hector is a poppet. I love being in the garden with a canine companion, although mine is much lazier and likes to lie about in the sunshine. Isn’t it fabulous out there? Spring is most definitely sprung. Beautiful plants here; I especially love the pink hellebore in golden sunlight. Have a wonderful weekend. It’s my daughter’s birthday but I’m hoping to squeeze in some time for sowing (loads to do!). x

    • Chloris says:

      It is wonderful to enjoy being outside at last.
      I wish Hector would lie in the sun, that must be so restful. Perhaps your dog is older and not as mad as Hector. I’ m hoping that he will calm down a bit.

      • Sam says:

        She’s about four (or maybe five, we’re not sure, rescue dog) and part greyhound, so very lazy after she’s had a good run about.

  9. Flighty says:

    A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures.
    Hector looks, and sounds, like my kind of dog. I’ve yet to see any bumble bees like the one in the white crocus. I like the daffodils. xx

    • Chloris says:

      Thanks Flighty. Yes we have bees. Rather worryingly I found a queen hornet yesterday in a pile of logs. And with all the daffs in bloom we are ready for Easter here.

  10. I like all of your flowers ! You have a great variety 🙂

  11. Julie says:

    I absolutely love this post, the joy in your voice shines through, spring has sprung! Hector is a fine helper and must make your days labour even more fun.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Julie. It is amazing how the sun makes so much difference to the spirits. It is wonderful to spend hours outside again and get things done.

  12. Cathy says:

    I can see I didn’t train my doggie properly as she has no interest in gardening like Hector at all. He’s adorable as assistant gardener! Lovely to see all your pictures of spring. Yes, we have had a bit of sunshine and I have made the most of it outdoors. It’s amazing how everything suddenly bursts into life once the temperature rises a little. Hope you get more sunshine this weekend Chloris!

    • Chloris says:

      Hector tries to copy whatever I am doing. It occurs to me that I really shoudn’ t dig whilst he is watching. He is getting to like it rather too much.
      It is fantastic having some spring weather at last. I hope you are enjoying it too.

  13. Alain says:

    Even here in Ontario snowdrops and hellebores are opening so there is hope for spring. Hector certainly looks enthusiastic.

  14. Kris P says:

    The wish you included in a comment on my blog has come true – you got sunshine and I got more rain today! Yay! Hector is adorable and I can just imagine what a help he is in the garden. My spouse saw me glancing wistfully at a puppy just today and promptly informed me that we are NOT getting a dog but maybe I can borrow one for weekly visits as you have. Your daffodils alone would make me giddy if I had such a mass display in my garden but all your spring bloomers are delightful!

    • Chloris says:

      The daffs are a joy. I prefer the little ones but for massed displays and for picking, the big ones are useful. I am actually digging them up and planting them elsewhere, as I have a new project on hand for this area.

  15. Christina says:

    I’m so glad Hector and a beautiful spring day have lifted your spirits; perhaps you should think about a ‘Hector’ of your own!

    • Chloris says:

      Oh no, we won’ t be getting another dog. One day a week with the granddog is enough. We could have him more often but perhaps we will wait for him to be older and more sensible for that.

  16. Hector looks great to have about the garden. Somehow I cannot imagine you mangaged to get quite as much done with his help.
    Your Spring shots are delightful and I especially like the look of those Hellebores catching the weak sunlight. Lovely.

    • Chloris says:

      Well, you are right about Hector. I spend a lot of time chasing after him removing strange objects from his mouth. But he is adorable.
      I was pleased with the shot of the hellebore in the late afternoon sun, I don’ t often manage to time it like that.

  17. Tina says:

    A cute garden assistant, to be sure. Your spring blooms are lovely, those Hellebores really are beautiful. Happy digging–for both you and Hector.

  18. Anna says:

    Oh it was simply wonderful when spring showed her face here too Chloris – a day later than with you. Back to grey and drizzle today but there’s promise in the air. Hector looks the most amiable gardening companion you could wish for.

  19. Angie says:

    Isn’t it amazing how just a little sunshine lifts our spirits Chloris. Spring truly has sprung down there. The star of the show though just has to be Hector – what a bonnie wee laddie he is. Good to see he is up for job of under gardener – I’ll be you keep plenty of treats in your pockets when he’s about.

    • Chloris says:

      We have had some lovely spring days, what a joy it is to be outside. Yes indeed, a pocketful of treats is necessary to bribe Hector not to eat my plants.

  20. good to hear you have had some spring weather, your garden is always bursting with flowers, it’s lovely, Hector looks a lovable happy chappy, you are so far ahead down there, most of my daffodils are just coming through, we had 2 calm, rain free days this week so I was able to get into the garden, it makes such a wonderful difference to the soul and spirit doesn’t it, I hope there will be many more, Frances

    • Chloris says:

      Yes I agree Frances we really need the sun to raise our spirits. We have had some lovely spring days and everyone is going around with a big smile on their faces.

  21. Hector looks like such a love! My dogs have been running through my flower beds and tearing up the lawn. Spring has finally sprung here and we have many of the same blooming plants. Hooray for warm temps and flowers!

  22. Cathy says:

    I am so glad you have been able to get out in the garden Chloris and with a spring in your step too. I am feeling just the same as you with the snowdrops and hellebores and pulmonaria – they have been bringng joy for so long and continue to do so. I think I will add corydalis to a list of plants to acquire once my plant-buying embargo is over – more perfect plants for this time of year. I am not a Dog Person but admit your photos of Hector are charming 😉

  23. What a lovable gardening companion you have. And such charming spring bulbs, especially the Ipheon which I do not have. You are well ahead of us, of course, but I do have Crocus and Snowdrops blooming now. Today I am frustrated though because it is warm enough but everything is soggy because of a steady rain that promises to continue for the next couple of days. At least it is a gentle rain, though.

    • Chloris says:

      I have got a bit behind with blogging Jason so I am going to check out what is happening in your garden now that spring is here at last. Here there are more and more spring flowers every day, it is heaven.

  24. gardenfancyblog says:

    So many lovely flowers in your garden — thanks for sharing them, and Hector too! -Beth

  25. snowbird says:

    Oh my!!! I just LOVE hector, your little garden helper!!! Is he your granddog? He’s utterly ADORABLE! One needs to know more! I’m laughing here at the misshapen hedge and the trampled compost heap, I know first hand the mischief that pups gets up to! Bless his muddy little paws and sharp teeth!
    How marvelous that you got a little sunshine, still waiting for some here but rumour has it that it’s on route……What a heavenly array of little beauties you have there, and so early too….I just love that anemone blanda, I’m a huge fan of blue too. This post has cheered me up!xxx

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, Hector is our grandson and such a character. But you know what puppies are like. In to everything, eating everything. Last week he swallowed a sock. The hedge he flattened by jumping over it again and again and then running along it. But you forgive him everything because he is so adorable.
      Isn’ t it heavenly to get outside and enjoy some sunshine and spring flowers?

      • snowbird says:

        Lol….yes, we forgive them everything….AFTERWARDS! I indulge in a little shrieking while damage is occurring, not that it changes anything mind!xxx

  26. Annette says:

    Cheers to Hector who looks most charming – maybe you can train him to dig in the right places! We’re in spring mode too and doesn’t it feel heavenly to be out and about again! Beautiful flowers, Liz, it’s daffodils for me right now and violas, just can’t resist their charm.

  27. Oh, what a joyful post. I also love the blue spring flowers — mind you, when spring arrives in Ontario, I love ALL flowers, but the blues and pinks are my faves. And hooray for Hector. What a helpful, handsome assistant.

  28. Does Hector do housework too? Our dachshunds, Rudy and Bella, are committed to “gussying up” the new sofa cushions on the sunporch as equally well as all the other cushions in the house. Your February Gold is certainly an eye-catcher. I also like your blues, especially the Pulminaria. Sadly, I think the voles have gotten all my Ipheion.

  29. AnnetteM says:

    Hi Chloris, I wonder if you could give me the link for your post on the correct way to write plant names. I thought I had it bookmarked but can’t find it. Maybe you should republish it actually as it was a really useful post. Thanks

  30. Val says:

    Beautiful flowers, all of them. What sort of dog is Hector? He’s very sweet and to my eye looks most unusual!

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