So it’s official, it’s the first day of spring. Winter is off with his tail between his legs, ‘the lark’s on his wing, the snail’s on the thorn’ and according to Shakespeare, birds are singing: ‘Hey ring a ding, ding’. The little lambs are frolicking in the field and gardeners are frolicking in their gardens and if you listen carefully they are probably singing ‘Hey ring a ding, ding’ too. This wonderful time of the year is a joyful time for everyone, but specially gardeners. The garden feels like a huge, green jewel box spilling out ever more sparkling gems.
I am celebrating the first day of spring rather inappropriately with some ‘Christmas Cheer’.
This lovely rhododendron is peculiarly named as it usually blooms in March. It is the earliest blooming one I have but I don’t have very many. My soil isn’t acid enough, (i.e. below PH7) so all my rhododendrons have to live in pots in ericaceous compost. This one is particularly suited to a pot as it is quite compact and has a nice dome shape. It is slow growing and doesn’t get more than 4ft. I often wondered why it is called ‘Christmas Cheer’ when it blooms in spring. Apparently for the rich with heated glass houses it used to be forced for Christmas flower arrangements. The buds are perfectly frost hardy but once the flowers open they have to be protected, but then magnolia flowers have the same problem. This year they have been spared so far. I love its pink frothiness. The flowers are frilly and get whiter with age but at this stage they look as if they have raspberry juice swirled into them. When I was six I longed for a party dress in this colour. These days I have no desire to wear pink frills but I still enjoy them in in my spring flowers.
I hope you enjoy every minute of the new season in your lovely gardens.