Six on Saturday. Taking the Winds of March with Beauty.

Spring has come screaming in like an unruly ten year child crashing about and slamming doors and generally being very annoying. You get so irritated by the constant noise and buffeting that you forget to notice the glories the wind is bringing with it. It is not just Shakespeare’s daffodils which are taking the month of March with beauty, every day there are exciting things to enjoy. Everywhere in my garden hellebores look as if they are doing the cancan with their frilly dresses whirling and the spring beds are beginning to look like Botticelli ‘s Primavera. But constrained by the requirements of the meme ‘Six on Saturday’ , I’ll show you some special treats which I braved the gales to look at, although the photographs will probably be a bit blurry.

First of all is the rhododendron which I grow in a pot by the pond. It is early flowering but not as early as its name suggests. Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’ blooms in March but it used to be forced in heated greenhouses and brought inside to bloom at Christmas so that is how it got its inappropriate name. I’m not a great fan of rhododendrons possibly because I don’t have the right soil for them, but I love this early beauty.

Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’

I have a pretty little shrub which has starry white flowers on naked stems in February and March. It is called Abeliophyllum distichum. I don’t know why it is so rarely grown because anything which blooms so early is welcome and these little flowers are deliciously fragrant. It needs a nice sunny spot and perhaps mine should be in a better position but still it blooms well and I like it flowering in front of the grey trunk of my walnut tree which always reminds me of an elephant.

Abeliophyllum diistichum

One of my favourite March shrubs is Edgeworthia chrysantha which comes from China where its bark is used for paper. The flowers emerge from silky white buttons which hang tantalisingly on the shrub all winter and are a constant worry if you forget to cover the bush up as I did this year. One night when we had a particularly bad night I hurried down the garden in my dressing gown to cover it with a tablecloth. But despite this neglect it is blooming happily and shows no sign of frost damage so perhaps it is hardier than I thought. The clusters of flowers are the colour of cheap custard and they are fragrant. I think these shrubs grow well on the edge of woodlands and they don’t like to dry out.

I have grown the pretty Pieris ‘Valley Valentine’ in a pot for a couple of years and after complaining that I can’t grow rhododendrons you will probably be surprised to hear that I have planted this shrub which is a calcifuge (plant which grows in an acid soil.) in my new woodland garden. But I have a clump of old pine tree, or I did have, I have just got two of them now, but the soil underneath has been mulched with pine needles for years. So far my lovely Pieris looks very happy here. This particular variety has panicles of deep red bell-shaped flowers.

Pieris ‘Valley Valentine’

Japanese apricots have been in bloom for a few weeks now and Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ blooms intermittently throughout the winter but the first cherry blossom in my garden comes on the pretty dark pink single flowers of Prunus ‘Kursar’. This is a small, neat tree and as well as early pink blossom you get lovely foliage.

Prunus ‘Kursar’
Prunus ‘Kursar’

So far I have just talked about shrubs and trees so let’s finish off with one of the stars of the Primavera beds. It is the pretty, little corydalis which spreads everywhere in shades of pink, red and purple. I started with named varieties but I am more than happy to let nature have its way and produce flowers in a whole range of shades.

Corydalis
Corydalis ‘Blackberry Wine’

So there we have my six on this windy, March Saturday, I would like to go on but we have to obey the Propagator‘s rules, I believe he is very strict about it. Do go and check him out and see other Six on Saturday posts.

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55 Responses to Six on Saturday. Taking the Winds of March with Beauty.

  1. I wonder if I could grow the Abeliophyllum. It certainly is lovely.

  2. Pauline says:

    I have a tiny Abeliophyllum waiting in my greehouse to move to a larger pot and then it can be released into the garden when it has made a good root system. Love your Corydalis, they are such pretty flowers.

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Corydalis are so charming, one can forgive their reproductive abundance. A lovely six, Liz, as always!

  4. I haven’t seem Abeliophylllum before, but thought it looked like a white forsythia. Thanks to Google I know now that this wasn’t an original observation! The Primavera beds sound delightful.

  5. How nice to have so many early blooming plants and shrubs. I always enjoy a peek into your garden.

  6. Well, February left us with the screaming gales you describe but, once that teapot tempest was done knocking down birch tree limbs, March almost tip-toed in like a little kitty. Good thing, too, as my delicate crocuses were beginning to bloom. Now my front entrance is bright with sunlight bringing out the deep yellows and rich purples.

  7. Heyjude says:

    Gosh you ARE brave to venture out today! My garden is being buffeted from all angles plus frequent dollops of hailstones! The Pieris is a beauty. I was intrigued about Shakespeare’s daffodils, I thought perhaps you had meant Wordsworth, until I looked it up and see that Shakespeare did in fact refer to the wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) in The Winter’s Tale.

    “… Daffodils
    That come before the swallow dares, and take
    The winds of March with beauty.”

  8. fredgardener says:

    I didn’t know the shrub Abeliophyllum distichum… Is it easy to grow? a slow or fast grower?
    Nice to see the first flowers of prunus. My Kojo-No-Mai is starting too

  9. Paddy Tobin says:

    A beautiful selection of shrubs.

  10. Nice, I have not seen the Edgeworthia flowers until today, pretty and I love the foliage..I had those Pieris when I lived further north, do you get Hollytone fertilizer there? That was the trick.

  11. Kris P says:

    I can sympathize with the wind-related complications in photographing your garden as we’ve also had persistent winds, seemingly for weeks now. I love the Corydalis. It’s unfortunately very short-lived here.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, corydalis is quite fleeting here, or fugacious as one blogger described her crocuses recently. And when they have finished blooming they disappear completely for the rest of the year.

  12. Scott Dee says:

    Always happy to see another Six on Saturday – especially now that we’re heading into Spring! Your garden looks like it’s having a lovely time.
    Which plant do you next expect to flower? I’d imagine it’s hard to keep track of with so many.

  13. Anna says:

    It was an absolutely horrible day here yesterday Chloris. I barely stuck my nose out of the door. What beautiful flowers and shrubs to venture out for so thank you. The pretty little corydalis plants look so delicate that you think that they would be shredded to pieces by the last remnants of winter weather but they must be tenacious characters like all early flowering plants. The abeliophyllum looks like a star πŸ˜„

  14. I’m always trying to add fragrance to the garden. I’ve looked up Abeliophyllum distichum and will now try and figure out where such a lovely looking plant could go…

  15. A lovely selection of winter colour. The Edgeworthia looks fantastic. It’s one of those that I see mentioned from time to time, but don’t often see the plant itself.

    A great selection of Corydalis too!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you, that is praise coming from the Corydalis King. I still can’t sort out the difference between C solida and C. Cava. I know cava has hollow tubers but I don’t want to dig them up and disect them just to see.
      Edgeworthia is a gem, I’m looking out for the red one.

      • I don’t know about that! C. cava has broader petals at the front of the flower (bigger lips, if you like!). I have to say, I don’t do very well with C. cava.

        I look forward to you finding the red Edgeworthia!

  16. A lovely spring selection, I can see why you ventured out with the camera despite the high winds! I like the idea of your hellebores doing the cancan. Both Edgeworthia and Abeliophyllum are new to me, I would certainly prefer one of those to my pedestrian Forsythia.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you. Abeliophyllum took a few years to get going and the flowers were sparse at first but it pulled itself together after I threatened it with removal. I adore the Edgeworthia with its fuzzy buttons.

  17. tonytomeo says:

    ‘Christmas Cheer’ was one of our more popular cultivars, but did not do well for us. I suspect that it was popular because it is more resilient to chaparral climates than some of the other cultivars. It was healthy for us, but bloomed while the weather was still cool and damp enough to ruin the bloom. Weather, although not as appealing to rhododendrons, is more cooperative to their bloom just a few miles farther inland.

  18. Lots in beautiful bloom where you live!

  19. Noelle M says:

    Your spring garden is a joy Chloris, I have had my eye on the Edgeworthia chrysantha at the Bishop’s Palace in Wells all winter, and now I ought to go up and see it in flower. The form of the wood is very attractive too.

  20. Cathy says:

    Abeliophyllum is so pretty – I did try to grow one here, but it hated the hot summer and cold winter and died. πŸ™ƒ Lovely to see the Corydalis. There are spots near here where they grow wild, albeit a little later than yours. πŸ˜‰

  21. croftgarden says:

    I love visiting your garden, although It can cause a bad case of plant envy! In the Outer isles spring is still a little distant, although the skylarks, lapwings and wagtails tell me otherwise!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Christine, yes, I imagine spring comes much later to you. What a joy to hear the skylarks though. I have heard then when I am out on my bike, such a haunting sound.

  22. I grew Abeliophyllum distichum in my previous (US Zone 7) garden, next to a south-facing wall. It bloomed every year and the fragrance is heavenly, but I had to admit that its appearance for the rest of the year leaves a lot to be desired. It’s a very rangy-looking shrub and probably best in an informal setting. I had put it adjacent to two other fragrant shrubs (a rose and a mock orange) because that room had a window right there. I am thinking about possibly getting one again for this garden but it would have to be in a very visible area, and I’m not sure whether a shrub with only a couple of weeks’ of interest would be the best choice there. 😦 It does tempt me a bit though.

    • Chloris says:

      You are right, Abeliophyllum is not very glamorous for most of the year but right next to it I have the giant lily, Cardiocrinum giganteum so the spotlight is taken off it in June.

  23. Cathy says:

    I read your post when it first arrived in my inbox, but due to a busy week I am rather tardy in replying, which sadly often seems to be the case. We had some wind at around the same time, but not as bad you and others seem to have had – maybe because we are fairly sheltered. Always love to see your delights, and I am intrigued at the idea of your primavera beds – is that what you are going to call them? My couple of corydalis look as if they are settling down and after seeing your intermingling ones I can see the attraction of adding more – would they be OK in a ‘woodland edge’ situation too? The Abeliophyllum is such a pretty thing, isn’t it? No sign of blooms on my Christmas Cheer yet… Thanks for sharing all your lovelies, Chloris (well, six of them anyway!)

    • Chloris says:

      I never seem to catch up on commenting on posts or replying to comments. I always seem to be in a hurry these days and I can’t think why because I’ve nowhere to go. But the Pianist and I are on a fitness drive so not only do we cycle every day but we now have table tennis, croquet and badminton in the garden. It is time consuming. And of course obsessive gardening takes up ones time and energy.
      My corydalis seed everywhere and the resulting carpets along with all the spring bulbs make me think of The Primavera so yes, this is my name for my spring beds. I am sure they would be fine on the woodland edge, I have planted mine in my new woodland. Your Christmas Cheer needs to pull its socks up, I think you should remind it that it will be Easter next week, never mind Christmas.

      • Cathy says:

        I know what you mean, and am sure I am busier these days than I ever have been…how I will fit some things in again once they start up again, I don’t know! Well done on your fitness drive – it would certainly be nice to have space for badminton in the garden, but table tennis sounds a good idea. YOu will be pleased yo know that without strong words my Christmas Cheer has budded up and I saw a hint of pink on it yesterday, so it won’t be long now. Thanks for the info on corydalis

  24. bittster says:

    As usual an excellent selection, but I hope you won’t always be limiting yourself to just six!
    The edgeworthia is one of those things which are borderline hardy just south of here and you can almost hear the screams when a hard freeze settles in. A friend just shovel pruned her’s as one good year out of the last four wasn’t quite good enough for her.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Frank. Writing about just six plants is quite a good discipline because otherwise I could ramble on all day. I know edgeworthia is not reliably hardy but so far mine has bloomed beautifuly every year, even though we got a very cold spell this year which killed quite a few treasures.

  25. snowbird says:

    Oh…Christmas cheer is simply beautiful! Hahaha, loving the image of you flying out in your dressing gown to protect your baby, after snatching a tablecloth, maybe from the table?
    I see your elephant and love that, along with the cherry blossom, so many beauties, such a pleasure to see them all. You and your garden rock!xxx

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Dina. To my shame, I grabbed a tablecloth from the drawer which my grandmother had embroidered but perhaps she would have understood, she was a keen gardener.

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