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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.