Six on Sunday. Harbingers of Spring.

I was busy yesterday so I missed Six on Saturday, so I’m afraid today it has to be Six on Sunday. It is such a joy to walk down the garden on a sunny February day as it was on Friday and to hear the blackbird in full voice, the woodpecker industriously drilling into trees and to find a sea of silky, lilac Crocus tommasinianus has magically opened up. These little Tommies need the sum to open but when they do, early bees appear and spring seems to be showing a tentative face at last. They are the first crocuses to bloom and I love them more than their big, fat, shiny Dutch cousins.

Crocus tommasinianus
Crocus tommasinianus

And amongst the lilac I have the odd one which is yellow tinged with lilac.

The lovely little lampshades of Leucojum vernum have come out all of a sudden and surprised me too, I hadn’t noticed that they were in bud.

Leucojum vernum

And of course, I can’t let February go past without showing a couple more snowdrops . They are wonderful this year and despite the lack of severe frosts, they have not been eaten by slugs as they sometimes are when it is mild. Galanthus ‘Anglesey Abbey’ is distinctive because it has shiny, apple green leaves and dainty flowers with either no green markings, or just the merest spots sometimes as these have this year.

Galanthus ‘Anglesey Abbey’

I am very fond of Galanthus ‘Augustus’ which was named after E. A.Bowles. It is a plicatus snowdrop and has broad leaves with a pale stripe down the middle and nice, chunky, dimpled flowers. It spreads well in my garden.

I have three snowdrops with yellow ovaries and marks on the petals; ‘Madelaine’, Spindlestone Surprise’ and ‘Wendy’s Gold’ and they all make nice clumps. This is ‘Wendy’s Gold’.

Galanthus ‘Wendy’s Gold’

It’s funny how many yellow flowers are called gold. It is the same with foliage; yellow foliage is usually described as gold, which I suppose sounds more impressive than yellow. I once had a large garden where I could indulge all my horticultural whims. So in a sheltered corner, I made a little ‘gold’ garden with ‘gold’ foliage and ‘gold’ flowers. It was enclosed by hedges and had a round pond in the middle with a little fountain. One day when I was sitting smugly contemplating it, it suddenly dawned on me that what I had was a yellow garden, it wasn’t gold at all. It was all very yellow, every leaf and petal of it was yellow. It all turned to custard in my eyes and I couldn’t love it as much after this revelation. Anyway, this little iris is a hybrid of ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ and it is called ‘Katharine’s Gold’. And as you see it is yellow.

Iris ‘Katharine’s Gold’

And this is Iris unguicularis which has been blooming all winter. It looks far too fragile for the coldest days. It is wonderful for vases if you pick it in bud.

Iris unguicularis

I don’t really have the soil for camellias and the ones I have planted in the garden look quite miserable apart from this one which grows and flourishes and has beautiful pink and white blooms in February. I wish I could remember its name. Usually frost turns the flowers brown but this year they are unscathed. It is a mystery why this camellia does so well, it grows right next to a walnut, Juglia regia which I always thought poisoned the soil. In front of it is Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ which is also extremely healthy. For some reason, I seem to have a little acid pocket in this corner. And with the elephant’s trunk grey of the bare walnut, it is a pleasing group.


Fragrance is very important for the winter garden. It tempts out the bees and delights passing humans. I particularly value flowers that you don’t need to bury your nose into because the scent drifts on the breeze. For this reason I have sarcococca dotted here and there. I think the most fragrant variety is Sarococca hookeriana var. digyna which comes from China . Its little creamy tufts are pinkish at the base and they are not very noticable, but the scent is amazing. It is difficult to describe but I’d call it a musky sort of honey.

Sarcoococca hookerana var. digyna’

So those are my six, but every day there is more happening. February is a short month that can be cold but usually you get a few delightfully sunny days and every day there are more beautiful surprises in the garden. Six on Saturday is hosted by The Propagator and I hope my Six on Sunday doesn’t break the rules too much by being a day late.

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32 Responses to Six on Sunday. Harbingers of Spring.

  1. Your early spring blooms were just what I needed to see today! Here in central Washington state (not the Seattle side), we’ll have to wait until March. The Seattle side of the state, west of the Cascade mountains, is much milder, although this year those folks had their fair (or is it unfair?) share of heavy winter snows.

  2. Your winter blooms are wonderful, it’s like you don’t even have a winter.

  3. fredgardener says:

    Wonderful flowers! I especially like the crocus tommasinianus carpet and the delicate Leucojum.

  4. Heyjude says:

    A lovely early spring delight. Looks like our poor crocuses are going to suffer this week though from rain and gales 😩

  5. Kris P says:

    Spring is magical, as your garden proves. Spring usually starts early here but, much to my dismay, this year we seemed to be brushing right through it into summer.

  6. tonytomeo says:

    Leucojum vernum is what I grow instead of snowdrop. I believe that it is known as snowflake, although it looks more like snowdrop than snowdrop does, and snowdrop looks more like snowflake than snowflake does. Nonetheless, I completely lack snowdrop. I intend to eventually procure a few of any random cultivar. They certainly are pretty. I just do not want to get carried away with them like so many seem to do. I am reminded that others appreciate their bloom at a time of year when there is not much else to bloom. That is less important here, where there is always something blooming.

  7. Pauline says:

    Lovely selection again! Something new popping up every day is what draws me into the garden at this time of year, not yesterday though in the torrential rain! My Leucojum aestivum always seem to flower before Leucojum vernum, don’t know why?!

    • Chloris says:

      Yes it is weird that the summer snowflake blooms befors the spring one. It seeds everwhere in my garden but the pretty Leucojum vernum never does.

  8. Paddy Tobin says:

    I “lost” you for several months but have found you again!

    • Chloris says:

      I’m glad you found me again. It happens to me all the time when I think people have stopped blogging only to find that WordPress has dropped them.

  9. pbmgarden says:

    I love your six and more. The crocus are treasures and that camellia is fantastic. Such a pretty form and color.

  10. Anna says:

    I think that ‘Augustus’ was one of my first named snowdrop purchases Chloris and it is a favourite with me too. As you say ‘Wendy’ is most yellow and not gold. I’m sometimes puzzled by flowers that are described as bronze. Your tommies are making a splendid show. Mine have been painfully slow to establish and I expect that the squirrels have devoured many that I planted.

  11. snowbird says:

    Oh my goodness, what delights in February! Just loved them all, especially the

  12. Many spring delights here! I love the yellow crocus with the lilac tinge. It’s funny, I was just taking photos of my I.r. Katharine’s Gold this morning, and thinking about the colour! For me it’s at the white end of yellow – I sent a pic to my Mum and she asked what those white flowers were! I would say it’s neither gold nor true middle of the road yellow, the question is, what is it then?

    • Chloris says:

      Describing the exact colour of flowers is like trying to describe fragrance. It’s difficult to find the right words. But with colour I often wonder if we all percieve it a bit differently.

  13. Cathy says:

    My Tommies and L vernum did exactly the same here – just popped up when my head was turned! I added more of the latter last year, which I prefer to the lanky L aestivum. I had to laugh at the description of your gold/custard garden! I showed a friend round the garden last Friday, when it was as gloriously sunny as your Sunday seems to have been, unlike our Sunday opening, and the sun really highlights the joys of a late winter garden, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing yours.

  14. Sarah Rajkotwala - Author & Spiritual Teacher says:

    Gorgeous! ❤

  15. Annette says:

    Another beautiful selection! I fear voles must be very fond of crocuses, that’s the only explanation I have for my dwindling lot. A friend gave me Iris unguicularis which are multiplying like mad but although I remove the shaggy leaves they’re full of them which really spoils the flowers. Do you have the same problem? I wonder if I can cut them back to the ground now –it takes ages to snip them off singly– or would this be too harsh a treatment?

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