Last Saturday I was over in West Suffolk visiting Bury St Edmunds. It was a cold winter’s day with a freezing wind, but the sun was out and so were the snowdrops in the cathedral grounds.
Heading into the historic part of the town we turned up Honey Hill and what a delightful surprise for February. All along the railings of St Mary’s Church black containers had been secured and filled with a winter display of flowers and foliage. The black railings with black boxes were repeated up the hill against the backdrop of the flint and stone south wall of the church. It looked elegantly beautiful. And, definitely much better in real life than in these photographs.
Of course being south-facing the hardy wallflowers were blooming beautifully and positioned at the top of the railings meant with a slight tilt forward of one’s head their sweet fragrance was easily caught. It is relatively uncommon to see urban winter plantings work so well and bringing delicate charm to a rather grand setting. After all, King Henry VIII’s favourite sister and a past Queen of France, Mary, was buried next door in the church.
The next floral gem we noticed was as we walked past the properties 1, 1a, 2 and 3 West Front and Samson’s Tower. These amazing houses have been built within and using the old West Front of the original Benedictine abbey church.
And, the floral gem was a white cyclamen and flint arrangement in a metal dish at the doorway of one of the West Front residences.
I took quite a few photos of this arrangement and will keep them and maybe will have a go at copying this idea. I think the combination of the white flowers, the black and white flints and the weathered metal is very appealing especially at this time of year.
As we walked past and around the east end of St Edmundsbury Cathedral we came to the Appleby Rose Garden. The rose garden is named after John Appleby, an American serviceman who served in the Second World War with the 487th Bomb Group in Lavenham, Suffolk. Within the walled garden there is also a garden seat crafted out of a wing of an American ‘Flying Fortress Bomber’, but at the time of my visit an elderly gentleman was sat on the bench enjoying the tranquility and winter sun.
Well, there are flowers in bloom in Bury St Edmunds, but what about at home in my backyard in Ipswich. We have my favourite February flower, iris reticulata ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ still making a showing despite five years in a pot fighting it out with a monster agapanthus.
And, there are the dainty and reliable hellebores flourishing with the paler pink type already flowering . . .
and the very dark red variety full of buds just about to burst into bloom.
Finally, I can’t resist here’s another picture of Honey Hill.
18 thoughts on “February Flowers”
Oh, what a heartlifting post! Love your irises
Thank you. Thought in February we could all do with some cheery, floral colour.
We certainly can!
There’s something immensely uplifting about winter flowers, with their – on the whole – muted and somewhat chaste shades. I hope they offer you fantastic inspiration.
I think the sheer paucity of winter blooms makes us appreciate anything flowering at the moment, but looks like much of it is going to be bashed about by Eunice.
Sadly so. Things seem OK-ish round here though.
I’m amazed at such a display in February. Here we just had snow. It’s very early even for a snowdrop or crocus to stick up a shoot.
Yes, flowering in Feb is the upside of the predominantly ‘unsettled’ temperate weather of the UK (fancy way of saying windy and changeable!). The downside is (as I type) we have a RED warning for East Anglia with over 160 schools in our county closed. Hopefully, the snow won’t last too long and your flowers will make their much awaited arrival.
The snow has now all melted ( acouple of warm days). In March we will begin to see the flowers emerge. That is not too long to wait now.
What winter delights you found for us to enjoy too. My favourite was that beautiful iris in your back yard.
Thank you. My sister was visiting and she had never been to Bury St Edmunds so we took the opportunity to drive over. Those irises are from my old Norfolk garden. As they die back quite quickly after flowering I tend to forget about them and then it’s a welcome surprise when they pop up in February. I hope you’re keeping safe in this dreadful weather. I see even London has been assigned a Red Weather warning today. Although it’s not going to be as bad as the hurricane of 1987 when I was living in London, slept through the storm and was amazed at the chaos when I struggled in to work from East Dulwich.
I went out early before it got too gusty but am inside now scared of being blown off balance by a sudden gust!
I see down in the West Country people were hanging on to lampposts. Very scary.
Frightening, I agree.
I have been hearing a bit lately from England of both snowdrops and wild weather, with Eunice being the latest. I was interested to read about winter flowers in England as I currently have an English character in my novel marvelling at what flowers bloom in the bush here in that season, especially, in her case, the Cootamundra Wattle. I had her comparing it to the die back of Bradford in winter. Might have to revisit that.
Mmm, the Bradford weather is generally more tough than here in Suffolk probably far more like your Lake District experiences with less rain. It be pretty bleak up North in winter with nowt flowery stuff about. Incidentally, my sister has another type of acacia, a mimosa, just blooming, but she lives way down in Devon where they even have palm trees.
That’s reassuring Agnes. Thanks for that info about Bradford. Seems I was on the right track then.
Might be see an acacia yellow range of scarved for spring?
You know I’ve not worked with yellow for years. Not sure I’m quite ready for it yet, although I am using more orange recently. Good luck with the Bradford Victorian plantings quest.