It’s that time of year again when I am out in the backyard surveying the residual winter mess and examining the plants already budding with potential.
I have also been spending a few minutes poking around in the sodden vegetation to find any discrete beauties preparing for their floral entrance.
And, to my surprise these hellebores had just started to bloom as the last of the snow finally melted away.
Not all the plants in my backyard coped as well as the hellebores with the -5 degrees centigrade and 20 cm of snow. All of last summer’s pelargoniums that I had moved up close to the house are now a sad, blackened gloopy mess of vegetation. That is they are dead. Fortunately, last autumn I brought three indoors; one white single zonal, one dark pink regal and one pink scented-leaf variety. Overwintering in my kitchen isn’t ideal, but at least the are still alive.
It isn’t only the temporary residents in my kitchen that are doing well, a couple of cuttings taken from the Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Schneeball’ seem securely rooted and have recently burst into leaf.
Now, I must come clean. I don’t normally buy imported flowers but I couldn’t resist having some of these sweet pink beauties. I think it was a Lockdown 3 thing.
Of course, I could be mistaken regarding their provenance and they may have been grown under glass in Lincolnshire, but somehow at £1.79 a bunch (worryingly cheap) I think probably not.
Finally we had a sunny day and I ventured out to have a quick look round the garden. The hellebore flowers and the hebe foliage are looking colourful, but that was about all.
So feeling impatient I’ve cheated for my spring bouquet and bought some tulips to add a little more flower power. These tulips are Libretto Parrot and will open into a frilly, striped affair.
I’m sure I used to have pink and green stripy tulips (Greenland) in the front garden, but I don’t think I planted them deep enough to survive more than one season. Still, these parrots will bring a burst of spring colour indoors.
Last autumn I hacked back an overgrown climbing rose. I had let it run free to see if it would flower more, but it was still heavily overshadowed by my neighbour’s large conifers.
It is an ongoing problem of gardening that after the first five years of a new planting, serious, annual pruning is needed to keep the more successful specimens to appropriate sizes.
With the rose reduced in size the previously swamped clematis armandii ‘Snowdrift’ has finally started to flower. More of a trickle than a cascade so far.
However, the clematis armandii ‘Appleblossom’, planted at the same time as the ‘Snowdrift’, now cascades down the trellis. The pair make a textbook example of the direct sunlight requirements for most flowering climbers to give a good show.
On the other hand some plants only require the light of dappled shade to produce a display of delicate, drooping jewels.