My favourite Iris reticulata cultivar is ‘Katharine Hodgkin’. Strictly speaking I. reticulata are late-winter bloomers brightening up the February gloom, but my bulbs often don’t flower until well into March. This cultivar is a hybrid between I.winogradowii and I.histrioides and, provided with free draining soil and some sunshine, flowers well. The above bulbs are in a pot. They were mistakenly dug up last autumn from beneath a weeping pear. They were then unceremoniously and temporarily shoved into an empty pot and forgotten until I found them blooming earlier this month. It appears benign neglect hasn’t been detrimental.
We’ve had a week of on and off sunshine here in Norfolk and most of the cherry trees are just about coming into bloom. However, even in more sheltered gardens the double blossoms are still only fat, about-to-burst buds. Sadly, the forty-year-old cherry tree in my father’s garden has died after a combination of old age and over vigorous pruning, but the Magnolia soulangeana lives to bloom for another spring.
Magnolia soulangeana is a flowering tree. It is often planted as a feature tree as I think this one was. It was originally surrounded by lawn, but rebuilding of the house and the introduction of a terrace has resulted in it now growing up against the terrace wall. Its moment of glory is fleeting, but as it’s so early in the horticultural year it is most welcome after the grey, grey winter.
It has plenty of blooms which can now be easily appreciated from standing on the terrace and looking down into the tree – a new and unexpected perspective.
Over several winter weekends I emptied all my pots in preparation for moving house.
I did take a few photos of the winter garden just before it was partially deconstructed.
It was hard, awkward work emptying the big pots and the biggest two pots with fifteen-year-old clipped yews had to be left. I couldn’t even budge them and I couldn’t bear to cut the yews to pieces. It all ended up making me feel like . . . . .
Still, an overflowing tub of grape hyacinths is an uplifting sight,
as are the magnolia flowers.