In the last couple of weeks I have felt like some of my seedlings: etiolated, stretching my neck out towards the window, but failing to find the sun. I have been desperate for some extended time in the garden.
Yesterday the sun came out.
First I’ll show you the hyacinths. We inherited a lot of pale pinks and lilacs, which, like me, were looking a bit pasty in bud, but have opened out to be pale and interesting. The darker shades are varieties I have planted: the deep blue one is ‘Spring Field’, the slightly garish pink that hasn’t opened out yet is ‘Jan Bos’, and the rich plum-purple (my favourite) is “Woodstock’.
Before the snow, the foliage in the garden was at least a month ahead of itself. The roses were leafing up, some not having lost leaves from the previous year. The new shoots were scorched in the icy blasts, but are just coming back now. I think they have been set back a month, but are probably where they would normally be. The lower-growing herbaceous perennials seem untouched, and I can almost see them growing.
The metallic grey is Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ (perennial wallflower), with its flower buds about to burst. To the right is Centaurea ‘Jordy’ (the perennial cornflower in my wordpress logo), then hemerocallis, aquilegia and lupin foliage. My lupins are showing no signs of possession after harbouring ectoplasm (see I have jelly in my lupins!). I love the downy fuzz around the edges of the lupin leaves. Endless joy from lupins!
My pulmonaria has not quite thrown off its ‘soggy lump’ phase. It seems stuck between something the cat might have sicked up, and Granny’s best Sunday hat. There are a few tissuey flowers, but I know the best is to come. The primroses however are going for it. This is their moment. I featured them in my In a vase on Monday: together and apart this week, but they deserve to be seen au naturel. Has any flower such grace? Especially its neck and throat when seen in profile.
And here are a few more spring bulbs. Storm-tossed Muscari (grape hyacinth), the ginormous Crocus ‘Flower Record’ and Narcissus ‘Jetfire’. I love the way its perfect petticoat hangs in silken folds. It looks as though it is lifting up its arms to dance in the sun.
I had a lovely hour in the greenhouse. It was warm enough to throw off my fleece and work with bare arms in the sun. I potted up 7 varieties of dahlias (my choices are here, Delectable dahlias) and sowed four trays of seed (see Flowergasm! and Guilt-free pick-and-mix). And I took my poor etiolated windowsill seedlings out there to bask in the light. We turned the water to the greenhouse back on. We are back in business!
And then, a lovely project. I have two new raised beds for growing cut flowers! Stevie, The Garden Brewer made them for me. I spent another happy hour digging a shallow trench around the middle one to sink it into position. The one at the back is my dahlia bed, which has been there for three years.
Oh, it was lovely to be outside again, working in the sun!