Bare arms in the sun!

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.  Has any flower such grace?  Especially its neck and throat when seen in profile.

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 dahlias and sowed four trays of seed (see Flowergasm!). 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 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!


49 Comments Add yours

  1. Such beautiful spring flowers! Those raised beds will yield some lovely flowers!

    1. Ali says:

      I hope so, Lisa!

  2. Nicky says:

    Lovely to see all those flowers after the snow and great to get out in the garden again. I’ve been itching to get back out for a while now. No sun yesterday but I’ve high hopes for the weekend 😊

    1. Ali says:

      Hope you managed it!

      1. Nicky says:

        Rain yesterday but sun forecast today. Fingers crossed 🤞

  3. Lovely, how exciting to expand your empire. I love potting up Dahlias, so much potential.

    1. Ali says:

      I know, it’s one of my favourite jobs.

  4. annpappas says:

    It all looks so green and colourful compared to our dry dustbowl here! Up country have had some serious flooding and we in Cape Town are excited about the possibility of 5mm this afternoon!

    1. Ali says:

      That’s interesting! I keep thinking it needs to green up here, but I should be thankful.

  5. Anonymous says:

    So lovely to see those gorgeous spring colours . . . and all the wonderful promise in that bright new foliage. Happy gardening, Ali! 🙂

    1. rogerandlis says:

      Whoops, next time, I’ll try and remember to press the WP button before I post a comment!

  6. Tish Farrell says:

    Splendid raised beds from Stevie, and a lovely array of spring flowers from you, and thanks for reminding me about dahlias. I’ve hidden mine somewhere in the allotment shed. Time to see if they’re OK.

    1. Ali says:

      It’s so easy to forget where you’ve put things! Or that you have them in the first place!

      1. Tish Farrell says:

        Will you use Charles Dowding’s no dig approach to start off the new beds? Cardboard on bottom, compost on top?

      2. Ali says:

        Tish, I was thinking exactly this as I was digging the trenches for the other one this morning. I think that sounds like a great idea. I’ve heard the cardboard acts as a wick and keeps plants hydrated too? Need to raid the neighbours’ recycling bins for more cardboard!

  7. cavershamjj says:

    Liking the raised beds. What will you grow in then?

  8. Jim Stephens says:

    Loads of lovely colour you have there. I love primroses but mine still haven’t really hit peak flowering. I shall speak firmly to them.

    1. Ali says:

      I hope they are receptive!

  9. fredgardener says:

    Many beautiful flowers in bloom! and you are lucky to just have to fill your raised beds … what are you going to plant as future cut flowers?

    1. Ali says:

      I’ve got cosmos, zinnias, scabious, antirrhinum, bells of Ireland, poppies, erm… oh yes, wallflowers and dianthus!

  10. Bare armed gardening – the best. Looking forward to hearing what cut flowers are destined for the raised beds.

    1. Ali says:

      I will keep you updated, Katharine!

  11. Lora Hughes says:

    We’re not to bare arms here as yet, but you give us hope. Look forward to seeing those raised beds fully occupied.

    1. Ali says:

      It’s coming, Lora! I know, I can see them overflowing in my mind’s eye!

  12. A. JoAnn says:

    I love your raised beds! I’m thinking…

    1. Ali says:

      Oh, do! It’s a great way to garden!

  13. bcparkison says:

    Lucky you. The new raised beds will be wonderful.

  14. You have so much going on in your garden – sounds like you have had a rewarding week. Some beautiful plant pictures here.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you. It is all starting to happen now.

  15. janesmudgeegarden says:

    What a lot of beautiful colour you have appearing in your garden! I’m with you on the Woodstock hyacinth. And the erysimum will soon be a halo of mauve. It grows very happily here, too.

    1. Ali says:

      It is a wonderful plant. It will keep flowering until next January, so 9-10 months of flowers.

  16. Just lovely! Your photos get me excited for warmer weather here in Oregon.

    1. Ali says:

      Oh, that’s good. I have felt the same seeing garden photos from Italy and Spain. It is spreading North!

  17. Eliza Waters says:

    Your plants are further along by far! I had my first work session in the garden today, though only about 4C, it was delightful! As soon as the snow melts off a bed, I’m raking it clean!

    1. Ali says:

      Oh, enjoy it, Eliza. It’s wonderful.

  18. This is all so exciting, and I love the pictures. They give me ideas. I also love all the official names of the plants you include.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Shelly, am glad they give you ideas too!

  19. Some nice photo’s. I planted some Dahlias in pots today but have just seen the weather forecast hopefully they’ll be ok.

    1. Ali says:

      They’ll be fine so long as they’re kept above freezing! Keep warm…

  20. jjspina says:

    The flowers are beautiful! Those raised beds will be gorgeous I’m sure. Have fun in the sun. Here in New England USA we are still under snow and it is officially spring. Sigh! I can’t wait to see my roses blooming again! Happy gardening! 🥀 😃

    1. Ali says:

      Me too. Roses are the highlight!

  21. Really nice blog with super pictures – simple flowers are so often the loveliest.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed it.

  22. pommepal says:

    So much satisfaction in getting your hands into the dirt

    1. Ali says:

      Absolutely. It’s like recharging my battery!

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