Fresh Minty Green

You know the feeling of freshly-brushed teeth? That’s how I feel taking a walk around our frosty garden this morning.

The green is starting up, but frosty white is just holding it in check.

It’s a muted, minty green. Not too much joy, in case we all get a little over-excited. By all means enjoy this primrose, but don’t forget, it’s only the beginning of February.

This was my first foray into the garden for several days. I have been knocked back by a cold spell of my own. There was something cleansing about the chill in the air after being cloistered in a sick room.

I needed to see some new fresh growth amongst the dry old canes from last season.

These spearmint sprigs of buddleia foliage look so hopeful. They’re doing their best to hide the embarrassment of winter pruning.

The buds on the peach tree are looking especially handsome. They are the tones of a country gent: grey-green jerkin and maroon boots. It is all bluster: they hide peachy sweetness within.

The crowns of hyacinths seem to just appeared overnight, as if left there by forgetful frog princes.

My favourite species tulip, Tulipa hageri ‘Little Beauty’ (you can see them in their full glory here) has also emerged.

This is the easiest of all tulips. Unlike the showy cultivated tulips, species tulips tend to stick around and multiply year on year. They are one of my best discoveries. I plant them under fruit trees, and they seem to like it there.

Tulipa hageri ‘Little Beauty’ emerging foliage

Over in the show-off cutting beds, there are no signs yet of the Diva tulips emerging. They will be fashionably late. For now they languish under their warm duvet.

Not for the first time, I curse my terrible record-keeping. I have a mixture of scribbled notes in various notebooks, a note on my phone, a few email receipts and a Pinterest page, all of which slightly contradict one another. Dear Autumn Self: ONE SYSTEM. ONE GARDEN RECORD TO RULE THEM ALL!!

At least I used plant labels in these pots. In a couple of weeks I can expect to see the icy sophistication of Iris reticulata ‘Katharyn Hodgkin’.

It looks like she will be pipped to the post by a splash of sky blue, from the equally exciting Iris reticulata ‘Alida’.

For now, it is the snowdrop’s moment.

If you put your nose right under the flower you get the distinct smell of honey.

The other stars are the hazel catkins. I’m not actually sure if this is a cobnut or a hazel, or what they difference is. I can’t remember it ever being quite so laden with catkins as it is this year.

They are especially lovely with the morning sun shining through them. Fragility and resilience combined.

There are so many signs of spring, but we can’t quite shake off winter. It’s like we have a fifth season, spr-inter. Its colours are minty-fresh, but with a hint of honey.

How about you? Are there signs of spring?

The Mindful Gardener is trying to contain her excitement. Spring is around the corner, and there are hundreds of bulbs (though who knows where) waiting to emerge! Stick around, join the fun, crouch down and get close!

You can click on the big ‘Follow’ button at the bottom of the page if you like. This will ping an email straight to you when a new post is published. Which probably means a new bulb has just popped.

36 Comments Add yours

  1. There is something refreshing about the frosty air that cleanses the soul. I love the distinct frost patterns on the plants, we get to admire natures artwork. Beautiful flowers in jars reminds me spring will come again. My own gardens are buried under a thick blanket of snow. I hope you are feeling better. Beautiful pictures 💗

    1. Yes, it was the cleansing quality that I really felt that morning.

  2. Emma Cownie says:

    What beautiful photographs. I especially light the snowdrops in the jar/vase. It’s good to see shoots coming up even when it feels like deepest winter.

    1. Yes, I love it when the light hits a jar of flowers. A little bit of everyday magic.

  3. bcparkison says:

    Beautiful frosty morn.
    I thought of you yesterday while reading through an old (1992) Victoria magazine. My mother is discarding and cleaning out and sends them my way .There is a little sessay in the back of the March issue by Tovah Martin talking about how she never had any trouble remembering the Latin names of the plants in her garden.

    1. I do sometimes struggle! For some names that I struggle to recall, I have to make a little association in my mind. Often it sounds like another word, so I make a mental picture and that helps.

  4. No signs of spring here – just snow. Loving all of your green and waiting patiently for ours. Happy Saturday Ali! Glad you’re feeling better.

    1. Thank you Cindy. I think I have become spoilt, living in Kent, where the winter is at least a month shorter than Northern England. The shorter winter gets the more impatient I seem!

  5. Heyjude says:

    Sorry to hear you have been ill and glad you are recovering.The snowdrops are so pretty in the little jar and I love the catkins in the sun. Super excited to think about all the lovely bulb flowers to come!

    1. The bulbs really are wonderful to look forward to, aren’t they? I think I am going to double my pots next year. I don’t think you ever regret planting too many bulbs!

      1. Heyjude says:

        I wanted more pots in the courtyard as I have no soil there and although we only see it when we arrive back home, I want it to be full of plants. This year I am going to mark where I have bulbs in the garden so I don’t cut into them when planting other things!! I quite agree with you, you can never have too many bulbs and saying that I also want some summer flowering ones!

      2. I have just had a little Gladioli spree! They have always proved such good value; returning year after year with very little aftercare needed. What are you planning?

      3. Heyjude says:

        Tulbaghia violacea in the herb bed and maybe some Amarine bulbs.

      4. Ooh. I don’t know Tulbaghia, but just googled it and it looks lovely. Amarine too. I have tried Nerines before but they didn’t seem to like the spot I planted them in. I should try again though, as I’m in a different garden now.

  6. Crowns of crocus emerged about a week ago, but now they’re stalling as though they realize that another Pacific Northwest cold front is creeping over the western horizon. I can wait, I reckon, and just not look. Still too cold to walk around my gardens just yet. As you stated, it’s still the first days of February, and Mother used to proclaim that, although the first month of spring (in the Deep South), it was the coldest month of the year. You betcha!

    1. Yes, February is the hardest month I think. So close and yet so far!

  7. By the way, Ali, what is the grainy material in your bulb pots? Is it something you add to the potting soil?

    1. It is horticultural grit. I add lots to the compost, and then I add a layer of at least a cm to the top of pots to suppress any weeds or moss. At Sissinghust they use a fine bark mulch, and that is even prettier. I need to source some for myself!

  8. Just wanted to let you know that I’m being trolled and have had to leave my blog …. so sad, but thank you so very much for all your wonderful posts and gorgeous pictures. Katie xx

    1. Oh no! Is it the same person? That is terrible, Katie. I really hate that someone can bully you into giving up your blog!

  9. Eliza Waters says:

    Beautiful new beginnings!

  10. Christina says:

    Ah! Those first green shoots, a joy for gardeners.

  11. Beautiful spr-inter photos! Four seasons are oftentimes too few to fully describe the nuances throughout the yearly cycle. Many of the aboriginal tribes in Australia have six seasons per year – if you look at them closely, it makes quite sense. Beautiful post, thank you!

    1. That’s interesting. Are they the same across the different areas of Australia?

      1. No they vary – obviously in local names – but also to coincide with the regional specif seasons. The ones on the south and eastern seaboard all add the additional ones between spring and summer, and the other between summer and autumn – in other words they split those changing seasons. The seasons aren’t of equal length.

      2. If you think about it, four seasons of the same length are a bit unlikely!

  12. Im down with a winter cold too, but a good chance to catch up on some reading at least. Loving the catkins and snowdrops at this time of year.

    1. Oh no! Take good care of yourself. Sending you a virtual jar of snowdrops to cheer your bedside!

      1. Ah thankyou so much. 😊

  13. Ann Mackay says:

    Your wonderfully uplifting post has made me feel full of excitement and happiness at the thought of spring’s approach. Loved the ‘forgetful frog princes’!

    1. Thank you, Ann, I’m glad you enjoyed that. I amused myself!

  14. Lovely! Especially the crowns of hyacinth.

    1. Thanks Dorris! I do like the neat little crowns.

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