The sun is about to break through the clouds. I know that once it does, buds will break open and I will be dazzled.
For now, I want to appreciate the soft light, and the gentle presence of spring growth.
I am going to walk right to the furthest end of the garden, beyond the vegetable plot and the fruit cage, to the area I fancifully call the ‘orchard’ (four apple trees). I planted a selection of bulbs here last autumn. I included snakeshead fritillaries, for my eldest daughter, because I know she likes them. This one is not fully ripe, but it has a beautiful subtlety at this stage.
These little blue flowers were previously known as Chionodoxa, or ‘Glory of the Snow’, but have now been welcomed into the scilla family. They too have a gentle grace. Rather than bowing their heads, they face up to the skies.
I think this is Narcissi ‘Hawera’. They are demonstrating that spring bulbs can look outwards too.
Daffodils can be a bit shouty; a bit full-on; a bit draining. Here they are showing their subtle side, and making space for the scilla.
My favourite weed in the garden is this purple dead nettle, Lamium purpureum. The bees love its early flowers, and it is welcome to populate this wild space.
I have just direct-sown sweet peas into my raised beds around some obelisks. One of the obelisks is decorated with birds, which in turn, are decorated with lichen. They will be hidden by foliage in a couple of months, so now is the time to appreciate their subtle beauty.
Gardening should be trial-and-error. This year I have learnt that Scilla siberica is too small to be planted with tulips! Nevertheless, I am enjoying seeing glimpses of scilla, just peeping out from between the skirts of the tulips. I was a shy child, and if anyone asked me my name, I would duck under my mum’s skirt. It was a lovely place to be. This scilla reminds me of that feeling of billowing enclosure.
These tulips were planted in the rose garden three years ago. Their flowers have diminished in size, and really I should dig them up after flowering and plant new bulbs in the autumn. For now I am enjoying the dusky purple bud against a background of Hyacinth ‘Jan Bos’.
A less obvious combination is this clump of tulips with the rose ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ behind. I love the ‘fanning out’ of the whole garden right now, and it is emphasised here with the contrasting foliage of the rose.
All my roses show slightly different shades of red, maroon, bronze and copper foliage. ‘Young Lycidas’ is delicious.
This is one of my favourite geraniums, Geranium himalayens ‘Graveteye’. It pokes up these gorgeous little crimson shoots.
On a larger scale, this is a glamourous intersectional peony. I adore the texture. They are precision-cut, but they also have a softness.
You can see the up-thrust of these herbaceous peony shoots. They have lifted the crust of mulch on top of them. It is their way of reminding me not to mulch directly on top of peonies. You risk their crowns rotting away. I should have made a little crater around them. But they seem to have forgiven me.
Plump pillows of phlox are scattered all over the place.
This salvia also has up-thrust. There is a sense of quiet determination. Things just have to grow!
Alchemilla mollis is quite slow to get started in spring. But I do love peering into it and seeing the downy little cockle-shell leaves. You can see a brand new leaf folded up like a concertina. Like so much else in the garden, it is just waiting to fan out.
I filled a few spaces in the rose garden with wallflower, Erysimum cheiri ‘Sunset Series’.
I think I am going to enjoy its subtle shades of peach and apricot, rose pink, cream and gold.
I love the arrangement of flower buds. They are tightly packed at the centre and start to swell from the outside, until one of them just can’t hold it in any longer.
There is a vintage feel to these rose-pink blooms. I will come back to them in a week or so when they are flowering with confidence.
This is going to be an enormous parrot tulip. For now it is resting its head in its hands, contemplating life, love and the universe.
I will leave you with the gentle curve of Tulip ‘Midnight Girl’. We are sitting in companionable silence. We will enjoy this tender moment together.
If you too appreciate the little things in life, then consider ‘following’ The Mindful Gardener. Click on the big ‘Follow’ button at the bottom of the post and you will receive email notification of each new post. I am to inspire you to notice the little pops of wonder in the natural world that might so easily be missed.