Reasons to be cheerful – part 1

The sun has got his hat on, hip-hip-hip hoo- oh, hang on, he’s put it back on.  But we’ve had a few lovely days, just what I wished for: sunny, crisp, cold. At first it simply stopped raining, and we were able to get on with the pruning:

and then, and then, and then the sun came out and the garden – well, it basked. That’s the only way of expressing it; you could almost hear the collective sigh of relief and happiness. And it wasn’t just me:

The crocuses are coming up all over. Early (but of course), though I’m not complaining. Not at all. They’re springing up in amongst fallen leaves,

and materialising in the grass of the meadow. Some of them no sooner came up than the birds pecked their tops off, but hey.

I have friends who don’t like crocuses (you know who you are; I will spare your blushes in the face of such celebratory loveliness, but how can you?).

I’m really glad I don’t feel like that, as most of these were inherited and it would have been nightmarish to try and remove them. They’re completely naturalised now.

And then there are the snowdrops which are just popping up. They don’t seem to be developing long stems this year, but it’s early days. I know of snowdrop-counters – not criticising; I count daffodils, after all – but how do they do it? You deadhead or pick daffs, so it’s easy. This doesn’t look quite so straightforward:

There are many, many clumps, mostly less than two inches high. What’s going on? A response to the mild weather?

And talking of responses to the mild weather, I’ve got a hebe flowering. See:

Admittedly, there are only a few flowers, but this is wrong. Also wrong – in my opinion – was the fact that my huge Helleborus foetidus decided to give up the ghost last year, but I noticed that it has thrown up a solitary flower spike. So far I’ve taken about twenty photographs of it, just in case this is its last flowering.

I do love hellebores, but I haven’t got many. Now there’s something I’d like to add to my new bed.

Another reason to be cheerful is the Viburnum x bodnantense. It’s been flowering madly and scenting the lane behind the garden for months. Months. I can hear passers-by sniffing appreciatively sometimes, and there’s the occasional comment.

One of the major weaknesses of t’internet is that you can’t smell anything. Shame. And it’s even more covered with flowers now; I keep thinking it will stop soon, but I do hope it doesn’t. I know I’m not normally a pink person, but this is making me change my mind – it’s so soft and comforting, like a light but snuggly fluffy jumper. I think I may have to introduce a little more pink.

What am I thinking?

I knew as soon as I began that line of thought that it was time to do something else, and there’s another reason to be cheerful – walks on the beach in something other than a howling gale and drizzle.

Magnificent. Blue sky, blue sky!

(I can’t bear to categorise this post as ‘winter’, so it’s spring. Definitely. Because I say so.)

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26 thoughts on “Reasons to be cheerful – part 1

  1. Christina

    What a lovely cheerful post! I think you have to enjoy every flower in winter; whatever the colour or your usual preferanes in plants; I haven’t seen any of my crocus yet, strange! perhaps I need to look harder. Christina

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Well, I swear there wasn’t even a hint of my crocuses last week, so perhaps yours are hiding too. You are so right – enjoy the lot!

      Reply
  2. Anna

    The last few days have positively sparkled haven’t they after all that rain and wind! I thought that the crocuses were early – I think of them belonging to February. Mine are mainly in pots – it must great to have them growing as you do. I know a snowdrop counter too – it may be the same person that you are thinking of – I am waiting to learn her secret 🙂 Many congratulations on your first blog anniversary – long may it flourish.

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Haven’t the last few days been fab? I suspect we may need to store them up, though – looks as if we’re back to greyness. Hum.

      I’ve just checked the dates on my crocus shots from 2010 and 2011, and you’re absolutely right – February. They’re three weeks earlier than last year (mind you, I suppose there was snow for them to deal with at the end of 2010). And maybe snowdrop-counting is more common than we think!

      Reply
  3. Karen - An Artists Garden

    🙂
    I wouldn’t dig crocus up if they appeared I just wouldn’t plant any!
    Now Hellebores – those I really adore – each one with a slightly different face, they completely charm me
    It has been a wonderful few days – looks like we are back to grey now though
    K

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Well, grey with hints of blue, apricot, red and gold. But I agree, mostly grey. Not black, plus we can see further than 10 feet and it’s not raining, and I’m grateful for that! Grrrrrrrr.

      Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Two months! Two months – but then the anticipation must have an amazing effect – I’d greet the tiniest daisy with fanfares and cries of glee.

      (It’s grey again now, so don’t be jealous. It’ll probably stay grey until mid-April…)

      Reply
    1. kate Post author

      I’m surprised mine got through the frost unscathed – but then they have been buried in February snow before now and been fine. The only thing that seem to dampen them down is those bloody birds! I can see one at the yellows right now! GO AWAY!

      Ahem. My crocuseseses (that’s what I’m going for) were nowhere to be seen last week… I’d check your spot, they might be lurking!

      Reply
  4. welshhillsagain

    I love your crocuses (I think we might have expected that) and what I want to know is where are mine? Not a sign or a sniff or a smidgen. In fact I am off outside before the light goes to check again. Perhaps I turned my back.

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Well, yes, at least crocuses are normal for this time of year, even if they are early. Last week – not a sniff of a crocus. This week – shazzam. So I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that you found some…

      Reply
  5. Dobby

    My crocus aren’t out yet. I looked at the weekend. But as the garden has been waterlogged for months they have probably all rotted in the ground. Now, if you want some hellebores and are not too fussy about which ones, I have some seedlings from last year. Their brothers and sisters grew at Elizabeth’s, so should be fine at yours. Let me know.

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Ooo, hellebores, yes please – for some bizarre reason mine don’t seem to set seed. Or maybe they all float downhill!

      I’m amazed at how well my plants are tolerating waterlogging, most surprising, so do have another look soon. It’s not that my garden’s not wet – that would be impossible, and poo to double negatives, you know what I mean – but everything so far seems to be coping. And apparently there’s more rain on the way tonight. Oh, goody.

      Reply
  6. patientgardener

    I dont have many crocuses they tend to be ones that came as part of a mixed selection of bulbs. However this year I have planted some under the lawn to see how they will do – fingers crossed

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Hopefully they’ll do well… I feel about crocuses a bit the way I do about daffs (eh? grammar? wot?) – that they look much better naturalised. However, I swear they spend the summer and autumn moving quietly about under the soil, as they never come up where I’m expecting them. Maybe yours will be better behaved!

      Reply
  7. hillwards

    Lovely celebration of a splendid array of gems in your garden – and what a stunning beach shot. I added crocuses to our garden in the autumn; I can’t wait to see them flower, along with all the other spring bulbs!

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Thanks – and I do wish I could claim credit for the beach, but it’s just there. And very under-visited, even in summer – people hang about by the path and don’t walk to the ends…

      I don’t know about your bulbs, but mine are almost out – found a tulip today in one of the beds that was looking quite perky (must admit that there’s no sign of most of them yet, though).

      Reply
  8. easygardener

    I find many Snowdrops open on short stems then seem to take ages to grow taller. I hope we get more sun if only for the sake of the Crocuses – nothing sadder than a clump of flowers closed tight on a gloomy day!

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      I’m sure there’ll be more sun… there will, won’t there? Please?
      (Maybe I’ll have to devote my next post to pix of wet buds, sniff.)

      Reply
  9. wellywoman

    Great post. It has been so lovely to see the sun after a gloomy, dull winter and so much rain.
    That beach photo is stunning. I do love being on a beach in the winter. Well I love being on beaches at any time of year. You do feel as if the cobwebs have been blown away when you walk by the sea.

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Thank you – and isn’t it wonderful when things start appearing to cheer up the gloomiest month? (Except they’re probably all under water by now – we’re having a bit of a storm.) In this wind / rain /mayhem it wouldn’t be so much cobwebs being blown away on the beach as large amounts of sand being blown in… can’t quite believe it was so sunny!

      Reply
  10. Janet/Plantaliscious

    Hi Kate, I adore crocuses, though none of mine have poked more than a few tentative leaves up yet, so thank you for sharing yours. I have flowers on my rosemary!! Also very, very wrong. That last photo is truly beautiful. I have fingers and toes crossed that we can find somewhere to live in walking distance of the sea, the sight, sound and smell of it always give me a boost, even in dire weather, but under blue skies, magical.

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      I hope you find somewhere near the sea too – I agree, it can be very therapeutic… though I went for a Christmas walk when I was feeling crappy and unwell, and the sky / sea / clouds seemed to echo my mood: be warned!

      My crocuses have all given up for the moment and gone back underground, or maybe it’s just that I can only really see them when the sun shines (that’s a hint to the weather, ahem weather, are you listening?). Grr.

      Reply

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