Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the cowslips is?


Sorry about that, but I’m overexcited.

It’s here!

In the last two weeks the meadow has suddenly exploded.

It started with the daffodils apparently stuck at about six inches tall. I don’t blame them; I didn’t want to be out much either. And then it got a bit warmer and a lot sunnier, and the low cloud went off to annoy other people, and  everything suddenly shot up and opened.

The daffodils are shaping up for a record year, and are going insane. I thought the ridiculously mild – well, comparatively mild, that is – and thoroughly damp winter would have a bad effect, but it doesn’t seem that way.

(People who have been with me over the last year may remember that I count daffs. I take as my role model the great Christopher Lloyd, and if he considered counting daffodils perfectly normal behaviour, then who am I to argue?)

The doubles are lavish and seem to have taller stems than usual – perhaps that is connected to the weather; they didn’t get a pause with a cold snap. They’re flowering well in the top Rosa rugosa hedge, despite potential disturbance from the Great Couch Grass Removal exercise, or ‘Operation Bugger’ as we decided to call it after too many collisions between limbs and feckin’ Rosa feckin’ rugosa. (I’m quoting, of course. I would never use such unseemly language.)

Bizarrely, I seem to have one huge clamp of a daffodil variety I don’t remember. It’s an established clump; it’s not something I moved and promptly forgot about.

They’re gorgeous. How could I possibly have forgotten about these?

I have no idea what variety they are, or where they came from. I checked my ever-so-slightly obsessive photographic archive, and I can’t find a trace of them last year. What I can find a trace of is a blind clump – but that’s always been there; it was one of the ones I had in line for lifting and splitting. Maybe it just didn’t want to be lifted and split (it does sound rather brutal) and so decided it had better put on a show.

Moving on (there’ll be many, many more daffodils to come), the explosion has not been confined to the daffs. The chionodoxas under the Rosa ******* rugosa are having a great year too, and are making tentative approaches towards the main meadow.

In fact, they are so good this year that they deserve some time to themselves so, for the moment, see what I mean:

It’s more of a carpet of blue than it has been for a while. Notice the spines of those rose stems too.  Yersss, as Jeremy Paxman might say.

Back in the meadow proper, or perhaps that should be mainly in the meadow proper, the primroses are fantastic. And the anemones are also having an exceptional time this spring:

They’re spreading very well too. They started out as one small clump in the top Rosa hedge (again), and have gradually migrated without any intervention from me or P. I do not blame them – if I lived in that hedge, I’d migrate.

And the primroses – oh, the primroses. And P did think he’d spotted a cowslip amongst them and shouted out the exciting news – I’m glad it’s not just me who gets all unnecessary over spring in the meadow – but it was actually an oxlip; it really is a bit early for the cowslips.

And I’ve had said it was a bit early for these too, but they’re well on their way:

The first of the fritillaries, and almost out. That’s it, spring is definitely here.

Solstice, what solstice? The fritillaries know.


20 Comments Add yours

  1. patientgardener says:

    How very exciting. I do like your unknown daff never seen one that before. I wonder if I will get to see your meadow in May?

    1. kate says:

      I’m glad it’s not just me that’s mystified by the Unknown – it is lovely. I must spend some time searching; I’d love to put a name to it. Would love for you to see it in May – though it may be at the ‘bad hair’ stage, it’s still usually worth a visit then…

  2. It is just totally gorgeous and you have so much! My garden looks like a building site as a result of the builders and the new barn. Just saying so you don’t expect anything like this!

    1. kate says:

      I’m sure your garden will look lovely – I am looking forward to seeing it. And anything looks good when there’s sun on it, even the Rosa rugosa hedges from Hell…

  3. wellywoman says:

    Beautiful. Looking at your photos makes me think I really need to get more spring flowering plants in my garden. I don’t have a meadow to play with, more’s the pity, but that’s no excuse. I need to sit down with some bulb catalogues in September. One plant doing very well in my garden are the primroses. Some clumps are getting so big I’ll be able to divide them and I keep finding little seedlings in the garden.

    1. kate says:

      Oh, those bulb catalogues – far too tempting! Do not even think about them….Primroses seed themselves everywhere round me too – I do get a bit exasperated sometimes, but generally I appreciate them. They’re such a great sign that spring is on the way!

  4. Crystal says:

    I really enjoyed walking through your meadow, a virtual walk of course. My daffodils are still in bud, so I’ve still got the pleasure of them to come. And as for springtime, well as you say, the fritillaries know.

    1. kate says:

      Thanks – it is lovely, I’m so glad I made the decision to let it develop. I’m convinced that the main reason the spring flowers are so very good, and improving year or year, is because it’s meadow the rest of the year and not a big expanse of boring, featureless lawn. And I’m glad the people who lived here in the past liked their lawn just to the right extent – enough not to dig it up and make beds, not quite enough to fertilise it!

  5. Dobby says:

    Are you sure that is the same meadow I saw a couple of weeks ago? It certainly has come on a lot. I don’t ‘do’ daffs as my ground is so wet and try to keep pots to a minimum (water meter). Yours look splendid. I do like the mystery ones.
    I did notice last week that my fritillaries are on the way. Will have to go and check on them tomorrow.
    Do chionodoxas like damp conditions? They are very pretty.

    1. kate says:

      It definitely is. Honest.

      (Actually I went down the Co-op, bought some daffs and stuck them in for the photos – you got me!)

      Not sure about the chionodoxias, but probably… mine seem to, anyway, but my garden varies from quite localised area to quite localised area in just how wet it is. My chinos were originally above one of the retaining walls, and that probably helps with drainage.

  6. Harriet says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I envy you your meadow.

    1. kate says:

      It’s looking really lovely just now, as (shhhhhhhh) it’s not actually raining. There is one advantage of rain though – well, there are several, especially if you’re in SE England which neither of us actually is – and that’s the fact that it bashes the daffs down, so I just have to go and pick some….

  7. Christina says:

    Wow! your meadow is beautiful. My dreams of drifts of daffodils will have to live in your garden. Always best not to fight nature but go with the natives. Happy spring meadow! Christina

    1. kate says:

      It’s gorgeous – and entirely down to nature. Well, almost; I’ve planted very little though I do tweak it by splitting daffs, etc. have just discovered major disadvantage though: once you’ve taken the first 500 daffodil portraits, the next 500 get a bit samey.

  8. paulinemulligan says:

    Lovely flowers, lovely meadow, what a picture it must look at the moment. Love the Chionodoxas with the red stems of your rugosas, I’m now wondering if I ought to sow my rugosa seeds after reading your comments !! Our snakes head fritillaries have now started flowering in the wetter half of the woodland, another week and they should be in full flower.

    1. kate says:

      Isn’t it wonderful when the fritillaries start to appear? I’m now having to be very careful exactly when I tread – one garden blog in the wrong place, and that could be the end of my clump of whites. But I spend large parts of the year moaning about how there’s no colour in my garden other than green, so I’m not complaining now!

      (All I can say about R. rugosa is ‘be very careful what you wish for’….)

  9. hillwards says:

    Looks beautiful. I seem to have a strong bias against coloured primroses, but in your natural setting those pink primroses actually look rather lovely with the yellows and blues. I can see where mini eggs get their inspiration from… ;).

    Love the anemones, and the mystery daffs. We had some mystery pale daffs in the garden last year too, I think I know where, and the first are about to come out. Since they are on the path of the kitchen garden, I think I had better relocate them once they’ve flowered this time, and hopefully enjoy them again next year!

    My mum gave me a tiny “think it might be a cowslip”, which has after much holding of breath revealed itself to be definitely, alas, another primrose. A Devon primrose, but it looks uncannily like all the South Wales primroses – very lovely but not a cowslip. Darn. Must try harder…

    1. kate says:

      I hadn’t thought of them as mini eggs, but of course! I’m not a fan of the rather lurid primulas that our local shops seem to specialise in, but these are a bit different, and they’ve done it themselves – though I suspect that sometime in the mid 80s one of those psychedelic primulas was planted by the last gardener to live here. Boy, do they hybridise. I’m giving them a post of their own soon (or this one would have been 58,000 miles long).

      My ‘cowslips’ are all oxlips – so far….

      (I’ve been marking daffs for moving too, so the meadow now has added stakes. Must move them!)

  10. Pen says:

    Thanks for bringing Spring to my laptop screen on a cold, grey day in Scotland – lovely photos, I don’t blame you for feeling excited. I’d be lying amongst all the flowers, getting a worms-eye view if I could!

    1. kate says:

      I think you must be psychic – guess what I was doing yesterday….

      (I’m being rather nauseating and bouncing around with my camera, a bit like a new lamb. It’s been a horrible, depressing winter, much worse than a snowy and icy one, and it’s gone!!!)

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.