Just a spot of sunshine

We have had a lovely few days, with a quite remarkable absence of rain and an equally remarkable presence of sun. It’s all right now, normal service is resumed and we have a grey, drizzly day – but everything enjoyed spring while it was here. Me included, and I even managed to sit outside with a cup of tea on a couple of occasions. Wearing a big sweater, but still – amazing. We basked (that’s me and the garden).

Fractal daisy

Just a touch of sun and warmth at this time of year brings everything on so quickly, but I can’t help remembering last year when it was positively summery in March and then appalling for the rest of the year. I do hope we are not in for a repeat… but I did purchase a SAD lamp this winter, so a crappy summer holds no fears for me and my vitamin D levels. As for the garden – well… maybe a big SAD lamp? Isn’t that what the sun is supposed to be? Hm?

and more crocuses

I am, however, keeping my fingers firmly crossed because sun transforms gardens and makes them look wonderful. I’m also a fan of snow in the transformation stakes (I may regret saying this, if I am to believe the weather forecast) but drizzle does nothing for anyone or anything.

I think the sheer exuberance of crocuses is what I love the most. Snowdrops can be understated and subtle in their gorgeousness, but crocuses are brazen. They yell HELLO SPRING at anyone and everyone and, in a world of considerably accomplished floral show-offs, I have some truly blowsy trollops:

blowsy

These were rescued from a bin at B&Q a couple of years ago by P, who felt they deserved a second chance. I’ll say. So no apologies for another crocus shot.

And it’s not just the daisies and the crocuses which have welcomed the weather. The daffodils have come on a treat from just a few days ago and the first of the doubles has opened, which is always a sign that spring has really got going. I hope they’re right, but we will see.

first double

Even the anemones are burgeoning. I did have a couple opening earlier, but they were hiding behind the stems of the Rosa rugosa, quivering like timid little kittens. Now the clumps in the meadow are opening,

anny moans

something which has unfortunately revealed that the bonfire heap covers the site of one of the larger clumps. Damn.

Down in the bottom garden my pulmonaria – new last year, a gift, thank you – is flowering its pink and purple socks off. That’s a result, and now it can spread, please. I’ve always had mixed success with pulmonarias, apart from one thug which throttled everything near it until I ripped it out, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

pulmonaria

Of course the camellias are still doing their thing, but I’ve been entranced by unfolding spring elsewhere, distracting me on my way to worship at the shrine of the double camellia. The Rosa rugosa hedges are, I think, a positive thing. They give me some privacy and divide the garden into rooms. The hips are gorgeous and the scent of the flowers is strong. On the negative side, they sucker everywhere. They also, somewhat paradoxically, die back mysteriously exactly where you want them to survive. You need armour-plating to prune them, and when trying to anything near them afterwards as there are inevitably some spiky, spiny pruned stems lurking in the undergrowth.

But just as I’m contemplating late hacking back, they do this:

hello sun

and I haven’t the heart.

That sent me scurrying to my other roses, but only one has really got going. I’m a bit surprised as it’s the climber up the gable end, and needs some serious tying back. I’ve come to the conclusion that cutting down the big cedar has had the incidental effect of destroying the wind tunnel which used to rip up the side of the house. Now the whole garden is windy, but the directed intensity is diminished. I wonder how well this will flower when the time comes?

climber

Of course, there’s also much more light than previously. I tend to forget this – and I’m amazed at how quickly I’ve adapted to the disappearance of the tree, taking the changed conditions for granted. I still miss it, though – but I don’t miss the negative effects it had on the garden (and whicih it was about to have on the house).

Soon I’ll be missing the snowdrops too, as they are just beginning to fade, so there’s time for one last shot of my beauties:

farewell my lovelies

I am so very pleased with how well they have clumped up. It really is worth waiting, because eventually they reach a tipping point and the mice can’t keep up. Now I’m wondering about introducing aconites as well… maybe there’ll be some of those going cheap at B&Q…

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29 thoughts on “Just a spot of sunshine

  1. VP

    Oh do get some winter aconites, they’ll look gorgeous and they’ll spread themselves around every year to create even more cheer. Their leaves even look good afterwards when they’re dying back.

    I’m having similar thoughts about wood anemones for some of the garden’s shady areas. If you treat yourself, then I have the perfect excuse to do the same 🙂

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Thanks, I’d not thought about aconite leaves, but that’s very true. I’m definitely looking out for some now – I think I saw some going cheap (well, floppy) at a local garden centre, and I’m in the area tomorrow…

      Go on, you treat yourself too!

      Reply
  2. Pauline

    The two days of sunshine made such a difference to me too and the garden here, It was wonderful being able to feel the warmth of the sunshine at last. I have just finished a post on a similar them and will post it in a couple of days. Its amazing the difference removing a tree makes to the rest of the garden, hope your garden enjoys its extra sunshine now!

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Doesn’t it help, and wasn’t it lovely feeling the warmth on your face? But I’ve just been loading up on logs and kindling – I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet, unfortunately…

      (And you get the wood to burn when you cut down a tree. In about five years’ time in the case of my cedar, but hey…)

      Reply
  3. angiesgardendiaries

    We had a great week of sunshine last week – I’ve even got a bit of colour about my face! That cheered me up enormously.
    I hope you don’t have to make use of your SAD lamp – hopefully it will remain redundant, very much like the snow shovel I bought in anticipation of horrendous winters like 2010!!
    Good luck in hunting out Aconites – you can get some great bargains at B&Q, just a case of right place @ right time!

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      It’s been lovely – but I just drove back home and I swear there was sleet in the rain. Brrrrrrrrr. SAD lamp was about to go back in box, but may just leave it out for a bit. I wonder whether the baby broad beans would benefit from it too?

      Maybe the only reason we haven’t had a repeat of 2010’s snow is that you bought a snow shovel? Just thinking…

      Reply
  4. Cathy

    Ah – so much to see, so much to admire, so much to notice, so many new gardening ideas to think about … such a lovely time of year! ps I think there’s a lot of us that bought snow shovels….

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      So much to doooooo, toooooo…

      (They had a good offer on snow shovels in Tesco. Well, it would have been a good offer if we’d actually had more than about a centimetre. For next year?)

      Reply
  5. hillwards

    Ah, the sunshine! Wasn’t it wonderful. It was so still and warm here, I too took a drink outside on my lunch break for a bit the other day and positively basked in it for ten minutes. Crocuses. I am smitten with crocuses again at the minute. A cluster of 4 tommies now, almost a carpet … ;). Well, one day they will be!
    Where did the sunshine go?

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      I’m surprised at the speed with which some of my crocuses bulked up, so hopefully it will be catching and you’ll have your carpet next spring!

      Sunshine was definitely here. Tonight – I swear there was sleet in the rain. Stove lit, anyway. Brrrrr. Just had to pick a load of daffs as they’d got blown over, too.

      Reply
  6. Janet/PlantalisciousJ

    Glorious photos Kate, happy memories of the sunny days. Ah well, on the bright side at least the water butts are filling up again… I’ve never been quite sure about aconites, they seem very bright somehow, but I am starting Operation Anenome Nemerosa. My anenome blanda are currently no-shows. I’m still hoping for a gradual and inexorable glide into Spring without an early dip into summer, and a good summer in its right and proper place. I’m an optimist. Besides, apparently Anglesey gets higher than average sun for the UK. I still hanker after a rosa rugosa hedge in the front garden but it depends on, well, so many other things.

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      If you really, really want Rosa rugosa I can always let you have some suckers… And if your Anemone blanda are like mine, they’re hiding. They’ll come out at some point, when they feel like it…

      Sun… will it be back? Please????

      Reply
  7. wellywoman

    Loving the sunshine photos. It has been such a grim day today. I’m going to have to get the SAD lamp out again if this continues. Not sure I can take another year like last year. Trying to work out if we can emigrate. 😉

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      My SAD lamp is vital. I can’t believe I only got it recently; it’s made such a difference. Please, not a repeat of last year… I’d just like a little sun. Doesn’t have to be right now, I’d settle for June, July, August and September…

      Reply
  8. Simona

    …. Just been viewing your lovely photographs of your Spring? …. I guess we don’t have the “Sad” weather, though I wish we had the lovely colours in your garden – we do however have the lovely bush ….. the images are just lovely, sending you over some Sunshine from the “Sunshine State” – Queensland ….

    Reply
  9. Dobby

    Thermals, hot water bottle, snow shovel & logs still well and truly to hand this side of the bay. I sat in the garden on Tuesday afternoon with a book, but not since.
    Truly amazing how many plants have started to send up new growth whilst the sun was shining. Has given me my mojo back. I have pulmonaria if you want it. Either splitting a plant or seedlings.

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      I’m wondering if we may need those snow shovels too – weather forecast sounds demented. I must bring in some more logs before the world ends, and I do hope all my spring flowers will be fine. My poor fritillaries!

      Maybe the forecast will be wrong… maybe I can cover them up with hay-filled pots?

      Reply
      1. Dobby

        Sorry Kate, but just seen the forecast and it doesn’t look good. I had more logs delivered Thursday thankfully. Snuggle up in front of the fire. I have!

        Reply
        1. kate Post author

          It doesn’t, does it? I’ve been shifting logs into the house a couple at a time in defiance of my bad back, the osteopath, the doctor and knowledgeable friends. But I’m not freezing and I’m sure one log in each hand won’t do much damage…

          Stove lit, seed boxes out. Seed boxes overstuffed, need garden 10x as big. Also in tropics.

  10. mybeautfulthings

    What a delightful blog! You have a new follower!

    I found you by Googling ‘crocuses and jackdaws’ as we have a strange problem this year with our crocuses being yanked out of the ground, the corms being eaten and the whole patch is being decimated! Perhaps you have some ideas – we are thinking the naughty Jackdaws at the moment but others have suggested rodents. I don’t think rodents would leaves them all so neatly lined up!

    All the best to you and your lovely garden 🙂

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      Hello!

      I’m baffled by your jackdaws. I haven’t caught mine doing anything like that, though they have been digging holes in the lawn again (and my dragon is back, scroll through some of the recent posts). What on earth can they be doing? Mine – easy, chafer grubs; yours – ????? Could it be squirrels?

      All the best to you, too – oh, maybe you have baby dragons. Just a suggestion…

      Reply
      1. mybeautfulthings

        To be quite honest, if I did I would let them have as many crocuses as they could manage without upsetting their little tummies!
        It could be squirrels. I’m thinking of getting a motion sensor camera!
        Thank you for taking the time to reply 🙂

        Reply
        1. kate Post author

          A friend of mine did rig up a motion sensor, but the quality was rubbish – she could see something moving, but it could have been a) small deer, b) her partner scurrying about, c) squirrel / stoat / pine marten (unlikely) / polecat, and d) small dragon. Am still sticking with the latter…

        2. mybeautfulthings

          I’m going to lie in wait tomorrow morning! I’m determined to find out who the little blighters are!! And if they are dragons, I’ll take a photo for you! Keep your fingers crossed…. 🙂

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