Spring hits the meadow – at last!

It’s finally happened. I know it’s going to get colder at the weekend – yipee – but the meadow couldn’t wait any longer. There have been daffodils blooming away for a few weeks now (I’ve already picked or deadheaded 510), but the rest? Nah. Too cold. But then things warmed up a little…

It began with the palest yellow primroses taking off about ten days ago,

primrose patch

starting to form a carpet and filling in the unmown areas. I snatched this photo from the box room to show clearly what happens when you mow paths, and when you just leave a ‘meadow’ like mine to do its thing and allow the primroses to set seed. And it’s a lot less effort, too. Not – perish the thought – that this entered my mind for a single second when I came up with the meadow idea. Certainly not.

The next thing I noticed was that one of the new damsons had covered itself in blossom overnight,


and that is a real treat. The other is catching up now and, as if in competition, the Victoria plum suddenly has ten flowers on it. I have explained that unless it produces more fruit than last year (four plums, two of which fell off) it will be firewood. The threat does not appear to be working.

But the rest of the meadow is certainly performing:

meadow pear

and, much to my optimistic delight, the Comice pear in the foreground is covered in tight buds. Yes, please, please let’s have some pears this year. I know I rescued you from a bin in Lidl, I know you’ve been ill done by, but no longer. Go for it. (No firewood threats here. Yet.)

The primulas really have suddenly gone bonkers, and there are a lot more to come. You have to be really careful where you tread,

prim frit

and not just because of the primulas, as you can see. I reckon I’ve lost about a fifth to a quarter of my fritillaries this year; they were just beginning to lift their heads and form substantial buds when the Arctic blast hit. Some were shrivelled, some were merely damaged, but more than I expected have survived.


and I keep coming across them. Many are stunted and have taken to hiding, and I cannot blame them in the slightest, poor little things!

The yellow daffs are now going almost over though there are still plenty to lift the heart (and if I miss bright yellow, I’ve always got dandelions),

daff prim

but the whites and pure narcissi are coming into their own, and this year they are stunning (they’ll be getting a post to themselves soon). The creamy-white pet–– no, let’s wait; there are plenty of other meadow delights to distract me, and I am ceaselessly amused by the clear path tracks –

mown path

like the one curving above – which criss-cross the meadow. They’ll probably get their first cut next week, I think; the rest, of course, waits till September / October and the Great Strim of Fate. We hang on to give everything a chance to set seed as lavishly as possible, and I am presently scouring the developing meadow for hints of the Salvia pratense having spread. Not a hint. Yet. Hopefully.

And another plus is that, finally, eureka, the birches are just beginning to put on some leaves. Phew. I know the bark is lovely but I’ve been admiring it for ages. Now I want fresh green leaves.

meadow and birches

The same cannot be said for most of the other trees, but doubtless they’ll catch up.

Maybe after this coming weekend…


26 Comments Add yours

  1. Christina says:

    Your meadow is lovely and I certainly don’t think you did it because you were lazy! Christina

    1. kate says:

      It does help to disguise the untidy daffodil leaves as they die back – now that was a motivation!

  2. Janneke says:

    I love to see your meadow with primulas, frittilarias and daffodils, even the dandelions belong there.

    1. kate says:

      Thanks, glad you like it – and I do have one friend who likes to try and remove the dandelions, so I will tell her not to bother (it’s pointless anyway)…

  3. What a delight! Tip toeing through the primula, fritillaria and daffs must be difficult 🙂
    I love what you have created here. I’ve never considered primula in the lawn before but seeing what you have going on, I might well just do that! I’ve an area of lawn leading up to the shed that doesn’t grow too well and this would save me the effort of attempting to mow!

    1. kate says:

      It is hard avoiding everything, but the old paths really help (an unanticipated benefit of them)… Go for it, primulas are fab!

  4. Dobby says:

    Lovely to see the meadow finally coming to life. My fritillaries seem to have done well this year. There are more than last year anyway. Think my garden must be a bit more protected from the wind than yours.

    I enjoy taking the heads off the dandelions! Am going to be venturing into my neighbours garden when the rain stops!

    1. kate says:

      I’m sure you’re more sheltered – it was that freezing easterly gale that did for a lot of my frits. So sad to see them gradually shrivel and disappear (sniff).

      You can come and remove the dandelion heads any time!

  5. Cathy says:

    Someone who counts the daffodils as she deadheads them? Now, REALLY…. But she does have lovely meadowful of primulas! ps I spotted a dandelion today too!

    1. kate says:

      Christopher Lloyd’s mother used to pay him for deadheading daffs, so he kept a tally all his life – and if he could, I can. Only slightly obsessive. Slightly…

  6. So glorious, well worth waiting for. Did you plant some of those primroses in to the grass when you started, or has it all self seeded? I am planning more of a wildflower lawn than a full on meadow, and laziness definitely plays a part in this, we’ll keep the grass longer but not completely uncut so it will be mostly spring interest. I have some primroses coming up at the weekend and was wondering about putting some in the grass along with the daisies. And would I be completely mad to add some celandine, I appear to have some growing in the soon-to-be-dismantled rockery…

    1. kate says:

      Nothing to do with me – all self-seeded. But obviously – as you can tell from the paths – you do need to let them set seed and that takes longer than you might think. They’re on the other lawns too, so I can say with some certainty that about four weeks should do it, or that it’s enough in my garden rather (that’s when we cut the other primrose parts).

      Time to move them so they set their seeds where you want, rather than where they want – you could split them too!

  7. hillwards says:

    Beautiful meadow, just as a meadow should be! I do like the meandering paths through the primroses and fritillaries. Isn’t it lovely to finally see the fresh new green appearing on the trees?!

    1. kate says:

      I know – if my neck wasn’t too bad I’d be dancing around the trees signing. Er, if my neck wasn’t too bad AND if there was no one about to witness it…

  8. wellywoman says:

    Your meadow is stunning. I can’t get enough of primulas at the moment,. Such amazing plants. My primroses are just starting to go over now but have been flowering since January so I can’t complain. Your firewood threat made me smile. We got 6 apples off our tree last year. It had on it at one point 40 little apples but most of them dropped and then 2 of the 6 were nibbled by wasps. I am hoping for better things this year. 😉

    1. kate says:

      There seem to be a few more blossoms on the Victoria today, so maybe threats do work (how depressing). Go for it….

  9. your meadow looks beautiful Kate, you are lucky being able to just leave the grass, I have a tough grass and moss that need to be carefully watched or they smother everything, my primroses selfseed but in the areas cleared of grass, your damson blossom is beautiful too, Frances

    1. kate says:

      Ah, you can’t see my moss. I don’t do lawns – but when P complains I just point out that a) moss is greenish, and b) you’d be fighting against the inevitable by trying to restrict moss in this garden. No point.

      1. I don’t do lawns either but your moss doesn’t seem to stop your primulas and other plants from self seeding which is nice, my moss is thick deep sphagnum moss which just suffocates everything except the tough horrid grasses which grow through it, not the sort of moss my Dad used to get in his lawn, I’d not seen this moss until I moved here, when I clear it it is amazing how many wild flowers and nice grasses grow (none planted by me) that just couldn’t before, Frances

        1. kate says:

          We must have comparatively feeble moss, luckily. Sounds as though your is well worth clearing, though…

  10. Anna says:

    A glorious riot of colour Kate – your meadow is spring in a nutshell. Will keep fingers crossed for your Comice. I’ve got one of its relatives from Aldi 🙂

    1. kate says:

      I’ll keep fingers crossed for your Aldi Babe, too (I also weaken in Wilkinson’s, but they really know how to kill a plant)…

  11. Pauline says:

    Such a pretty meadow with all your flowers, the paths make it look as though it really should be there and not just left to its own devices. I think the lack of fruit last year was the lack of bees, it was so cold, they weren’t around at pollinating time. This year I will try to do my own with a paintbrush!!

    1. kate says:

      It is pretty, and it just does its own thing – I can’t really claim any credit!

      I’m sure you’re right about last year – that very early burst of summer in March confused everyone (me included). Fingers crossed for this year.

  12. I love it. I am not sure my few cowslips and lots of daffodils count. I wonder if I should set about moving some primroses from the various odd places they hide?

    1. kate says:

      Go on, shift them now before they set seed so they can do it in situ – perfect timing…

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