Spring sprang (and now it’s gone away again)


It was spring, I know it was. We had the Gardening Club’s Spring Show, so it had to have been spring. But now it’s not. It’s even more &4%%2™T?È$ freezing than it was last week, and I was moaning about it then. But I have these to finish planting:


I know they look like baby triffids – I’m convinced this is how triffids start out – but they’re actually Shetland Black seed spuds, planted in honour of my forthcoming pilgrimage wool- buying opportunity, ahem, trip to points north (I’ve also planted some Juliette in case these don’t appreciate being grown in what is, for them, the tropics).

And we had the show. I didn’t do as well as previous years with my daffodils, though my miniatures did come third in their class:

baby daffs

This was taken so early on that there was only one other entry. In the end the class for ‘species, dwarf and miniature’ varieties was so big that we had to move it onto another table, so coming third was definitely a result. First came some beautiful species daffs – I must, must, must grow some next year. And maybe the class needs to be broken up…

I was ridiculously pleased with these, by the way. Last Easter an elderly friend of mine bought me a little pot of daffs, very overcrowded but gorgeous. We planted them out close to the house, and I thought they might not survive competition with the meadow, the chionodoxas, the primroses, the fritillaries and the Hell Hound of Harlech. But they have flourished, looking gorgeous amongst the sea of blue chionodoxas and contrasting well with the primroses. Plus the HHoH is now tethered to the big cedar at the back of the garden on an extremely short lead following the not entirely surprising demise of my multi-headed daffs after repeated excavation.

I also did well in the ‘flowers not already mentioned’ class, which features everything from huge bergenia (yuk) to tiny scillas. My chionodoxas came first (YIPEE!), and my leucojeums were second – quite amazing that I actually had three almost identical stems, as they have been really bashed in the wind. But nothing for my camellia:


which was thoroughly overshadowed by more spectacular delights, or my primroses:


of which I had to try and select an almost-matching trio. Next to impossible with my lot (but that’s why I love them so much). And I have learned that primroses keep really well – they’re only just going over, a week and two days after they were picked.

My hellebores were outclassed, too, but I was seriously unsurprised: there were some stunners. I rated mine, but – well… I clearly need more of those too.


My main problem, as always with the Show, is getting things to be perfect. I try and garden as organically as possible, which means that things – inevitably – get eaten. What is it that eats hellebores? And can I train Next Door’s Cat to go after whatever it is? Is it, indeed, Next Door’s Cat? I may have to install webcams.

There are some more shots of the show – such a friendly event – on the garden club’s website, here. Yup, there is a certain unity of style – I am now on the committee (didn’t move fast enough) and have been elected Webmeister. Meistress?


20 Comments Add yours

  1. Cathy says:

    Well I think your entries look lovely – that hellebore is gorgeous (or was that the winning one and not yours?!) and so are your primroses, something I must more of. Are you off to the Shetlands, or not quite that far north?

    1. kate says:

      That was, indeed, my hellebore – but you should have seen the rest. And you have to have three prefect ones… I have a feeling one of mine had a bit of a chewette out of it.

      Yes indeed – Shetland! Been there before, plus not too far from beloved Sutherland – oh, OK, it’s much further north. Same lat as Greenland. But warmer. A bit warmer. Sweaters will be taken (of course).

      1. Cathy says:

        Oh do enjoy Shetland – hadn’t clocked that it was the same latitude as Greenland. Not been there but went to Orkney 2 years ago and off to Outer Hebrides in a few weeks with waterproofs as well as jumpers!! What is your affinity with Sutherland?

        1. kate says:

          I’ve not been to Orkney since I was small, which is ironic and a bit silly since I specialised in Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeology (though I was always a Mesolithic babe, really, and Orkney was still under ice for much of the early Mesolithic). I MUST GO… caps to remind myself! Yes to waterproofs and jumpers – I’ve warned my two Shetland companions, who are both 60 degrees north virgins, that yes, we may be going in June, but they will need sweaters… I partly grew up in Sutherland, and it remains very true to my heart. Sigh.

          Having said that, when I was finally able to work away from London (thanks, t’internet) I did consider going back to Sutherland and ruled it out as being just too far away from my working world. Now things have moved on again and I haven’t needed to be in London for years, so I might make a different assessment. But I still think I’d fetch up in Snowdonia!

        2. Cathy says:

          Thanks for your detailed explanation, Kate – so is it a working visit?

        3. kate says:

          Now there’s a question… no, I suppose it’s not, sigh. It’s a knitting pilgrimage, except I don’t think most pilgrimages had quite as many exciting yarn-purchasing opportunities!

  2. Helen Johnstone says:

    Arh slippery slope joining the committee. I am struggling to find small enough vases for the minature daffs at the moment

    1. kate says:

      Sometimes you just have to bow to the inevitable (and Karen @ Artists’s Garden).

      Actually I’m quite happy to do it – if there’s anything I can do to help push gardening in this village, this is probably it. And hopefully increased web presence will attract some younger people too – it worked for my Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers… we’ll see…

  3. hoehoegrow says:

    Oh well done you winning all those glittering prizes. How will you spend all your winnings ?
    All entries look fab to me !

    1. kate says:

      Ah, no prizes at the spring show, we do it for the glory 🙂

      (Well, prizes for the children and their moss gardens.)

  4. VP says:

    Ha – I thought I detected your hand in the club’s Fb page 🙂

  5. Angie says:

    Well done on those places you did achieve, I had no idea that Primrose lasted in water. Good to know as I like to cut blooms for an elderly neighbour and never thought to do so at this time of the year. Thanks for that.

    1. kate says:

      Thanks you – and I can’t claim credit for the primrose observation, that’s down to Wellywoman who passed that on to me. But they really, really last – now 10 days, and I’ve just had to sling a few. What a lovely idea for your neighbour!

  6. Longevity of primroses in vase duly noted, and sounds as if you did rather well in your show, if you ask me! Everybody needs more hellebores, I wish I’d realised I had a stash of gardening money when we were at Fron Goch last time, they had some stunners… As for the springiness of spring, it has improved, slightly, so I have hopes! The weeds are certainly growing well, and my potatoes would have been in by now if it wasn’t for the fact that they sent my compost in an 18 tonner when I had told them they needed to send a 7.5 tonner… Major grrrr.

    1. kate says:

      I’ve got weeds burgeoning too – just been trying to dig up some ^**Î&££3cX! alkanet that I swear appeared overnight. Quite how it found the time to develop roots that reach Australia, I don’t know. GRRRRRRR too.

  7. Spade & Dagger says:

    I’ve just planted Shetland Black and Juliette potatoes too! They are both new to me, a lucky find at a rare nursery selling a huge variety of loose seed potatoes and in the end I chose seven different varieties, with five that I’ve not had before. So I’ll be interested to compare these with yours.

    1. kate says:

      Oh that will be interesting! I keep forgetting that I’ve planted my spuds and manage to walk right over them today, plus a visiting terrier had a little unobserved dig. Can we factor dog disturbance into the comparison?

      I do like trying other varieties. Mind you, the black-skinned ones I’ve had in the past have left a legacy. Impossible to get them all when you’re digging… still coming up a volunteers three years down the line.

      1. Spade & Dagger says:

        Yes – I’m still finding the offspring of a dark purple fleshed one grown several seasons ago. Wouldn’t mind, but it was more exciting to look at than to actually eat.

        1. kate says:

          Oh dear, I do hope my Shetland Blacks aren’t like that…

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