February 15, 2011

Bloom Day

I am joining in Garden bloggers' Bloom Day, kindly hosted by MaydreamsGardens which is on the 15th of each month, partly to keep a record of what is growing when in my garden and partly to be inspired by what is going on in other people's.

We seemed to have most of the really freezing weather before January, so 2011 has seemed milder than usual here for late Winter. This has mean't that growth has been more abundant, and every day I wander around the garden, so excited see sudden new growth everywhere I look. This moment of the year, in late Winter or early Spring, when the garden is awakening and new green shoots are emerging through the soil, is a properly magical moment. Suddenly one can smell the earth, the herbaceous green-ness, hear the birds sing, and witness the year on a turning point, tilting back to wakefulness and growth.

In my garden, it is the small woodland that raises the heart rate the most, hellebores and snowdrops embellishing the ground under the still bare branches of the trees,

I have four other main borders in my garden, a big cutting patch, two deep mixed perennial borders and a curving border for sun loving plants. Since I grow partly to sell seasonal  bouquets, flowers that are wonderful for cutting are interspersed throughout the garden, not particularly systemized for harvesting it must be said, but it is my (and my family's) much-loved garden as well as my tiny boutique flower farm, and it works well for me at the moment. The photos that I took of the planting areas today look so very grey and miserable, but in February this is what it looks like more often than not - honest photos if not very stylish ones!

cutting patch

border by river
other border by river
curved border

So, in the cutting patch, which is looking rather bare and bleak, there are signs of growth, I have nearly two hundred bulbs in this area, and they are beginning to make an appearance. They are mainly alliums, white narcissi and parrot tulips.

It is always a relief when they appear, as planting bulbs on a cold Autumn day, small knarled nubs of life-to-be into the muddy ground, does seem a huge leap of faith. This patch is one of three borders that run along a small river at the bottom of our garden, so there is lots of wildlife, and I do worry that mice, water rats (eeek), and other critters will dig them up in desperation over the winter or more likely, nibble the new growth. So far, so good. I also have perennials and annuals in in this patch - the annuals have largely yet to be planted, but some like Calendula and Ammi, direct sown in September, have made it through the ravages of Winter. Perennials like these, Aquilegia White Star,  Veronica Tissington White and Dicentra alba are busily reaching for the light again,

These babies are soon going to receive a lovely layer of compost from our own bins, they have now been turned, (thank you Ben, that was a bridge too far for my shoulders!), and I'm guessing there is more than two tons of compost in there made from a couple of years of vegetal kitchen waste, grass clippings and garden material. Black gold for the garden, free and lovely! (Although you can see we are lazy about chopping up our cuttings and the like, it is rather full of stray twiggy bits!)

These hopeful beginnings are repeated in the other areas, and at this quiet moment, before the lunge into a more hectic pace when gardening and harvesting begins in earnest, it is ALL about anticipation and hope. And, honestly I'm savouring every second of it!


  1. You are so far ahead of us in the UK so it was fun to see your hellebores and snowdrops. I am in snow-covered Pennsylvania in the US, but the temperature suddenly shot up and I managed to find some flowers outside. Happy GBBD, Carolyn

  2. Still nothing in bloom outside, and only one straw crab cactus - aka Christmas cactus - inside. I am so jealous!! Think I will try the monthly postings, tho. I like the idea of using them to keep track. Enjoy!

  3. Lovely blossoms. Thanks for showing them to us.

  4. Your hellebores and snowdrops are so very pretty!

  5. Hostess, thank you for keeping up unflagging snowdrop appreciation, I must stop posing pictures of them!

    Carolyn, great fun to join in your Bloom Day, thanks for hosting it.

    Webb, yay, we'll both enjoy it, I'm sure

    Birdwoman and Jennifer - welcome to my blog, thank you so much for dropping by and leaving such lovely comments.

  6. Love the snowdrops and hellebores, especially the pink one.