Monday, 21 January 2008

Winter aconites - the first flowers of the year

My last post was a picture of Chesters Walled Garden under snow. Well, the snow went almost as quickly as it had arrived, followed by a week of weather so dull, wet and miserable that I didn't bother to take any photographs - and now we have a snowfall again! I went out with an umbrella to get a picture of these winter aconites, Eranthis hyemalis, cradled in soft snow, the umbrella necessary to keep the camera dry as it was still bleaching down. A meeting I had was cancelled because the rep couldn't get across country and there is news that the A68 is blocked, again.

Winter aconites are the first perennials to flower in the garden, with the snowdrops and snowflakes not far behind. Although these are already out 'down south', we are always a bit behind. I love the aconites bright green ruff and the particular quality of their yellow flowers. There are some yellows that I really don't like, the colour of Forsythia for one (this is just personal) but aconite yellow has quite a hint of green in it.

A catalogue came in the post today from Cotswold Garden Flowers, Bob Brown's nursery. I have always liked the fact that Bob has strongly held opinions (again entirely personal) and the catalogue gives each plant a score out of ten. He gives a high score to most of the Sanguisorbas, such as S. menziesii (gorgeous), with S. 'Tanna' scoring rather less. Out of my National Collection plants, I agree that it is less exuberant. But I notice he gives an 8 to a Forsythia! Maybe I'll have to check that one out....

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