Thursday, 3 April 2008

Early spring flowers in the walled garden

We have had a lovely couple of days and the wildlife in the garden has responded with exhilaration. Sitting on the bench having our lunch we have watched thrushes, blue tits, great tits, blackbird and chaffinches merrily bathing, splashing and throwing jewelled water drops in the air. We could sense their relief that the days were warm in the way they revelled in the bathing. Ignoring all this completely, a knot of mating toads were croaking away, four males struggling around one poor female. Newts were ambling round about too and all this as we ate our sandwiches!

The tulips are opening - this one is a favourite, 'Scarlet Baby'. There are drifts of scillas and chinodoxas, the delicate yellow cups of Anenome ranunculoides, lovely lungworts, hellebores and the white woodland flowers of Pachyphragma macrophyllum.

At the base of the old magnolia is a pretty spread of my favourite lungwort, Pulmonaria 'Excalibur' which has silver leaves. It lightens the ground under the tree in summer and sets off the plant form sculpture which is by Dennis Kilgallon whose workshop is near us at Kirkharle.

The garden is looking very tidy now and we have had time to go carefully through the Thyme Bank, diligently picking out all the beech leaves, sycamore seeds and winter debris. At the same time, I've been clipping over some of the old flower heads that I missed last year - just last year's flowering tops, no more, as thyme hates being cut into the old wood. Some plants look a bit sad after all the cold, wet weather so I will have to wait and see how they fare, replanting where necessary. I've found a brilliant new tool to clip over the thymes, some one handed shears, rather like sheep shears, but amazingly sharp (and self-sharpening apparently). They are imported from Greece and are particularly useful because you can cut through very soft plant tops where secateurs often snag - the sort of job I might have to go and get a pair of scissors for. I even used them to slice through some frosted succulent leaves of agave! They can be found at and with their bright red handles, I won't be searching a border to see where I left them!


pip said...

Last time I looked at this blog it was winter! Spring has sprung as they say. Keep blogging the seasons!

Sandy said...

Dare we hope that Spring is on its way. It is still very cold in my part of Cumbria but the spring flowers are well on their way now. Hopefully, by the end of April we might be able to enjoy some warmer sun rays. The end of the month and the start of May are always magical for me and I can't wait.