Just an early April day

Arum creticum
Arum creticum

Of the four or 5 clumps I have of this warm blooded arum, this is the only one with ‘flowers’ this year, the bud opened this morning. Faintly and sweetly scented.

Elsewhere birds are singing and squabbling – two wrens were having a tiff earlier. Nest building is in full swing.

Daffodil clumps are beginning to build up and provide a better spring show.  I bought some on sale last year from Sarah Raven so they went in late, I have quite a few of the sweetly scented small flowered daffs to yet open, Trevithian, Peublo, Geranium and Martinette (some of which from the previous year I had left in pots and was one of the first daffodils in flower this year).

Narcissus Thalia often twin headed
Narcissus Thalia often twin headed

I love Elka which is a small pale daff. Thalia has just started to come out but is taking a while to establish. Sailboat and Jack Snipe are also in full flower (Topolino is just going over). The old double daffodil Pencrebar is just about to open. The buds of the long established clumps of N poeticus in the copse at the bottom of the garden are tall but still tightly budded. Continue reading “Just an early April day”

Neither one thing or the other

Iris danfordiae planted late so flowering later

A low pink smudge across the sky to the east is dissipating, although brightening, the sun remains hidden in grey murk (the weather station is optimistically showing sunshine). The wind is from the NE and it’s 2.4C, officially we’re in the last few days of winter. The beginning of March next week heralds spring.

The wash of snowdrops in the copse at the bottom of the garden is starting to look bedraggled on closer inspection. In the woodbed Galanthus Brenda Troyle has long outlasted Magnet. Crocuses have given their best, petals growing translucent with repeated battering by winds, rain, frost, and the effort of opening and closing to embrace spells of sunshine. Blue Pearl and the golden chestnut-backed petals of Herald have been particularly showy in pots left over from last year.

Continue reading “Neither one thing or the other”


Is it really spring now? If you had asked 2 weeks ago today as the snow came down and temperatures plummeted, I would have said emphatically – No!

We are now in greenhouse temperature swing territory, it was 30C last Sunday in the early afternoon from 8C. One of those days when the gardening starts maybe a little listlessly in one place, and 4 hours later you are somewhere totally different. The start point was potting-on the carnivorous plants. Not sure if I am doing the right thing, but last year’s seedlings have been overwhelmed by moss over the winter, so have been pricked out into fresh compost (bought from Little Shop of Horrors). The D capensis was just tidied, moss taken off, dead stuff cut away and topped up with fresh compost. D capensis from S Africa has been in the greenhouse over the winter in the bubble wrapped area kept just above freezing.

Today on the edge of the Brecon Beacons daffodils nod in drifts, dots, patches and splashes,  the calling of mums and lambs reverberates around the valley. Smyrnium is up adding a glossy lushness to roadsides. The pale green yellow of primroses clash with the gold yellow of the daffs. Magnolias are tantalisingly on the absolute cusp of bud burst, blowsy camellias on their way out already. Wheeee! Spring is picking up its skirts and embarking on the headlong rush towards May.

Melaleuca thymifolia

Yesterday visited The National Botanic Garden of Wales hoping for a fast track into that full-on spring feeling. The great glasshouse didn’t disappoint. The scent greeted us as we came through the sliding doors out of the cold breeze. There wasn’t one obvious scent source,  just a wonderful mix. We started in California where ceanothus were starting into flower. We worked our way through Australia, Chile, Canary Islands, South Africa and finally the Med.

In South Africa fabulous proteas were opening their huge bosses.  In Australia Melaleuca thymifolia with flowers a little like a supercharged lilac monarda hung above our heads. Kangaroo paws in thrusting clumps. A leucadendron with the softest golden foliage was totally huggable.

In the Canaries a sprawling yellow pea flowered tree scented the air.  Geranium palmatum exploded with mounds of flowers. Up in Chile a fabulous Senecio candidans with large heavily silvered leaves caught the eye amongst the sneaky hooked Puyas.

HardenbergiaPurple flowers of Hardenbergia another Aussie, festooned the span of a bridge in profusion which increased the further you got from the open glasshouse vents.

Whilst the rest of the garden is still largely underground the walled garden rang with Blackbird calls, another sign of spring.