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.