One week into March and the weather turned nasty with the arrival of Storm Freya last weekend. My garden is exposed to the south-westerlies that hit our shores first and we are only feet from the highest point around West Cornwall. So all those beautiful crocuses and irises from recent weeks have gone. However, there are other blooms around to take their place, and during the week we did have some lovely days although rather blustery and showery. Cornish gardens to visit and blackthorn flowering in the hedges. Spring is definitely here. 😁
- Camellia Japonica ‘Onieta Holland’. This was given to me by my late mother-in-law who won it in a raffle several years ago. I think this is the correct name, but confess to comparing it with one I saw in the Trengwainton gardens the other day which looked identical. My camellia lives outdoors most of the year and I have learned that feeding and watering during the summer months does improve the amount of flower buds produced. As it lives in a container and gets blown over during the winter storms I brought it inside the cold conservatory during early February (Storm Erik) where it is now flowering beautifully.
- More Narcissus/daffodils. The pretty display of delicate white flowers with soft creamy-yellow cups is Tete a Tete (Toto) in a shallow bowl on my courtyard steps. I bought a collection of these small bulbs last autumn, but I only seem to have two varieties and not three. Never mind, they are lovely and just the right size. I also discovered more Narcissus ‘Rip van Winkle’ flowering in a larger bowl in the raised bed area. This bowl is planted with crocus thomassianus and Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ but neither of them did very much this spring. The other new one is Narcissus ‘Falconet’ a multi-stemmed golden, scented type with an orange crown, A bit too tall for me as the stems get blown around, but the bonus is five flowers per stem. I have these planted with red tulips, but I think they may have finished before the tulips arrive!
- Another oldie – Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ appeared in my first January post. Now those tight dark red buds carried all through the winter are unfurling revealing pretty white starry flowers. Again, this lives on the courtyard steps.
- Another bulb that I thought I had lost is this pretty Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Blue’ (Glory of the Snow). This is planted along the woodland walled border. It produces bright blue star shape flowers, with white centres. Closely related to Scilla. Not an easy one to photograph in the wind as it is very small and holds it head down! I am hoping it will naturalise along here.
- Aubrieta. The genus is named after Claude Aubriet, a French flower-painter. A pretty and common flower I bought this from the garden centre last autumn, for the sunny wall border. I have tried it before but it got eaten. Last autumn though I spread an inch or so of the small horticultural grit all over the surface of this wall and, touch wood, it appears to have helped. The aubrieta (four plants) have all survived the winter and grown a little. Now they are beginning to flower. Aubrieta always looks lovely cascading down a wall. It needs full sun and dry conditions so hopefully it will do well here. I shall need to shear it after flowering to stop it becoming straggly and keep it in a nice cushion form.
- Finally. Pussy Willow. My Kilmarnock weeping willow tree with its drooping branches produces these fuzzy nubs every spring. The outer covering protects the flower, which is fairly underwhelming. Only the males produce these catkins, the female willow tress produce a sort of green caterpillar. I’ll try and get a photo of those as I think my Goat Willow trees are females. The catkins are not to attract pollinators, they simply rely on the wind to disperse the pollen.
So that’s all from me this week. I had to include last week’s flower of the week for me as the header to show you what the red one looks like when open. And I have just received my first parcel of new plants for this year today. Some summer bulbs which will mostly go in pots next month. I am itching to get planting. Oh, and I did fall for a Eurphorbia amygdaloides purpurea at the garden I visited on Thursday. I try not to get tempted by these plant stalls, but fail miserably. Still I did manage not to bring home a Kangaroo’s Paw!
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