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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Our Crocuses have all been blown away too but the Tete a tete are fine and the Chionodoxa that you identified for me last week are now beautifully open. I’ll publish my SOS later. 🙂
I was late today – been busy visiting the Cornish gardens when we get a reasonable day.
I love Camelias! Another beautiful selection, Jude.
Best wishes, Pete. x
You’ll like my next garden walk then Pete – loads of Camellias. I quite fancy one of the pink ones, they seem so clear and bright.
I’m not sure they would grow in the soil around here.
Possibly not, but you can grow them in a pot. Mine is although I suspect my soil is on the acidic side.
Looking good. My two camellias are on the verge of flowering. I keep thinking they’ll feature in next week six but they are stubbornly holding on.
White and red. White suffered badly with cold last year and had lots of brown edges. It’ll be the first time flowering for the red.
Sigh… it is such a shame that they and the magnolias suffer so from the rain and cold. The brown markings do spoil the flowers.
Yes I have a rhododendrum that has lovely white flowers but for the majority of the year has scorched brown leaves. As I have to see if for the whole year looking terrible this is probably going to go as well. My mum wants it if I can get out of the pot intact.
Good luck with that! I usually end up having to break my pots 😦
Thanks for the reminder, I need to check on my aubrieta. Every spring I think it’s died over the winter, but so far it comes back. If it’s alive, I am going to transplant it to a better spot.
Oh, pussy willows! I grew up with them, not the weeping ones though. I would take a “bouquet” of them to my teachers each spring, when still in the grey fuzzy stage. Leave them out of water they stay that way. Put them in a vase of water and they’ll bloom and shed all that pollen!
Perhaps I’ll go and cut a few for a vase.
A nice cheering SoS. Great photos. There’s no sign of the Chionodoxa in our garden yet. One of my favourites though the slugs seem fond of it too.
I am lucky that the slugs leave mine alone. It is a miracle!
Ooh ooh! More fuzzy nubs! I love them!
So much beautiful colour! Why did you resist the temptation to buy a Kangaroo Paw? They are so pretty.
I know. And it was a good price. But I’d have to keep it in the conservatory for now. I might succumb when I see the next one 🙂
Glory of the Snow must look very pretty. Storms do take a toll on gardens
Glory of the Snow would be better if there was more of it and it held its head up! Maybe wrong location. It might like more sun.
Oh no….more digging required Jude
I’m not a fan of digging…
Me neither unless it soft ground lol
I brought a few of my very early Camellias into the conservatory but when they’d finished I should have brought one or two of my potted main season ones in to replace them. Job for tomorrow. Onetia Holland is one of the best semi-double whites, in a very crowded field.
There are so many beautiful Camellias. I particularly like the pale pink ones. Cornish gardens are so lovely at this time of year, though I fear this windy weather is not going to be kind to them.
What a lovely thing to win in a raffle 🙂 🙂 And a permanent reminder, hey, Jude? 🙂 🙂
She gave it to me because she killed all plants, though I did plant a rose outside her door which was still going strong when we cleared out the bungalow. Needed a good prune though!
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