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Spring bulbs at Avocet

This time of year is made extra special as the bulbs we planted in the autumn start to burst into flower. Daffodils give splashes of every shade of yellow often with orange trumpets. We have a few whites left from the hundreds we inherited. We are not keen on white daffs as they seem so wishy-washy so we dug out hundreds leaving just odd clumps. Crocus are far more delicate and come in a wider range of colours from white to yellow, orange and purple. Anemone blandas are joining these now and appear as delicate blue daisies among the fresh growth of perennial plants. We don’t have many hyacinths but the few we have are most welcome and remind us to order more next autumn. You may spot the interloper – the flowers of a bergenia – walking past I could not resist taking its picture!

The best way to savour the effects that our bulbs have on our March garden is to come with me with my camera and see what we spot. So follow the gallery by clicking on the first photo and then use the arrows to navigate. Enjoy!

 

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My Garden Journal 2019 – February

Here we are visiting my garden journal for the second time in 2019 with my February entries. My first double page spread was all about the week that spanned the last few days of January which delivered snowfall and the first few days of February which gave us a heavy frost.

The photos on the left hand page illustrated some of our winter flowering scented shrubs topped off with a layer of deep frost. I wrote, The last few days of January shared a week with the first few days of February. It was a cold week cheered greatly by the appearance of flowers on our winter shrubs, which also delighted with their rich scents.”

“The delights of scented winter shrubs. Food for winter flying moths.”

   

Opposite my photos showed the effects of snow on our sculpture, both man-made and created by Mother Nature, the seedleads of grasses and perennials.

“The snowfall that came and went all within a day.”

       

Over the page my next two pages concerned with a period of strong winds and the earliest of bulbs to flower in our patch.

I wrote, “February 9th delivered gale force winds overnight so firstjob on the 10th was inspecting for damage. Luckily very little was to be found just a few minor happenings.” 

  

“One broken stake of a support trio. Plant labels blown around the garden. 

“Part of an insect home blown down. Plant protection bags blown off delicate shrub Loropetala.”

 “Collapsed Calamagrostis”

On the opposite page I wrote, “February sees the first of our bulbs coming into flower.”

 

“A pale crocus and an deep purple Iris reticulata.”

  

“Snowdrops have bulked up nicely.”

 “Winter Aconite give winter gold”  

“Cyclamen at the base of our Field Maple.”

The next double page spread is all about Hellebores and we have so many.

I wrote, “Hellebore hybrids and self-seeders are blooming throughout our garden.”

    

“Euphorbia foetidus grows to small shrub proportions in the rich soil in our patch. Its acid-yellow bracts sit well against its deep green deeply cut foliage. It has a rather unfortunate common name of “Stinking Hellebore”, but is also called “Barfoot”.

“Even more of our Hellebore hybrids.”

     

Turning over the page one more time I looked at some indoor gardening related jobs and wrote, “Wet days in February afford us the opportunity to catch up on indoor tasks such as chitting potatoes, starting off Dahlias and Cannas as well as sowing seeds of perennials and a few annuals.”

      

I continued, “Meanwhile outside we continue to tidy up border by border. Sorting our gravel garden, the Chatto Border, is a major task so we do that work on days when Ian, our part-time gardener is around to help us. We also dug up and divided Day Lilies.”

   

About Crocus I wrote, “Whatever the weather, sunny or overcast, the gold of Crocus shines through, even the purple coloured varieties have spots of deep yellow, almost orange.”

Turn over and I share the surprise of a wildlife visitor, about which I wrote, “There is a surprising amount of wildlife activity in our February garden. Recent sunny, warmer than average days have encouraged our resident birds to start singing and calling. The Song Thrush calls loudly from first light along with Robins, Dunnock and Wren while overhead Buzzards and Red Kite mewl as they soar. As the light levels drop Tawny Owls called for long periods of time. Sunshine also brings out Bumble Bees and Honey Bees to feed off early flowers of bulbs and the first butterfly of the year makes its appearance. A stunningly beautiful Red Admiral rests on a wall taking in the extra warmth of the sun on the bricks.

 

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flowering bulbs garden design garden photography gardening spring bulbs spring gardening Winter Gardening

Our Crocuses

We look forward to late February and early March as that is when those little jewels, the crocuses burst into bloom, attracting the local honey bees and any winter flying bumbles and solitaries.

Our crocus lawn is in its second season and is looking great.

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In almost every other part of the garden they open their sunny flowers whenever the slightest sunny ray catches them. We thought we would take a wander around the garden with camera in hand and see how many different crocus we now have in the garden. Enjoy the journey with us.

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The Crocus Lawn

A speaker at one of Shropshire Hardy Plant Society meetings showed photographs of a feature in his own garden that was completely new to us. A crocus lawn. We were so impressed that we immediately ordered 500 bulbs.

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It was a slow job planting each one individually. We wanted it to look natural so we scattered the bulbs from a height and planted them where they landed, resisting the temptation to move individuals that were clumped too closely or to fill gaps.

In mid-March things were beginning to get tense as the crocus flowers were patiently waiting for some sunshine to force the buds open. They just stood bolt upright among the grass of the lawn their colours hinting at what we hoped to be enjoying soon.

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Close up we could see the beauty of the individual flowers. We just needed a day of sunshine and a bit of warmth for them to open their hearts to us. Fingers crossed firmly!

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We didn’t have to wait too long! A day dawned with blue sky above and the sun glowing. In the earlier hours of the day the morning sun glowed but gave heat out that was too weak to reach us as warmth. As the afternoon arrived  though, the temperatures rose to the giddy heights of 6 degrees Celsius  for a few hours but it was enough to warm our backs and excite the crocus buds into opening. At last we got the opportunity to see if our crocus lawn project was worthwhile.

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Ah sweet success! How satisfying!

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We have a bag of crocus “in the green” waiting to be added too. We can use them to fill in obvious gaps – next year should then be even better!

I can’t resist putting together portraits of a couple of the crocus in bud and in flower.

Firstly the purple bloom with its orange peel centre …..

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….. and then the striped purple and white barley twist blossom.

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I wonder – should we call it our “Crocus Lawn” or our “Crocus Meadow”? Any thoughts?

On the morning when I was going to post this crocus lawn post, we woke to another few inches of snow, all very unexpected and not forecast. The white covering gave the crocus lawn a whole new look. The crocus flowers were given a new backdrop against which to perform.

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Surprisingly once the snow melted and the sun put on a short show the flowers popped back up and glowed once more as if nothing happened. Amazing!

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Lottie Bulbs

A mid-February walk around our lottie site on a dull grey day was much improved by the colour of the earliest bulbs. Each autumn we invite donations of bulbs from members and now we are seeing and appreciating the results of our members’ efforts.

We grow lots of these early bulbs as they provide very early pollen for any bees that come out on mild days. We need to look after our bee friends as they help pollinate our fruit, peas and beans and many more crops.

The gold of crocuses (or should that be croci or perhaps simply just crocus?) brightens the orchard meadow.

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Snowdrops and Winter Aconites go together like chalk and cheese. Together they light up the Winter Garden.

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Even in the Summer Garden spring bulbs have a place. These beautiful blue iris cheer everyone up as they pass by.

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The tiniest and most delicate flowers of February are those of the cyclamen which mingle with the bark and fallen leaves in the Sensory Garden. The leaves have fallen from the nearby old Oak tree.

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Accidental juxtaposition of plants often give the best combinations. These crocus surprised us when they chose to flower above the bronze leaves of a Saxifraga.

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We now eagerly await the masses of Daffodils planted around the site and on the grass verges outside our gates. They will be closely followed by the Tulips in their myriad colours.