The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

Golden Daffodils

"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze."

- William Wordsworth, Daffodils

It's no secret that the most favoured of my spring flowers is the daffodil.  I'll take any form of daffodil be it yellow, orange, white, pink or a blend of the above!  Presently though I only have wee clumps of dwarf varieties.  These ones are all in containers, and were protected from Mrs Nutkin our resident squirrel using chicken wire.

Those in the open ground however haven't been as lucky.  Thus far I have one or two dotted around, and one small clump, all in the front garden... The verges outside our garden seems colourful though with crocuses and daffs, all of which have been 'replanted' by Mrs Nutkin.

The weather has been kind to us during the day this last week or so (I can't say the same for the nights).  This has encouraged buds to swell and leaves to emerge.

These are the leaves of our summer-fruiting rasperry.  I'm thinking of re-homing this one as it has spent the last couple of years in a very large pot on the patio.

This little beauty is a form of Helleborus.  I have some beautiful green/white varieties that I was given, but this one I bought last summer as it had gone past it's best and so it was going cheap.  It was a shot in the dark, but one that has paid off, don't you think?

It's been a while since these ladies featured in the blog.  Hedwig (white) Fawkes (black & gold) and little old lady Lola.  We thought Lola might be headed for the great nest-box in the sky but  after a day or two in a box in an out-house kept quiet, she bounced back.  She still sneezes a little, but she's as bright as a button again bossing the larger hens about.  We've given up expecting her to lay - it's been  around 6 months or more.  Hedwig  regularly lays the most fantastic double-yokers.  Last week Bumblebee was so convinced that an especially large egg contained 3 yokes that he put his name on it to ensure no-one else would eat it.  His choice of usage was scrambled.  Only 2 yokes.  Only?  That's still pretty cool - you don't get that from your average box on the shelf at the supermarket!

So with it still being relatively quiet in the garden, The Man That Can and I took Bumblebee out to one of the city's "green spaces". 

Funny how we're always drawn to water.  Of course it's only the very early moments in spring in the park too, so it's not very "green" at present.  But when the sun shines, it's important to make the most of it.

When do you class the first day of spring?  For some it is March 1st (climatologically speaking).  For others it is when the clocks go forward.  Astronomically it is March 20th this year.  Since that is tomorrow and today has been such a lovely mild day, I'll go for that one!

Bring it on!

March. The month of expectation!

"Winds of March, we welcome you,

There is work for you to do.

Work and play and blow all day,

Blow the Winter wind away."

It's one of those days where the wind could bite you in two, but when the sun comes out it warms your face like on a summer's day.

One word of warning though.  As the warmth of the sunshine tempts us out into the garden, so it tempts the pests out too!  As the leaves begin to unfurl, it is too much for the slugs and snails to resist.  It's time to be prepared.

Another thing to consider.  The lovely clear blue sky with it's lovely warm sunshine is a warning to we gardeners.  It means a very cold night, often below freezing at this time of the year, so don't be tempted to spend money at the garden centre too soon!

In the early part of March I tend to prune my roses.  Always prune to an outward facing bud to create an open shape, and cut out any crossing or dead/dying stems.  I'll give some of my clematis a quick tidy up too (depending on which group of course).  And if you're careful, rake up any old leaf matter atc from around the plants as they emerge. 

This is one of the succulents I bought last year from the Botanical Gardens plant sales beginning to emerge from it's long winter nap.

An untidy buddliea behind the garage.  It'll have an annual prune in the coming weeks before the proper growth begins.  It'll do no harm because they flower on the current year's growth.  By pruning  to about 12" from the ground it will sprout fresh growth thickly, and thus produce more flowers.

More spring bulbs emerging - hyacinth in this case

This is unusual.  It's a herbacious geranuim.  As it's down in the 'acid' bed behind the greenhouse, I can only suggest it's coming into leaf so early because of how sheltered it is down there.  A great sign as long as it stays frost-free!

Keep an eye out for those slugs!

February's Gold

"February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March."

- Dr. J. R. Stockton

February always catches me out.  The photos were taken in February, but the days and hours of of the month slipped through my fingers like sand in an hour glass.

You may recall the large bulb displays I created for last Spring's display and that my intentions were to plant the bulbs out in the Autumn.  Unfortunately the time to carry out this task elluded me.  Happily left to their own devices, they have decided to begin the display once more.  Nature wins again.

A mild February and a thorough tidy up of the violas have paid dividends.  The plants are smothered in fat flowerbuds ready to explode with colour in a week or two.

And who can resist another look at these cheery blooms?

This young pulmonaria was planted out last year.  It seems to have found just the right spot in the damp shady front border.

This shot was taken as the light faded.  The tiny flowers of narcissus (dwarf daffodils) and galathus (snowdrops) seem to really stand out against the cool dark soil.

Not everything in the February garden is white or yellow!

And finally a shot of pink in the trumpets of the amarylis.  As I blog, this trio have faded, but another flowerbolt is poised to step into the breach.  But that'll be March of course.

Just remember - if we had no Winter would we find Spring as lovely?