27th February 2022
Galanthus Warley Place Group .
While I was writing last weeks notes, storm Franklin was huffing and puffing around the garden knocking down dead wood and teaching the trees a thing or two about disco-dancing.
On Tuesday I wandered around to see what had been done. Curiously despite a scattering of fallen twigs and branches the garden felt more spring-like that the week before.
The sun has been shining and it is starting to feel warm.
Storm Franklin's greatest effect seems to have been on the snowdrops. They were under constant stress from a week of strong winds which have stripped most of the fading flowers
and desiccated the rest. Like a small child on a slide they have ended up in a tangled heap on the ground and called it a day.
The last splash of snowdrops to survive are under the trees at the top of the garden. They originated with some bulbs from Ellen Willmott's garden at Warley Place that I was asked to identify.
They were a mixture of intergrades between G. plicatus ssp. plicatus and G. plicatus ssp. byzantinus with widely varying inner markings.
For a while I maintained them as distinct clones but they have continued to seed about under the trees willy-nilly and I am happy to let them get on with it.
I think Ellen Willmott might have looked on them with stern disapproval as they danced heedlessly over her crisp beds and borders.
27th February 2022
Corydalis solida 'Beth Evans' .
After a long season the snowdrops are fading. There are a couple of very late cultivars still to flower in the garden and I have a single spike coming up on a G. fosteri hybrid
in the greenhouse. I think it is feeling the warmth of spring, I'm not sure it's going to make it. I'm not sorry to see them pass.
Although I await the snowdrop season anxiously, it is because it is the first enthusiastic sign of spring to burst through the dreary decay of autumn. The end of the snowdrop season
marks the advance of spring. The sunshine is brighter, the garden is warmer and the colours are glowing after the tracing-paper blur of the last months.
Under the trees I have been looking for the first signs of Corydalis solida. I planted a small drift of tubers up there two years ago to add some scarlet to the
spring flowers. They weren't put in as a matter of taste, a chromatic compliment to the yellows and blues of spring. They went in because it is such an unlikely and astonishing colour
to find among the leaf litter. It is thrilling.
The first two have flowered this week, tiny flecks of colour that will expand in the next few days. These are not them, these are a couple of flowers on C. s. 'Beth Evans'
growing in a tub closer to the house. They are a paler pink than the ones under the trees but it's not so far to walk and not so far to bend down!
27th February 2022
Erythronium albidum .
I continue to enhance the space under the trees with tiny wonders that will thrill me as sprung gets underway. At the same time as I planted the Corydalis I put in
fifty tubers of Erythronium dens-canis as a trial. It has done well for me in some parts of the garden and not so well in others. I wanted to know it it would succeed under the trees.
The tubers looked a bit tired and damaged when they arrived so instead of scattering them about I planted them all in a dense patch. Some survived, others were never seen again.
Last Sunday the first bud was on the point of opening. Storm Franklin raged through Monday and on Tuesday I was able to rush up there with a camera to catch the first flower.
No luck. The petals had been ripped off the day before and scattered into the valley. I'll plant some more tubers this summer, eventually it will be astonishing.
As a result this Erythronium albidum has been the first I have seen in flower, growing demurely among the snowdrop leaves. I'm hoping for a few more flowers, my plant is slowly forming a clump.
Last year I had three flowers, an increase would be very welcome. I'm hoping to plant a spare bulb under the trees where conditions should suit it well, but first it has to produce one.
27th February 2022
Narcissus pseudonarcissus obvallaris .
Just as the snowdrops came to an end in the storms, Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' has finished flowering. I snapped the last
flowers off yesterday and used them to pollinate some dwarf daffodils in the beds near the house. I am hoping to raise a generation of early, tiny daffodils to enliven the snowy snowdrop scene
in future years. The fading of 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' marks the start of the daffodil season. 'January' is in full flower, 'February Gold' has just managed to open the first flowers
before the month changes and there are buds all over the garden to celebrate March.
At the bottom of the meadow I have a small group of Tenby daffodils. Initially I scattered them through the meadow to take over as the 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' faded. It was a mistake,
the fading flowers made the whole thing look tatty. A few years ago I lifted the N. p. obvallaris and moved them into a group. Now they give a decent display which is improved by removing the last
shredded flowers from the Rijnveld's.
The sun has come out. The bananas I moved a fortnight ago have started to produce green shoots. They won't have much in the way of roots yet, it is just exotic bravado, but it is cheering to see.
If the frost allows they will get an early start this year. I have cleaned my spade. Spring is calling.