6th March 2022
Camellia 'Blissful Dawn' .
A chill wind and a chill in the evenings have served as reminders that the cold weather is passing but not yet done with.
I repaired some minor damage to the greenhouse left by the recent storms just in case it gets seriously cold again. It doesn't seem likely
but it is best to be prepared. The weather during the week has seemed tame and the garden has taken the opportunity to move forward.
I could only find three snowdrops still in flower but the first tulip buds are showing colour.
Camellia 'Blissful Dawn' has been loaded with delightful fat buds for weeks. I have been watching it in the anticipation of delight.
For a few years it sat in a pot in the greenhouse, an enthusiastic purchase without a clear plan for planting. Under cover it was the most wonderful
pale pink with darker outer petals and flowered for many weeks. Two years ago I planted it out and was immediately encouraged when the yellowish foliage
returned to a healthy green colour. No flowers last year but this autumn it filled with buds and has once again delighted me.
The flowers have lost some of the trembling delicacy they had under cover, the pink is more determined, the bliss more robust, but it
remains a wonder of the spring garden.
6th March 2022
Asarum splendens .
One of the reasons for repairing the greenhouse was that the hole in the roof had appeared immediately over my remaining asarums.
They haven't had an easy time of it, losing their cushy home when I knocked down the conservatory. They were never as happy in the greenhouse
and those that remain have struggled to flower. Asarum splendens has been one of the few to continue to prosper.
I modified my culture last year so that they would be moister through the summer and it seems to appreciate the change. It has produced a handful of flowers
with a similar number of buds still to open. I should have re-potted them at the same time as I was repotting the aspidistras
but somehow it didn't happen. A few shots of plant food had to suffice. They are on the list for repotting as soon as an opportunity arises.
I'm glad I was able to find space for them in the greenhouse. Taking pictures involves a certain amount of contortionism and rolling about on the floor.
It is much easier under cover.
6th March 2022
Fuchsia 'Diana Wright' .
In spring last year I made a new path through the garden. It follows the line of a path I had thirty years ago but abandoned.
At the time I had some beds of raspberries growing on either side of it and the raspberries decided to invade. Eventually I threw up
my hands in horror and walked away. The raspberries are long dead, shaded out by the ash trees that were little more than saplings
back them. The new path cut a line under the trees, connecting to a short stub that remained. There I found Fuchsia 'Diana Wright',
not forgotten but certainly overlooked.
It is one of John Wright's early hybrids and at first sight it looks very like F. magellanica 'Molinae'. Then you look at the calendar
and realise that in the first week of March F. m. 'Molinae' is still a pile of bare twigs and a distant promise.
F. 'Diana Wright' bursts into flower as soon as the first growth appears in the spring. It isn't quite the earliest Fuchsia
in flower, 'Lechlade Magician' hasn't really stopped through the winter, but the new flowers add unseasonal delight to the new path.
6th March 2022
Chasmanthe aethiopica .
I have an enthusiasm for "not-winter" that results in my leg pulled by kindly friends throughout the dreary season. I live in a state of
denial from the moment the first Cyclamen flower in August until the last autumn snowdrops fade. By then there will be
spring snowdrops showing, the first daffodils will be in bloom and spring will be self-evident as it sparkles and occasionally freezes and blows.
Early spring is the time for wandering around the garden and luxuriating in every trace of the burgeoning new year.
Eventually chill winds have driven me into the greenhouse to discover the first hints of summer. Some cuttings of Dahlia merckii
that I took last year have produced new shoots and Chasmanthe aethiopica is in flower. I have a single potful growing under cover.
I meant to split it last year but didn't get around to it. I mean to split it this year, it should probably be done now. Not because it is the best time
just to be sure that I do it. Then I will have a spare to try outside. I'm not sure where I have a suitable sheltered bed but I will find a space. The first task
is to divide the plant.
Next week the garden will feel warmer and brighter, even if the reality doesn't match perception. The days are getting longer and in a few weeks the clocks will change.
The clock in my car will finally tell the right time again (I can't change it), and the problems of the dreary season will be replaced by the problems of summer.
I'm already looking forward to it.