Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Close up of Crocus 'Ard Schenk', flowering
There could still be frosty days and snow; but it is now spring, day length is the big marker. Less and less of the soil is visible as growth emerges and covers. I heard a Blackbird singing in Didcot on Thursday evening and then on Sunday, by the Thames at Buscot, which was bright and sunny, I heard the clarion fanfare of the Chaffinch proclaiming spring, followed shortly afterwards by the rasping agreement of a Greenfinch. All classic signals and the garden is  about to erupt, Daffodils, Crocus, Leucojum, Hellebores and Hepaticas are all blooming. Some varieties of Snowdrop are still going strong and hitting their peak such as 'Augustus' (my personal favourite) just as you enter the Wilderness on the way to the Spa and 'Straffan' spreading out from a Holly in the Broad Border next to the Frog Fountain (still wrapped up for frost protection).

Close up of Narcissus 'Cragford', lovely scent too. These are in the lead Verandah pots.
I would, if I'm honest, be happy for the mild weather to cool off a bit now, we are heading into dangerous territory now as I've noticed several Magnolia x soulangiana looking quite close to flowering, if those buds open and we have a frost then.......curtains! We need colder conditions  to remind the garden to wind it's neck in, some of our Roses have had unseasonably precocious foliage seared. Hellebores and Snowdrops can take it; but most of the others just get carried away. Ideally I'd like bright, cold days, light frosts and no rain (well a little at night, sometimes, for healthy spring growth) for a perfect run up into and through spring; everyone will be happy then.
A cracking speckled yellow Hellebore, that I can't remember seeing before in the garden, I suspect it may have been a gift from Ed' Alderman.

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