In a Vase on Monday: A Spring Rainbow

I hope you have had the same beautiful weather we have had the past few days; it has been lovely seeing the trees slowly turning green and watching the fruit tree blossom opening. The first house martins returned last week and I am hoping the others will follow soon – I just love listening to them chattering in their nests under the eaves of the house and trying in vain to count them all as they fly and swoop across the yard. We had four nests last year and each pair must have had at least two broods. I wonder if they will all come back our way…

After a week in the UK and a bit of time off I am happy to be joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden again today for her Monday meme… with these beautiful tulips and some other spring flowers.

It was almost impossible to find somewhere for photos today as the wind has been extreme and relentless. Yet the tulips are still standing, some a little battered but I do admire their resilience!

The purple one on the left is Purple Dream – an old favourite which I intend to combine with lime green Euphorbia and red Heuchera next year after having seen a similar combination at Coton Manor Gardens in the UK last week. The orange one in the middle is Ballerina, which is a very popular one here, and the yellow one is one I have grown in my previous garden and love, both for its brilliant colour and its delicate shape – West Point. The pinched in ‘waist’ is more pronounced than Ballerina.

The smaller vase contains a small Purple Dream tulip, tulip Lilac Wonder, one pink and one red Bellis, some Muscari, Veronica Big Blue, white and blue anemones and somewhere hiding is a wild  chamomile flower already in bloom.

I am writing myself notes already for autumn bulbs for next year! My favourite tulip so far has been ‘Akebono’, which I unfortunately failed to photograph – a pale creamy yellow with frilly petals which develop a slight peachy pink hue at the base. What is your favourite tulip? And if you are a fan of tulips you must take a look at Ali’s latest post at The Mindful Gardener. Her photos are just gorgeous.

Thanks for visiting!


New Beginnings

Planting a garden from scratch is a very pleasurable thing to do, but it does require patience. 😉 Until the beginning of March there was nothing to see out there apart from my Hellebores, and the two flower beds – just large patches of brown soil – did not look promising!

Last autumn I posted here about my new Herb Bed and Butterfly Bed. I planted both mainly with small plants, delivered from my favourite nursery in 9cm pots. Bulbs were then also planted and since February a few additions have been made. So now I invite you to come along with me and see how the garden is looking a few months later.

Here is the Butterfly Bed in spring…

Yes, it still looks rather bare! But I am very optimistic as I believe almost every single plant has come through. (One aster is still not showing any signs of life, and I am not sure the Verbena bonariensis will have survived.) The Hellebores are still going strong – here is the star of the show, Ice ‘N’ Roses “Rose”…

It has just flowered non-stop since October, and the flowers seem a much deeper pink than when I first planted it.

And here is another I planted earlier this year: ‘Double Ellen Pink’…

I love those frilly petals!

And ‘Double Prince White’…

This one can hardly be called white, rather a lovely cream with beautiful green centres as the flowers fade.

The bulbs were very slow to come up and flower, but that may be due to the fact that there is so far no shelter in this very exposed site. That should change next year, as ground cover and grasses fill out. The last week or so has been warm and sunny though, and the grass is growing and the first tulips have opened.

Tulip turkestanica…

… and my old favourites ‘Heart’s Delight’. The stems grow a little each day, and the colour deepens within days from almost white to a deep coral pink with a gorgeous canary yellow centre.

The Anemone blanda opened at the weekend too. You can also just see a Geranium phaeum seedling on the right here – brought over from the old garden. I am hoping it will spread itself around here too.

I also brought back some Primula seedlings and this Pulmonaria, which was right next to one labelled ‘Wuppertal’, so I am callling it that since I know no better!

I haven’t managed to get any photos yet, but the butterfly bed has had some butterflies visit already – Peacocks, Tortoiseshells and Brimstones. Plenty of bees too. 🙂

Now let’s take a very brief look at the Herb Bed as it is still looking rather empty…

Although predominantly herbs, there are a few other plants as fillers, and naturally plenty of spring bulbs. I am pleased to see that all the Stipa tenuissima seem to be alive as I was warned young plants may not be entirely hardy. And the Rosemary didn’t bat an eyelid at being buried under a mountain of snow that fell on it from the roof! Talking of snow, a splash of blue Glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa) is nice against the brown soil. 🙂 (That is lemon Thyme in the background).

One lesson learned this winter was that wooden lollipop sticks for labels using normal pens is not a good idea. After rain, snow and wind they are practically indecipherable! I am writing down every single plant added to the garden, but I wonder how long I will keep that up. I do have a few black plastic labels and find that silver or white markers work very well and last for several years. But perhaps you have another labelling system that is more environmentally friendly?

Do share!

Thanks for joining me.

Happy gardening!


In a vase on Monday: Honesty

Ha! Did I fool you? Yes, let me be honest and remind you that it IS the first of April and I am pulling your leg! 😜

But I do have two real vases to share today, as I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her addictive Monday meme.

Last week I did some tidying up in my old and sorely neglected garden and apart from an abundance of welcome seedlings (neglect/i.e. not weeding can be good!) I also discovered some Honesty still looking good after the winter. I placed it in a new bargain vase that unfortunately seems to have a non-waterproof base. Adding dried grasses saved from last year – which I won’t even attempt to identify – created a simple and pleasing arrangement.

The weekend was full of sunshine and my butterfly bed is definitely springing into action. Perhaps there will be enough flowers to cut next week, but in the meantime I can enjoy this lovely bunch of daffs and hellebores that dear friends brought over yesterday from their somewhat more sheltered and established garden.

Have a good week, and I do hope you are also enjoying signs of Spring in your gardens!