It’s snowing again and more is forecast this afternoon.
Thankfully it’s not heavy like two weeks ago and is only settling in tiny, icy drifts as it is just too windy for anything substantial to stay on the ground.
The bitter wind-chill is -18°C / -1°F, and, coupled with the actual air temperature still below freezing at midday, it is particularly unpleasant outside.
But try telling that to some parts of the garden!
In the little sheltered microclimates I have created with fences, under tall evergreens and by enclosing spaces around outbuildings – and mulching all garden beds – has meant that spring has started in a few select spots in the garden.
Even on a frigid day like today, stepping into these parts of the garden is noticeably warmer; the howling gale is reduced to a noisy breeze and the wind-blown snow hasn’t settled…here I can actually take my gloves off to press the I-pad camera button.
While the rest of the garden is still grey, brown and still stuck in winter, these little micro-climates really lift the spirits and extend the spring blooming season ahead for months!
So here it is….pictures from the most sheltered parts of the garden, that make a liar of my assertions that it is still cold :-).
First up, little dwarf Narcissi ‘Little Gem’ :
The brilliant yellows certainly brighten any dreary day.
Muscari armeniacum in this area have also punched through the chill with their precious little jewel-like grapes:
Primulas are starting to put on a great display; first is the annual candelabra variety:
The more traditional, Primula vulgaris also joins in. This cultivar is ‘High Tea Drumcliff’ it has fabulous deep green leaves:
Ipheon uniflorum – which started flowering over a month ago, is really doing well in this part of the garden. Other clumps elsewhere have not even begun to stir, so it will be great to get months of these delicate blue beauties:
A little Nemesia aromatica plug that I planted in autumn has started to perform; it normally smells lovely, but the air is too cold to enjoy the perfume today:
The same goes for the Daphne odora in this sheltered, warm part of the garden. Even though its first flowers have opened, the chill makes it impossible to smell anything:
Helleborus are heralding the end of winter. These were all put in as tiny plugs last year, so it is really heartening to see them start to flower so soon:
But some warm microclimates weren’t created by me. I’ve just taken advantage of them. The front of the house faces due North and gets all-day sun.
Unlike the siding of the rest of the house, the basement wall is brick, and I’ve painted it a dark colour to ensure as much heat as possible is retained.
It works a treat, and I get roses blooming in mid-winter on bare branches:
It’s quite an odd thing to see, but I’m rather warming to it 🙂