Spring Stirrings

On this, the last weekend of Winter, a week of showers, sun and mild weather has the garden already looking to the season ahead, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

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To me, Crocus epitomises the first of the spring flowers

All over the garden, plants are warming up for the Spring foot-race that becomes an all out marathon in the weeks ahead.

I’ve already shown the Muscari armeniacum which have been blooming in the most sheltered area of the garden, but I love them, and they deserve another look.

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Muscari armeniacum

It shows the power of the micro-climate: elsewhere in the garden, the Muscari have only just started to emerge, such as this little pink variety….

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Hard to believe this is in the same garden it is so far behind!


Narcissi are the stalwart of the early spring garden. The dwarf varieties have been flowering for weeks, and while they are fading, still look good enough to bring a smile:

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The taller Narcissus varieties have also started to open

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I’ll have to be quick however, there is a Cockatoo that is visiting the garden who likes to munch on all of the flower spikes. I am finding half-chewed stems everywhere (!)

Unfortunately for the daffodils, the Cockatoo also takes all of the leaves off, which means the bulbs will likely perish, and unfortunately for me, the Cockatoo only seems to like the more unusual varieties, leaving the bog-standard yellow ones untouched 😦


The very first Anemone coronaria has opened.

I adore these flowers.

This was part of a mixed “De-Caan” hybrid pack, so there should also be some red and white ones to follow, but so far I can see only blue buds….

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Ipheon uniflorum have been in flower since mid-winter but continue to look lovely:

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Helleborus continue to impress with their deep, rich colours:

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In the most sheltered areas of the garden, Primulas are in almost full-swing:

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Bellis perennis have kept a vigil all winter-long, and are still lovely:

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Papaver nudicale, normally a short-lived annual for most gardeners, spot flower for most of the year, but the first spring flushes are still a joy to behold.

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Shrubs are also getting in on the act, with the earliest-blooming azaleas starting to make an appearance.

These lovely blooms belong to Rhododendron spinuliferum ‘Crossbill’:

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The ever brash crimson of the early flowering Azalea indica ‘Red-wing’:

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Another early flowering Rhododendron (unknown cultivar) in brilliant magenta:

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And what of the early flowering variety that got caught in a snow-fall two weeks ago as I planted it? Many expressed concerns that it would be okay. Well, here it is; the carmine buds of Rhododendron ‘Robyn’ have turned to a soft lilac-pink:

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The Camellia japonica ‘Hino-Maru’ in the hedge-row along the property line is also delightful:

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And, lastly for this weeks’ wrap-up is the delightful scent of my little Daphne odora in bloom.

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Amazing to think that such a small plant can fill the air with a delightful fragrance!

Happy Gardening 🙂

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50 thoughts on “Spring Stirrings

  1. I think Spring has sprung in Oz, when is the Equinox?
    Your garden looks wonderful, all your hard work is flowering.
    There is nothing like a Grape Hyacinth, I had forgotten those – lovely, thanks.
    Time for a beer in the garden.

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    • Thanks. Now all I need is for the evenings to warm up (when I say ‘mild’ I mean nights of about 35F) and then it will be time for beers on the porch 🙂
      The Equinox is the 23rd September, but here in Australia, we use the start of the month as the delineation of seasons, which meant Winter starts Dec 1. This works quite well as it mostly aligns with the plants behaviour in the temperate parts.

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      • Interesting, the same here. There is a lot of American blah, blah about the official start of Fall but the days are shortening here and I am sure yours are getting longer. South Florida is short on Fall Color – so I have to look for a long time to find it!

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  2. These are among the sweetest of flowers to me. At the same time, I’m amazed to see some of these blooming side-by-side in early spring, e.g. narcissus and azalea, which must have seen a two-month spread or more between them in my Missouri garden. I find myself wondering what will fill your garden in late spring; I’ll look forward to finding out 🙂 As to the “mixed” Anemones, I think I never got anything but blues out of “mixed” batches of A. blanda, or Hyacinthoides hispanica either. I’ve wondered whether other people had the same experience!

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    • Thanks Amy! It is always interesting to try and time the early azaleas in a mild garden; also without the prolonged freezes of Missouri, we can grow some of the different Rhodos that come from the elevated areas of Yunnan which have a different colour palette and tend to flower much earlier. The true indicas are still weeks away with their blooms, so I can get a bit of succession between winter and summer with different azaleas

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  3. Wonderful , Spring is such an exciting time in the garden. I love all your spring blooms. Just as Spring arrives in your part of the world, Summer seems to have come to an abrupt end in ours.

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  4. Gorgeousness :). I am sure that there are lovely things outside but it has been too cold to venture out and the wood fire is still blazing magnificently down here in frigid Tassie. I lust after primulas. I was given a huge quantity of gorgeous Primula auriculata that I had been lusting after for years. I carefully planted them all out and came out one day to see that my free range girls (chooks) had dug the whole lot up and scattered them to kingdom come :(. Sadness, thy name is narf77 :(. I thought that they had done the same with my Map apples but they rose from the depths again. Fingers crossed they managed to survive to this year but all of the happy springy stirrings in my garden seem to have receded and gone back to bed for a sleep in for the duration. Seems spring isn’t really hear yet, it was just kidding.

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    • It’s funny – I caught it in the act eating some of the flower buds, and it just looked so happy with itself and the tasty treats it had found….I couldn’t go mad at it!

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  5. And so it has begun – or rather exploded! Wow – what a difference from the last post I saw from you. Last night I was going to see a friend off who was moving out of town. I wanted to give her just a little something (something she didn’t have to pack, mind you), and wandered through the garden in the hopes to find something nice. The only thing worth cutting off was a rose. In terms of flowers, it’s looking pretty sparse over here right now…

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    • Thanks! There are still parts of the garden reeling from winters damage, but in the sheltered areas it is all on. There has been almost nothing but snow and ice for months, so I am happy to have some milder weather

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    • Thanks Cynthia! The poppies are fantastic, and there are loads through the garden to start flowering all spring and summer long. It has to be one of the nicest time of the year, when you can go out every day and something new is in bud or flower 🙂

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  6. I am just catching up with your garden after several weeks of no internet. Just as we are leaving Summer here so you start Spring, the Cockatoo sounds a pest, what can you do about it? Your Daphne looks wonderful, I love the scent but have never been able to grow one successfully here, I think we are too exposed.

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    • Thanks Julie! The Daphne is in a sheltered spot, so it has managed to thrive with almost no care. Ones that are too exposed look quite ratty here (if they survive at all).
      There’s not much I can do about the cockatoo, other than shrug my shoulders. There is a group of them attracted to the cones of my large Macrocarpa cypress: most are content eating the cones, but this one just wants flowers, too!

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  7. Oh how I love the sights and smells of late winter and spring with their promise of so much growth to come! In my garden, plants are starting to relax and look a bit tired after a hot dry summer so your spring pictures are a delight! Perhaps I should live there during our winter and enjoy endless summer.

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  8. Love your spring flowers! 🙂 And can we assume that for you there will be no more surprise snowfalls?

    Anemone coronaria has always been one of my favorites, especially the blue.

    Could you put a cage affair of sorts over your daffodils to protect the flower spikes against the predatory cockatoos?

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    • Thanks! Most years we usually have another heavy snowfall in October (which can be pretty destructive as the trees are all in leaf) but here in the mountains we can get snow and frost anytime, even the end of summer!
      I’m not sure what to do about the cockatoo. It’s just one that likes to eat flowers, the rest of them aren’t interested. It is rather funny to watch it though as it looks like the cat who got the cream when it sits on my fence with a daffodil spike between its claw and beak!

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    • Thanks Jason – the poppies are in the most sheltered micro-climate, so they are about 4 weeks ahead of everything else in the garden (including the other poppies), but for me, these bloom all through spring/summer/autumn as we never really get warmer than 75F during the summer

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  9. wow if you have this much flowering in late winter your summer garden must be covered in blooms, I’m amazed that even with the snow and winds so many evergreens do well, it just goes to prove my theory that the salt winds and lack of nutrients are the problem here, I first encountered the perfume of a Daphne when I visited Nymans garden in February, I could smell a beautiful perfume and was looking for flowers, they were still quite away, it was amazing how far the perfume traveled, I would love one but with my previous experience of evergreens feel I can’t risk it, plus the winds would kill all the buds, enjoy all your spring blooms, it can only get better from now on, Frances

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    • Thanks Frances! the blooms are mostly from the very sheltered parts of the garden where windbreaks have been planted and towering Eucalypts filter most of the frosts. The rest of the garden still looks like it should at this time of year 🙂
      Salt is the worst enemy to growing gardens; impoverished soils can be corrected, but unless the salt can be taken from the air it causes havoc.

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  10. Your spring garden is like a growing bouquet!!! It just emerges a perfect cluster of flowers:-)
    Your garden has that spring excitement that after a long winter just clears the winter-doldrums-lol
    All your flowers look lovely-any bee visitors?

    “the Cockatoo also takes all of the leaves off,…” can’t believe this is happening in a garden-but I have to remember where you live each time! Not a pet, a bird that lives in the garden:-)

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  11. It doesn’t seem possible that you have so much flowering now when it was only a breath away that everything was deep in hibernation. It is wonderful to share the passage of the year with you. There isn’t really any sign that autumn is with us yet, the odd showers of rain have stopped and we are back to intense heat. Your Anemones seen very early – I love that blue one.

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    • Thanks Christina. Much of the garden is just starting to stir (or is still looking terrible)but most of these pictures are from areas underneath tall Eucalyptus trees and near the Leylandii hedges I planted. The micro-climate really does force all of the flowers about 2-4 weeks early (mind you, it really only works in winter-early spring when the lower angle of the sun can be trapped)

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  12. Hi Matt! Some of your flowers reminded me of our previous garden in Missouri where I used to grow crocuses and other bulbs. Here, in my Northwestern garden, soil is sandy and rocky (very rocky!), and it’s not easy to plant bulbs. Some bulbs are liked by squirrels and deer. That is why I have just narcissus and anemone. I miss crocuses a lot!
    Love the color of your Rhododendron Crossbill – it reminds me of my Rhododendron Honey Butter. Pretty!

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    • Thanks Tatyana! Your Honeybutter Rhododendron sounds stunning, I will have to keep an eye out for it 🙂
      The soil here is very rocky as well, but I have spent the better part of a year digging out the stones so I can actually grow some plants!

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