Since the start of Spring most days have reached at least 12°C / 54°F.
Now while to many folks that doesn’t sound very warm, the garden certainly thinks otherwise. Add to that lots of intermittent rain showers and an absence of heavy frosts, and plants are really starting to wake up.
Here are some snippets from around the garden this week.
Papaver nudicaule lights up the entrance to the Secret Garden area (elsewhere in the garden, Poppies haven’t even begun to bud yet).
Hopefully I get some yellows and pinks to round out the mix…I seem to mostly end up with oranges and whites 🙂 Regardless, in my climate, these will go on spot-flowering for another year.
I think I may have finally caught the culprit in the act.
Luckily no two cockatoos look alike, so catching this killer should be easy (yeah right!)
I can’t exactly blame the Cockatoo…some of those daffodils have a striking resemblance to a fried egg 🙂
The yellow Narcissus have basically been left alone:
It’s also amazing how far ahead the sheltered ‘Secret Garden’ area is compared to the rest of the garden… and so many other bulbs are joining in the spring chorus, all weeks early thanks to the sheltered micro-climate:
Erysimum are starting to bloom:
Other temporary little sub-shrubs are also putting on a lovely show. While some were killed by winter weather, in the sheltered areas, Osteospermums put on seemingly impossible mass displays:
Assuming they have sufficient rainfall, these will go on blooming well into summer.
Other Asteraceæ flowers must surely be running out of puff after blooming almost constantly since autumn:
Limonium perezii is producing lovely new flowers: make sure you dead-head these as they are short-lived if allowed to go to seed. The Limonium will soon be surrounded by Freesia blooms.
In the Photinia hedgerow that runs along the Western boundary, a solitary Prunus cerasifera lights up the gloom with pretty pinkish-white flowers:
At this time of year in terms of shrubs with impact, the award would still go to the early-flowering Rhododendrons.
The first up is Rhododendron chrysodoron x burmanicum:
Often considered a little tender, this one did fine in its sheltered spot during the winter…however, late frosts can ruin the buds.
Rhododendron spinuliferum ‘Crossbill’, continues to shine and is slightly more hardy:
The first buds have opened on the largest of the Kurumes; more will continue until October, when it becomes a blinding mass of colour:
Rhododendron ‘Robyn’ is now close to its peak flowering. It will eventually reach about 1.2m / 4′ tall & wide and will really look pretty in this spot close to the porch.
The resident Magpie wants some food and will keep following me around until I relent. Magpies start nesting in June and they seldom abandon a nest…these two were caught out by a very cold July and August.
If June hadn’t been so mild, they probably would have created a nest lower down the mountain to guarantee food.
Here they were being fed during (what I hope will be) the last snow-fall a couple of weeks ago. If you’ve ever wondered what a cold, wet, pregnant magpie looks like, well wonder no more:
But back to the Early Rhododendrons.
A ruddy, intense magenta is the colour of choice for most of them. The smallest of the existing ones is in the hedgerow:
But this is nothing to the ones below.
Planted well before my time it is stuffed in a 1m / 3′ wide space between the fence and my garage. No wonder it is leggy, but still pretty when in bloom. If it had the space, it would have grown to the proportions of my next door neighbours one:
I know some people aren’t fans of Rhododendrons, but regardless, they light up the garden at a time of year normally reserved for looking down to get any colour. And they do it unabashedly.
Happy Gardening 🙂