I’m trying to catch up after all my time off. Serves me right, of course, for going away at such a busy time of year. The grass is growing like billyo and needs weekly cutting now. In the greenhouse, seeds are germinating within a couple of days of being sown and much is ready for potting on. Loads of the daffs need dead heading. That brief moment of pristine springtime is over and the garden has dozens of dead daffodil flowers. How sad is that? All that expectation and waiting for the first one and then, before you know it, that most quintessentially spring flower is on the wane.
The bank of the west pond. Varieties unknown.
Still – mustn’t be too despondent. There are still hundreds in flower.
When I started gardening at the Priory, I was told, categorically, that there were no bulbs in the garden. I found it very difficult to believe that a 500-year-old English country garden had no spring bulbs. But, so I was told. Accordingly, I ordered and planted daffodils, tulips, anemones, fritillaries, dog’s-tooth violet and lots, lots more. One day during my first daff planting frenzy, I put 750 into turf using a hand bulb planter. The following day I could barely stand, let alone straighten my back and my right hand was frozen into a rough approximation of a buzzard’s talon.
Taught me to look after myself a little. I was almost incapable of work because I’d decided that I must get all those bulbs into the ground in one day. I did manage to learn, that were I to abuse my body like that, I wouldn’t be able to work. No work, no pay. Simples.
The statement about there not being any daffs at the Priory was, of course, nonsense and during my first spring, they sprang up all over the place.
And here are some that I have planted:
Thalia – pure and unblemished. Like me.
Over in the flower meadow, I’ve planted 800 of an absolute favourite, the snakeshead fritillary and this year, for the first time, they are putting on a great show.
There are flowers everywhere you look at the moment. My rhodohypoxis collection are flowering far too early. I left them too long in the cold frame and with all this sun they are away:
Rhodohypoxis ‘Fred Broome’
There is one Magnolia tree in the gardens; this very beautiful little stelatta, each branch and twig sporting a fine coat of pale lichen:
I have planted hundreds of tulips. And despite the best endeavours of the resident squirrels (boo, hiss) they are doing well. For each bulb that I planted, there are now half a dozen flowers. In the long borders are Apeldoorn:
Full on and open, I find they can bring on a migraine:
Not quite open yet and far more sedate, Queen of Night:
Also just opening are these Carnival De Nice:
And these tulips were free with a larger order – I’ve forgotten what variety, I’m afraid. Pretty though:
No alliums are in flower yet though they’re growing vigorously and increasing in number, year on year. (What do you think of them onions, Jason)?
Over on the river bank is a thicket of blackthorn.
For a few glorious days at this time of year it is a crashing, foaming, frozen wave. Stunning I think.