No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn ~ Hal Borland
Actually the winter always seems interminable and having moved even further North I felt the difference! So when the cusp of Spring came in on a warm front, it felt like a bonus but we gardeners are aware of the season’s sneaky, intermittent cold snaps. They dampen our enthusiasm, but worse still, rather spitefully it seems, pinch with frosty fingers, tender young leaves and fruit blossom.
This mophead hydrangea was one such victim of the cold snap last Spring but after the freeze injured leaves died back, more followed quickly and it turned out to be a bumper year for its blooms.
As I write, the temperature has dropped considerably so I’ve given some straw insulation to a couple of half-hardy Salvias but other than that, the greenhouse will protect seedlings, tender pelargoniums and young cuttings.
Meanwhile, pots of various Spring bulbs can stand up to the cold, not least these pink Scillas, originating from Turkey with the apt soubriquet ‘Glory of the Snow’. Once known as Chionodoxa but they have recently been re-assigned!
Despite the fact that my plants will not be split up till next year between the front potted cottage and the back Japanesque planting styles, I have a couple of new shrub additions in readiness….
The only non-prickly Mahonia (‘soft caress‘) has been on my wish list for years and given its East Asian origins and bamboo look-alike leaves, will fit nicely into the Japanesque design. I was also gifted an old established and very statuesque Pieris japonica. It’s a cultivar of unknown origin but will complement a pink ‘katsura’ Pieris which is still on my wishlist. And since I plan to make the front garden a blend of yellow/oranges to pink/purples, interspersed with white, a dwarf Lydian broom is a nice addition.
Having cleared a great deal of space at the rear of the property (see my recent post “a way through the woods“) I will need to start collecting suitable plants. To that end, I bought a twiggy, neglected Philadelphus in a plant sale. If it ever returns to vitality, it should grow well there.
Talking of the woodland, as the snowdrops there have finished flowering, now comes that most iconic Spring bloom – the diminutive and, dare one say, prim, primrose! By comparison, the polyanthus cultivars are far too loud for my taste now and I prefer to rouse the garden from its winter sleep the way I prefer to be woken – with a gentle acclimatization to sights and sounds.
For now though there is a wintry feel forecast for some days ahead so perhaps it’s time to hibernate again!