After a dull and wet start to the weekend, Sunday dawned crisp and sunny.
The sunlight threw the garden’s structures into relief, great and small, from tree branches to the veins on illuminated leaves.
Despite a hectic schedule, I managed to slip into the garden for a few hours, to weed beneath our young beech hedge across the front garden. As I dug out clumps of coarse grass, small nettles and spurges that crept around the feet of the beechlings, I was careful to work around the clusters of green points piercing the ground where the snowdrops were pushing up their noses.
As I worked my way across the hedge, along whose length I planted out small clumps of snowdrops last year, these clusters of gentle green promise petered out until I reached the far side. I pondered whether they were still working their way to the surface, a few millimetres behind their neighbours, or lost to the ground. Time will tell.
The early daffodils along the narrow front borders continue to captivate with their golden glory, while around them the tips of later varieties of narcissus and other bulbs are still hardly breaking the surface. With the sleeping hedge tidied up once more, I gave a cursory tidy-up to these borders too, before turning my attentions to the back garden once more.
I carefully threaded through the borders with my trowel and bucket, digging out some of the weeds that have continued to flourish in the milder weather. The fat buds on the hybrid hellebores are still full of promise, while the subtle pale green flowers of Helleborus argutifolius continue to dance above its serrated leaves.
As I bent to investigate the Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, I found another fat bud that had been part-eaten to reveal the tender white petals folded within. Time to find some slug defences perhaps, if I wish to enjoy these flowers; one of the trickier hellebores to establish in the garden, it seems to have settled in pleasingly well, besides this predation.
Nearby, the primroses are still speckled with gentle yellow flowers, and a smattering of blooms on the pulmonarias range from pinks (as pictured) to blues. These are mostly unnamed plants, that have already dotted their way around the border in just one or two winters since I planted seedlings from my Mum’s garden out. On the patio, a more recent gift of P. ‘Blue Ensign’ showed a trio of lovely violet-blue flowers, and I shook it from its pot and found it a space in the border where I hope it will establish and spread like its bi-coloured siblings.
The light was beginning to ebb from the sky by the time I had planted this out, and I gathered up my tools and returned to the warmth of the fire indoors, accompanied by the cats that had been racing around me as I worked all afternoon.
I treasure these snatched opportunities to reacquaint myself with the garden each weekend, to observe as life returns to the soil, before another week where the garden is glimpsed by the light of the moon and the stars at either end of the working day. Already I look forward to seeing what changes next weekend may reveal.