Stride

While the first daffodils to flower were several weeks behind last year, the crocus seem to be a couple of weeks early.

Crocus vernus 'Negro Boy'

The sunny golden flowers of our first crocus have faded; superseded by a second wave of flowers which have just begun to open. Once again, I am entranced this year by the deep shimmering midnight-purple of Crocus vernus ‘Negro Boy’.

Crocus vernus 'Negro Boy'

Such beautiful deep tones. In the autumn I also added C. chrysanthus ‘Prins Claus’, whose flowers are white on the inside, but washed with purple on the outside.

Crocus chrysanthus 'Prins Claus'

I also added some more of the large Dutch Crocus, the beguiling white C. vernus ‘Jeanne d’Arc’. I almost bought several pots of these in flower last spring when I saw them outside a grocers in a nearby market town, but I stopped myself, instead noting their name and ordering up these corms in the autumn. I could justify more plants that way!

Crocus vernus 'Jeanne d'Arc'

These are noticeably taller than our other crocus, the fully extended flowers standing far above their stripy foliage. I was not expecting the purple lines that grace their neck, but it is a pretty embellishment on the otherwise pure white chalices of these flowers, and complements our other crocus varieties rather well…

Helleborus niger, Christmas rose

At long last, our Helleborus niger has also begun to open fully – though somewhat off the mark as far as its title of ‘Christmas Rose’ goes! Its leaves are a little burnt and frayed, perhaps I should have cut them back a month or two ago, but they barely detract from the delicate pink-kissed flowers in which the plant is now bedecked. The buds have been held rigidly close to the crown of the plant for two months or more, until suddenly now they have relaxed and unfurled to smile out at the garden – unlike the hybrid hellebores nearby whose flowerheads hang down to the earth.

Spring primroses
The primroses are also out in full flower now, making the most of the sunshine when it comes. Such cheerful spring flowers, they always make me smile. Spring really does seem to be getting into its stride here now.

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18 thoughts on “Stride

    • This is the first year our Christmas Rose has flowered; I planted it two years ago… worth the wait though!
      I loved the Jeanne d’Arc when I saw them in town last year – it was very hard to walk past! I had to promise myself that I’d get lots more for the same price if I bought them in autumn!!

  1. The markings on the ‘Jeanne d’Arc’ are so delicately beautiful, aren’t they? Was it Negro Boy that you featured last year or another shiny dark purple one? I did vaguely look for bulbs of whichever it was at the time – where did you get yours from?

    • Yes I love the unexpected marking on ‘Jeanne d’Arc’. It was these Negro Boy that I swooned over last year too – and the year before! My mum bought them – a few years ago, and gave half to me. I think she got them from Crocus, fittingly enough, though they don’t seem to have sold them again since.

  2. Simply beautiful crocuses Sara. I remember the first from your post last year. I like those folds on ‘Jeanne d’Arc’ all primed to unfurl as well as her purple flecking. Here I felt some real warmth from the sun yesterday – it did not last long but it was a definite taster of spring 🙂

    • Thanks Christina, I think I shall keep adding a few crocus each year too, they are such treasures at this time of year. Much better suited to your climate than ours, but I shall continue to subject them to our wet winters too 🙂

  3. I’m glad it’s not just me that has had Hellebores that are reluctant to open! That “Jeanne d’Arc” Crocus really is beautiful. It’s funny how sometimes less is more, and a plain colour is more impressive than a brash one.

    • I was surprised by how rigid the hellebore buds were for so long. I thought they’d never open! Jeanne d’Arc almost reminds me of autumn’s ‘naked ladies’ (colchicums) with such a long stem and ghostly colouring.

  4. Lovely. Plant timings do seem a little odd. February Gold have just scraped into February despite the mild winter but Tete a Tete are open already which is early compared with the last few years. Whenever they appear and early or late they are all such a welcome sight. And ‘Negro Boy’ is one for my garden notebook.

    • Despite NB being a heritage variety (from 1910) it seems sadly quite hard to get hold of, suspect that is partly down to its unfortunate name… Hope you track some down though, it’s such a lovely sultry colour!

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