A glorious run of sunny days stretched across the weekend, bringing us two unprecedented back-to-back days of spring sunshine at leisure.

Peacock butterfly basking in spring sunshine

I ate my lunch outside for the first time this year, savouring the warmth of the sun, the chatter of birds and the surrounding buzz of giant bees busy plundering the flowers of primroses,  pulmonaria, crocus, hellebore; even the daffodils.Bee on magenta primula

Primroses in the spring sunshine

Much of the weekend was spent outside; digging up weeds, moving a couple of plants, cutting back remaining winter debris. The garden was teeming with wildlife, from the busy bees to plump worms wriggling as I disturbed the ground, ladybirds on stems, and a peacock butterfly, basking in the warmth of the sun.  As well as tidying up the existing planting, I also added one new acquisition to the borders.

Dark flowered Helleborus orientalis

Dark flowered Helleborus orientalis

This beautiful hellebore, with its dark slate-plum flowers and cut leaves, had caught my eye outside a florist shop in our local market town the previous weekend, and finding it still there in the sunshine on Saturday morning lured me into the shop to buy it.

Dark flowered Helleborus orientalis

Flowering hellebores in the garden

By the end of the day I had untangled its pot-bound roots and plunged it into the ground just behind the Helleborus niger, which is still ablaze with pale blooms. This area at the end of the long border, beneath the beech and horse chestnut trees, underneath which our bench nestles, I think of as my ‘spring-woodland’ area. This year, as the mid-season daffodils begin to flower here, alongside hellebores, primroses, pulmonaria and crocus, beneath the bare bones of several shrubs, and accompanied by the fresh foliage of aquilegias, foxgloves, dicentra, cardoon and verbascum, this area really seems to be coming together.

Spring woodland border

Spring woodland planting at the end of the long border

I particularly love the yellow daffodils peeking cheekily out from the grey-green foliage of the cardoon. It’s easy to forget that two years ago, I had barely dug over half of this area and begun to add the first plants here, while the last few yards were still piled high with a collection of wooden pallets from our building works.

End of long border, March 2012

Daffodil flowers peeping out from grey cardoon foliage

What a huge difference two years can make!


18 thoughts on “Bask

  1. That hellebore is wonderful – not at all surprised you gave in (and since it was waiting for you, it was obviously meant to be). That border with the cardoon is filling out nicely, too…

    • Isn’t it stunning? I must confess I did leave the house rather hoping there would still be one there! I’m pleased with the border too…

    • Thanks Christina, I did rather fall for it. I do have various spring flowers all around the garden, but this area does feel like it was made for spring. There’s an epimedium, which I hope to add to, and later the aquilegias will flourish, then in summer the cardoon and the shrubs are in full leaf, and there are foxgloves and verbascum, so it doesn’t fall entirely quiet, but definitely at its best through the spring.

    • Heh, indeed! Apparently Helleborus niger is named after the colour of its roots, which are black. You would think they would use its more visible characteristics to name it!

  2. Isn’t it good having older pictures to compare with? It is so easy to forget what you have achieved otherwise. Great weather for catching up on those jobs and admiring all that is going on too! And thank you for saving me the effort of looking up the answer to Mark’s question – something I have been meaning to check myself for a long time!

    • It’s really helpful having a bank of pictures to look back on and see how things have changed.
      It is funny how the black hellebore has the whitest flowers of any!

  3. I LOVE hellebores, they are one of my favourites for this time of year. I noticed some amazing looking ones in Waitrose the other weekend….I don’t normally buy plants from a supermarket but they looked in such good health, I was tempted. Isn’t it lovely to feel the sun and to sit outside to eat – we also did that at the weekend. Bethx

    • I love hellebores too, and the colour of this one is so dramatic…
      It was wonderful to sit outside to eat in the sun, glad you enjoyed it too, I hope there are a lot more days like that ahead for us! Sx

  4. Bask is indeed the right word Sara. We are spending a few days in the Lake District where it is absolutely glorious. Enjoyed an al fresco pub lunch earlier on. That hellebore is most eye – catching. It obviously had your name written on it.

  5. glad you had a sunny weekend so could enjoy it in your garden Sara, that is a beautiful hellebore no wonder you couldn’t resist it, your garden has come on in leaps and bounds in the couple of years I’ve been following your blog, I remember the pile of pallets, it is nice how quickly some areas can come together when we get the opportunity to plant it and tend it, Frances

  6. Loving the dark hellebore. I have one very similar. I picked up from a plant sale so it was unidentified. It looked like it might have bitten the dust last year but I’m so pleased it has emerged again with lots of flowers. It has been glorious hasn’t it? Fingers crossed it’s the last of winter. 🙂

    • This hellebore was unnamed too. At the weekend I went back and picked up their last one, to give to my Mum; such a splendid colour, and it makes great contrast with the pale ones we have here. Ah spring, I love it!

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