A glorious run of sunny days stretched across the weekend, bringing us two unprecedented back-to-back days of spring sunshine at leisure.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What a huge difference two years can make!