It’s that time of year when the blue skies are once more reflected on the ground, as the earliest of the blue flowers make a comeback in the garden.
The first forget-me-nots, which self-seed with gay abandon here, have begun to open their first shy blooms; such a quintessential spring flower. I do rip them out with vigour from the wrong places, but still they romp across the borders forming limpid pools of pale blue at the feet of the tulips that will hopefully be blooming in a few weeks now.
The grape hyacinths were the first blues into bloom this year. These are spreading comfortably across the narrow herb bed outside the side-door, and as they clump up they do make a pretty picture, though I ponder whether they are in the right place here. There seems something rather contradictory in growing poisonous plants, however mild, alongside edibles, thus I am contemplating digging up this narrow border, and relocating the intruders to more ornamental borders before resettling the herbs.
One of my favourite blues in the garden is the no-fuss, long-flowering navelwort, Omphalodes cappadocica ‘ Cherry Ingram’, which I picked up at an NGS plant sale after visiting local gardens with my Mum and Dad three years ago. I worry sometimes that it will succumb to winter wet in our heavy soil, and yet without fail its clump of pointed green leaves persist through the winter, to be bedecked with these vivid blue blooms early each spring. A much deeper blue than forget-me-nots, this depth of colour somewhat elusive through the lens of the camera, this mound of deep blue never fails to catch my eye.
I was relieved this week to see a small but solid clump of leaves emerge from the soil, quickly followed by the first blue flowers of Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’, after I had feared it a casualty of the heavy rains. Too small to make much impact yet on the spring garden, I hope in the future to divide it and spread it around the garden for its welcome punch of blue.
It’s not just the true blues: I love the deep purple of this hyacinth that pops up each spring in a pot that my Mum gave us several years ago.
Despite these bright arrivals, it’s still the colour gold that dominates in the garden at the minute; from the pale lemon of Narcissus ‘W.P.Milner’ which are opening at staggered times around the garden, through the the bright tones of a pot of diminutive but abundant N. ‘Tête-à-tête’ to a range of other daffodils of assorted shapes, sizes and colours.
Another welcome sight in the past couple of weeks has been the re-emergence of the cowslip that I bought last spring on a visit to the first ‘Herb Friday’ open day at Jekka’s Herb Farm, near Bristol.
One of my favourite wild flowers, I have my fingers fervently crossed that this self-seeds as freely here as the wild primroses which drift easily through our borders, occasionally producing surprising variations in colour.
It isn’t just the flowers that are catching the eye here in March either; I love the way this new rose foliage flares scarlet in the spring sunshine. Something else seem to have taken rather too much of a shine to these leaves though, if the holes are anything to go by. Hmm.
A brisk and cold breeze sends a persistent parade of clouds scudding across our blue skies, some regally sailing across the horizon in the sunshine, others eclipsing the sun and sometimes bringing short showers, and even the occasional rainbow. I love the mercurial nature of spring, and the succession of changes in the garden from day-to-day at this time of year.