The garden is erupting into flower.
The beautiful painted buds of the Tulipa sylvestris promptly opened into these sunny stars, soon joined by the first flush of hybrid tulips around the garden.
In pots that stand at the front of the house, I planted three new varieties in the autumn; two of which are beginning to bloom – the beautiful vibrant red of Ile de France and the pale buttermilk Ivory Floradale, the outside of whose petals are lightly streaked with pale pink and green, while the insides are a stronger yellow. I believe these flowers will fade to cream as they open further.
In one of the narrow borders that outlines the front lawn, the Erysimum cheiri ‘Blood Red’ wallflowers that I raised from seed two years ago are in their element – I almost ripped these out in the autumn to replace them with fresh young plants, but fortunately was a little slow in sowing their replacements. This year they are flowering even stronger than last: a riot of deep luscious velvety redness. The first tulips planted out along this bed from last year’s pots are now joining in the show too.
The flowers of Tulip Jan Reus are a beautiful crimson, that flares in the sun. Inter-planted with these, in complementary tones of yellow and red, are the vivid streaked cups of Tulip Helmar.
They stand out beautifully against those dark wallflowers.
The palette is a little more muted in the back garden, where I am pleased that all our fuchsia-pink Tulip Barcelona are returning for their third year, despite our heavy clay. This clump is the most advanced, receiving the most sunshine, with Euphorbia martinii frothing around their feet.
This is another stand of the same Euphorbia in another border, beneath the young Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Garnet’. The distinctive red eyes of this euphorbia have yet to develop, but those lovely russet stems are the perfect complement to the emerging leaves of the Acer behind.
The Lamprocapnos (formerly Dicentra) spectabilis has unfurled strings of pink hearts at the foot of the birch tree; elsewhere in the garden, the white form, and red-flowered ‘Valentine’ are both in leaf, to hopefully flower later.