This year's phenomenal March temperatures have brought the garden rushing on apace. Last year April was the sunny month and March was cold and windy. Last year's side garden looked like this:
This year, partly from sunshine and to a lesser extent from planting, it looks like this:
OK, I know I am cheating with the larger photograph but the combination of hellebores, daffodils, tulips and a lot more foliage than usual is really furnishing the ground in the most satisfactory way.
The hellebore flowers are gently changing from pink and white to the palest green as they go over, so slowly, so elegantly.
But look the other way and you can see the day lilies thrusting up, the new alliums beginning to mass, hardy geraniums putting on foliage, the new pheasant grass fountaining up pleasingly in pink and green (thank you Karen) and the peonies with so much growth I have even started to stake them. At this point I feel like a proper gardener. I know you should stake. Every year I vow that this will be the year I crack it and every year I find I have left it too late and things are flopping all over the place. This year I have done some! Not all of it, that would be a step too far, but I have had a go with the metal rings I bought years ago and rarely use and with some hazel twigs from our own hazels. The hazel twigs are surrounding the oriental poppies which I love but which invariably move from stately gorgeousness to louche sprawling the moment I turn my back. This year it may be better. Let's see.
The bed across the back of the side garden is glowing with daffodils, primroses and the goldgreen foliage of aquilegias with pulmonaria Diana Clare providing a deep blue contrast at the front.
Out in the little orchard the Tenby daffodils are going over but the Thalia are flowering. Tenby are sturdy, ealry little daffodils with their glaucous leaves and upright yellow trumpets standing bravely against the wind. Thalia are later, slighter and more delicate.
There are cowslips too and the little Shropshire damson tree is flowering against a background of blowing white washing.
That was last week when the sun shone as warm as June. This week is cold and grey and rain is at last filling the water butts. The sunshine was glorious but it wasn't quite natural for this time of year so although I miss the warmth on my back I don't mind too much the sound of rain dripping into the newly installed water tanks taking rainwater off the roof of the workshop.
The native tree walk is beginning to take off a bit
with the hellebores and pulmonaria from Dobby (thank you Jane!) starting to settle in. They will be glorious in a year or two when they really fill the space.
The sunny bank was sunny. It misses the little quince tree which finally gave up this winter but the new crab apple should be a good replacement when it has grown to fill out the space. Gardening in the country is easy at this time of year when you can borrow unthinkingly from the land around you. On the right of this picture the blackthorn is flowering in a delicate froth of white. Nothing at all to do with me but probably the most beautiful thing of all.
Here is the kitchen garden. Nothing is really happening in it yet which has much to do with the kitchen beyond the new growth of chives at the end of the mint bed. There are things in the greenhouse growing away but the newly arrived cold would give them a considerable shock so they will stay where they are for the time being.
Thanks as always to Helen for hosting the end of month views. Still a great idea!