Long before the bluebells flower, my garden is swathed in the electric-blue colour from the blooms of hundreds of Chionodoxa. Every spring these hardy, yet very tiny, bulbs sprout up everywhere: in the flower beds, up through the gravel in the paths, all over the rockery, and in the barren earth where nothing much else is growing yet. They seed themselves and seem to appear in greater numbers each March.
This weekend, the sun shone brightly and the Chionodoxa were in full bloom. I expect that by next weekend the blooms will have begun to fade and the bulbs will begin their retreat back into the ground where they will lay dormant until next year.
Whilst Chionodoxa like the open space and bright locations in the garden, Scilla prefer the shady parts which don’t get any direct sunshine. I found this newly opened little group growing amongst the roots of the Japanese Maple tree in the back garden. Scilla flowers lack the dazzling white star shape of the Chionodoxa petals, but they have an almost luminous quality, glowing from the shadows. Up close, you can see the tiny, glowing yellow centres; they were a true delight to discover.
One more spring flower that was at its peak this week is the Dogtooth Violet (Erythronium Dens Cannis). So pretty and dainty when it first opens with its hanging head of delicate pinky-lilac petals, but after a few days, it raises its head, turns up its petals and transforms into a slightly sinister-looking, upright bloom, revealing just how it gets its name. In my garden, it grows in a cluster on the rockery amidst all the Chionodoxa. These unusual looking “violets” with their strange spotty foliage make a striking contrast in amongst the bright blue and green of the tiny Chionodoxa.
One final image for this post: I saw my favourite insect in the garden today, also enjoying the sunshine. The first one this year, tucking into some aphids on a geranium leaf.