Spring blues

Chionodoxa_growing_in_gravel_path
Chionodoxa. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

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.

Flowerbed_ and_pathways_covered_in_Chionodoxa
Blue carpet of Chionodoxa. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

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.

Chionodoxa_growing_in_gravel_path
Chionodoxa growing up through the gravel paths. Image: Kathryn Hawkins
Chionodoxa_in_a_sunny_spot
Chionodoxa basking in the spring sunshine. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

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.

Scilla
Scilla. Image: Kathryn Hawkins
Single_Scilla_flower_in_bloom
Single Scilla flower. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

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.

Eythronium_Dens_cannis
Dogtooth violet newly opened and in full bloom. Images: Kathryn Hawkins
A_group_of_dogtooth_violets_growing_on_a_rockery
Striking blooms and foliage of the Dogtooth violet. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

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.

Ladybird_on_geranium_leaf
My first ladybrid of spring. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

 

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