A springtime woodland walk

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End of March, Bluebells. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

For this week’s post, I have made a slight departure from my usual offerings. I have just returned from a few days down in the south of England celebrating Mothering Sunday with my family.

The county of Sussex is where I grew up and I remember the bluebell woods especially well. Carpets of fragrant blue flowers lined these particular woods in Slindon, most usually from mid to late April onwards. With the early onset of spring this year, I had a feeling that there might be some out in flower and I wasn’t disappointed. There were quite a few of the delicate, sweet-selling blue blooms alongside many other wild flowers.

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Wood anemones. Images: Kathryn Hawkins
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Wild primroses. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

It was a glorious day in these woods. The sun was warm and the sky was blue. The flowers seemed to almost glow in the bright light, and with the combination of good weather and the untimely blooming of these wild flowers, it was hard to remember exactly  what month it actually was.

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Lady’s Smock (Cuckoo flower), Celandine and Herb Robert. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

Not only were there flowers to enjoy in the woods, but the hedgerows and trees around and about were full of life too. Several species of butterfly were darting around from flower to flower (too quick for me to capture), and the bees buzzing and busy collecting pollen. It’s going to be a bumper year for hedgerow fruits if these blossom-laden Blackthorn trees are anything to go by.

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Blackthorn against a blue sky. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

My final image this week is of a Sussex pastoral scene and a tree that encompasses this time of year so well, the Salix Discolor, or Pussy Willow, with its fuzzy pollen-laden stamens so tempting to the bees and flying insects.

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Pussy Willow. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

I hope you have enjoyed the visit to Sussex this week.  I will be back with you next week with something equally seasonal. Until then, have a good week and enjoy Spring 🙂

 

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Spring, glorious spring

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Snakeshead Fritillary under a blue spring sky. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

It really was a glorious day today. After a few April showers this morning, it was a sunshiny blue-sky afternoon. It was very pleasant to take a stroll, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine. Out of the sun, it is still chilly, and the night-time temperature is low, but the spring flowers are at their best right now, and I couldn’t resist another post showing how the garden is looking at this very colourful and fragrant time of year. The scent from some of the flowers is intoxicating, I only wish there was some way of posting the aromatics as well as the images!

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Bold and brash, candy-striped tulips. Image: Kathryn Hawkins
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Pale lemon Narcissus, each tiny stem has 4 very fragrant blooms. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

I’m in the throes of a very busy period with my work and subsequently, I have had little time to spend trying new recipes in the kitchen. I will have a recipe post ready for next week though, so in the meantime, I hope you enjoy the glorious multi-colours of my Scottish spring garden. See you next week.

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Pale pink rhododendron. Image: Kathryn Hawkins
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Grape hyacinths (Muscari) by a privet hedge. Image: Kathryn Hawkins
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Highly fragrant, double-blooming pink and magenta hyacinths. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

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April flowers

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White Pieris in April sunshine. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

There is a multitude of colours in the garden this month. A combination of warmer, sunnier days, a few showers here and there, and cool nights, has brought glorious technicolor to the beds and borders. The Pieris shrubs have been in flower for a couple of weeks already, and are now fully laden with bunches of droplet-like blossoms. Their aroma is spicy and fresh, and the bees are buzzing all over them.

The zesty colours of the Euphorbia are showing now. In my garden, the plant grows most prolifically in the dappled, shadier parts, and has become quite a forest, as the stems self-seed each year.

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Bright, fresh and green, Euphorbia. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Growing in little groups in the flower-beds and alongside the paths, are the tiny, clustered flowers of the grape hyacinth. Sweet-scented,  dainty in stature, with bold, blue bell-shaped petals, they stand out prominently amidst all the fresh greenery.

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Muscari (grape hyacinth). Image: Kathryn Hawkins

I planted anemones for the first time last autumn, and they seem to be thriving. The colour of the pink and red varieties is particularly dazzling in the sunshine.

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Fuschia-pink anemone. Image: Kathryn Hawkins
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Scarlet-coloured anemone. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

The warmth of the sun has opened up the blossom buds on several of the fruit trees this past week. The Morello cherry is always one of the first to flower. I have high hopes for a bumper crop this year as there are blossoms up and down every stem. The small tree is an espalier and grows against a south-facing wall. It is about 6 years old and for the past couple of years, has produced a fair crop of fruit.

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Morello cherry blossom. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

One of the more unusual-looking flowers at this time of year is the Snakeshead Fritillay. Immediately you can see how it gets its name. The striking flower heads grow on tall, spindly stems with grass-like leaves; they are almost camouflaged in amongst the new shoots in the flowerbeds and the back-drop of the beech hedge.

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Snakeshead fritillary. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Another flowering plant that is unremarkable from a distance, is this tiny yellow violet. It grows in a single clump in the back garden. The petals are so pale and delicate, the blooms are easily over-looked because it grows so close to the ground. If you can get close enough, the flowers have the faint aroma of vanilla.

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Tiny pale-yellow violet. Image Kathryn Hawkins

My final plant this month, is another aromatic: Ribes sanguineum. At this time of the year, the flowers and foliage smell of blackcurrants and, to me, its flowering means that spring is well under way with the promise of summer not too far off. Until next month, enjoy the sights and smells of the season.

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Ribes sanguineum. Image: Kathryn Hawkins