March blues and blossoms

Hello again everyone. Here we are almost at the end of another month. There has been a big transformation in the garden since my last out-of-doors update at the beginning of the month. We had a lovely spell of warm, sunny weather last week and as a consequence there are flowers and plants in bloom everywhere. This time of year certainly lifts the spirits as everything comes to life with such vibrancy and splendor.

The beds, paths and borders are once again covered in a blue carpet of tiny Chionodoxa. I did a bit of reading on the species and their common name is Glory of the Snow. We had a lot of the white stuff lying in February so I am wondering whether this has had something to do with the fact that there are so many this year.

Whilst the Chionodoxa have done very well this year, I have lost a lot of Muscari (grape hyacinth). No idea why. This is the only patch left in the garden now. I will try to remember to plant more in the Autumn.

This is the last clump of crocus for another year. The bees were very busy making the most of the pollen-rich stamens before the petals curl up completely.

And now it’s time for my annual Hellebore fest. Just a couple of images this time. The reddish-burgundy varieties are looking exceptionally dramatic and bold this year. I couldn’t resist capturing them again.

From the bold and dynamic to the tiny and delicate, this little wood anemone appears in a crack on the stone steps leading up to the top garden every year. It blooms for a very few days and then disappears without trace.

More delicate petals, this time in the shadiest part of the garden, where the primroses grow. There are two new plants to add to the mix this year. This seems to be a good spot for the other primroses to multiply so hopefully the new plants will thrive in the same way.

The pink “candy-floss” rhododendron is just going over now and beginning to lose petals, but it has put on a good show this year and has had no frost to nip the blossoms.

My final image this week is set against a glorious blue-sky canvas from last week. The bell-shaped flowers of the Pieris are a sight to behold on a clear and sunny day as they sway gently in the breeze.

In a few days it will be Easter, so I am back in the kitchen again for my next post. Until then, enjoy the spring flowers and sunshine (if you have it), and see you again soon. Take care and best wishes ūüôā

Spring in full swing

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Raised bed of spring flowers. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

It’s been a glorious week here in central Scotland and I just couldn’t resist posting another series of images of spring flowers. It is my favourite time of the year and this year the garden seems more abundant than ever, bursting with colour in every corner.

Whilst  the sky has been blue and the temperature relatively warm during the day, the nights have been chilly, and only this morning the lawn was covered with frost.

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Muscari and Snakeshead fritillary. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

There is plenty of blossom forming on the fruit trees, and the sprigs nearest the walls are already in bloom and sweet-smelling. The bees will be smiling.

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Victoria Plum, Morello Cherry and Doyenne de Comice Pear blossoms. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

I have been in and out of the garden all week keeping my eye on the progress of the bluebells because they are exceptionally early this year. In the sunny spots, the stems are getting longer and the buds bluer,¬†and today I discovered one wee bell-shaped flower fully open¬†in amongst¬†a thicket of twigs, and here it is, my first bluebell of 2019 ūüôā

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My first bluebells of 2019. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

One of the most prolific plants in the garden is Euphorbia. This time of the year the flowers are lime-green and yellowy and look stunning in the sunlight. They really brighten up the dullest parts of the garden and make an eye-catching display with the fading pink and white hellebores in the background.

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Euphorbia with hellebores. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

My last images of my post this week are of a beautiful pink Persian Buttercup (Ranunculus)¬†with its¬†many layers of delicate petals. I don’t seem to be able to grow them in big clusters, just the odd one comes up here and there. The other is a very “early bird” in the garden this year, a single Mountain Cornflower (Centaurea montana). Usually these thistle-like flowers¬†grow in abundance from early summer and onwards throughout the autumn, but this fellow has popped up several weeks ahead of the others.

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Persian buttercup and a Mountain cornflower. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

That’s all for this week. Have a good few days – enjoy the sunshine if you have it.¬†I’ll be back in the kitchen with an Eastery recipe for next week’s post.

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