One month is past, another is begun,
Since merry bells rung out the dying year,
And buds of rarest green began to peer,
As if impatient for a warmer sun;
And though the distant hills are bleak and dun,
The virgin snowdrop like a lambent fire,
Pierces the cold earth with its green-streaked spire
And in dark woods, the wandering little one
May find a primrose.
Today I am here singing the joys of spring! After the last few miserable weeks we have had warmer temperatures this weekend and a morning so sunny that we sat outside and enjoyed a cup of tea – for all the world like a summer’s day. Things are finally beginning to move in the garden – the first tiny iris are bringing blue tones back to pots and borders, I have sheets of pristine snowdrops in flower and there will soon be enough hellebore flowers for me to start cutting without feeling that I am robbing the garden.
The weekend has been really very busy. My middle daughter has just set off for an extended back packing trip to Asia and so there have been quite a few visitors here to say their fond farewell’s. To add to the fun on Saturday evening I hosted my annual Valentine dinner party which ended up with 12 mouths to feed. After a very late night I rose early to cook a farewell family Sunday lunch for 8 to feed my daughter up before her trip – I think it will take me a few days to recover!
Whilst Valentine’s day is a lovely excuse to fill the house with flowers, bought in flowers are eye watering expensive right now and I much prefer to try and use my own flowers wherever possible. This is a collection that I put in the kitchen – not quite all homegrown as the pink ranunculus are remnants from a lovely bouquet a friend gave me over a week ago. Whilst all the other flowers had wilted and needed to go to the compost, these 2 little ranunculus still had life left in them.
The balance of the flowers are from my second batch of narcissi Paperwhite which are flowering in the greenhouse. I have planted quite a few ranunculus corms in the greenhouse bed as well as the paperwhites, but they were planted after Christmas so it will be a while before I have my own ranunculus flowers.
This old fashioned milk jug is quite possibly my favourite jug at the moment. It looks equally good empty, on the table holding water or milk or as a vessel to fill with flowers – you can expect to see a lot of this one this year!
Ranunculus are an amazing cutting flower. When these arrived in the original bouquet they were tiny button heads of pink. After a week in the vase they have blossomed into layer upon layer of tissue paper petals with a very long shelf life. If I had been organised enough to plant my ranunculus corms back in the autumn perhaps I would be close to having my own flowers now.
This autumn I am going to soak my corms as soon as they arrive and then plant them in small pots so that they can sprout before I transfer them to the greenhouse bed – this way I hope to have early flowers. After flowering the corms can be planted out into the garden where they will flower in June. Although they are lovely in the garden, so much else is going on by then that I often overlook their cutting potential – as forced flowers however they arrive at a perfect time of year to substitute for other focus flowers such as peonies, roses or dahlias.
Not more Paperwhites I hear you sigh – what can I say that I have not already said before? I just love Paperwhites – they are fresh and springlike and flower in a bountiful wave from December until late March in my greenhouse bed – happiness in a bulb!
The only downside to Paperwhites is that they do have a strong scent that not everyone appreciates. For my Valentine table therefore I needed another choice and this year I chose snowdrops. I will be back later this week with pictures of my table flowers although sadly I am never organised enough to photograph them when the table is laid and the candles are burning – by then I am the exceedingly busy hostess who has no time to wield a camera! As I do every Monday I am linking to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to join in with her lovely challenge to find something from the garden to bring into the house to enjoy every week of the year – do pop over to her blog to see what she and the others have found this week!
I hope that you are having lovely gardening weather wherever you are,