I have to admit that spring is catching me a little unawares this year – normally I am eagerly hunting out signs of its arrival on a daily basis – noting every new sprout of bulb and hint of leaf. This year I have been making the most of winter, enjoying my hellebores and snowdrops and suddenly the garden has been overtaken by spring – it is everywhere I look. The first blossom is out, the magnolias I planted last spring are showing colour, my camellias are truly magnificent and there are swathes of daffodils bobbing in the wind – how did I miss all these lovely treats emerging from their winter slumber? Perhaps it is because I have spent so many hours with my head down in the borders declaring war on the weeds that are populating my beds. So now whilst I nurse my aching wrists and creaky back I have been taking time to look up and appreciate all the beauty that is around me – I just need to dig out my camera and try to capture a little slice of the joy that is spring!
You may remember that back in January I mentioned putting my rhubarb forcer in place – here we are 8 weeks later and the first crop of lovely tender pink stalks has been harvested. As I have no one at home to cook for right now the beauty of this pink crop has been preserved in a rhubarb cordial which will keep in the fridge for refreshing drinks mixed with sparkling water or prossecco – perfect for spring entertaining.
Just a few weeks ago my terrace pots were dominated by the tiny blue iris reticulata that I planted in bulk in the autumn. The blues have now all gone and been replaced by the white of a multitude of hyacinth L’Innocence – again planted back in the autumn. There are well over 100 bulbs planted in these pots and the scent is unmissable. The finale to the spring pot season will be the tulips which are growing well and should be in flower shortly after the hyacinths go over. That will be a full three months of beautiful flowers for an afternoons work in the autumn. The iris bulbs and hyacinth bulbs will be moved into my borders to flower there next year when I clear the pots out for the summer planting. The tulip bulbs I put on the compost as they never flower as well again when moved from the pots to the garden.
This rhubarb cordial is my favourite way of using the early spring rhubarb – simmer 1kg of chopped rhubarb and 150ml of water for about 30 minutes and then strain the liquid through a sieve. Put the liquid back in the pan and add 450g of caster sugar. After the sugar has dissolved bring the liquid to the boil for about 2 minutes and then pour into sterilised bottles and keep in the fridge. The cordial will keep for about 6-8 weeks, but for longer term storage freeze a batch.
Whilst I have so many hyacinths in flower in my pots I make a point of picking over the pots every few days and cutting any hyacinths that have fallen over to use inside. My greenhouse paperwhites are pretty much finished now, so to is lovely to have the scent of hyacinths in the house to remind me that winter really is over.
As ever I am linking up with Cathy at Rambling In The Garden. This week I am offering my congratulations to her as she is celebrating 5 years of writing her lovely garden blog – what an achievement! I have been following Cathy’s blog for at least 4 of those years and have loved reading about her daily rambles and watching her garden develop – her writing encapsulates her passion for her plot and she even shares her own poetry with her readers. If you are not already following Cathy do pop over to her blog and get on her email list.