Yesterday it seemed like we had half a dozen tasters of English weather, overcast and cloudy skies, a light shower of rain, followed by wild winds and then a proper downpour…finally the sun came out and it was a perfect sun-shiney afternoon…..tiny, delicate blossoms opened out and I even saw a few fat bees bumbling and buzzing around….Although there isn’t much going on out in the garden (we’ve still to plant out vegetables and salad crops) there’s still a whole wealth of colourful treasures dotted around……
A couple of years ago we were given a little cutting of a Japonica from my boyfriend’s parents. It didn’t blossom last year, but I think it’s now making up for it…it’s covered in tiny buds and the flowers are a beautiful deep coral with bright yellow centres. This is one of my favourite colours and combined with the dark green leaf it’s a perfect mix.
Indoors I’ve got a small oil painting of a Japonica and hadn’t really made the connection between that painting and this little cutting…before I thought to take some pictures there were a couple of bees tumbling around the flowers, getting themselves all covered in dusty yellow pollen….sadly it doesn’t seem to have a scent though that may be because my nose is all blocked up and I can’t really smell anything.
The wallflowers near the apple trees are coming into bloom, deep, dark colours and thick velvety petals…actually even with a cold I can still smell them, their perfume is heady and spicy and bees and butterflies seem to love them. Out the front the flowers are flecked more with yellow but these back garden ones are more crimson hued. When I was little I never particularly thought much of them but as I get older they are one of my favourite flowers in our garden.
Under our three little apple trees we planted some alpine and wild strawberries…they’ve spread out and now cover everything in sight, peeping up amongst the green of the strawberry leaves are some of the cowslips I grew a couple of years back…I love their soft petals and” lemon posset” coloured blooms…. these spring flowers have always been a particular favourite and are one of the first flowers I learnt the name of.
Sunday afternoons we used to go for a walk after we’d had our lunch….my dad used to point out flowers and help us learn their names….back then the banks of the lanes would in turn be filled with cowslips and primroses, pink campions, and ragged robin….old walls would be home to wisps of pale blue harebells……we also used to go for walks with my Primary school class. A lovely old chap from the village would take us out and we’d be asked in turn to identify particular flowers and trees….we’d pick a few of the flowers we’d see and then go back to school, put them in water then draw and paint them. I used to love doing this and it was probably the class I loved the most.
We’ve also got clumps of comfrey growing up in clusters around the garden…this is by the apple trees but it’s also shot up around the compost bins and in one of the raised beds….even on still days when there is no breeze the plants will move and sway as fat bumble bees buzz in and out of the blossoms…….we regularly cut it back, chopping it up and making a stinky plant food or just putting it straight into the compost bins (it makes the peelings and cutting in there “compost” and break down quicker)
The blossoms of the strawberries are such an intense white, tiny and perfect little petals surround a yellow centre…..these particular plants are now a mix of alpine and wild strawberries, they’ve cross pollinated and slightly different varieties appear all around our garden, growing haphazardly as and where they set their runners….some berries are incredibly sweet others are a little sharper…none are ever very big maybe the size of a thumb nail, but the flavour and scent of each one is really intense.
Along the path where I should have been weeding are growing some dandelions…when the leaves are small I’ll wash them and use them in a salad…I know you can batter and fry the flowers but I’m not sure what my boyfriend would say if I gave him some of those for his tea….I’m happy to let them grow as they are such a beautiful burst of bright yellow….when it’s overcast they pull in all tight but at the first sign of a little sunshine then they open up so wide and always gladden my heart.
Along the back of our garden is a fence where the shrubs grow…this bright yellow blossom is a real treat in the sunshine, when I go out and fill the bird feeders, the birds all sit on it’s branches and patiently wait til their breakfast is set out for them…a few cheeky ones like the robins and blue tits sit in the branches of the cherry tree or on the washing line and will fly down to the feeders as soon as the lids are put back on….. in front of this shrub is a buddleja, it’s now been cut right back but in a month or so it’ll be growing like billy-oh and come Summer the air will be full of the scent from it’s deep purple blossoms……on days like this when it’s sunny and warm, then Summer feels like it’s just waiting round the corner.