“Daffodils that come before the swallow dares, and takes the winds of March with beauty.”
She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
“Winter is dead.”
Daffodowndilly – AA Milne
The daffodil is the national flower of Wales. On March 1st – St David’s Day – we dressed up in Welsh National Costume, complete with frilly apron and tall black hat, and pinned on a daffodil. By the end of the day, it was a sorry, droopy little thing, but, still, I always preferred a real daffodil, with its fresh,...
The ancient bluebell woods in April and May are a quintessential feature of the British landscape. Dappled sunshine. The fresh spring green of the returning leaf canopy. A purple haze, colour-washing the woodland floor.
We were delighted to discover wild bluebells springing up in our hedgerow when we moved to our new home. The elegant, lavender-blue flowers are narrowly tubular, their petal tips recurving like the hat of a fairy elf. Sweetly scented, they are carried on one side of the flowering stem only, weighting the slender stem down so that it arches at the top.
It is the slight and stately stem
The blossom’s silvery blue
The buds hid like a sapphire gem
In sheaths of emerald hue
The glorious sunshine of the past few days has beckoned me out into the garden. It’s always a little sad to see the cheery daffodils going over. Like the earlier snowdrops, I watch for them with eager anticipation but they are over too swiftly. This time, though, even as I pinch off the dying flowers, I’m distracted by signs of growth all around me.
Everything happens so fast at this time of year – blink and you miss it. A few days ago, the view from one kitchen window was dominated by a magnificent Magnolia stellata, swathed in white flowers and looking as though someone had tied white ribbons to every branch. In the opposite direction, our Amelanchier canadensis was...
The morning’s forecast predicted rain but I raced the east-flying rain clouds and flew out into the garden for a spot of tidying up.
Just outside our back door, there’s a welcoming, little border, with pride of place taken by a Fuji Cherry. In a few weeks time, its twisting branches will carry a dazzling display of blush-white flowers, but for the moment, the buds are tightly furled and clinging to the bare branches.
At its feet, the Daphne odora is valiantly breaking into blossom. It’s only frost hardy and the last two winters have taken their toll. Some of the glossy, cream-margined leaves have been blackened by frost and others have given up the fight and lie, carpeting the...