Thursday 15 March 2012

What’s flowering in my garden?

March is an ‘interesting month’ in London, with down to a few degrees one week and 16-18 degrees Celsius the next week. Today on my way to my hospital appointment I saw a man in T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops! I think that was incredible brave, or perhaps I should use some other, less flattering words of description, but it has been really great weather lately. The result of this ‘great’ weather is that the whole of Eastern England is having a hosepipe ban from 5th April, as we have had two exceptionally dry winters and there is now a drought here.

For me it would have been a huge task to water my whole garden carrying a watering can around and filling it from the tap I have next to my back door; that’s what I tried to do last time we had a hosepipe ban, in 2005. But I have just found out that as registered disabled and with a Blue Badge Parking Permit, I am exempt from the hosepipe ban! I wish I had known about this last time, because I lost so many plants due to lack of water that summer, but at least it seems like my garden will survive this summer :-)

It is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day over at Carol’s May Dreams Gardens, and I would like to show you what’s flowering in my garden right now. The list is quite long, but nothing out of the ordinary, even if we had a rather mild start to the year. Carol has a very nice quote on her website which I am going to nick for the occasion: 

“We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence
I actually have flowers all year round, every single month, and usually several plants at the time, thanks to my many evergreens, some of which flowers in the depth of winter. But now it’s SPRING and here is my collection of spring flowers:

My beautiful camellia is in full flower right now. The camellia was here when I moved in 10 years ago so I have no idea how old it is; one of the few plants that were worth saving when I started clearing up the garden. I would guess it is around 30 years old but it could be much older than that. It produces an abundance of flowers every year and all I do is a light pruning every other year or so.

I don’t know which type the camellia is, and I must have looked at several hundred photos from nurseries to try to find one that looked close enough in colour, petal shape etc, but I still haven’t found my camellia. I do wonder if mine is as old as the gardens are; my house is a Victorian house and in the 50s and 60s all the houses got back extensions for indoor toilets and the back yards got converted into gardens. Perhaps the owners at that time planted this camellia and being such a long time ago, this camellia might have ‘gone out of fashion’ by now. Anyone recognise these particular dark pink flowers with the pointed petals? I’d love to know the name :-)

My hyacinths are up, some are still on their way up, some are almost finished, and they smell fantastic, especially when the sun is shining. My hyacinths are: Hyacinths carnegie, white, Hyacinths Woodstock, purple, Hyacinths Fondant, pink. The white ones haven’t emerged, I do wonder if they have died or are sulking because they were moved when I redesigned my garden last year. It shouldn’t really be a problem moving spring bulbs in the autumn, and the hyacinth bulbs looked just fine when I replanted them. But the 4 white ones that I know are in the ground are still not attending their siblings.

And just behind the hyacinths, in a total colour clash that was not intended as the daffodils were late and the hyacinths were early (!!), is a row of bright yellow daffodils still flowering. Yep, sometimes the best laid plans and all that….perhaps I should plant white daffodils here instead, and move these ones further down the garden.

I have two different types of daffodils in my garden, this one is called Falconet. The other type, Pipit is a later one and has not yet started to flower. I got Pipit last year and I am not so happy with the result so far; lots of leaves and not many flower buds yet. I really hope I will get more flowers than it looks like by now, or else it seems like I have been sold quite young bulbs. I will let you know next month how they got on.

I have three Skimmias in my garden, and they are all flowering right now. This is Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’. The flowers are not exactly the showiest in town, they look better through the winter when they are in bud and still red-pink, but it is a plant in flower, and I treasure all my evergreens so I think this one deserve a photo here on GBBD!

And look at this beauty! I have two rhododendrons, a dwarf called Dopey (one of the seven dwarfs) and this one called Christmas Cheer. Dopey has no sign of flowering yet, but has got lots of buds of course, next year’s buds starts to form before this year’s flower drops off; Christmas Cheer however has one flower open so far. By next month they will both be in full flower.

Here are my little ballerinas, just starting to flower! I started out with one small trillium in 2004, swiftly followed by two more, and the collection of Trillium grandiflorium, Trillium luteum and Trillium sessile – or that’s at least what the third was labelled, got a place in my woodland corner. The grandiflorum died first, followed by the luteum which lasted 3 years, but this one has grown from one tiny plant to a considerably clump in the almost 8 years I have had it. I have recently understood that Trillium sessile is the native plant, a much smaller version than I have, and from the many photos I have looked at I am quite sure that mine is a Trillium cuneatum. It looks a bit like T. chloropetalum or T.kurabayashi, but not quite like any of them so I have decided that this is a Trillium cuneatum! Anyone with more experience with trilliums, please feel free to butt in and correct me! I have plenty of space for more woodland plants here, so replacing the Trillium grandiflorum has been on my wish list for a while. Actually, I would have liked to have several more trilliums, Trillium grandiflorum Snowbunting, Trillium catesbaei and Trillium sulcatum would be a good start! Don’t know what they look like? Try Google Trillium grandiflorum Snowbunting, isn’t it just gorgeous?? Sigh….shame they take ages to spread like mine has, I don’t think my wallet could survive buying many of each, some of them cost a fortune…

And in my woodland corner I also have crocuses still, although this is the last of it. Almost all of the white ones have gone over and the blue/purple are also looking a bit tired. The anemones have taken over the flowering here, in different shades of blue.

Here is one of the anemones up-close, this is Anemone Blanda Mixed, all in different shades of blue so far but there should be some more towards pink and purple too in this mix.

I still have many cyclamens in flower in my woodland corner, if I keep up with deadheading they will continue to flower until late May, but I usually leave some to seed so they can spread around and grow new plants. They seem to easily set seeds, even though I have a thick layer of bark mulch.

Ta-dah! Here is my first tulip! Let me present you with Tulip 'Albert Heijn', a fosteriana tulip which I have read might come back year after year. I got mine last autumn so I guess I will just have to wait and see if that's correct....I haven't had much luck with other types of tulips in previous years; lots of flowers the first year, and then subsequent years.... leaves yes, but not much flowers. Time will show! These tulips are in tubs and are therefore the earliest, the rest of my tulips are in the beds and have buds but are not quite ready for a show.

I also have hellebores in flower still, although they are not as pretty as they were a month ago, and one of my Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna is still flowering. And my Ferrari is still flowering, but I have posted so many photos about that one last month so I thought I would skip it today :-) No, it’s not a car, I just call it Ferrari, the correct name is Viburnum Farreri but it’s much easier to remember it as Ferrari! Not sure what it looks like? You can see photos of it on my GBBD post for February if you would like to.

So that’s my tiny London garden in the middle of March 2012, nothing exceptionally early – which is a bit surprising considering the strange winter we have had, and nothing late either. Pretty normal for my garden in March I would say. Spring is a lovely time! Until next time, take care.


  1. Lovely!! You're miles ahead of us here in Boston - we have hardly anything but snowdrops and some crocuses.

  2. How fabulous. You've got such great colour at the moment. The Hyacinths and Daffs look great together and that patch of Crocuses is simply beautiful. Gorgeous Anemone too. I'm so glad to hear you don't have worry about lugging watering cans around this year in an effort to save your plants. I can't imagine 'drought' in England. Over here it's a commonplace occurrence every year in so many parts of our country, but it just doesn't seem to fit with my idea of the weather patterns over there.

  3. I don't know what kind of camellia you have, but it is gorgeous. And i love the way you planted hyacinths and daffodils together - what a pretty pairing. Your Christmas Cheer rhodie is beautiful. I didn't realize they were now naming them after the 7 dwarfs!

  4. Bernie: “rainy” London is less rainy than you might at first think. It gets half as much rain as Sydney, and less than sun-baked Istanbul or Dallas. Normally we get by with the rain during winter, but after two very dry winters the water storages are terribly low so we have to save on water usage. Other parts of the country have got more than their fair share this winter though, and it would have been great if we could have some of that water, but it is not cost effective to pipe it down to us, unfortunately.

    Holley: the seven dwarfs are beautiful, I wish I had space in my garden for all of them! They all grow to a max height and width of 70-80cm. Here are the colours:
    Sleepy is pale lavender, Bashful is pink, Dopey is red, Grumpy is yellow-white, Sneezy is bright pink, Doc is pale pink, Happy is actually called Hoppy for some reason (!!) and is palest pink that fade to white.

    …and I still think my bright yellow daffodils and the pink and purple hyacinths look like a design no-no colour clash, even if some of you like it :-)

  5. Your garden is lovely especially that camellia. Those blooms are stunning with such a soft and beautiful color. I am sorry to hear about your drought...hope things improve soon. We, here on the east coast in the states, have had a wet winter and warm weather. It seems to be strange or different everywhere... Happy Bloom Day!

  6. Thank you for sharing your garden full of beauty! In Wisconsin we have nothing yet but a few crocus and emerging bulb foliage. I especially love your skimmia and your trillium, and that camellia is simply splendid!

  7. aloha,

    wow spring is in full bloom in your garden, love all the pastel hues and the hyacinths, so sweet....

    thanks for showing your garden today :)

  8. That Cemellia is really something special! Mine will take another seven years to look like that :)

  9. You're still ahead of us up north, daffodils and tulips are still in bud. Love your camellia and skimmia.

  10. Hello Helene! Wow - what great spring flowers you have already! Stunning! I joined the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day too but all I had to show was pussywillows and some snow drops. In Ontario we are having the same type of heat wave so new flowers will be popping up every few days. Thanks for the lovely photos.

  11. Wow. The garden is spectacular already! I covet your Camellia. I wish I could help with the identification, although it's nice to maintain a little mystery every now and then. The Trilliums are fantastic too! Great post.

  12. Very impressive, Helene! Everything looks so full and healthy. The Camellias are especially remarkable--I wish we could grow them here. What a wonderful, lush plant to inherit! I have T. grandiflorum and T. erectum growing in the woods behind my house. They're native here. You are fortunate to have outdoor blooms year-round! Happy GBBD!

  13. Absolutely love that trillium! Though everything else looks nice and healthy as well. Wishing for some rain for both of us....

  14. that man with the flip flops could have been me. lol. As it's been awful warm here in Kansas.

  15. Your garden is immaculate! Though I doubt it’s a walk in the park to maintain its beauty, I’m sure all those work that you poured into it are all worth it, when you get to dwell in this stunning little place. I could imagine how beautiful you Victorian house is, adorned with these beautiful florae. Thanks for sharing!

    Bethel Woodard @ Sollecito


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