Saturday, 28 March 2009

Garden in Late March

A definite change in the weather this week, with a drop in temperature and the return of high winds accompanied by rain. In these conditions bird sightings have been less frequent and our garden visitors have not been hanging around long but quickly taking a snack at the feeders and then returning to their hideaways.

Blackbird (male & female); Robin; Blue Tits - there is a strong suspicion that they are using the oldest nest box on the back of my shed again this year. Anita says she saw 4 in the Hawthorn this morning, presumably eating the new growth!
Great Tit - Male calling "didger, didger" constantly so lets hope he has a mate again;
Long-tailed Tits; House Sparrows; Collared Doves; Feral Pigeons; Starlings:
Greenfinches (I've just had to buy more sunflower hearts just to satisfy their ;
Magpies, Parakeets & Carrion Crows flying over.
Plus a possible brief sighting today of the Goldcrest but it didn't perch to enable us to confirm!

A brief visit to via Downside to Hundred Pound Bridge at Bookham Common on Wednesday morning on the way to work provided me with sightings of:

Yellowhammers (4) perched on the roadside hedges; Jay; Grey Heron; Blackbird; Blue, Great & Long-tailed Tits; House Sparrows; Song Thrushes announcing their territories with their repeated phrases that sound like "that's me...that's me...that's me"..."I'm here...I'm here..etc;
Lapwings (6+) calling "pee-wit" as they danced above the fields;
Chiffchaffs (7+) all calling their name "chiff--chaff" repeatedly and signifying their recent return to the UK from Southern Europe & Africa, but no sounds of Blackcap yet! Hopefully during the next 7 - 10 days I may hear the sound of a returning Willow Warbler.

The back garden is now showing a full array of spring colour with Hellebores in full bloom accompanied by self seeded Cypress Spurge (Euphorbia cyparissias 'Fens Ruby'. The cherry tree (prunus sp. ?) that I heavily pruned a year ago is now in full flower and the candyfloss pink blooms are providing a strong focal point for early visiting bees. Underneath you will see the Summer Snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum) that grows up to 60cm high and seems to flower earlier and earlier very year. In the bottom right hand corner you might have spotted the resident Kingfisher (I only wish it was real!) You will no doubt recall an earlier post 'Garden Visitors Today' that included a picture of the Spring Snowflake (Leucojum vernum 'Carpathicum') that only grows 20cm high and has yellow nibs on the petals. During a recent visit by Johan (our Dutch friend & bulb expert) we discussed this plant as I could not recall seeing it in flower last spring. With the help of one of his bulb books we identified this individual as Leucojum vernum 'Podpolozje' which was supplied by bulb expert Janis Ruksans from Latvia two years ago. Johan told me that it was not unusual for this bulb to take one or even two years to produce flowers, so I consider myself very fortunate - I just hope it reappears next year. The right-hand picture below is L. aestivum that has green nibs on the petals.
[Clink link to read about Janis Ruksans & his book 'Buried Treasures' which is a fascinating account of his bulb collecting adventures scouring remote and dangerous regions of Europe & Asia to bring back the botanical treasures that he offers through his nursery, often contending with corrupt government agents, armed rebels, drunken drivers, and even (before the fall of the Soviet Union) the KGB.]

I have never been very successful in growing the taller garden Tulips on our heavy clay as the bulbs often rot off through our wet winters but the smaller, early flowering botanical types (specie hybrids) seem to cope much better and are now beginning to bulk up.
Above is Tulipa humilis 'Persian Pearl' and below is a clusiana type flowering earlier than expected in a pot (note to self - I must check it's correct name!).
Behind the shed in a shady spot Anemone nemorosa 'Robinsoniana' is starting to come into flower.
At the bottom of the garden the ornamental quince Chaenomeles speciosa 'Yuki-Goten' is starting to open its semi-double white blooms and should produce even more aromatic fruits in late summer.


  1. Wow! A beautiful array of flowers. It's warmer here today, but there's rain/snow and winds forecast starting tonight through Tuesday. So, spring isn't quite here yet.

  2. So gorgeous! I love the 'Persian Pearl'!! I believe the last time you posted garden photos was last week and I swear I can see growth since then if I remember last weeks pictures correctly. We will not see that kind of color in our garden until at least May!

  3. seeing all those flowers!!! The Spring Snowflake is my favorite and reminds me of our Lily of the Valley, which is wonderfully fragrant. Is your Spring Snowflake also sweet smelling?

  4. Beautiful looking garden Frank.
    I have a constant battle with my dog trying to wreck my efforts; but I'm slowly winning.

  5. Lovely post Frank full of goodies. A good list of birds and such beautiful flowers. The Snowflakes are so pretty and are definitely on my shopping list for next time as are more Hellebores after seeing your beauties. Lovely Japonica too, I have a red one not sure exactly which as it was given to me by an elderly neighbour as a cutting years ago, it produces very good sized fruit but to my shame I have never made jam with it, maybe that is something else for my list of things to do!

  6. Your garden is so lovely Frank. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  7. Yes Frank, its been a case of March being "In like a Lamb" and "Out like a Lion" rather than the other way around.

  8. The weather here today is windy, chilly, and it's raining off and on. I was planning to go out and plant the Hellebore that I bought yesterday, but it doesn't feel like ideal gardening weather! Love your flowers, and your tulips look wonderful. Cheers!

  9. Montanagirl. Your winter weather seems to be hanging around longer than usual.

    Kallen. Yes, the brief warmer weather has spurred everything into growth.

    Kelly. L. aestivum is said to have a faint chocolate fragrance but I haven't smelt it yet!

    holdingmoments. My battle is with local cats - Can I borrow your dog?

    Jan. We had very few fruits on the Japonica last year but hopefully there will be more this year to do something with.

    Jayne. Thanks, happy to oblige.

  10. Roy, let's hope there is better weather on it's way to greet the arriving migrants.

    Heather, I hope your weather improves so you can get that Hellebore in the ground where it belongs. Is it already in flower or will it's colour be a surprise?

  11. After receiving 4 more inches of snow this morning - it was nice to see the beautiful array of flowers you have! The tulips are gorgeous and the last photo looked so soft and poetic!

  12. It is indeed already in full bloom - it's a beautiful cream color with some subtle streaks of crimson. I will try to get some photos before it's blooming season ends!

  13. Wow Frank, you've got some gorgeous flowers in your garden. I especially like the Leucojum.

  14. Thanks Shelly. Sorry to hear you have more snow.

    Heather, I look forward to catching a glimpse of those blooms soon.

    Thanks Ruthie & it's a popular choice.

  15. Hi again Frank :-)

    Lovely images and very interesting post – oh and perhaps a goldcrest sighting too! I should confess… I have become a fan of the snowflake ;-)

  16. Hi Shirl. When I planted the first few bulbs some years ago I don't think I ever anticipated how well they would grow & easy to split clumps aand replant. Now I'm totally converted & admit to taking more photos when I got home today.


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


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