March Is Bloomin’ Lovely

Viburnum x bodnantense

 

Viburnum x bodnantense

This is the first time it has flowered all winter. I suppose that’s not surprising. It’s one of the most recent victims of the now infamous rusty duck ‘restoration prune’. The haircut of a lifetime, babe. There were so many shrubs growing out of control when we arrived here that I’ve staggered their treatment. Partly because I didn’t want the garden to look like a scene from the apocalypse and partly because I wasn’t at all sure it would work. With confidence levels increasing, the shears make a more regular appearance these days. Perhaps in hindsight I was rather too gentle with the viburnum. This year I might take it back a bit more. In the meantime I am happy with my solitary blooming twig. The bees are making the most of it too.

 
 

Narcissus

 

Obligatory hybrid narcissus

 

It’s been a crazy month for weather. I wrote about the ‘Beast From The East’ and Storm Emma in a recent post but between the snow, wind and rain we’ve had the occasional glimpse of something a bit more pleasant. Only occasional mind. My feeling was that Spring in the garden is arriving later this year but looking back at previous posts it isn’t necessarily the case, although the daffodils are definitely having a poor year. Perhaps they suffered the effects of the big freeze at a less than opportune moment. It’s forecast to be cold in the week ahead as well.

The primula and pulmonaria of last month are all still going strong.

 
 
 

 

But if it’s March it can only mean one thing really. Yep, it’s the Hellebore Fest!

 Hellebores seem almost impervious to the cold, if not from being eaten. I may have put Flopsy bunny in the frame prematurely. One of the more interesting outcomes of the lying snow was the number of footprints left by night wandering critters. One set of tracks, clearly deer, leapt the handrail next to the 84 steps and continued on up the hill.. right through the area where most of the nibbled hellebores are located. There is a strong case for firing up Duck Cam once again and I am evaluating the battery situation.

 
 

 

Helleborus ‘Harvington Double Pink’

 
 

Helleborus orientalis 'Anja Oudolf'

 

Helleborus orientalis ‘Anja Oudolf’

 
 

Helleborus 'Penny's Pink'

 

Helleborus ‘Penny’s Pink’

 
 
 
Helleborus 'Harvington Double Yellow Speckled'
 

Helleborus ‘Harvington Double Yellow Speckled’

 
 

Helleborus 'Harvington Apricot'

 

Helleborus ‘Harvington Apricot’

 

Enough of my years have passed in this garden for a trend to start emerging with hellebores. The plants that I grow from seed, or that have kindly volunteered themselves, establish more quickly and form larger, more robust clumps. The named hybrids take much longer to settle in. I suppose that’s not surprising either. If the latter spend most of their lives in the protected environment of a polytunnel to suddenly find themselves stuck in a hole on a cold and wet Devon hillside is going to come as a bit of a shock. But of course the self seeded plants are a lottery when it comes to garden worthiness. With the named hybrids you know what you’re getting. And who could deny that they are truly marvellous to behold.

 
 

Moraea loubseri

 

Moraea loubseri

A South African bulb which would only survive in a protected environment in this neck of the woods. This year it has offered up four blooms so far, each lasting two or three days. The foliage will then die down and the bulb must be kept completely dry over the summer making it a permanent greenhouse resident in the moist lushness of Devon. Luckily it is no trouble and takes up relatively little room. And what a treat in March if, as now, it is far too horrible to be gardening outside.

 
 

Mahonia aquifolium

 

Mahonia aquifolium

A ray of sunshine picked out this cluster of tiny blooms. It isn’t up there with the statuesque shrubby mahonias, this species barely reaches two feet tall for me. I grow it for tough, evergreen, ground cover up on the bank where it gently spreads and helps to bind the soil. The leaves, purple tinted in winter, provide a good foil for the flowers.

 
 

Camellia

 

Camellia NoID

I’ll finish up with a couple of camellias. The single flowered version of my two fluorescent pink inherited shrubs is taking a year off. Someone attacked it with a pair of shears. No, really? Surely not. This one is fearing that it could be next. It might be.

 
 

Camellia japonica 'Adeyaka'

 

Camellia japonica ‘Adeyaka’

To my minimalist eye, much the better plant. Although it does display some worryingly yellow leaves. Sequestered iron may be what it needs. Oh this gardening lark, it provides so many different challenges doesn’t it?

 
 

Linking to Carol and Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens (here), where you will find a host of March bloomers from around the world.