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Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Tomorrow is the first day of spring (by one of the standards at least), so to cheer everyone up, here are some of the flowers of the end of winter. Just a random collection from a trip around the garden with a camera -

Daphne bholua. All the Daphnes are worth growing, but this one is a real star. It starts flowering in January here and is still well covered with its wonderfully scented blooms as we go into March. This one is about 2m tall, but I have seen them reach 5m or more. I also have a couple of hybrids from it which are slightly different in form or flower scent, but the true species is hard to improve upon.

Iris unguicularis “Mary Barnard”. The Algerian Iris flowers in spells from Autumn right through Spring. Scented.

Cyclamen coum, which seed themselves around in patches in the rough grass under the apple trees.

The winter-flowering scented Loniceras (honeysuckles) are also flowering well. Lonicera purpusii is well-known - this one is L. setifera, a bit rarer with distinctive bristly stems.

I have other photos but this will do for now!

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Anemone Blanda is the flower of the moment. So vivid, so delicate. There are more each year and it is starting to colonise the gravel drive. If it wants to rule the world for a week or two I am OK with that. What is making you smile?

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Not in our garden, sadly

Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey

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Well it’s a bit of a different story up here. My crocuses and snowdrops are still in flower but just going over. My daffs are looking like they might just consider flowering in another week or so! And almost nothing else is stirring except the autumn planted garlic which is happily around 5-10cm up now.

As discussed last year I’m shifting to planting all my tatties in bags this year and have just planted up four bags (four seed potatoes in each) of Casablanca first earlies. They will probably stay in the conservatory/greenhouse for a few more weeks yet (tatties in bags are very susceptible to frost). Also planted onions and broad beans. Fingers crossed for a better season than last year which was largely disastrous in my garden!

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Beetroot, for some unknown reason failed to bulk up last year. I left them in the ground & they are showing fresh new leaves now. Most likely they will happily bolt and go to flower… but I have a hope that they might bulk up THIS year? or at the very least the stems & leaves can be eaten as a chard look-alike,

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An item on Gardeners World featured a man who left a few parsnips to go to seed the following year. The purpose was to attract the blackfly, thus keeping them away from his beans. (Though his main interest was in insects)

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I had problems with my onions bulking up last year. They came out of the ground only marginally bigger than they went in :frowning:

Broad beans? I pinch the tops out once some beans have set - and stir fry them. Very tasty, but a bit stringy. Unsurprisingly they taste of broad bean.

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