Spring Awakening: Delights and Surprises in the Garden

20 Mar 2024

After a long period of hopeful waiting over the dwindling weeks of winter, I am more cheered than ever to see the hyacinths and narcissi poking their jovial faces through the soil this year. They’re always the first, but I am relieved to see them at all after a rabble of ravenous rats spent much of the winter gorging on our bulbs. Now the wait is on for the tulips, which will be next. I love them at all their stages – from slowly unfurling green buds to the riot of colour that will soon be gracing the beds and borders.

Our hellebores are currently riding the crest of their peak, their milky greens and deep plummy aubergines a spectacular highlight of the spring garden. I love that each variety is so delicate and distinct, as well as the spread, which is generous and abundant. The varieties that we planted a few years ago have now migrated pleasingly over to the bed opposite our kitchen, arranging themselves in the most gorgeous clumps. We’ve planted creamy narcissi and sarcococca amidst them, which provides a particularly lovely scent as you meander up the garden path.
The sweetly demure bowing heads of our fritillaria raddeana are another delightful early bloomer in the spring garden, offering an uplifting injection of pale lemon yellow in our otherwise empty quadrant beds, and thus cheering our souls. Not long now until they will be thronged by an explosion of colour as the perennials bed in later in the year.
While flowers may be relatively scant in the garden just now, there is huge joy to be found in the darker and more lush corners of the garden. One of my absolute favourite beds at the moment is one that grows just alongside the greenhouse and is currently bedecked by verdant, foliage-heavy artichokes. Basking in its shelter courtesy of the greenhouse, it’s a little further along than some of the other beds, and soon it will really hit its stride as the daffs we planted alongside burst into life too.  

One of the happiest sights in the garden is the bobbing lid on my rhubarb forcer signifying that there is a fresh crop at the ready. Grown without any sunlight, it will be tender, tasty and the most perfect pink. This really is one of the most thrilling moments in the garden: the time between blooms appearing and anticipation of what’s to come.

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