It’s such an exciting month in the garden, as it is just waking up from its long Winter sleep. Every day, I look for new discoveries – fresh leaf, new blossom and the emergence of long-lost bulbs and perennials, which have disappeared over Winter. By the end of the month, the garden is positively exploding with fresh colour!We have been fortunate to get good rain to start the growing season , the frosts have almost finished and the sunny days are getting longer and longer. The crab apple is in full bloom and beat the white prunus this year, though the latter quickly caught up and now dominates the garden by its sheer size! We were really thrilled to see the bluebells in bud under the crab apple ! The white mulberry and the maples have new leaf and buds forming, as have a number of the shrubs like the new pink weigela and spireae and viburnum, the latter two now opening up.The garden is experiencing the changing of the guard from the final blooms of Winter honeysuckle and daphne to the yellow banksia rose and white maybush;The violets to the new maple leaf and bulbs of the treasure garden in early September, the latter in turn to be supplanted by the cutting garden as the month progressed; The pink violets to the red grevillea, Lady X; The japonicas, camellias and hellebores to the exochorda, lilacs, red rhododendron and roses; The deep red hellebore finally got its act together with a late show of flowers.The roses have been shooting new leaves proliferously and the early roses are in bud: Chateau de Clos Vougeot (photo below) is the most advanced this year; the Banksia rose and Fortuneana are set to explode and we have new buds on Viridiflora and Countess Bertha, Alister Stella Gray, Stanwell Perpetual and Mutabilis, Adam and the new Souvenir de la Malmaison.Along the back path, the lilies are shooting madly, the acanthus has new flower spikes and the Italian lavender and daisies are in full bloom.The sunny heads of the calendula complement the bright golden laburnum nearby.The Peony has finally surfaced, as have the Snakes’ Head Fritillaries, whose pendant buds have such a distinctive chequerboard pattern. Here is the bud opening over the week.A sole blossom on Narcissus panizzianus (1st photo below) has joined the clivea buds, which have opened into clear orange bells. The Cutting Garden is gaining more and more colour every day. We started the season with Bokassa Gold and Clusiana species tulips, which are now guarded by wire cages, since their first bloom (photo 2) was decapitated by the bower birds! The tulips are now in full steam. In order, two photos of each : Lily Tulips Claudia and Synaeda Orange; Destiny Parrot Tulip; Bokassa Red and Verandi; and pale pink Monet Tulips. In the daffodil row, Golden Dawn and Winter Sun have been joined by the delicate Actaea and luscious Acropolis. The divinely-scented freesias have finally opened, as well as a few blue cornflower blooms and a golden Iceberg Poppy from last year. And our first ranunculus is in bloom!We labelled all the daffodil and tulip bulbs, so that when their foliage dies, I can transplant them to new areas around the garden.In the Soho Bed, the loyal Wallflowers are now joined by pink verbena blooms, Italian Lavender, pink thrift and recovering catmint , as well as masses of sweet little forget-me-knots. We have even had our first wild poppy! We still need to thin out the peony poppies, which self-seeded from last year’s crop, but we have done the deed in the hand-sown bed, so it is looking much more ordered! Ross made a separate strawberry bed behind the peony poppies. We weeded the Moon Bed. Ross has also done lots of work in the vegetable garden, including making protective wire guards. He has also potted new cuttings and planted out the rose cuttings, which were struck last year.I too have been busy! In early September, I made a second batch of Spring bulb cushion panels, as well as some based on spring blossom and tulips, to keep me occupied until the garden started exploding in Spring growth. It is such an exciting time of year!The birds are also loving the Spring! The female blackbird has made a nest in the giant bamboo, well away from the neighbourhood cats, but her mate still keeps a watchful eye on proceedings!The male bower bird is in full decorating mode in his attempts to impress a mate! We caught him in the act, plucking a blue cornflower, the colour complementing his violet-blue eyes!The Red-browed Firetail Finches and Eastern Spinebills are loving the insect life in the fresh new foliage.The Silvereyes, Crimson Rosellas, King Parrots, and Satin Bowerbirds are feasting on the blossom! The latter two are also testing out the ripeness of the loquat fruit on a daily basis. It’s lovely to watch the parrots grazing in amongst the bluebells, the grass kept unmown for the bulbs, though I still hate it when the birds (I blame the bowerbirds!) cut off flower heads and new growth! Even the roses and grevillea have been attacked! And if that weren’t enough food, there is always grain to scavenge from my daughter’s budgie cage on the verandah! These birds are such characters!
Finally, a few photos of special moments this first month of Spring… a spider web caught in the dew; a new sun for my daughter’s birthday; a rising moon and a beautiful fluffy sunset cloud.