Brave hearts, all of them!

The garden at the moment is in a state of suspended animation. A few weeks ago we had one or two sunny days, everything started growing, sending out new shoots, and then arctic winds from Russia came and burnt everything. The plants all just look cold and fed up, they obviously regret putting out new shoots and because it is so cold there are no bees pollinating the flowers so the few that are out are lasting such a long time. To cheer myself up I went for a wander round the garden, after putting on the coat, hat, gloves, scarf etc to keep the wind at bay, to see if I could find any flowers to photograph. We are so very lucky not to have had deep snow everywhere with power lines down causing misery to everyone, farmers especially who have lost their animals in the snow drifts, that must be devastating. My first photograph is of a Camellia, Jury’s Yellow, in the woodland which is fairly sheltered compared to the rest of the garden. Usually this goes brown at the drop of a hat, but I was amazed to see that non of the flowers had been caught by the frost.

Camellia Jury's Yellow

Scilla siberica

My first Scilla siberica emerging from the frozen earth, such a tiny little plant, you would wonder how it survives such freezing winds.

Chionodoxa rosea

Facing the few bits of sunshine that we have had lately are Chionodoxa rosea, they are a bit more pink than they look in this photo. They are on the alpine scree which gets all the wind coming from the east.

Anamone blanda

In the shelter of the woodland a few Anemone Blanda have decided that it is warm enough in the sunshine, must get more of these as there are quite a few sunny spots where they could be happy.


Pulmonaria are flowering everywhere, usually they are covered in bees, but no such luck with it being so cold in spite of the sun, bees are staying tightly tucked up where they are warm!

Corydalis solida

Another Corydalis solida, this time just called “lilac flowered”, it always flowers a lot later than pink Beth Evans, but just as pretty I think.

Corydalis solida Beth Evans

Beth Evans just gets better and better, no matter what the weather is doing, she has been in flower for all of February and March despite freezing temperatures at night time and not much better during the day.

Euphorbia robbiae

On the bank by the ditch in the woodland, Euphorbia robbiae is spreading by underground runners, this bank is very dry and in shade for most of the year so I am just happy that something likes it here. I will have to watch it though, it is getting too near some precious snowdrops!

Narcissus Jack Snipe

Narcissus are starting to open once more, after most of the Tete a Tete got blown over by the wind, more buds have opened and now other narcissus are joining in, I’m still waiting for St.Patrick however, will he ever open! This one is Jack Snipe.

Daphne bholua

Daphne bholua is still pumping out her delicious perfume in the woodland, but I had to go very close to sniff her. She is another plant that has been flowering for such a long time, possibly waiting in vain for a passing bee to pop by.


More cowslips are opening in the woodland, I’m ignoring the fritillaries around them, you know what happened there from the previous post!


But look what has happened in the front garden, there are lots of primroses at the back of the bee and butterfly border, but someone or something has been ripping these apart, not eating the flowers, just dropping them on the ground. Do I blame Mr Pheasant for this too or is this sparrows, but we don’t often see sparrows here ?


I managed to find a clump of primroses in the ditch at the back that hadn’t been attacked!

Prunus Kojo no mai

Prunus Kojo no mai is making a valiant effort to flower, with everyone else having snow, it looks as though the bush is covered with snowflakes.

Primula denticulata

Primula denticulata is the first primula to flower in the bog garden, all the candelabra primulas are just coming through all the muddy earth, thank goodness they all seem to have survived the floods and frost. What we need is some nice weather so I can dig in compost and leaf mould where I want to plant all the candelabra and meconopsis seedlings  which I have been nursing all winter.

Double primrose

Over at the side of the garden by the field, just to the left of the pergola are a few double primroses, this blue one is in desperate need of splitting, must remember to do it this year when flowering has finished.


This is always the very first primula to flower in the garden, sometimes it starts in January and carries on for months, I’ve forgotten the name of this one, so if anyone can help, I would be very grateful.


Coloured cowslips started turning up in the garden a few years ago. They were removed from the main group by the bog garden and put in the shade behind the dead oak in the centre of the garden. We have red ones as well as these so they can misbehave together. I’m wondering if the coloured ones are sterile as we have never had any seedlings in this area.

Hellebore and Peony

This pairing cheers me up each time I go out. They are in the front in the bee and butterfly border and it is pure coincidence that the outer petals of the double hellebore match the gorgeous leaves of peony mlokoswitchii.

Finding all these little flowers bravely opening in spite of the freezing wind day after day, has cheered me up a lot, hopefully the weather will soon change for us all and get back to what it should be for this time of year. Last year, when Easter was later than this year, I wrote a post “The garden wore white for Easter” and there were so many plants to choose from that were just white, never mind the coloured ones, only the Prunus wore white for Easter this year, Happy Easter everyone!

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34 Responses to Brave hearts, all of them!

  1. pbmgarden says:

    Your garden is amazing Pauline. So many lovelies despite the bad weather. I just love the soft yellow of your camellia.

    • Pauline says:

      I’m so pleased Susie, with that camellia this year. It has far more flowers on it than ever before, thanks to all the rain we had last year. Fortunately it hasn’t been frosted so far in spite of the sub zero temperatures, so for once we will be able to see it as it should be.

  2. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    So lucky to have actual soil and plants to see. Today has been quite a bit warmer and a lot has melted; at one point it was actually quite warm in the sun when I stood by the back window… Obviously outside it was much cooler, we have soil appearing now and large patches of grass on the back lawn. Some Crocii can be seen, but the borders are still generally very much covered in a nasty layer of ice…

    Hope the buds here haven’t been damaged too much – pulmonaria, forsythia etc were all coming into bloom.

    • Pauline says:

      I’m so glad Liz that you are slowly reclaiming your garden, let’s hope there isn’t any more white stuff! We might not have had any snow but the temperatures have been dire even during the day because of the wind, no gardening can be done, no plants planted because everything is so frozen. Never before have I had to wear so many layers and have the heating on so much. I feel so sorry for the poor garden, but I’m sure it will be ok when the temperatures rise again.

  3. Happy Easter to you too Pauline! Despite the cold weather you have lots of flowers to show us. The soft yellow Camellia that you opened up with is so beautiful. They are not hardy here and so I am not really familiar with growing them, but I have seen many blooms on the blogs I frequent. I don’t remember seeing a flower form like this before though. Very pretty! I loved the pink Corydalis solida in a previous post and now the lavender one as well. Too bad about the beheaded primroses! Hopefully the pheasant, the sparrows or whomever is responsible for the damage moves on.

    • Pauline says:

      Happy Easter Jennifer. Camellias are hardy over here, I think their only problem is that they musn’t be planted where the early morning sun can thaw out frosted flowers, they then turn brown. Most of mine are planted in the woodland so the sun doesn’t get to them until about 10am, but usually they still go brown, I’m pleasantly surprised that they are looking good in spite of all the frost that we have been having for weeks now.
      We too hope that the pheasant moves on, very quickly!!

  4. Gitte says:

    Lovely pictures from your garden. I love your corydalis and the primula denticulatis. It will be some time before the bees come here too. Everything is still covered in snow, but it looks better in the coming days with some sun. But we still have frost every night.

    • Pauline says:

      I hope your snow soon goes Gitte, I know we are all waiting until we can get on the garden again and do some planting. It is the icy wind that is keeping our temperatures below freezing, it must stop soon, please! I feel spring can’t be far away when the primulas start showing their flowers, as the days go by more and more are opening up, but no bees for them yet!
      There is another corydalis solida which has red flowers, I must hunt it down seeing as the other 2 like the soil here.

  5. Gitte says:

    I forgot to wish you a happy easter 🙂

  6. Cathy says:

    It is lovely to see the wide collection of early spring flowers you have Pauline, and itis giving me ideas of new plants to add to my borders. I particularly like the corydalis, and can’t imagine why I haven’t got any, although I am sure I might have tried some in the past. How many of these plants are in the woodland itself, Pauline, and how many are on the edges? I am wondering whether I could add more variety to the primroses, wood anemones, bluebells and garlic in my little woodland.

    • Pauline says:

      Quite a few of the plants are within the woodland Cathy, with the trees still bare they are getting quite a lot of sun when it decides to shine! The camellia, anemone blanda, pulmonaria, corydalis, euphorbia robbiae, narcissus, daphne, cowslip and primrose are all in what I call the woodland, even the ditch is within the woodland edge. There are also a couple of geraniums that are there because they like shade, small campanulas seed themselves about with gay abandon, epimedium like the shade too, along with solomon’s seal and lily of the valley. Liriope muscari flower in the autumn along with the hardy cyclamen. Bowles golden grass is making itself very much at home, I have to remember to cut its flower spikes off before it goes to seed as it is everywhere, at least when I buy a new plant, I can always remove a clump of grass! There are still lots of plants that I haven’t tried in the woodland yet, eventually maybe……? Of course, I forgot to mention the hostas, heucheras ferns etc etc!!

  7. Helen says:

    Happy Easter to you Pauline. It’s nice to see that there are flowers, the ones that really should be here now, in some places. Here we have scilla siberica and primroses, apart from that, natch. As somebody wrote on his garden blog, can’t remember who, these days with winter lasting 6 months we should be happy anything is growing. The garden will recover, but I do worry about the migrant birds that are beginning to show up, chiff chaffs, swallows and other insect eaters, how will they survive this non-stop cold. To be honest, I am getting a bit fed up.

    • Pauline says:

      I’m sure the garden will recover Helen, but when I cry! No end in sight for the freezing temperatures for the next week apparently, one day everything is going to explode at once and there will be colour everywhere!!
      It is worrying if the summer migrants are beginning to arrive, there aren’t any insects yet for them to eat, they are staying safely tucked away from the cold.
      Happy Easter to you Helen and your family, wishing you a lovely weekend.

  8. Christina says:

    Lovely post full of hope. You have so much happening in your garden. The plants certainly seem to feel that spring is close at hand. Thank you for sharing your lovely spring flowers. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      I think it is slightly warmer today Christina with lovely sunshine, but I won’t get too excited yet as the forecast is for colder weather again this coming week! Eventually spring will arrive and all the flowers will open at once, it should be amazing. In the meantime I appreciate the few that are opening up each day. Happy Easter Christina

  9. You are far ahead of us—just the little tips of the primrose leaves are showing. Yesterday it was warmer (but not warm) and sunny and bees did appear. Early bulbs like Siberian squill and A. blanda shot out of the ground where I guess they had been waiting for just such a day. Your C. solida is beautiful, one of my early favorites. Have you tried the cultivar ‘George P. Baker’, gorgeous.

    • Pauline says:

      The wind has swung round to the south Carolyn, so it feels quite a few degrees warmer today, thank goodness, but more frost forecast for tonight, poor plants. Nice sunshine today so I hope to see a difference in the flowers soon, still haven’t seen any bees, the last were in February. George Baker has been on my wish list for a while, I will find him eventually! Happy Easter to you and your family Carolyn.

  10. It was 68 degrees today and wonderful, finally to garden in the sun. It is so appropriate that it would be sunny on Easter Sunday. Happy Easter to you and yours…

    • Pauline says:

      So glad Spring has arrived somewhere at last! We had the sunshine but still had the very cold wind unfortunately, which was a bit off putting. I hope you and your family had a lovely Easter Day.

  11. Wendy says:

    You have some beautiful flowers there, Pauline. Spring woodland flowers are always favourites of mine. There is more sun forecast for this week here, at least, so the flowers should have a better chance to look their best (despite the cold). Like you, I wish I could see more bees about though; it’s just been far too cold for them.

    • Pauline says:

      At least the flowers are lasting a long time Wendy, without the bees to pollinate them. It was a lovely sunny day yesterday with the wind from the south, but its back to a cold east wind today unfortunately, I’m just not tempted to get out when it is so cold. Plants are amazing the way they cope with all sorts of weather, they deserve a nice bit of warm weather now!

  12. wellywoman says:

    Still a remarkable amount of flowers, Pauline, considering the weather. I don’t normally like camellias but your creamy-white one is stunning. I think it might just be the very pink ones I don’t like. I noticed yesterday that my Primula denticulata had done something very strange. Rather than sending up a flower stalk the flowers have all formed in a tight ball within the rosette of the leaves. I’m not sure whether the stalk will start to grow now but it looks very odd at the moment. Have you ever seen this before?

    • Pauline says:

      I agree with you WW about the red and pink camellias, I much prefer the white ones at this time of year. Hopefully your Primula denticulata will decide to put up its stalk, yes, sometimes mine have a properly developed flower right amongst the leaves but they soon shoot up. The sunshine is lovely at the moment, but the wind, Brrrrrrrr! “they” say the wind will change to the west at the weekend so we should be a bit warmer!

  13. What a beautiful selection of spring plants. I especially like that primula, it’s such a pretty colour.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Paula, I was so pleased to find that lots of varieties of primula really like our wet heavy clay. There are so many lovely colours to choose from, its difficult to decide, I end up buying far too many! Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment, its good to hear from someone new!

  14. Angie says:

    I followed your link from Cathy’s blog (Rambling in the Garden) – I’m so glad I did.
    What a world of a difference there is compared to my garden. I have quite a few of the plants you have there and mines are no where near flowering. Never mind, I got to enjoy yours before mine come out 🙂
    I’ve just fallen for that coloured cowslip – must keep my eye out for this. My drumstick primula are poking their crowns above the soil. What a beautiful garden you have – you now have a new follower 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Lovely to hear from you Angie, thanks for following the link from Cathy. I think my flowers are all regretting putting up their blooms so early, we have had such a freezing cold wind for weeks now and everything is looking rather wind burnt, almost as though someone has passed a flame gun over everything.
      We have lots of the common yellow cowslips and a couple of years ago they started producing flowers of red and orange, which have now been moved to an area where they can’t misbehave with the yellow ones!
      Thanks for visiting, lovely to hear from someone new!

  15. Pauline I like the hellebore and peony m combo. I would like to invite you to join in with #Terrifying Tuesday next week – post a garden related pic that can take any shape or form as long as it is vaguely disquieting.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Catherine, though if I’m honest it was pure luck, I don’t think I remembered the peony was there when I planted the hellebore! I will try and remember next Tuesday, but I know how forgetful I am these days, thanks for asking me!

  16. debsgarden says:

    So nice to see the blooms untouched by frost! My saddest loss to frost this year is all of the flowers on the Burford holly, turned crispy just as they were ripe for pollination. So most likely no holly berries this year. All of your primulas are lovely! I planted some for the first time this year, and they seem to have enjoyed the cold, wet weather we have had. They are blooming beautifully, but I suspect they won’t like summer at all.

    • Pauline says:

      So sorry Deb to hear about your holly flowers, such a shame that you won’t have any berries next winter, for you or the birds! Primulas are a lovely family of plants and I’m sure they are loving the weather at the moment, just as well something is!! Today is bright sunshine but it was very frosty overnight, I’m in London at the moment staying with our son and dil, they tell us that it is gradually getting warmer day by day, I do hope so!

  17. You have some amazing blooms that have persevered. I really enjoyed the walk through your garden.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Charlie, most of the flowers though are looking rather burnt by the freezing wind, I decided not to show them! The wind seems to have eased now and the temperature is slowly rising, hopefully now we will have spring!

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