What a difference…..

…..a few degrees in the temperature makes and the sun deciding to shine shows the garden in a totally different light. I got so depressed each time I went into the garden and saw all the plants looking so burnt and almost dead, no photos were taken for a long time. The temperatures have been slowly rising over the last week and thank goodness, that awful freezing wind has stopped and now is just a gentle breeze from the south west. We have had rain for a couple of days, but that, with the sunshine today is making everywhere sparkle!



Plants that I thought had given up in the non stop freezing temperatures are now putting out new flowers, I’ll have to go round everywhere snipping away all the burnt blooms and leaves.

Daphne bholua

With plants being in suspended animation for weeks, the plus side is that they are flowering for a lot longer, Daphne bholua is still pumping out her perfume throughout the woodland. Bees for pollination have been missing in the cold, I’m sure they will now come and do what bees do naturally.

Pulmonaria and Milleum

Pulmonarias and Mileum effusum Aureum have seeded about quite a lot, normally the pulmonaria would be buzzing with bees, hope they find us soon.

False Oxlip

False oxlips are appearing  wherever we have both cowslips and primroses growing together. They have the height from the cowslip but the flowers are the size, paler colour and shape from the primroses.


Cowslips, Primula veris, are flowering in the woodland, but not along the path in the bog garden yet. The woodland is more sheltered and where they are by the bog garden was getting the full blast of the freezing easterly winds so I imagine they will now get into flowering mode and try to catch up.

Primula veris

A coloured seedling of one of my cowslips from a few years ago. There is a red one too and they have been moved away from all the other yellow cowslips. I haven’t noticed any seedlings round about, so maybe these coloured ones are sterile, I will have to wait and see.


Looking into the woodland from the back garden, across the ditch, it is now looking as it should have done in March, plants will have to catch up quickly.

Side ditch

The side of the ditch on the left going into the woodland is quite colourful at the moment, pulmonarias still waiting for the bees, along with Corydalis solida and Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae.


Not so long ago, the woodland was awash with the white of snowdrops, now it has a more yellow colouring as the daffodils open up, eventually it will be white again once Narcissus Thalia gets into its stride.

Camellia Jury's  Yellow

Camellia Jury’s Yellow is the one I showed a week or so ago, lots and lots of lovely buds this year thanks to all the rain we had last summer. Usually camellias and rhododendrons abort their flower buds if they don’t get enough moisture in July and August, no problem there last year!


I must leave the woodland now, have my lunch and then come and cut back scorched foliage and flowers, its also time to cut back the hellebores as I don’t want thousands of seedlings everywhere. There is such a difference in the garden now, my spirits have lifted and I am keen to get on once more with all the work that needs doing.

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32 Responses to What a difference…..

  1. Helen says:

    What a pretty woodland garden you have. It rained for the first time in ages last night and the garden was positively singing this morning. I think spring flowers look better when it has rained, there is something in the light I think. I am desperate for more rain as we havent had much at all this year and the garden is very dry.

    I havent got the heart to cut back the hellebores as I am enjoying their flowers too much.

    • Pauline says:

      The plants do look happier don’t they Helen, bright and perky after the rain! We add more and more woodland plants each year, but each year there’s always room for more. Woodland plants are so ephemeral, they pop up early in the year to flower while the trees are still bare and then retreat underground for the summer, they are so special because they are so fleeting. Most of my hellebore flowers are looking rather burnt by the wind so I will be glad to be rid of them, any that aren’t burnt will be spared a little longer!

  2. Cathy says:

    You will have been so pleased to have had the rain, Pauline, and although Helen says she has had it in the Malverns we are a bit further north and have only had a short sprinkling so far here but it is looking a little greyer (but a soft grey, not unpleasant) now, so hopefully…. 😉 I will never tire of seeing your woodland flowers, so thanks for continuing to feature them! I am sorry the winds caught your hellebore flowers – ours have continued as good as new after the snow, and the only thing the winds seem to have affected are some of the new growth on the roses.

    • Pauline says:

      The woodland looked so much better this morning Cathy, I think while it was freezing every day for weeks, any rain we had, had just frozen solid in the soil and hadn’t been any use to the plants at all. With the wind drying them out, they had all got burnt, not just the hellebores, but the narcissus in places and lots of others too, so quite a bit of tidying to do. Not this afternoon unfortunately, it is pouring down now!!

  3. Our gardens are at about the same stage with the daffodils, pulmonarias, and hellebores blooming. However, my primroses are really not out yet with just a few buds showing color. The only reason we are as far along as we are given our extremely cold March is that it was almost 90 degrees F here yesterday and 85 the two previous days.

    • Pauline says:

      Carolyn, that is seriously hot!! I imagine you and your plants will be wilting in the heat! Today we have had some very sharp showers, alternating with some nice sunshine, which should bring the plants along nicely, more to what they should be for this time of year.

  4. Gitte says:

    Your woodland looks lovely now. The weatherforecast here says that from sunday it should be getting a lot warmer. I´m looking forward to seeing my pulmonarias and cowslips. I´m sure that everything will burst forth once the sun and warmth come.

    • Pauline says:

      Our forecasters say the same Gitte, Sunday is supposed to be the day when we will all be feeling hot! The woodland is my favourite place when all the flowers are out, from snowdrops in January through to May or even June, when the leaves are then on all the huge trees that we have.I think you’re right, everything will try to flower when it heats up to try and catch up with where they should be for this time of year, at the moment, they are all a month behind.

  5. Anna says:

    Glad to hear that the prevailing wind direction has changed Pauline and that you are out and about camera in hand again. We are a bit behind you in terms of the rain which arrived here this morning and was much needed. It looks as if all your beautiful woodlanders are clumping up fast and furious. Your pulmonarias look much further on than mine and will be much appreciated by the bees. I saw one yesterday and the first butterfly of the year on Saturday. Sadly we are two hives down at the allotment 🙁

    • Pauline says:

      It is so much nicer Anna, now that the wind has dropped and is from the west, such a difference for me and the plants! I’m so glad the plants are looking so much better in the woodland, I really look forward to a quick look in there each day but just didn’t feel like visiting while everything was looking so stressed. So sorry to hear about your bees, I think everyone is finally realising just how important they are to us all, not just for flowers but for our food too.

  6. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    Glad to see your garden is perking up now; let’s hope things get back on track quickly… With a supposed ‘heat wave’ heading our way this weekend, it’ll be the perfect time for getting out… Although I don’t see how two days of warm temps can be considered a heat wave, personally. But I am of course more than happy that it’s warmed 🙂
    We’ve even had some very light drizzle today, something that has been very lacking for the past month or so, regardless of the snow. The air had that lovely wet, tarmacy smell to it that you get when it rains on warm days.

    • Pauline says:

      I think we all feel better Liz, now that the temperatures are rising, and about time too! When the warm weather arrives on Sunday, I hope we can cope with the heat! Our rain has been very heavy today, but with lots of sunshine too, this will get all the weeds growing unfortunately, but will be really good for all the plants in the garden, hopefully it will soon catch up.

  7. Christina says:

    I feel just the same, a couple of days with warm sunshine and I am full of joy and want to spend every minute in the garden. It is interesting to see all the same flowers still going strong in your garden, that rarely happens here – it will suddenly get really warm, everything will flower and then it will be all over (I can’t bare to think about it) Christina

    • Pauline says:

      The flowers have been in suspended animation Christina, for weeks now, at last they are now able to proceed with their growth. The soil was frozen so far down, the plants couldn’t get any moisture, they were just existing…..it was all so depressing. We now have temperatures that are more like the norm for April, thank goodness. However at the weekend “they” tell us that the temperatures will get to 20C in East Anglia, I hope not down here! Us gardeners are never satisfied!!

  8. Wendy says:

    It’s lovely to see your beautiful flowers blooming now spring has become a bit more “normal”. If the forecast is right for this weekend, then the bees will be out in force at last.

    • Pauline says:

      The plants and I are so much happier Wendy, the rain and sunshine today was exactly what they wanted! I do hope the bees will be out this weekend, they have been missed by the flowers, that is why they have lasted so long.

  9. I loved walking through your garden. I am right about where you are with the condition of my garden. The Daphne’s and the cowslip are in full bloom, but the Mason bees have not come out to play their role yet. It is amazing what just a little rise in the temperature will do.

    • Pauline says:

      Charlie, I’m amazed at how long the Daphne has been in flower, it seems like forever, but must have been since February.I’m not complaining, the scent each time I go into the woodland is wonderful! Hopefully as our temperatures rise, the bees will come out and start buzzing the garden.

  10. What beautiful photos of your spring garden, such a lovely selection of plants. I’ve seen a few bees buzzing around over the last couple of days, and hopefully more will arrive with the weekend of fine weather they are promising us.

    • Pauline says:

      I’m hoping too Paula, that the bees will arrive at the weekend, it doesn’t seem right not to have bees buzzing at this time of year. So glad you like our little woodland garden, It is my favourite part of the garden at the moment because of all the flowers it has.

  11. Caro says:

    Down here in London, we’ve had a couple of overnight drenchings and today is the first really rainy day – it’s great! Prior to this I was actually going down to the garden for an hour after work, first task being to water the plants!! The light evenings are allowing me to get a little tidying done each evening, a perfect way to round off the day, and I’m really looking forward to the promised sunny day this Sunday – as ever, there’s lots to do! Lovely to see your little woodland garden – I’m quite envious!

    • Pauline says:

      It seems crazy doesn’t it Caro, that plants were short of water at this time of year, all our rain water in the soil was frozen solid so no use to the plants, they just looked dried and burnt by the freezing wind. The difference this week is amazing, the plants have grown, they have filled out and loads of buds have now opened up, the woodland looks far more like it should in April. Light evenings are so precious to those who work during the week and I think you will be getting lots of sunshine on Sunday – we have more rain forecast, though it will be warm rain!!

  12. Jayne says:

    What a charming woodland, I would adore to have a camelia like yours! A morning in your garden seems magic!

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Jayne, the woodland is a favourite area of the garden, especially at this time of year with all the little woodland plants and bulbs. It does go quiet in the summer when the leaves are on the huge trees, but then there are the autumn tints later in the year.

  13. Angie says:

    What a difference some sun and rain makes – could you please send some north! We are still having those winds.
    What a delight to see your garden come to life – you have a lovely selection of spring blooms. Narcissus Thalia is my favourite. I have grown them in pots for a couple of years and I think this year they will get promoted to the garden.

    • Pauline says:

      It has made such a difference Angie, the plants, all of a sudden are bright and perky once more. Our freezing winds have stopped thank goodness, such a shame you are still suffering from them. The first Thalia are opening up now, soon we will have white everywhere in the woodland once more!

  14. I do so love your woodland, so many beautiful plants shining out, one can almost forgive it all for being almost a month later than normal. I love all your primulas and oxslips, I am hoping to gradually plant lots in this garden eventually. And hellebores, I really must have hellebores…

    • Pauline says:

      I enjoy it too Janet, and today we had a bumblebee, the first for a long time! As the plants are seeding about, the woodland looks better each year, the primroses have seeded everywhere, they must have liked all the rain last year! It has taken a good number of years to get all the plants together and then increase them, but it was worth the wait!

  15. Helen says:

    I always get so much inspiration from your woodland garden, we have a shadyish border where many of the flowers you have fit right in. The bee situation does worry me a bit though. My apricot has started flowering, but there are no bees around, I have seen one or two bumblebees but no bees, normally there would be some around by now. And we still have bramblings and siskins in the garden, both should have left several weeks ago, very strange all this.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Helen, I had to learn to love shade when we moved here, there is so much of it. Once I started reading books about shade , I found there were so many beautiful plants I could use and now it is my favourite part of the garden! I think if your apricot is flowering and there aren’t any bees to pollinate your flowers, then it is up to you I’m afraid. You will have to find a small paintbrush and then go from flower to flower, pretending you are a bee, its up to you whether you make a buzzing noise as you do it!! The forecasters say we are going to have a very warm day tomorrow, the east of the country will see sun but here in the SW we will have rain, but at least it will be warm rain!

  16. pbmgarden says:

    Your garden is so inspiring Pauline, lavishly filled with interesting plants. I keep seeing and being drawn to pulmonarias this year, but don’t have much shade. Yours are lovely.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Susie, with having so much shade I had to learn to love it. I soon found that there were so many interesting plants that actually prefer to live in the shade. I’m fond of pulmonarias too, we have one or two special ones, but most are the common variety which the bees just love so I’m happy for them to stay.

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