Written by Cheryl Cummings gardendesignerwales.co.uk
I love early spring in my garden, despite winter’s cold clammy hand still holding down the temperature, there’s a very welcome increase in daylight hours and that uniquely exciting fresh green smell of new vegetation in the air.
The Hellebore flowers which began to emerge in December are now full out and as lovely as any summer rose from which one variety takes it’s common name of Christmas rose. They offer a very welcome pit stop to any queen bumble bee tempted out of hibernation early by a mild spell and are followed by Pulmonaria or lungwort, whose large spotted and marked leaves, seemingly immune to slug and snail damage, make it a great alternative to hostas. Its pretty colour changing flowers are loved by any bees out early enough to take advantage of their sweet nectar and with them in the shade of the hedge, drifts of crocuses, violets and primroses carpet the ground under the strange and spidery but sweetly scented flowers of Hamamelis or wych hazel.
Over them all from my neighbour’s garden, a glorious purple leaved Prunus cerasifera or cherry plum cascades it’s delicate blossom and although the cherry is in full view from the house it’s bedfellows aren’t and require a scramble under the sprawling branches of the wayward hedge.
I could make life easier and cut it back, but the first of the year’s flowers which I and the insects treasure, are well worth the effort to get to and with eyes down to watch my step and avoid a poke in the eye I go slowly, all the better to take in the detail at ground level.
Unfurling fern fronds, wild garlic spears, the first tender nettle shoots and of course brambles which return valiantly every year no matter how much I cut them back and dig them out. They make me swear but I admire their tenacity and like all the rest of the plants in the garden they are responding to an irresistible urge to take advantage of the new season.
The world is turning on its axis so that we can face the sun again, spring has begun and it’s time for us all to get out there in the garden and make the most of it.