When it comes to the garden, I prefer my surprises to be good ones rather than bad ones! Call me fussy, but I prefer to discover that a treasured plant has reappeared rather than that the slugs have eaten my newly germinated radish! The last few weeks have certainly sprung some good surprises.
First up were the creamy yellow scented narcissi. Stupidly I had dumped the pot they were planted in around the back of the shed next to the pot washing pile. I ignored it all winter (pot washing being a warm summer’s day activity in my book) assuming that I would just clear it out in the Spring. However to my delight, in February it produced some of my favourite Iris Reticulata! These delicate, deeply coloured flowers are so rewarding to see on a cold day when Spring still feels some weeks away.
Then, to my amazement, this pot threw up a further surprise when it revealed the scented narcissi. These happy multi-headed stems seem to dance around in the sunshine and their perfume wafts around in the breeze. Behind them I can see tulips emerging so clearly this must have been a ‘bulb lasagne’. Someone remind me to label it so that I don’t make the same mistake again next year!
A different sort of surprise has been the flowering of our Mahonia in the front garden. This is one of those plants that has always been there and, to be honest, we’ve paid very little attention to it. Every year it’s produced a few prickly leaves and the odd bit of flower but last year, for the first time, we suddenly had a mass of yellow and this Spring has been a repeat performance. Sadly it seems to be a rather bog standard form of this shrub and does not exude the wonderous scent that is promised in the descriptions of more genteel varieties advertised for sale. However, what it lacks in scent, it is currently making up for in vibrant yellow spikes and I, for one, am very happy for it to continue doing this year on year!
And finally, this is a surprise that I can’t decide whether falls into the good category or not. Some years’ ago John fell for the purple and white Honesty that was flowering freely in the garden of a holiday rental house in the Netherlands. He collected some seedpods and brought them home. Subsequently I have thought that this was probably illegal – but hey ho! Honesty is a bienniel so only flowers every other year. We sowed the seed and then had a very long wait but, sure enough, we were rewarded with banks of purple and white flowers two years’ later. We have now managed to juggle the cycle so we do have some Honesty in flower each year but this Spring does look like being a bumper year, particularly for the white variety. However, there’s a new kid on the block – a pale lilac coloured flower! There’s only a couple of them so far but we’re wondering whether we’re onto something new!