This February I had enough early Spring bulbs and flowers to take to two local markets which was cheering, not just because of the splashes of colour and hope of more, but also because I got to meet and chat with lots of other plant lovers – new and regular customers.
Wasn’t sure before setting out on the last two weekends whether anybody would want to buy my bulbs in pots. Especially as it was cold and actually snowing on the first weekend as my stall shivered outside. But probably this was an advantage as in the grey and cold dankness of the day the purple and blues and yellows of the flowers almost glowed. Crocus just on the verge of popping up flowers and daffodils in bud were all popular.
So next Autumn, to cheer my spirits and get me out at the stall earlier than my usual Mid-March, I will definitely be planting more of the same and also trying lots of new and different varieties. What did I learn for next year? To plant lots more Iris histroides, George (perhaps 3 or 4 times as many) as it was a complete attention grabber in its sumptuous purple. Blue and yellow Iris reticulata Carolina was also much liked and next year I will try the sophisticated Iris reticulata, Katherine Hodgkin loved by garden writers if not quite so much by me.
Just how many beauties there are in the early Iris family was made clear at the RHS Early Spring Show (see below). So next year I will definitely be experimenting with more. You probably can’t have too many: the few left over lovelies are looking good in pots outside my door and once they have faded will be slipped into the front garden bed for next year.
All around the garden and in pots, forgotten from last year, there are daffodils appearing and growing inches a day. The lovely white Thalia and jaunty Tete a Tete along with W P Milner are all shooting into life. Not sure now why I decided it wasn’t a good idea to order more last Autumn, but next Autumn will definitely enjoy thinking about which new varieties to try as they are such a spirit raiser when the tulips are only just pushing up their beaky leaves and are a long way off from flowering.
The wind and cold of the last two days has put a brake on the planting of seeds for me. It all seems a bit too chill to expect tomatoes, chillies or cosmos to poke up – even in the greenhouse. But despite everything the weather has thrown at them, the spring bulbs outside my door are still perfectly resilient and may that be a lesson for me.