Spring Planting

Time to be ready to go!  Is everything ordered? Seeds, roses, dahlias, etc.  There are a few weeks left in which to choose new trees before they leaf out.  Despite this year’s late snow storms, spring will be here soon.

This year for dahlias,

I am planting a lot of beige to puce colors from Blah Blah Blah to Café Au Lait. However, I am not sure dahlias were ever meant to be retiring and tasteful.  A wild clashing mixture can be the best thing for the vegetable and cutting garden.

For sweet peas,


Painted Lady is always my favorite, with its incredible smell and delicious ice-cream colors.  There is nothing better to cut for the house, but they need to be sewn early and grown in the greenhouse to allow them to flower before it gets too hot.

Seeds at Fragrant Garden

More seeds,

I am sewing more poppies in my muddled thyme and dianthus lawn on my roof. They need to go in while we still have frosts.

Vegetable garden seeds need to be ordered straight away. I am sewing my peas and fava beans this weekend, and I am also making a valiant attempt to grow new potatoes in a cold frame.

Watercolour by Emma Tennant

My Lonicera fragrantissima is just coming out deliciously sweet and lemony, but squirrels are destroying the crocus and the darling snowdrops are beginning to fade.

Finally, it’s time to lightly prune the shrub roses, remove the dead wood, and generally create a nice form.

Bulbs I Wish I Had Planted

Spring is lurking, and snowdrops are up in a sunny garden nearby.  I am craving spring colors and smells in the house.  Instead of regretting my selections for potted plants, I am busy making a list for my autumn bulb orders with plans to make use of two obsessions of mine: flowers and china.  Grown in bowls and pots, crocuses and hyacinths will spend a happy couple of months in my nice dark cellar.  I will stagger their timing and hope to have a month of jewel-like arrangements. 

Van Gogh, Still Life with a Basket of Crocuses

Hyacinthe ‘Top Hit’ and ‘Twilight’ for mauves and lilacs

Crocus ‘Lady Killer’ ‘Gypsy Girl’ and ‘King of the Striped’ for some satiny Elizabethan elegance

Crocus ‘Ladykiller’

Try Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.

Meanwhile Lonicera fragrantissima, home to all my sparrows is about to burst into its delicious lemony fragrance, stopping everyone who walks past the house.  After the snowdrops, it is my second favorite spring moment.

photo by Amanda Brooks