Levels of Spring
I've made an early spring promise - not to miss one emerging flower, no matter how tall or tiny. This year I'm determined to notice all the spring flowers, at all levels, in my garden.
Acacia and Camellia Flowering
Good gardeners can spent lots of time 'doing' weeds and edges, and can easily forget to look upwards, where fluffy spring blossom is hugging the blue sky above. My Prunus trees are starting to blossom in pink and white, and the tall Acacias overhanging the Pond Paddock are brilliantly yellow. I've promised myself to look skywards at least once a day (not when I'm balancing a weed-filled wheelbarrow on a narrow path, though).
Big Red Rhododendron
It's easy to remember to look out for the medium-tall spring colours - they are, after all, at eye-level. Having cleared the rampant undergrowth (including several huge grasses) out of the Wattle Woods, I can report with pride regarding the early flowering bright red rhododendron in there. It's bigger and redder than ever, and flowering beautifully. And what's more - it's totally visible, for once.
More and more of my eye-level Camellias are bright in their spring colours, too. I've a fairly random, anonymous collection - most came here as rejects from other gardens. This spring I've shifted one of my paths to run right alongside an early-flowering group. It may be mental trickery, but I've never noticed (or enjoyed) these shrubs more. Beautiful rich pinks, creamy whites, spiky reds... I love them all.
At the beginning of September my waist-high shrubs and plants start to look interesting, but at this level new growth in the garden is mainly green. The euphorbias do remind me that green is a colour to be cherished.
It goes without saying that many of my favourite medium-sized foliage plants manage to look beautiful all year round. This is particularly true of my coloured New Zealand flax hybrids.
No Flaxes, Please!
However I cannot justify their inclusion upon a spring page, no matter how much they push for inclusion. The Moosey flaxes get quite enough publicity, thank you very much!
On Your Knees...
At knee-level my red wallflowers, grown in random years from cuttings (when I remember), are covered in buds. The stumpy little rhododendron called Graham is showing off his pretty pinkness. And my winter flowering Ericas are still looking beautiful, covered in tiny purple flowers.
Graham the Rhododendron
Above the Ankle
I love peeping at the shy, sensitive types who turn their head to the earth. My Hellebores are difficult to see, but much admired, with their subtly coloured drooping flower heads.
Bergenias are excellent smaller foliage plants which flower in spring. They're are oddly shy when in bud - their flowers start low to the ground, hiding from view. And sometimes, when the gardener has divided and replanted them too late in the season, there'll be no flowers at all. Oops.
Down to Earth
My early daffodils stare resolutely down at the soil, often bearing the weight of too much rain on their trumpets. The miniatures are better suited to the gentle (or not so gentle) spring rainstorms!
Many joyous spring flowers are to be found right at ground level, but it's a challenge for this older lady-gardener to bend down for a better view. Sometimes there's an 'ouch' or two as my knees creak and I get stuck in a graceless lunge. Sometimes there's an alarming wobble...
I love the blue spring crocus patch, the miniature yellow trumpet daffodils, the first little lemon primroses, the feathery blue-flowering Corydalis, the purple violets... And sincere apologies to my generous blue pansies who've put in the hard yards all winter. It seems an intrusion to thrust the camera up to your innocent faces - after rudely turning your chins towards the best light...
Perils of Garden Photography
We won't mention the risk of overbalancing in the act of capturing a close-up and squashing something. Aargh! The perils of garden photography...
I must remember to enjoy all of spring's delights. I must look between the clear blue sky and the well-mulched ground below - from the top shelf blossom trees to the bottom-drawer tiny spring treasures.