TODAY, because the sun is shining, because the birds are singing, and because the air is deliciously (and deliriously!) mild, I’m heading outside with my camera. Would you like to see what’s shaking in the early April gardens here? Take a walk with me:
In the thawed-out soil beside the front porch, a group of winter aconites have made their welcome return. Do you have these Eranthis hyemalis in your garden? I love the lemon-yellow buds that emerge above green, ruffled collars.
In the Serpentine Garden (click here for a complete tour), quince ‘Crimson and Gold’ has set its buds. We could very well cut a few branches now, and bring them indoors. They are a cinch to force into early bloom.
Ah, snowdrops. These Galanthus are finally pushing their way through the Baltic ivy that cloaks the lower terrace of the Serpentine Garden. Last year they bloomed for me on March 6. So I’d say the gardens here are about 3 weeks behind schedule.
Better late than never, right?
Last week, in another post, I showed you the spidery, yellow and red petals of Witch Hazel, or Hamamelis vernalis. I could swear that more flowers opened up in today’s sunshine. And just inhale that heavenly perfume!
Some of you have asked if Hamamelis is deer-proof. It is for me. But my deer might be more respectful than yours.
And species tulips. These tiny ancestors of the tall, familiar “Dutch” tulips are a must for any garden. ‘Dasystemon Tarda,’ a sunshine-yellow variety, is sweetly-scented. Species tulips bloom well indoors, too, but you must be willing pot the bulbs in autumn, and provide them with cold, dark rooting quarters.
We are at the top of the hill now, standing at the west gate of the Pool Garden. As you can see, the pool’s winter-covering is solidly frozen. But the ice will melt rapidly now, if our nighttime temperatures remain above freezing. I can hardly wait to
skinny dip swim beneath the gaze of the various statues which surround the water.
Opposite the pool is the Kitchen Garden (click here for summertime photos). Here, the autumn-planted garlic is enjoying a day of sunshine. I always plant “hard-neck” varieties, because they produce the “scapes” which are needed for this amazing pesto.
Are you a fan of rhubarb? Some people can’t bear its tart taste. But I can’t imagine springtime without this swoon-worthy Rhubard Crisp.
We can enter the Woodland Garden now, but only if you are willing to climb over (or duck under) a fallen tree. The tree is just one of the casualties of our 2014 winter from hell. I’ll have to hire someone to cut the thing up. The sawed segments can be used for path-edging. (Here’s the Woodland Garden’s sordid story.)
We’re standing between the Kitchen and Pool Gardens now, looking down at the Herb Garden. This “formal” plot is located behind the Music Room wing of the house. If you have a small yard, consider designing for yourself a garden like this one, with just just four raised beds. You’d be amazed at how much produce you’ll harvest.
Shall we head inside now? I’d like to offer you a bird’s-eye view of the Rose Garden.
I’d also like to offer you something to drink.
And because today is such a glorious day, I think a Lemon Drop Martini is in order.
You can let me know which beverage you’ve chosen by leaving a comment.
Well. I hope you had a good time on this little tour. I’ve certainly enjoyed your company.
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