The garden still still looks a bit grey overall.  There’s lots of interest popping up at ground level, though.  My father had a favourite saying “small but perfectly formed” and the things that follow all match that description.

Primulaprimula denticulata var. alba

Primula are amongst my favourite spring flowers.  It’s hard not to be beguiled by their simple beauty and impressed by how rugged and tough they are.  They shrug off the cold weather like a polar bear.  I’m growing a few choice varieties in my rock garden and despite the colder temperatures of the past few days, they have continued to develop well.

This variety, primula denticulata var. alba, is a clean snowy white.  In the next few days the stalk will continue to extend upwards and the petals will open into a ball – the classic drumstick primula shape.primula vulgaris

Meanwhile, the common primula vulgaris is looking equally bonny.  This one is self seeded in the steps that run through the centre of the rockery.

Rockery trowel

rockery trowel

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and my parents in law were wonderful and gave me some money to spend in the garden.  Yesterday the first few items began to arrive, including this fabulous new rockery trowel bought from Crocus.  Many of the nooks and crannies of the rock garden are pretty difficult to access and with plants jostling for space, having this narrow trowel will help me to plant without too much root disturbance.

Saxifraga porophylla ‘Karel Capek’Saxifraga porophylla 'Karel Capek'

A year ago this weekend I was taking in the colourful wonders of the Alpine Garden Society spring show in Theyden Bois, Essex.  One of the plants I brought back with me was this teeny little Saxifrage.  It looks so dainty and yet there it is flowering away in the cold and wet with the joyous abandon of a rose on a summer’s day.  This has doubled in size in a year and now measures a whopping 4cm in diameter.

I am so taken with the porophylla group of saxifrages that I have put in an order for a few more from Potterton’s Nursery.  They stock many beautiful varieties.   I will be using the new rockery trowel to plant them when they arrive.

Rock garden tuliptulipa humulis Violacea Black Base

The schools go back on Monday, my daughter returns to the studio to study for her arts based uni course.   My life will be creeking slowly back to some semblance of normality.  When I saw this miniature tulipa humulis Violacea Black Base starting to extend above these crocuses I thought it looked a bit like a school teacher welcoming the pupils back to the classroom.  Lockdown is even influencing how I’m seeing my plants.

Corydalis solida ‘G P Baker’

Corydalis solida 'G P Baker'

Andrew at Kind Hearts and Corydalis garden blog has been treating us with his emerging corydalis plants over the last few weeks.  Here’s my tiny corydalis with a couple of hawthorn berries for scale.  This is a gigantic 5cm in diameter and is nestled in the shade of the woodland garden.  The flowers are a fascinating shape and a beautiful deep coral colour.

Corydalis solida 'G P Baker'

This was another purchase made at the AGS spring show a year ago and here’s a picture of it when first planted.

Hepatica nobilis ‘Rubra Plena’

Hepatica nobilis 'Rubra Plena'

A heart-leap moment last week when I realised this charming hepatica planted in the woodland last spring had emerged once more.  The leaves had completed died away with only the label showing where I’d placed it.  It’s a striking pink colour and is one of three flowers to pop out of the ground.  The leaves should follow.

I planted a few other hepaticas last year and they are yet to appear.  Will they, or are they lost forever?  I’ll keep looking because this pink one seemed to appear overnight.  Small but perfectly formed.


This seasonal diary is part of a weekly link-up of garden bloggers from around the world, called Six on Saturday.  For more information and links to other blogs crammed with gardening activity, check the blog of host The Propagator.