Ten First Flowers

I had a garden dream: an overflowing mass of flowering abundance, red and orange and yellow at one end of the front garden; blue and purple and white at the other.

But as the saying goes, the only place where success comes before work is the dictionary. At the end of autumn (i.e. May) I summoned my energies, such as they were, and built two garden beds in the front garden.

The results, it must be said, are not entirely what I had hoped for. For one thing, a heavy layer of cardboard and a few inches of garden mix were not enough to put off the weeds, which have grown back in profusion: creeping buttercup, convolvulus, dock…

But some plants did manage to make their presence felt despite the weeds. I therefore present you with the ten best blooms from late winter to early summer.

In the early days of expanses of bare soil relieved mostly by weeds it was a comfort to have the freesias (a thoughtful gift) spring up and give the impression this was actually a garden.

A cheerful cluster of small six-petalled yellow blooms rises above green foliage.
Freesia (Golden Giant? Golden Melody?)

These narcissi were part of the garden before I came along, but I’ve divided and relocated them. They bloomed very nearly all winter – and here they are still looking good in August.

Above a criss-cross of long green leaves rise straight stems, each crowned with a number of papery white blooms, each with a bright yellow cupped centre.

The garden would have been a wasteland without the poppies. I can only hope there are some perennials planning to get in on the act too.

A mass of creamy ruffled petals bathed in golden light.
White peony poppy.
A bright red poppy, with a shiny black spot on each petal, and a halo of white around its centre.
Ladybird poppy
A cup of dark purple ruffled petals, inky in the shadows.
Purple peony poppy.

These lavish blooms looked paler in person, and I was expecting a more robust orange, but they’re beautiful anyway.

Two full blown roses in ruffled pinky-orange, against a blue wall.
Westerland rose
A many-petalled orange flower glows like a hot coal against the green of its foliage.
Calendula “Indian Prince”

These roses fade to a bright magenta, which wasn’t quite what I had in mind, but the scent is delectable.

A rosebud unfurls into bloom, its velvety petals shading from pink through red to almost black.
Deep Secret rose
A cheerful explosion of floral colour. Five bright orange petals, each with a bright red streak down the centre, form a near circle of bloom.

And to finish off the round up, this photo I took today. Aren’t poppies amazing?

A crinkly circle of petals, pink at the centre, fading to pale lavender, then deepening to purply grey at the edges.
Shirley poppy “Amazing Grey”

I wonder what next year will bring in the garden…

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