A Taste of Spring and a ‘Vase’ on Monday

Since the end of last November we have had hard frosts almost every night, and every morning I look out at my poor hellebores lying prostrate and forlorn…

… then a couple of hours later (if temperatures have risen above freezing point) they will be standing upright once again… a daily miracle that I have wondered at time and again!

A couple of hours later

I am very impressed with the pink Ice ‘n’ Roses ‘rose’ hellebore I planted last autumn. It has flowered non-stop despite the frosts. My white one – ‘Christmas Carol’ – has also done well and both have large enough flowers to be visible from some distance.

IΒ recently visited a nearby garden centre to look for another one to join them. There was little choice (garden centres here are half empty at this time of year, since the ground is usually frozen) but I did find a small ‘Double Ellen Purple’ which had been on my wish list. With some sunny days and milder nights forecast I will plant it out later.

Double Ellen Purple

How wonderful it is to be out gardening once again!

Other news in my garden:

  • The rosemary seems to have survived the winter…so far! (A late March freeze last year got my last one, so I mustn’t speak too soon)
  • The greenhouse is in the process of being planned – it will have a solid foundation with a base wall, so planning permission and building work will mean it might be up by the autumn. I’m a gardener, so I have patience!
  • My Man of Many Talents has kindly dug over a new patch of grass for my next project: the Sunshine Bed. I am so excited about it! (More on that when planting starts in April)
  • We have dozens of mistle thrushes feeding on worms on the ground all around the house at various times of the day – even when there is still frost. They hop a few steps and cock their heads to one side as if listening and then…. ‘peck’ and the worm is gone! They are such pretty birds, but very shy, so this is the best shot I have got so far.

Mistle thrush

Mistle thrushes feeding

I am pleased we have enough worms for them!

Finally, a little taste of spring in my teacup…

One of each of my hellebores: Ice ‘n’ Roses ‘rose’, Double Ellen Purple, and Christmas Carol.

Thanks go to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting the In a Vase on Monday meme. Go and visit her to see what she and other bloggers around the globe are finding in their gardens for a vase (or two) this week.

61 thoughts on “A Taste of Spring and a ‘Vase’ on Monday

  1. Your hellebores are beautiful. They are an amazing mystery how they cope with the cold. The Mistle Thrushes are a pretty bird. They remind me of juvenile American Robins that nest in my garden. The juveniles have spotted breasts until their breast feathers come in a rufous color. You have so much to look forward to this spring and summer. Happy IAVOM.

  2. Such exciting plans you have! I’d never heard of the mistle thrush and really enjoyed seeing a picture of one. Finally, what a darling arrangement. A lovely arrangement even when there are enough flowers to actually fill a vase.

  3. Your Hellebores are beautiful colours, I love them too. Unfortunately our thrushes here have almost disappeared of late and that is a great pity. Nice to see that you still have them around.

  4. Oh that last shot is gorgeous! It’s amazing how the hellebores perk up once temperatures rise and what joy you must get from seeing yours. Your new acquisition is especially pretty – I have several of the Ellen family but not this one. Thanks for sharing it and its friends! Thrushes of any sort are a rare sighting in our garden although we get lots of most typical garden birds

    • I must look into other Ellen hellebores, as I only know of the double purple and double red. I found a wonderful specialty nursery online here, but they are so expensive that I may have to be patient and just hunt around for those on my list. I have never seen so many thrushes at once before. They are quite comical to watch. πŸ™‚

      • Hayloft plants often sell a range of the ‘Ellen’ series, reasonably priced but quite young plants of course. Perhaps you could order for when you next visit the UK as they would not take up much room in your luggage? Hmm…what are the rules on importing plant material now, though?

  5. Cathy your Hellebores are magnificent and how they recover from the frosts so quickly and they are in flower. You have many gardening projects, I love it, including the Greenhouse and the new planting area that your man of many resources has dug. The Mushle Thrushes birds are cute. Your cup of tea with the three Hellebores you have: Ice “n” Roses “rose”, Christmas Carol and “Double Ellen Purple”, I love it; It is magnificent, wonderful, divine. The hellebores are precious. I wish you with all my heart that you have good weather and a very good week. πŸ™‚ Greetings from Margarita.

      • Yes, Cathy. We have an anticyclone on Spain very strong and very high temperatures during the day and low at night. There is a terrible pollution in the cities, they have had to put anti-contamination protocols. Calima has also come: sand from the Sahara to make things worse. In Madrid we had all the particles of pollution in cars for the whole year in February. You clean the car, you park it a couple of days on the street and it is filled with a blackish dust or sandstone. They have given health recommendations for those who can go out or exercise on the street. I have a desire to go to the country house, but this year with all the doctors and tests that my parents have, we will be late, in May at least. Sorry Cathy to tell you all this, but I’m tired of not giving my daily walk of an hour and a half: I had pneumonia and again pneumonia and recommend not going out on the street with that background. And again, forgive me for extending this way. On your walks in the countryside, please, breathe deeply once for me. Thank you very much πŸ™‚ Have the best week and weekend. Take care. Greetings from Margarita.

        • Oh dear, that sounds awful. I hope the situation improves soon. You need rain! It is raining here today and I will take some deep breaths of our country air for you today Margarita. Have a good weekend!

          • Yes Cathy. I need rain, a lot of rain in all of Spain. Meteorologists say in the news that from Sunday or Monday will begin to change the weather and will come storms that although it does not rain throughout the country at least make air to move the pollution of the cities. But I hope it rains throughout Spain. The field needs rain and also reservoirs. Now it’s rainy season, your garden will thank you. I thank you for your concern, thank you very much, you are a good friend. Have a great weekend. πŸ™‚ Take care. Greetings from Margarita.

  6. Beautiful hellebores – it’s amazing how they recover from being frosted. Miraculous nature. Your greenhouse and new bed project sound great. It’s always exciting to have a garden project or two on the go!

  7. I’m glad to learn that you’re seeing signs of spring, subtle as they may still be. Your hellebores are beautiful and I think I need to look for ‘Ice n Roses’. Best wishes with all your projects!

    • Thank you Kris. I hope you can find the Ice n Roses hellebores – they are a new cross between H. niger and H. orientalis and flower for several months. πŸ™‚

  8. I see all your snow has melted – lucky you! Just in time for your thrushes. (They forage similarly to our American robins.) Your hellebore blooms in a cup are a perfect way to display them – very pretty!

  9. How beautiful, Cathy. I can almost feel your garden warming up. I am eager to hear more about your Sunshine Bed. I hope the Rosemary continues on. No more setbacks! πŸ™‚

  10. Plants are truly amazing. You wonder how any of them can survive the weather thrown at them but they do. That teacup is very pretty and a perfect showcase. Can we get enough of Hellebores?

  11. I know it is pretty an all, but it also reminds me of the Klingon Tea Ceremony, in which participants drink toxic tea and then recite poetry. Years ago, one of the only workers’ compensation claims that we ever had was the result of someone spotting off hellebore seedlings, and then experiencing a severe skin allergy from the caustic sap.

    • Oh my goodness, you do come up with some good comments Tony! Klingon Tea Ceremony?! πŸ˜‰ I didn’t realise they can cause such skin reactions though – worth knowing.

      • I believe that the allergy is quite rare. We still warn those working with them that they should be aware of the potential for such a reaction, so that if it happens, they do not blame it on poison oak, and continue to work with what caused it.

  12. What a fine trio of hellebores floating in a pretty teacup and saucer Cathy. It sounds as if you have a lot on with all your plans for the garden but it is good to be pleasantly occupied. The Sunshine Bed sounds most intriguing. I look forward to hearing more in due course πŸ™‚

    • πŸ™‚ Yes, in a bowl you can see their lovely ‘faces’ – that is the only problem with them Beth, that they mostly tend to hang their heads so you can’t see the flowers properly.

  13. The planning must be exciting, and you’re off to a good start!
    So nice to see all the thrush so happy with your lawn. We get masses of starlings any time the soil is close to thawed and the grubs start moving. They’re both non-native, and do cause some problems with our native species, but it’s refreshing to see such exuberance.

    • Starlings pass through here too. The mild damp weather is perfect for the birds, but the garden is slow to get a move on – only one single snowdrop from a whole pack of bulbs!

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