This winter has been particularly long for us on the west coast, and many people are looking forward to brighter days. Even as I write this post, it's raining outside, and the forecast calls for several days of rain for the coast.
So, I'm dreaming of Spring, which seems to be just a hint away.
Picking pussy willow is most certainly one of the most enduring of spring rites. When drier weather brings you outside on a February day for a walk in the woods, and you come upon a budding pussy willow tree, it's hard to resist the desire to pluck off a few of the riveted branches of the furry catkins. As an ode to springs' earliest harbinger, we bring them home and put them in waiting empty vessels.
Fritillaria and Narcissus
Looking around the garden I'm checking for the first spring shoots to appear. Last spring I planted a few pots of frittilaria. Frittilaria have such a pretty chequered pattern, and I love the way the flower dangles from its blade-like foliage. I don't expect to see anything for awhile, perhaps by March or April, but I am curious to see if they have survived!
Bridal Crown is a type of daffodil with a double flower and creamy white petals. It is incredibly sweetly scented and makes a beautiful cut flower. In the flower shop, we pair bridal crown with other plants in spring containers. As the bridal crown opens and spreads its fragrance, the feeling of spring is brought indoors.
Tulips arrive at the flower auction in early January and are now available at the flower shop. Undoubtedly the tulip is one of the most recognized and best loved of all spring flowers. People love them not only for their many colour varieties and their easy elegance, but also because they are so simple and uncomplicated to arrange. The tulip pictured here is a variety called White Liberstar. Don't you just love its lily-shaped bloom!
Last week we had greenhouse grown sweet peas in the shop for the first time this year. One of the sure signs that spring is just around the corner is when the sweet peas can be safely sown in the ground come March or April. Sweet peas have the reputation of being difficult to grow from seed, but luckily we can also get them as small plants later in the spring. Either way, they are an exquisite flower for their pretty ruffled blossoms and lovely fragrance.
Tip: When cutting sweet peas for flower arrangements, pick blooms which have at least two unopened flowers at the top.
Snow drops are one of the first bulbs to bloom in spring. A delicate, drooping bell shaped flower, snow drops grow well in moist well-drained soil. They do especially well under trees or shrubs or in shady locations of the garden. You can use snowdrops as a cut flower. The only disadvantage is that they are very short and look better in a small vase all on their own.
"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature - the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter." - Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
all images by Flowers and Company