The Smell of Spring Previous item Low-Allergen Gardens Next item What to do about a...

The Smell of Spring

Is it the longer days, the sun beginning to warm the earth or buds beginning to break that I can smell in the air? Even on cold days that are more akin to midwinter, something’s changed. For me, spring brings with it anticipation, renewed enthusiasm and a determination to savour every minute of the new season.

Spring flowers follow a familiar and comforting rhythm, snowdrops and aconites, Iris reticulata, Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ and crocus followed by an explosion of daffodils, tulips, primroses and cowslips. The annual visits to the fritillary fields, the bluebell woods and enjoying the scent of Narcissus poeticus on the breeze, take me through the months of Spring.

Spring gardens can be designed under trees where the leaves shade the area later in the year, keeping the ground cool during the summer months. Try Anemone nemorosa planted en masse combined with bluebells as their flowering time overlaps.

Swathes of bulbs can be planted in grass creating a mass of colour; crocus, naturalising daffodils, camassia (amazing display at RHS Wisley) and snowdrops create a striking effect for a few short weeks before dying back down in the grass.

In a small garden pots crammed full of bulbs can be brought out into the limelight when they are in full bloom and then swapped for the next display, providing continuous pleasure from early February right through to May. The bulbs can be lifted as they die back and replaced with summer bedding, perennials or grasses for colour right through the summer.

I like to bring a few cut stems of Spring flowering shrubs indoors to brighten up the kitchen. Favourites are the twisted stems of Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ dripping with catkins, the scented flowers of Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ or the cheerful yellow of Forsythia x intermedia ‘Lynwood Variety’.