The tulips begin to bloom and the propagator is full of new life

Last year’s Tulip bulbs are now coming into flower, and the seedlings are thriving in the propagator.

I came home in the sunshine earlier this week to a crimson welcome, and the green shoots of new life in the propagator.

The Tulip ‘Negrita’ bulbs that I planted last year have overwintered and spent the last few weeks throwing lush, waxy-looking, green leaves and stems skywards. Now I have been rewarded with their beautiful blooms.

Tulip 'Negrita'
Tulip ‘Negrita’ on flower.

There were about 10 bulbs and they seem to all be present and happy..

Tulip 'Negrita'
Tip-toe through the tulips (nepeta and a nettle) with me.

However, I also stumbled across a terrible thing, and it comes as somewhat of an absent-mindedness confession, of which I’m not really happy with myself about – it looks like i might have forgotten to plant ANY of the beautiful cream and green lacy Tulip ‘Madonna’ bulbs. I found bag of them on my bench. There was a bit of a hole in the bag – so i *might* have planted a few, but there’s no sign of them yet.

As for the bulbs in the bag – they looked quite dried up, but i’ve planted them out anyway and now they have two chances. They’ll be massively behind for this year though – which makes me annoyed with myself.

Ending on a happier note…

The seeds that I sowed at the beginning of the month are doing pretty well. Both Courgette ‘Black Beauty’ seeds are now sturdy seedlings, there are 5 Tomato ‘Minibel’ seedlings, and 1.1 of the Sweet Pea ‘Candy Cane’ seeds have germinated.

IMAG1142
The Tomato ‘Minibel’ seedlings are doing well in the propagator.

Add to this, the Parsley ‘Laura’ (a delicious flat-leaf variety that’s great with mushrooms,  scrambled egg, or as a salad leaf) is thriving.

With the sunshine out, it finally feels like summer is lurking just off the horizon somewhere.

Crocuses and Tulips usher in the warmer weather

Making the most of a sunny February day, I have ventured into the garden to check on the new bulbs and see which plants survived the -11C weather.

The Crocus and Tulip bulbs that I planted in Autumn 2012 are making great progress in the garden.

Today has seemed like the first time in a long long time that it hasn’t been so bitterly cold, snowy, icy, or rainy, that everyone has been forced to stay indoors and peer longingly outside at their garden.

In this last week, I have been able to have a quick look at its progress, but today has been sunny and dry enough to actually go and explore properly.

The yellow Crocus ‘Golden Bunch are ahead of the purple Crocus ‘Giant Ruby that I planted back in Autumn 2011, and are poised to open up and provide that essential early food source for bees.

Crocus 'Golden Bunch' on flower.
My Crocus ‘Golden Bunch’ flowers emerge.

Joining them are two types of Tulips (also planted last Autumn) – Tulip ‘Negrita (a deep crimson red), and Tulip ‘Madonna (a later flower white flower with green edges).

Tulip 'Negrita' and Tulip 'Madonna'
Tulip ‘Negrita’ and Tulip ‘Madonna’
Bulbs for 2013
The bulbs were planted in Autumn 2012.

Also, I have amazed myself at having actually seen that for the first time in this garden – the Strawberry plants have survived a winter. Despite the -11C temperatures and being buried under snow, they’ve held on, including the new plants that I raised from the runners. Fingers crossed they can hold on for a bit longer and eventually provide the tasty fruits that they managed last year.

Is your garden now waking up too? Did you lose much in the cold weather? How well are your bulbs doing?

Caterpillars attack and the 2013 garden begins

Caterpillars begin their assault on the Nasturtiums, whilst I look towards bulbs for colour in Spring 2013.

I’ve just spotted a load of caterpillars clinging to my Nasturtium ‘Jewel Mixed’ plants. These plants have grown very vigorously this year, and although they haven’t (yet) had a vast number of flowers, the lush green leaves has obviously attracted the attention of butterflies – the Cabbage White by the looks of it. There’s nothing for it but to pick them off.

Cabbage White caterpillar on a Nasturtium leaf
Just one of many Cabbage White caterpillars on the Nasturtiums.

Looking forward to Spring 2013

The garden centres are now filling up with bulbs with many colourful blooms for your spring garden – so I’ve picked three new types for my garden – joining the Crocus ‘Giant Ruby’ that triumphantly flowered for the first time this spring.

Crocus 'Giant Ruby' in bloom, Spring 2012
The Crocus ‘Giant Ruby’ bulbs in Spring 2012.

First up are more crocuses. This time, rather than purple, I’ve gone for a striking yellow with Crocus ‘Golden Bunch’, which will reach up to 8cm with their yellow blooms in about February or March. These will be valuable to the bees, some of which will be emerging and desperate for food at that time of year.

Next up were tulips. There are no tulips in the garden, so it will be interesting to see how they fare – but these crimson coloured Tulip ‘Negrita’ should provide a blast of colour in April/May.

Joining them will be another variety of tulip – Tulip ‘Madonna’ – which flowers in May with white petals and a slight tinge of green.

Three packets of bulbs
These Crocuses and Tulips will brighten the garden in the spring.

All three will add much needed colour to the garden at that time of year. I’ll be planting them out in the next few days.