Viola odorata 'Amiral Avellan'
What an absolutely frabjuicilious spell of weather we're having! My dear editor at the Daily Mail has forbidden me to use any more exclamation marks, ever, so I hope you'll forgive me for feeding my secret punctuation habits here on the blog. No editors, you see! Utter blissikins with choccy biccies thrown in!!!!!
You'll be hugely relieved to know that this post will be mercifully short. Family arrangements for my father's funeral have tied me to the phone and a sudden spurt of work to my desk for longer than I like. But during stolen moments outside, in the gentle sun with the occasional Brimstone butterfly fluttering by, I swear I could actually see the spring flowers opening. Our first wood anemone is open, the snowdrops have shot their bolts, pretty well and a song thrush is nesting in the hedge. Oh, and joy! Two tree sparrows in my hedge - another bird first for our garden.
Viola odorata in my garden.
But among all this spring exuberance, I'd like to say a word for the humble violet. This is, surely, the most modest and secretive of all our spring wildlings. We have only white ones growing in the hedge bottoms in our village lane but in the garden I grow several named varieties and am blessed annually with numerous seedlings which have amazing hybrid vigour.
The top one for picking is Viola 'Amiral Avellan' which has quite a sharp scent, and ruthless spreading qualities. But for me, the wild white violet is tops. A bunch of those, with some big purple ones mixed in – just to prove they really are violets – will win the heart of even the most unromantically minded lady. The Victorians - and what romantic old sausages they were – were big on violets and in decent gardens, extra sweet-smelling, double-flowered Parma violets were grown strictly for cutting.
White violets in our fen lane.
When I had a tiny plant nursery, we used to sell sweet violets. Few people do, nowadays, but Groves, the old Bridport based nursery sells an interesting range.
My top spring flar of the week is a superb cyclamineus hybrid daffodil known as 'Rapture.' It stands 25 cms tall, with delectably swept back petals.
That hedge again: I'm all dug and dusted for the new yew hedge, even to the point of having spread the compost and tidied the site. All I need now are the yew plants, due next week, DV.
I'm listening to Benjamin Britten's Serenade for Tenor Horn and Springs, the old recording with yer actual Peter Pears.
Happy spring to everyone. May the frosts be gentle and the days continue in this vein until I've got the veg bed dug. Toodle-ooh!