The Optimists Garden

Cottage Garden at Croft Garden Cottage

The cottage garden in February and July

When the start of the year is wet and windy and the croft garden is repeatedly battered by 70-90 mph gales, I should really declare the cottage garden out-of-bounds. A walk round the garden on a cold blustery afternoon in early February is enough to depress even the most optimistic gardener. There are times when I really begin to doubt whether any of my plants will survive. The primroses do their best to add a glimmer of hope but when I see the first bright yellow blooms of Narcissus Tête-à-Tête I know that Persephone will return.Narcissus Tete-a-Tete
By mid-February the days are beginning to lengthen and a gift of high pressure from Scandinavia heralds an early glimpse of spring weather. Still too soon to tidy up all the dead stems, but time for some weeding and taking a peek to see if there are any signs of green shoots. By the end of the month the bulbs are emerging from hibernation and as the equinox gales approach I grow anxious as to whether they will survive. Although they may be buffeted by the storms they are amazingly resilient.
In its sparse simplicity my spring garden can not rival the sumptuous drifts of spring flowers of more southerly gardens but for me every flower is a triumph of hope over adversity.

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4 thoughts on “The Optimists Garden

  1. Regardless of the relative sumptuousness of my more southerly garden your Tête-à-Tête are still flowering before mine! We gardeners are very trusting, aren’t we, trusting that spring will follow winter and our gardens will rise again like a phoenix from the ashes. I don’t think I was in the habit of visiting you when your July picture was taken – what am amazing difference between the two seasons, and at least I can say that the embers of my garden were still glowing throughout the winter whereas it appears the phoenix has his work cut out in yours. Every shoot is precious and eagerly awaited, and I look forward to the reincarnation of your cottage garden as the year progresses.

    • Our growing season is very short but very intense. The cottage garden is so exposed that the objective has to be to hang onto the soil and hope that the wind doesn’t tear too many plants out of the ground. So it has to be a mix of spring bulbs and herbaceous. I’m slowly learning what will survive and learning to cherish each precious green shoot. I’m also struggling with some mega problem areas where nothing survives, but I’ll get there eventually.

  2. It always amazes me when you say how strong the winds are. Then it amazes me even more to see how Mother Nature manages to get the loveliest flowers to bloom for you despite those winds. Thanks for the great shot of the little daffodil. We are still at least a month away from anything that pretty.

    • We live on a very exposed coastal headland and take the full force of the North Atlantic gales and probably have at least 3 severe gales each year. So no trees, and not much in the way of shrubs but we do have a mild climate in compensation. The early daffodils appear from mid-February and are amazingly tough. It always amazes me that something so delicate will just dance in the wind.

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