Spring’s Warm Embrace

After several grey days filled with rain – or the threat of it – we have emerged on the other side to find the air smelling clean, the trees budded, and the promise of many spring blooms soon to come.  There are few places I’d rather be at this time of year than Blithewold.  The grounds here are a treasure trove of spring delights.  You may well know of the thousands of daffodils that bloom in the Bosquet each April.  An even closer look reveals so much more.  Take, for instance, the fuzzy magnolia buds waiting for their turn to bloom.  The soft (yet tough) outer coating protects the blossom from damage throughout the winter.


Star Magnolia buds in their fuzzy winter covering.

Another beauty of early spring can be found by the Van Wickle Events Pavilion.  The Cornelian Cherry Dogwood (Cornus mas) is currently laden with yellow flowers all along its branches.  Though each flower is diminutive in size, the overall affect is breathtaking.

Cornelian Cherry Dogwood (Cornus mas)

From trees to tiny flowers, our next plant is the sweet small Puschkinia (Puschkinia scilloides var. libanotica).  This little, pale blue flower emerges while temperatures are still cold.  You can find it in the beds near the side staff entrance.  The reason for the placement is to encourage staff entering and exiting the house and to remind them that spring is coming!



Blooming in that same bed by the staff entrance is Iris reticulata ‘Pixie’.  This dwarf, early blooming iris is an entrancing shade of deep blue.  I love these small early spring bulbs because they are some of the first to emerge each spring and they fill me with a hope for more beauty to come.

On your way to viewing these little darlings, you’ll pass by what we refer to as The Moongate Bed (it can be seen quite well through the Moongate in the Rose Garden).  The past two weeks, this bed has been the most colorful part of the property.  It is filled with mini daffodils (Narcissus ‘Little Gem’), hellebores (Helleborus foetidus and Helleborus ‘Ivory Prince’), snow drops (Galanthus nivalis and Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’) and cyclamen.  The snow drops and cyclamen are now past, but the daffodils and hellebores are still showing off for all who pass by.



You may also notice hundreds of Siberian squill (Scilla siberica) blooming in the Rose Garden.  They are small, but their color is striking and they are well-loved by the bees.  I always feel excited when I spy honey bees foraging for the blue pollen these plants harbor.  I wasn’t able to capture a shot of the bees in action this year, but I hope you see them when you come to Blithewold.


Siberian squill (Scilla siberica)


I’m sure you are wondering why I have hardly mentioned the daffodils yet.  The reason is quite simple: the daffodils are lying in wait for next week’s warmer weather.  The foliage is up and the buds are beginning to show color, but few blossoms have emerged.  Fret not!  The sun combined with warm days (and nights) next week should push these beauties to open up before we know it.  In the meantime, there is still much to enjoy around the grounds here.  I will give you a couple of teasers for the upcoming show.


Narcissus ‘King Alfred’


Narcissus ‘Ice Follies’

I hope you get the chance to visit us and see the daffodils in the coming weeks.  It really is a sight to behold.  In the meantime, don’t forget that there is so much more to springtime.  Get out there and find the beauty that awaits you!  Happy hunting!