My garden isn't a winter garden. Come back in spring and summer and it will be green and beautiful, full of interest for the bees and humans too (but mainly the bees).
So, looking out onto the garden it does look rather bare and depressing. But, I thought I should venture out and take a closer look. The snow made even the dead leaves look good, but now that all the snow has gone I wanted to see what had survived. Quite a lot it seems.
I bought Penstemon Sour Grapes last year and it looks great at the moment, all green and fresh. It will be some time before there are any flowers on it again.
I had read that they can be tender. So, I took some cutting to be on the safe side. Most of them have rooted so it looks like I'll have plenty of Penstemons for the garden this year.
The strawberry runners I potted up last year have come through the cold spell very well too. There are a few blackened and dead leaves - but, a quick tidy up should sort that out. We should be enjoying a small bowl full of strawberries in summer. Although that assumes we get to them before the squirell.
Sadly my Lemon Queen perennial Sunflower looks very dead (below). I bought a couple of these from Wisley garden centre last autumn. I was really excited about getting them because they are loved by bees. In fact they are the recommended plant at The Great Sunflower Project. Looks like I'll have to start again from seed.
The sedums buds are looking very healthy. They are a beautiful, pale purple tinged with a delicate verdigris. In a month or so I'll cut back the stems of last years flowers. Then the buds will start to grow and by May I'll give them the Chelsea chop in order to make them flower more.
The Sedums did really well last year. They flower in late autumn when most other plants are dying down. I left the the flowers and stalks on over winter and they acted as umbrellas protecting the emerging buds for the new year.
I have a load of bulbs in pots around the garden. These ones looked pretty with their snowy hats which probably insulated the bulbs from some of the freezing cold nights. Now the snow has melted you can see the Narcissus Hawera shoots. This is a dwarf daffodil only 30cm tall and pale lemon yellow. I also have some Tete-a-Tete daffodils in pots but these have not started to show in the pots or on the green roof.
The Bluebells are just peaking out of the compost (below). They flowered for ages last year. So, it is good to see them making a comeback.
I have some grasses and bulbs in black plastic pots which I use to fill in any gaps in the garden. I was surprised to see an Allium bud in one pot. This is Ivory Queen (Allium Karataviense) a low growing white allium. I think a scoop of potting compost is needed to make sure that fresh green bud doesn't get any frost damage.
The most welcome returner is the snowdrops below. They are still only buds emerging through the soil. But, soon they will be the first flower of 2011 in the garden.