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David, here are some daffodils blooming on St. David's day (Mar1st) in the south west in the Bristol Botanic garden.

in the snow and wind of the last few days my century old apple tree which had become a sculpture of cream and olive needlepoint ivy split and fell, now it lays in the garden almost as ornamental as when it was upright, it fell in such a considerate manner that almost nothing was damaged, even the eight foot wide daphne carol mackie which it neatly bisected seems not too disturbed-it is one of those things where i may do more damage in the cleanup than in the fall itself

spring tantaliizes. yesterday it was 72 F with cloudless skies. today it is in the 30's with snow blowing on a cold north wind, the mountains hidden in the blizzard. alliums are above ground, giganteum-not my favorite-grows and seeds only in the dry shade garden, purple sensation is at home everywhere except dry shade, as spring accompaniment to almost everything it is peerless if perhaps too enthusiastic-every spring i pull them out by the hundreds. colchicums and autumn crocus are up, here in reno when it seems that there will only be random blossoms of this and that before winter closes in suddenly that wonderful tender lavender pink in all shades lighting up the grpund  and fpr a few weeks i think i will never like anything better

yesterday the temp high was 37F today it will be in the mid sixties, next week we may have rain instead of snow and spring she is a-cummin. tree peonies have budded-they are such an extravaganr plant-so much space for such a short bloom time-but worth it. i have come to the conclusion that it is wind they need most protection from, a very large peony that grows out of a magnolia gets very little direct sun but is completely sheltered from the wind and is splendid for several weeks every year the ones in exposed sites sometimes bloom for only a day-the first terrible windstorm of spring can be counted on for the day they open


do you know dianthus cholmondeley farrand? i don 't know if the name is quite as wonderful in britain as in the u.s.(i recently saw it offered as chumly ferran, which gives the sound but loses the  spelling) . it is one of the oldest dianthus in cultivation rose and dusty purple ruffled petals, long stems and a fine clovey scent well worth looking for i think. it is rather daringly putting on new growth, as seems to happen every year some clumps of dianthus brilliant bloomed themselves to death last summer-oh well, there will be seedlings to move which will quickly fill the spaces

despite very cold nights(last night 14F) spring is coming fast. the crocus tommasanianus is at its peak thousands in bloom. the dutch crocus are just starting and at a friends i saw chionodoxa-very early the tops of the colchicum foliage has blackened but they recover quickly-rose leaves are beginning to expand probably only to be frozen off-in the house aloes and dudleyas are coming in to bloom-the aloes like penstemon, the dudleyas like stars and i have convinced myself the cactus are showing buds-well, we will see

the odd season-but aren't they all-has caused all the bulbs to come at once-wonderfully impressive. the first day of spring is a wonderful spring day-mid 60s-garden cleanup all morning in my pajama bottoms which is a true sign of spring. phlox davidii, asters, verbascums, leucanthemums, glaucium, alliums-all must be dealt with firmly lest the garden consist of just those things- i find the most difficulty in pulling hesperis and lunaria -i love those colors in mid spring they seem to weave everything together but ten thousand is certainly too many

dicentra aurea with brunnera jack frost underplanted with asarum europaeum-sweet

somethings that  are pleasant- the washoe zephyr roaring thru the tops of the sequiadendron, magnolia stellata coming into full bloom in just a day-something that is not so pleasant , discovering that i have  finally managed to kill the aralia elata aureovariegata-why oh why do i keep moving things when they are fine(but not perfectly fine)where they are? 

cool and cloudy today-the compost heap ismade although there is still more to add-there always seems to be more-the heap is all dry brown material so it is heating slowly-only 100 in 2 days-in the next few days i will add green stuff to speed it up disturbing mortality in some of the alpines-temps and precip should not have bothered them-on the other hand tender sedums and sempervivems that i decided to chance outside have all come thru fine-what a wonderful time of year everywhere we look more things are up and growing

the heap at 150f. after three days-if the rain stops will open it this afternoon and add more duff-differences of perspective- a friend came over and asked when i was doing cleanup? i thought i had-her garden is one of those where the ground is always clean of every bit of litter- it seems strange that people will sweep everything away and then bring in mulch from outside- my garden feeds itself and seems happy-vitis purpurea shows no signs of growth-i know its early but still i have to repress the urge to poke around-ten thousand other good things happening and still i worry

yesterday(friday)was glorious mid seventies with no wind-today at noon it was sixty fivef. at 1 it was 40f. heavy snow in the mountains but so far only a little rain here in the valley. i am waiting to cut back a wonderful gold variegated buddleia-i keep saying next week but the weather refuses to settle. i have a sambucus sutherland gold that refuses to flourish so this spring i plan on taking cuttings of the buddleia and replacing the sambucus-a good plan and one that is easily done.  do you grow shrubby clematis? heracleifolia  and integrifolia are both up and recta seems to be budding-recta has an unfortunate habit of following over just at it's peak, it is one of those plants that is impossible to stake with any dignity

what is it about forsythia and chaenomeles ? people cannot leave them alone-loolipops everwhere and yet au naturel they are wonderful-just venting for a moment

pulsatilla vuglaris in bloom-the colors are so unreal. tanacetum nivea is up-such a good plant but it will grow where it likes. saw that pyrethrum, and chrysanthemum parthenium have been moved into tanacetum-taxonomists are a rum lot-pyrethrum-now tanacetum coccineum has never been good for me and parthenium is both boring and irritating. i read that it is good when grown well but oh lord i have never seen that. Aureum however-so good that i forgive all the sins of the fathers.


species tulips coming into bloom-how obliging they are and to my eyes so much more appealing than the hybrids. tulip linifolia which seemed to be chary of settling in is good this years-leaves writhing across the ground starfish like and the color exactly that of beaujolais with the sun shining through it. close inspection of the pulsatillas reveal lewisias thriving between them-odd since it doesn't seem their sort of place-the eternal wonder of plants

75f. yesterday, then snow this morning, even for reno a mixed up sort of spring. the great garden project which was begun yesterday will not be finished today

hellebore foetidus in full bloom-christopher lloyd wrote that the name seemed misplaced-if he had visited my garden yesterday he would have smelled the truth of the name-not overwhelming but still nose prickling-perhaps however you do need dozens for the reek to be apparent

light snow every night but it will be 75f. on sunday and then a run of warm nights -excellent delphinium survival over the winter-there is one in the garden which will be 24 this year which may be a record-in those years hundreds have come and gone but guinevere goes on and on

a perfect easter morning-sunny, clear, warm. the perfect day for a ramble. nepeta and muscari blooming together bettween the cobbles in the back sunk patio.  eremurus himalaicus, which was moved about during an extensive garden remake has come back vigorously, several look as though they might reach 3 meters-yay! some plants make you glad you have them just because of their names.  two that i noted this morning are phlomis kashmiriana-what exotic visions that conjures- and nepeta souvenir d'andre chaudron, it has a reputation as a goer but not so for for me which is unfortunate because i visualized it weaving through the burgundy malva sylvestris and the artemisia guizhou-oh well, there is time