I have come to the conclusion that spring bulbs are my favourite part as a novice gardener. Mostly because to get a sea of yellow or blue, I don’t actually have to, well, garden!
I have always been a fan of daffodils, blue bells and snow drops. They are the sign that the miserable grey skies of winter are going to lessen, leading the way for the… slightly less grey skies of spring (the joys of living in Wales…). But despite our mercurial weather, there is something highly cheering about seeing motorway centres, random banks, and your own garden suddenly burst into an overwhelming display of yellow. It does bring a feel of sunshine, even when the actual sun is still being elusive.
There are the delicate snowdrops first, often shy and difficult to spot. Certainly in my garden, they are soon overtaken by the daffs (quite rightly, I suppose, living in Wales), who are like the brash cousin who comes over and steals all the attention by talking twice as loud to tell their slightly inappropriate jokes. We have both the bold primary yellow trumpets, and the more pastel, genteel flowers, as well as the tiny version. These survive better against the inevitable storm winds of March or April, the taller ones often giving up and having a lie down after they’ve been battered by the wind. I can empathise.
But my favourite has to be the bluebell. It feels like a quintessentially British thing to go for a walk in a wood with a bluebell carpet to greet them, (then to finish the walk at a pub for a pint and a pie, obviously!). A deep bluebell carpet is a sign that the wood you’re in is an ancient one. And it adds a sense of magic – a field of bluebells is said to be woven with fairy enchantments. It certainly feels magical to walk through. They are protected – no digging up wild bulbs to take home! They have been used since the Bronze Age for various uses (often some kind of glue.) But mostly, they are just so pretty!
I also like the element of surprise. I can never quite remember where the plants have come up one year to the next, so each new splash of colour is like a little gift. As is the fact that I’ve done no work to get such a pretty thing in my garden. If only it was all so easy.