With three weeks or more of windy deluges, I’ve not managed to visit the Courtyard garden until now. Somehow I’ve mis-timed the alternating blue-sky days and as soon as I’ve donned gardening kit, down has come the rain. Yesterday was a damage assessment exercise as much as anything. Two geraniums had been hurtled asunder, pots and all, but the rest of the plants had hunkered down in situ. The leggy Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’ was bent almost horizontal on her pins but no bones broken.
Temperatures have been unseasonably warm for the most part and hence the garden looks almost verdant. Evergreen mainstays are here helping to mask the wintry bareness including Jasmine which chambers up drainpipes and is swagged all along the South-East wall. Sumptuously fragrant in June but for now the scents are emanating from three different Sweet Box (Sarcococca confusa; chinesis; hookeriana) with their humble blooms that failed to attract the attention of the camera lens. Instead, the pinks and puces caught my eye (not very different in fact from November’s offering) with the last of the fuchsias and the Pineapple sage trumpets giving way to ruby blooms of Cyclamen persicum. Inexhaustibly, the potted wallflowers are still issuing forth more flowersAs usual the Violas have gone into stasis and one Spring day, hordes of faces will peer innocently out as if to prove the erroneous labelling of winter pansies. Meanwhile, two bullish Acanthus have taken over one corner of the garden and I’ve had to fell quite a lot of their soft, emerald leaves to make visual space for Hellebores and polyanthus. I halved the height of fuchsia foliage too, both potted and bedded, in preparation for more windy weather.
In the nearby squares of Bloomsbury, daffodils are blooming in muddy swathes but nothing on show here other than half-grown stems and the first sighting of a very late-planting of white Narcissi and purple Hyacinths. Called ‘Music & Poetry’ mix, I’m hoping for something inspirational. Meanwhile, sempervivum adds a note of charm to an oversized terracotta tea-cup. A little cyclamen has muddled in here but the ‘hen and chicks’ do not seem to mind.
There was just time to rake up the garden debris before the darkening sky meant the end of the day…and more rain.
Written for Diane so that she can stay in touch with the Courtyard Garden wherever she is in her travels.
Hard to pronounce but easy to grow: Sarcococcas