Signs Of Life

The Butterfly Walk is currently studded with these Scilla siberica

The Butterfly Walk is currently studded with these Scilla siberica

In last week’s blog I talked about how Spring down here in Kent was highly conspicuous by its absense. Well, since then we haven’t had any more snow, the icy winds have dropped a little and the night temperatures are beginning to show hints of staying above freezing. Is Winter finally over? The signs are certainly encouraging and although the plants, the stars of the show here at Chartwell, are still being pretty shy in most instances, there are more and more glimpses of colour and life every day.

These dainty Pushkinia scilloides can be found under the Lime trees at the front of the house

These dainty Puschkinia scilloides can be found under the Lime trees at the front of the house

Spring bulbs are often the first out of the block and this year is no different as they begin to poke their pretty heads above soil level. Like little gems of burried treasure, the emergence of bulbs are one of the highlights of the year for me. Admittedly you have to keep your peepers peeled to spot some of these tiny wonders but that is also part of the joy of spotting Spring bulbs. Whether they’re hidden in long grass, standing solitary on the bare border soil or finding strength in numbers amongst a swaith of mass planting, the beauty of the bulb should not be underestimated as I’ll try and show you in this here blog.

The Winter Border is beginning to burst with Spring bulbs like these xxxxx

The Winter Border is beginning to burst with Spring bulbs like these Colchicum speciosum ‘Album’

The Chionodixa 'Pink Giant' that I mentioned in last week's blog are opening up more all the time

The Chionodixa forbesii ‘Pink Giant’ that I mentioned in last week’s blog are also opening up more and more all the time

There are plenty of Chionodoxa gigantea 'Alba' bulbs emerging at the top of the Winter Border right now

There are plenty of Chionodoxa gigantea ‘Alba’ bulbs emerging at the top of the Winter Border right now too

The remaining few Iris danfordiae are still doing their thing here too

And the remaining few Iris danfordiae are still doing their thing here as well

When is a bulb not a bulb? When it’s a corm or a tuber of course! All known as organs of perennation (ie an underground part of the plant that stores food allowing it to survive through Winter) they differ in the ways in which they are made up. A bulb is a condensed stem with swollen leaves that form the actual body of the bulb. It is these succulent, compressed leaves that store the food. Corms are also swollen stems but it is this stem itself that acts as the food store. The succulent leaves are much less bulky. Tubers are much simpler in their structure. They can be either a swollen root (such as a Dahlia) or a swollen underground stem (as in the humble potato).

Bulb structure (courtesy of ibguides.com)

Bulb structure (courtesy of ibguides.com)

Of course there is more to see at the moment than simply the emeging bulbs in Churchill’s gardens. From Primroses and Dogwoods to unfurling Camellia buds and the beauty of a freshly cut lawn, there is much to grab your attention…

These stunning Crinodendron hookerianum (Lantern Tree) can be found skulking in one of the Croquet Lawn beds

These stunning Crinodendron hookerianum (Lantern Tree) can be found skulking in one of the Croquet Lawn beds

There are plenty of wild primroses (Primula vulgaris) around the garden at Chartwell

There are plenty of wild primroses (Primula vulgaris) around the garden at Chartwell

Some have evn hybridized naturally.  Here we have yellow, white and an off-pink in close proximity

Some have even hybridized naturally. Here we have yellow, white and an off-pink in close proximity

They look stunning on their own or intermingled with the early daffs as seen here

They look great on their own or intermingled with the early daffs as seen here

The most eagle-eyed of our visitors might also spot these Primulas of a different kind: Primula denticulata around the Golden Orfe Pond

The most eagle-eyed of our visitors might also spot these Primulas of a different kind: Primula denticulata around the Golden Orfe Pond

Other highlights include the hellebores such as these Helleborus orientalis of varying colours

Other highlights include the hellebores such as these Helleborus orientalis of varying colours

Or these Helleborus  x sternii, both found in the Winter Border

Or these Helleborus x sternii, both found in the Winter Border

These Iris unguicularis can be found at the top of the Kitchen Garden banks and are not to be missed!

These Iris unguicularis can be found at the top of the Kitchen Garden banks and are not to be missed!

Don’t just take my word for it though. Make sure you come and pay us a visit sometime soon and see for yourself. And if you take a particularly impressive picture while here, why not submit it to our photography competition and you might see it printed in next year’s Chartwell Garden Calendar.

Jamie

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4 Comments

Filed under Chartwell Life, Plants

4 responses to “Signs Of Life

  1. Chris Dunhill

    Nice photos – and interesting hearing the difference between bulbs, corms and tubers… I hadn’t even heard of corms before.

  2. David

    I saw you taking a photo the other day, hope it stays mild now so all the flowers come out. Can then do Emmets as well as Chartwell as they are close, finishing with a NT Toys Hill walk for some wilderness.
    Dave

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