I should record the date – April 15th. They’re coming thick and fast, literally. There seems to be a precise order, a rhythm to spring events which I could never recall afterwards or before. Spring confounds memory – is it more beautiful than ever this year? I asked the same question last year, and the year before.
This week I’ve seen the first Welsh poppies, the brightest yellow crumpled petals shaking themselves out as they open in the sun; the first little bells of Solomon’s seal hanging from the arch of their stems; a delightful rockery tulip with the silly name of Honky Tonk; the first small pink flowers, inviting a closer look, on one of my favourite weeds, herb Robert.
Here’s the poppy, with an almost invisible big bumble bee inside the left hand flower.
Solomon’s seal, the name refers to the circular pattern left on the chunky root when the stem withers away in the autumn.
Honky Tonk. Very easy on a rock garden or at the front of a border on poor soil, it settles down and increases in number each year, unlike all the big tulips I’ve ever tried to grow.
Herb Robert. It’s a plant with the same name in many languages, or rather the vernavular version of the same name, including its official botanical name. It seems that all over Europe it was identified with Ruprecht, Robert (in French and English,) San Roberto, Roberta, and in Latin it’s Geranium robertianum. It must be that common European culture. Ricahrd Mabey in Flora Britannica says that the name probably derives from its association with the house goblin, Robin Goodfellow. (?) San Roberto was a saint, not a goblin, no? I like a plant which is at home everywhere. (Follow this link for some thoughts on the cult of endemics, plants which are at home in only a few special places: endemics )
And how the honesty has come on…. (see numbers 8 and 9, from less than two weeks ago but already from another season)