Spring in the garden

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade."
- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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    Bulbs and corms

    For beauty, variety and quantity of flowers, the bulbs and corms are at their most valuable in early Spring in almost every part of the garden, when there are so few other types of plants in bloom.

    The flower-buds, which were formed during the previous season, have been waiting underground, protected against frost by the insulating layer of soil above them, until the time is right for them to emerge above the surface and open.

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    Many of the early flowering kinds will still be in bloom. Others may perhaps only now be coming into flower for the first time if they are growing in less favoured areas or if the Winter has been a long and hard one.

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    Daffodil season starts in early Spring with the smooth flowered Narcissus cyclamineus, a native of Spain and Portugal. This species is valued not only for the earliness of its blooms, which often start to open in February, but for the unsurpassed richness of their colour and for their distinctive shape.

    The trumpet, which is long, tubular and slightly frilled, is surmounted by narrow outer segements which stand upright like the petals of a cyclamen, from which it takes the second part of its name.