The past few days of invigorating spring weather have been truly magical, haven’t they?

It just goes to prove that the plants in the garden aren’t the only living organisims which get going when the skies are bright and blue and the air is fresh and clear.

Having said that, I haven’t really had a chance, of late to get to grips with a few things, like shifting two contorted hazels, harnessing the ornamental quince, mulching the roses, restraining the Boston Creeper, tackling the thicket of Ivy which is colonising the top of the garden and strangling the old willow tree, restraining the Clematis Montana (probably too late I know) and deciding whether or not to forgo lawn entirely and put down shingly, shiny pea-gravel.

Just a few things to think about. I’d love to grow some more herbs and vegetables as well, but I need to work out where best to put them in my small, albeit terraced, space. And finally for now, I need to restrict the number of plants in pots as, with my chequered time-table and the very best of intentions, plants in pots can suffer come the high dry days of summer (here’s hoping).

It may well be a long list of tasks and wishes but on a bright, shiny spring day, I can almost imagine achieving it all.

Imagine is the key word though and the closest I came this week was a trip up the steps to hang out the washing.

I was however happily and momentarily distracted by the truly wonderful, dappled and mottled foliage of the Erythroniums their slender swan-necked flowers, tinged with lemon and flamingo pink, just waiting to open with a day or two of encouraging warmth.

The Corylopsis Pauciflora has stolen a march on them even though it isn’t looking quite as lovely as on previous years. I think it might be down to me not pruning it as well as I might but still it’s slender stems and pretty little flowers never fail to charm me and a few sprigs look just lovely on their own in a simple vase. As does the subtle and lovely Amelanchier or Snowy Mespilus with it’s delicate white blossom and fine foliage. It isn’t in flower yet though, but it’s always worth waiting for.

If trees are your thing then a visit to the wonderful Arboretum and Gardens at Clandeboye Estate, just outside Bangor, should be on your list of things to make and do next weekend when they are open to the public.

This is first of three opportunities to visit Clandeboye during the course of this year. We paid an early visit recently and in spite of the chilly day had a wonderful guided tour around the gardens escorted hilariously and informatively by Lady Dufferin and head gardener Fergus Thompson.

Every part of the garden and just about every plant has a story to tell, with Lady Dufferin’s painterly eye much in evidence when it comes to the placing of plants within the garden and the wider landscape.

The Arboretum and Gardens at Clandeboye will be open from 2pm until 6 pm on April 14th. All in all a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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