The Garden Guide

Book: Colour schemes for the flower garden
Chapter: Chapter 1 A march study and the border of early bulbs

March woodland gardening

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There comes a day towards the end of March when there is but little wind, and that is from the west or even south-west. The sun has gained much power, so that it is pleasant to sit out in the garden, or, better still, in some sunny nook of sheltered woodland. There is such a place among silver-trunked Birches, with here and there the splendid richness of masses of dark Holly. The rest of the background above eye-level is of the warm bud-colour of the summer-leafing trees, and, below, the fading rust of the now nearly flattened fronds of last year's Bracken, and the still paler drifts of leaves from neighbouring Oaks and Chestnuts. The sunlight strikes brightly on the silver stems of the Birches, and casts their shadows clear-cut across the grassy woodland ride. The grass is barely green as yet, but has the faint winter green of herbage not yet grown and still powdered with the short remnants of the fine-leaved, last-year-mown heath grasses. Brown leaves still hang on young Beech and Oak. The trunks of the Spanish Chestnuts are elephant-grey, a notable contrast to the sudden, vivid shafts of the Birches. Some groups of the pale early Pyrenean Daffodil gleam level on the ground a little way forward. It is the year's first complete picture of flower-effect in the woodland landscape. The place is not very far from the house, within the nearest hundred yards of the copse, where flowers seem to be more in place than further away. Looking to the left, the long ridge and south slope of the house-roof is seen through the leafless trees, though the main wall-block is hidden by the sheltering Hollies and Junipers.